I’ve been asked a lot of interview questions in my career, some more creative than others, but few have ever stumped me as much as this one: Is SEO an art or a science?

Think about it for a minute. You may have a strong opinion one way or another; I know people who fall on both sides of the spectrum. If you’re anything like me, you have difficulty deciding one way or the other. Here was the answer I gave to the interviewer.

SEO Begins with Art…

Choosing keywords and planning search strategy are largely intuitive tasks. Experience helps, but in the beginning, all you have to follow is your gut. You take the tools and techniques at your disposal, divine the business objectives at work, feel out the semantics between keywords and user intent, and finally draw up a plan for success.

…and Ends with Science

That’s where measurement and scientific methodology take over. You test, analyze, optimize, and repeat. You observe your work in its natural environment, collect data, and refine the equation until your site is a humming engine of SEO perfection.

What do you think? Are you a firm believer one way or the other, or do you believe SEO is a mix of art and science like I do? Share your thoughts in the comments.

3 thoughts on “Is SEO an Art or a Science?

  1. Good question. I think a great SEO-minded person would this it’s a mix of both. If you’re a firm believer that SEO is an art you may totally miss what your specific consumers want. However, if you firmly believe SEO is a science you will know exactly what your consumers want but you won’t think outside of the box a expand your reach which may cause you not to grow as rapidly as needed.

    Funny how art and science can be similar and yet so different.

  2. I find the differences between science and art are often over-exaggerated. Can you have science without creativity, or art without methodology? Or peanut butter without chocolate? Sure, they’re different, but they’re so much more when you combine them. 😉

  3. Good question. I think a great SEO-minded person would this it’s a mix of both. If you’re a firm believer that SEO is an art you may totally miss what your specific consumers want. However, if you firmly believe SEO is a science you will know exactly what your consumers want but you won’t think outside of the box a expand your reach which may cause you not to grow as rapidly as needed.

    Funny how art and science can be similar and yet so different.

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