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The Truth About Holistic SEO

Pulling the Rug off the Bald SEO's Head

     
5:05 pm on Aug 25, 2016 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Holistic. It's a word only a shallow marketer would love. The word Holistic implies different things to different people while communicating absolutely nothing, like a big white hat. Holistic is today's version of Turbo. Remember when everything was Turbo?

Holistic implies that there will be synergies between all marketing strategies, goals- regardless of the strategy or goal. What those synergies are, are literally different for every situation and in the minds of every person who reads the word Holistic. The meaning of holistic is subjective but feel-good.

Holistic is an impressionistic word whose actual definition changes to whatever you want it to mean. Holistic SEO is a hollow concept that is ready made to be filled with the rainbows and unicorns of your dreams. The word conveys an image but not an actual meaning. It's like saying White Hat. It's a symbol. When you peek inside the symbol it is hollow. It contains air and no substance.

Turbo SEO = White Hat SEO = Holistic SEO
There is a way of speaking that communicates impressions without saying anything of substance, like the phrase, "Make America Great!" There are actual symbols filled with subjective meaning, like the flag lapel pins that politicians wear, pins that don't make the wearer more patriotic but that's what it implies. Holistic is similar.

"I believe in a holistic approach to SEO"
When you are asked a question and don't know what to say, drop the word Holistic in the sentence and everyone's head will bob in agreement like a roomful of SEO Bobbleheads. Just say, I like to approach it holistically. You don't even need to know what the word Holistic means and you'll still sound smart. The word means nothing because it means any thing to every one. The phrase Holistic SEO is truly in the realm of rainbows and unicorns.
6:52 pm on Aug 25, 2016 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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From my dictionary:
holistic
adjective chiefly Philosophy
characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.
Medicine characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease.

The word is relevant to SEO because SEO goals usually need to be approached from more than one direction and they are indeed interconnected.

The recipe for progress is simple:
- do more things the search engines like
- do fewer things they dislike

You don't have to be perfect as long as you're better than the others.
7:17 pm on Aug 25, 2016 (gmt 0)

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When you peek inside the symbol it is hollow. It contains air and no substance.


I'm no fan of the word "holistic", particularly when it's used by marketers. However, I can see a meaningful use of the word if you are talking about SEO and how it fits within other promotional activities. Indeed, "SEO in isolation" has been a problem for years, as has compartmentalizing SEO into "adding keywords to pages" and "getting a link".

As a buzzword for marketers, I quite agree that it's hollow. But it is a word with a meaning that can be legitimately applied to SEO, as buckworks suggests. It's not as bad as words like 'LSI' for deliberately misleading people or 'inbound marketing' as an attempt to rebrand activities that have existed for years.
11:58 pm on Aug 25, 2016 (gmt 0)

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What buckworks and Andy Langton said.

Everything becomes buzz and jargon and shifts meaning in our forever beta webdev world. Often I find that I dis/agree with someone once I determine what they mean with what they say. :) This is especially true with SEO where so much that is bandied about is pure supposition based on opinion founded on misunderstanding...

To address the OP I must respectfully disagree with Holistic. It's a word only a shallow marketer would love; as I do regularly use aka 'love' the word yet can't/don't/won't pigeonhole my marketing as 'shallow'.

To keep discussions on subject and simpler to file we humans tend to split wholes into parts unto the very quarks. At which point many of us lose sight of where and how all the parts fit together, often also misconstruing influences as a result. Even holism aka comprehension of the interconnectedness of SEO efforts are but a part of the holism aka comprehension of the interconnectedness of the site business model et al.

Those who work up from the part, in this instance SEO, are putting the cart before the horse, tactics before strategy. Far better to work from the whole so that one knows what each part plays in accomplishing the plan. It's cheaper and less wasteful of resources as well. Of course those whose livelihood is a particular part or part of a part have a vested interest in promoting theirs as critical and necessary. Without an holistic view the tail begins to wag the dog - a very common SEO (tool) behaviour: doing what the tool says rather than the tool doing what you say.

I believe not only in holistic SEO but in holistic marketing, holistic webdev, holistic business model/planning, et al.

Actually I rather like that folks misuse, abuse terms because it serves to filter out those who don't really know what they are about quite quickly. Regardless, I'm not about to drop my business/marketing/webdev philosophy - or stop using a word appropriately - just because idjits are causing new static in the information flow. There is always more noise than signal, which provides opportunity for competitive advantage.

Holism FTW!
 

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