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SEO: It’s the Dark Arts He Fancies

Posted: 8th October 2018

When attending networking events over the last while and meeting people, mingling, telling them what 8th Row does, which is specialising in search engine optimisation and pay per click, I am often presented with a visible shift in the person and rebuked with something along the lines of “Oh SEO, it’s a bit of a dark art that isn’t it.” This is never said as a question. It has happened so many times that it’s strange now. I assume these people do not know each other, or they’re all in on the gag. For my sake, I’m going to air on the side of common misconception rather than conspiracy!

A “dark art”; it couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ll be the first to admit that the practice of SEO has had its ups and downs over the last few years. Google has the monopoly on search and they have changed the goal posts many times. But SEO is still one of the top digital marketing practices for return on investment.

So, in this post I’m going to attempt to dispel some SEO ‘dark art’ myths.

It has nothing to do with Harry Potter

Where they are getting the “dark art” from I have no idea. OK I jest. But c’mon, dark art? Hardly! We have more tools than ever where we can track campaigns and how they impact a business. It’s no more a dark art than medicine is to the average person, or any topic of knowledge or skill you are unfamiliar with.

More people take it seriously than you might think

The state of SEO is looking up. In a report by Zazzle Media 88% of marketers believed SEO was an important element of their marketing plans. 77% said SEO has increased their number of leads, and half said that SEO has decreased their cost of customer acquisition. SEO can increase leads, and lower cost of acquisition. From ‘SEO dark art’ to ‘SEO take my money’, right, right?


In your face printed advertising. As briefly mentioned SEO is inherently trackable. With a little wisdom and the right tools, you can track results from SEO with a great degree of accuracy. Naturally, you need to know what you’re looking for when connecting the dots.

SEO is not spammy emails

Those spammy emails promising page 1 results for $100 or less? Yeah, that’s not SEO. Yet so many people have been stung here and it gives the rest of us a bad rep. Not to mention it devalues the value of the work!

It takes a while

There’s no question that SEO is an investment in time and effort. In fact, many businesses who have tried SEO have a bad experience of it because the approach was too light, and the effort halted too early. There is no magic bullet approach for search engine optimisation and it’s relative too; what works for someone else may not work for you. It takes time and diligence to consistently improve and maintain your presence in search engines.

Don’t worry, I don’t hold it against you if you thought any of these things were true. SEO is a bit of an art as well as a science. Targeting strategies and execution methods vary greatly. But dark art, it is not.

Who the hell am I

I’m Darren and coincidentally I’m a SEO professional. I’ve been involved in digital for over eight years now. I run 8th Row, a digital agency focusing on SEO, PPC, Content Generation and Web Design/Development projects.

Please feel free to contact me at if you have any SEO or website related questions.

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