I am the greatest, SEO legends and conmen
by Alan Mosley
|Tuesday, November 1, 2011|
The good the bad and the ugly of SEO
There are 2 types of SEO that give the industry a bad name, the SEO/Social media consultant who rarely if ever has a client, that hangs around forums engaging in hearsay, rumour, rudeness and arrogance, and the more sinister fly by night, fast money, spammy marketer who pops up in every unregulated new industry where money is changing hands in ignorance. These people have given SEO a bad name. Both of these types have one thing in common, a lack of technical knowledge and rely mainly on link-building and a bit of on-page SEO.
About the only technical work they do on a site is the much overused 301-redirect. 301-redirects are not a good thing, they leak link juice and are a fix to a worse problem they should not be used willy-nilly but when needed, but that’s another blog post.
The comic shop guy from the Simpsons
If you have watched the Simpsons I need not explain this type of SEO much at all. They have a knack of dismissing all that they don't know as un-important and what they do know as invaluable. Once they have gained a belief no amount of fact will change their mind, no matter what reality throws up against them they have learnt to dismiss it all. If you are not convinced by their smugness and conceited self importance then you are just not intelligent enough to understand.
They haunt forums where they feel a sense of importance and will mislead those who have come to learn with myths of a page length and keyword density and myths that will not die. They scare site owners into changing their sites with stories of doom and gloom long after they have been presented with evidence to the country they will dig in and defend their stance and will not yield. Any form of disagreement is seem as an attack and will result in abuse, you have cast doubt on their perceived importance, be careful they often hang around in gangs, taking terns in congratulating each other, they fear and shun strangers unless of cause they have come to worship.
The infomercial hard sell guy
SEO is important and can be the make or break of online and offline businesses, put that together with the fact that many in business do not understand SEO and the search industry in general but are desperate to rank, you have an environment for fly by night, quick money, con men. They usually have a flash website, and maybe a flash office as well, and all so often have those walk on cut-out videos of themselves that speak to you and try to convince you to pay them big dollars for their secret knowledge. They will charge you huge sums and then employ Indians to spam the internet with cheap links or employ nasty black hat tricks that will give you rankings for a few weeks and leave you with a damaged reputation. A quick scan of their flash web sites will expose their lack of any real SEO knowledge.
Unfortunately this type of SEO does have client's that pay big money, many business desperate for rankings are often impressed by the facade of success they portray. They often leave a trail of destruction behind them before their phone numbers are disconnected and they pop up somewhere else under a new domain name with the same scam.
A vacuum of knowledge
There is a reason as to why such SEO’s exist and that is the lack of information coming from Search engines themselves. search engines would rather you did not know how rankings worked, Duane Forrester the human face of Bing and Matt Cutts the face of Google will tell you want they want you to know about SEO and not tell you what they do not want you to know. In this vacuum its all too often something is said that sounds logical and a new folk law is born. I should also credit Duane and Matt for dispelling some of these myths, they will readily tell you wants not true but rarely tell you what is true unless it is in their interest to do so. That is their business to protect the secrets of their algorithms, some times what they don't say speaks louder then what they do and of cause this propels new rumours. There is also the fact that what was true yesterday may not be true today.
OK enough negativity
Luckily there is a 3rd and 4th subset of reputable SEO’s that deal in fact, the hard working creative marketer and the technical SEO, and they go hand in hand. I put myself in this last category, but both are evidence based and honest.
Although search engines do not like to tell of their inner workings, a lot can be learnt from results, tests and trial and error, Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz an SEO who researches and tests his hypotheses is a good example of both a creative marketer with a firm knowledge of the technical side of SEO. He has a staff of energetic marketing types as well as some knowledgeable technical people, Ben Hendrickson is one that comes to mind. His web site seomoz.org has some of the best tools for SEO on the internet as well as in my opinion the best SEO forum lower on myth and abuse and rumour and higher on research and fact, plenty of constructive debate with a cast of helpful mature contributors.
The honest marketer
If you are in a competitive industry you are going to need both of these latter categories, I do not have the skills or the get up and go attitude needed to be a good marketer, link building is a large part of their job, and It is not an easy job to gain high quality links, it takes a thick skin and balls to persuade, ask or beg for a link, to continually come up with new ideas to attract links takes a special kind. If you are in a less competitive industry you can get by with a SEO who is good in either one of these latter disciplines but for highly competitive industries you need both. You must be evidence based, ok we all do things because we think it better to cover all corners even when we have no evidence something is true, but you must remember its only a hunch, but a evidence based SEO does not even have to have a lot of knowledge to be a good SEO as following this approach will certainly lead them to that goal. You must take statistics on what you do and analyse them to see if what you are doing is working and be prepared to change when needed.
The technical SEO
This leads me to the main intention of this blog, the technical side of SEO, the most underutilized and I think most important side of SEO. I often use an analogy of the fisherman fishing with holes in his net, he will have to do a lot more fishing that the man who does not. If you have a site full of violations you need to do a lot more link building than the man who does not. i have scanned hundreds of sites including many sites of large SEO companies with the Bing SEO Toolkit and I am yet to find a site that gets a perfect score besides my own. I am not saying that I am the only one to get a perfect score but i am yet to find any sites free from violation, in fact most have thousands, Alessandro Catorcini , Lead Program Manager, Bing API stated the same thing he is yet to find a site free from violations.
To have good technical SEO is to have a fast sleek yacht with full sails blazing in the wind, while your opponents are rudderless and bailing water in a boat with a broken mast. Put this together with a good crew of link builders and its plain sailing. Over the next few months or years I hope to keep up this blog and present some evidence based SEO along with new developments and thoughts, and maybe gain a few links.