You know, I'm getting a little tired of this, so it will be the last I comment on the issue.
Dave Pasternack has just posted yet another followup to his infamously self-serving position that SEO is easy but SEM is hard, so hire his company for SEM and dump your SEO...
He spends the first part of the interview claiming that the only people who disagreed with SEO being easy were SEO's, and then likened this to people trying to protect an "industry with it's own agenda."
I find it odd that the people who know the most about a subject are dismissed as "having an agenda" but people claiming to know little or nothing about a subject are considered to be the ones who are correct by virtue that there are a lot of them. Huh?
Since when is being right or wrong an issue of mob rule rather than knowledge about a subject?
I would dismiss this as a case of "I don't understand it, therefore it must be easy" school of thought, but then he goes on to make the following claim in favor of hiring an SEM:
Using killer customizable technology and the right strategies allow a marketer to maximize profit. You’ve heard the expression about pro-se legal representation -- “anybody who represents himself has a fool for a client.” Need I say more?
Yes, David, I think you do.
I think you need to explain why, in your words, a field that is "always limited to the strategies and tactics that are supported by the bid technology platform they are using" is so complicated that it needs your black box technology ("killer customizable technology ") and huge experience, yet a field where the rules are essentially "don't do anything to trick us and we'll decide what to show or not" is easy as "baking a cake".
I find it incomprehensible that the very argument that you use to dismiss SEO is then reversed to support your own agenda.
Everything you argued about SEO being easy also applies to SEM. Likewise, everything you argued about SEM requiring special skills also applies to SEO.
As a matter of fact, SEM is arguably far easier than SEO.
- Your Google representative will actually go through your account and give you direct feedback, and even fix errors - for free. I've yet to see a Google engineer do SEO like this for a site.
- SEM gives you near-instant feedback - SEO can take a month or more before giving you any feedback at all. Even then, it's often vague.
- SEM deals with a limited and known set of rules. SEO deals with vague "guidelines" that are enforced inconsistently and often not at all. It's very possible for a spammer to outrank a clean site in SEO. In SEM, if someone is doing better than you, it's because they are better at following the rules, not breaking them.
- Most SEM issues can be solved simply by brute force - throwing more money at it. Attempting brute force with SEO is almost spam by definition.
- The skills of an SEM are analogous to those of an accountant. The skills of an SEO are analogous to those of a lawyer. The SEM works the numbers, the SEO has to make a case.
- The hardest part of SEM is the part that is based on SEO - making content that converts and delivering it, keyword research, and creating landing pages that convert. Enough said.