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  • Writer's pictureMordy Oberstein

Should There Be SEO Standards?

Can a Formal Set of Standards Be Applied to Doing SEO?!

Mordy Oberstein Interviews Trevor Stolber on the SEO Rant

Trevor Stolber joins the SEO Rant to advocate for having SEO standards:

  • Should the SEO industry have a set of standards?

  • Is it feasible to apply standards to SEO?

  • What would having SEO standards look like?


Does Having a Set of SEO Standards Actually Make Sense? A Conversation with Trevor Stolber

When Trevor Stolber asked his network of SEO connections, 2/3 of them were keen on the idea of having a set of standards for SEO. (As someone who is against standards in most cases, that's shocking to me). To Trevor, it's time. The SEO world is no longer in its infancy and it's time for a set of real SEO standards.

The problem, as Trevor admits, is that you can't be too general with standards nor too specific. It's a fine line as he says. What these standards actually would like is, of course, "challenging." The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) does have a process for bringing standardization to industries once they accept a standardization pitch. This is how Trevor sees standardization coming to SEO.

So, what would Trevor like to see standardized? One thing that stands out to him is keyword research. Just throwing a list of high search volume keywords is not really keyword research. Having some sort of construct here would help clients to know when they are being given a bad list of keywords.

That's really why Trevor wants SEO to be standardized. So many "SEOs" provide shoddy work and pull the wool over the eyes of their clients. Having standards around doing SEO would, in theory, prevent that.

The question, at least to me, is there's a wide range of outlooks on SEO and theories about SEO that are all reasonable and legitimate. How do you create standards that account for the wide array of substantial and legitimate SEO outlooks? That really speaks to a larger problem I have with standards... there's a lot we don't know. Google is not exactly an open book. That creates for a very speculative environment (good speculation, I might add). How do you create standards when there is so much ambiguity and so much debate within the SEO community itself?

That's not to say there isn't a place where I think standardization should exist. One easy case is the terminology we use. For example, some of the SEO tools call People Also Ask, Related Questions as that's how Google refers to them in the HTML. That can be confusing to SEOs who only know the feature by its name on the SERP itself (i.e., People Also Ask). There's certainly a case to standardize these things. (I actually talked to Barry Schwartz about SEO term standardization on my former podcast).

The sum it all up... Trevor has certainly put a lot of thought into SEO standardization and there is certainly a case for it. Personally, I think it's a bit too messy. But hey, let's see what Trevor can do with this!


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