Why SEOs and Astronomers are so much alike

astronomy.jpgRecently Wiep Knol compiled a great document about Link Value Factors. Basically the document contains the views of many well respected SEOs on the topic of link building – and more specifically which factors are most and least important.

This is yet another great SEO resource, but when reading through it, I couldn’t help but think how much search engine optimisation is like astronomy. You see, Astronomer’s dedicate their career to investigating (and essentially ‘best guessing’) the stars and the universe as a whole. We have probes, satellites and have even sent people into the vastness of space, yet really we still know very little definite information about it.

SEO is very similar in the sense that very few of us really know the exact workings of the search engines. Sure, we can make some pretty good guesses based on years of experience working with many sites, investigating patents, reading forums and blogs, attending conferences etc. etc.

But no one really knows… well, other than the search engineers themselves – but I sometimes even wonder if Matt Cutts really knows the intricacies of Google’s algorithm or if he is only privy to certain aspects of it through his Batman Utility belt of search spam tools.

Here’s how WikiPedia defines Professional Astronomers:

highly trained individuals who typically have a PhD in physics or astronomy and are employed by research institutions or universities. They spend the majority of their time working on research, although they quite often have other duties such as teaching, building instruments, or aiding in the operation of an observatory.

Here’s my take on Professional SEOs:

highly trained individuals who typically have a high-level understanding of online technologies, coding, scripting and marketing and are either self employed, employed by an SEO firm or provide in-house SEO for a much larger organisation. They spend a majority of their time working on research, although they quite often have other duties such as teaching, building widgets or plugins, concocting linkbait or contributing (and often aiding through moderation or guest posting) one or more search forums or blogs.

What do you think?

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