An Open Letter To SEO Deniers

Dear SEO Deniers,

It seems that there is not a week goes past when one of you doesn’t feel the need to post about what a crock of shit SEO is. I have to admire your tenacity in maintaining this point of view despite the growth and continued success of SEO.

I’ve noticed, over many of these posts, that the majority of you are in fact web developers. It’s quite apparent that you feel SEO’s are stepping on your toes. The charges levelled at us are most often that there is nothing we do that shouldn’t be included in the development of a site. Some of the more aware deniers have conceded that website marketing is necessary (I’m glad that this at least can be acknowledged), but that this isn’t optimisation, it’s marketing and should be sold as such.

So I wanted to tell you that I have never met an SEO who wouldn’t love to be able to get on with the job of marketing without having to deal with the tasks that should be completed during development. However before you start complaining that SEO is a none job, I wanted to encourage you to take a good long look at your own industry, because perhaps you need to clean up your own back yard, before you start complaining about ours.

It is almost impossible for any search engine marketer to get on with the job of marketing a site, until they have corrected all of the issues caused by bad development. It is common to see sites that are created in such a way that no amount of marketing is going to do any good. Sites developed only in flash, robots.txt files that completely prevent a site being crawled, and site architectures designed in such a way that you could be forgiven for thinking that accessing the right information was in fact some sort of IQ test.

If you would like for SEO to no longer be something you feel the need to complain about, I strongly recommend that you work on educating your fellow developers on how to create sites that are ready to be marketed, instead of complaining at us for fixing your mistakes and enabling your clients to make some money from the sites you develop.

Yours, in hope that I never see a badly developed site again.
Sarah

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53 Responses to “An Open Letter To SEO Deniers”

  1. LinkMünki says:

    Keep fighting the good fight Sarah! Shame you’re leaving these shores. :(

  2. Goosh says:

    Here Here!

    It’s so infuriating when it’s the same thing that you need changed. Even more so when it’s the same web development company you have to keep asking – I suppose we keep their billable hours up ;)

    Love the points, and love how you put it more eloquently than my rant at http://seobullshit.com/seo-pisses-people-fact/.

  3. Peter says:

    I hate to say it but the social media crew arent following that far behind :)

    Completely agree with the points, though. I have lost count on the number of conversations I have had where we have had to retrofit recommendations post launch that could easily have been sorted out well before with simple communication and an integration of SEO into the design/development stream during the site build – rather than protecting everything you have at the expense (lets face it thats what it is) of the client.

  4. David Goldie says:

    Amen Sarah…

    Think loads of these “SEO is crap” posts are just bad link bait… :-)

  5. Phil says:

    Great post Sarah. I am a developer who’s learnt the errors of my past ways! I have also been asked to work on previously built sites by SEOs to get them to the correct standard. Some of the things I have seen are simply shocking! It really isn’t difficult to build a site or CMS to be SEO friendly, although it does seem to be past many of my counterparts!

  6. Alex Moss says:

    I cannot agree with this post enough. Elaborating on my own experience despresses me.

  7. Tom says:

    A valid point with regards to poor development practice, but where does this leave the technical side of SEO practice once flaws in the process are corrected for the majority of the industry?

    Although optimisation has its healthiest start when a website is developed semantically and takes advantage of the best technologies (such as microformats), the work for SEO specialists should (as you suggest) move away from code and into the realm of dedicated web marketing which will no doubt be a more rewarding challenge.

    Unfortunately the reputation of the term SEO in the development community is at such a low point that it’s specialists need a rebirth into new a new world of web marketing and to bury the term SEO and its negative connotations.

  8. Jason Duke says:

    I love SEOs in stockings. The preference is definately for a lower denier :)

  9. Jason you know all of the SEO chicks love stockings too ;) You very nearly had me paranoid about my spelling there!

  10. George says:

    This is a really enjoyable post, and I really agree with you. Even we can’t convince others. More power on your blog. Good Luck.

  11. Jason Duke says:

    Your spelling is beautiful as are all the SEO Chicks in stockings :)

  12. Sasha says:

    Definitely, its so important to plan you site for SEO these days when the internet is overflowing with all kinds of information. No matter how beautiful a site looks in flash or how important the info is, its not worth much if people aren’t able to find it.

  13. Jesse Dictor says:

    I don’t think that is entirely fair to say. And I’m an SEO Technician.

    A lot of web developers are not paid to do any optimizing. A lot of the time, people hire the cheapest possible. Why should they study up on seo and make your job easier? Thats not there goal unless they agree to it.

    I am also not seeing the posts that say SEO is a “crock of S#1$” I hear people saying that there are other more effective methods for what they are doing. And I agree, sometimes seo is not the best method for all people.

    When I hear things like your complaint about sites, this is often an owner who hired a web developer on the cheap, and is now hiring you to optimize the site. Sorry that the client was cheap on developing. It is not really the developers fault, and the fact that the developer doesn’t want to change still isn’t his fault. Someone else hired him.

    The truth of the matter is, to be the best at seo, you have to also be a developer and be able to work with peoples code. Just charge to work with the code also. SEO is web development and marketing.

  14. Oh I’m a fan of A.E.’s selling “SEO services” such as “keyword optimization” to clients whose sites are wretchedly built and not crawlable at all. I keep discovering it’s not just about the retrofit of the site, it’s redefining what needs to be done to the client because of inappropriate services sold. That may sound like an internal, fundamental and educational problem, and it is, but it has happened repeatedly to me. Bring the SEO aspect in from the get go, whether sales, development or marketing.

  15. I don’t see the need to downplay SEO. It’s a lot of hard work that takes a long time before you reap the benefits. And in SEO you have to play against search engine algorithm–I don’t see web developers doing that.

  16. I think you may have misunderstood my intention, I don’t think developers should necessarily be responsible for optimising a site, but the ones that complain that SEO is a scam or a con most often use the excuse that SEO is merely a development task. My challenge to them is that if that’s what they think, then they should work with their own industry so that is actually happening, before they complain about what we do. If you haven’t seen these posts then lucky you, but I can assure you they are out there, and quite often filled with misguided venom against SEO’s.

  17. Nope me neither, that’s why I’m suggesting that those who believe SEO is just snake oil and spin try getting their own industry to step up to the plate.

  18. Couldn’t agree more, if you get that educational piece right at the start, the rest of the process is usually a cake walk!

  19. I think there are two things that would move this forward a long long way, firstly developers who have issues with SEO need to really understand how it applies to them, unfortunately this won’t happen until clients start understanding it more and demanding best practice. Secondly I think SEO’s need to be a little more understanding of the role of the developer when they’re requesting changes. I think the resentment is often caused by a lack of clear communication from the SEO, after all, as nice as unique description tags are, if they’re going to take 100 development hours due to a legacy system, there are probably better uses of the developers time, and they know it.

  20. I don’t think it’s past any of them, I just think that too often they fail to prioritise it to a point where it becomes a “valuable” use of their time. I’m not entirely sure there is a way round this without a better dialogue between the two industries and that can only happen between individuals.

  21. Maciej Fita says:

    I love it! SO many times I get to a website and the development side of things is so butchered that all the SEO in the world is not going to help anything. I do love when developers try to put on their marketing hat and think SEO is a science project or recipe.

  22. Becky says:

    I believe organic seo still works. I’m doing OK on my own!

  23. In keeping with the reference to stockings and flash being crap. Victoria’s Secret managed to hold onto number 1 for a long time for “lingerie” with a flash site. If only we knew how they did it. I just can’t imagine.

  24. Jason Duke says:

    But Nichola, we do – We are SEO’s and thats why people hire us.

    remmeber the story about the hammer:

    There is an old story about a multi-million dollar power plant that had mysteriously ground to a halt. All efforts to restart it had failed and an expert was brought in. After studying the problem for a few minutes he took a hammer and hit one of the valves. With a rumble, the plant came back to life. Incredulous glances were shared, grateful cries and high-fives were exchanged. Later, the expert’s bill arrived for the amount of $10,000.00. The outraged executive in charge thought “All he did was hit a valve with a hammer, this bill is ridiculous.” he asked for an itemized breakdown and the consultant responded with a bill that read: “Hitting valve with hammer $10.00. Knowing which valve to hit: $9,990.00.”

  25. Rhys says:

    @Jesse “The truth of the matter is, to be the best at seo, you have to also be a developer and be able to work with peoples code. Just charge to work with the code also. SEO is web development and marketing.”

    Absolutely. Great comment.

    I tend to find that web devs only have a problem with the SEOs who cannot explain to them the reasons behind their work in a logical way.

    If they cannot explain the reasons for making a change to a site, then it suggests that they are merely working with here-say, not a valid skill set.

    Any SEO who hands over any development work to a third party because they can’t do it themselves (as opposed to not having the time to make the changes themselves) clearly does not have the skills to understand the way a website works, and thus is not in the best position to make a reasonable judgement on how a search engine like Google might be built.

    A good SEO really needs web development skills above the average developer because they require the ability to be able to identify and handle server side issues which are affecting the performance of the site, and re-code elements of the site, regardless of the platform it is running on. Most devs will specialise in only one server side language. An SEO needs them all.

    Unfortunately, there are many bad SEOs out there who treat it as a second rate PR job and know nothing more than to beg around for links, rather than how to build a decent site.

    I’ve had SEOs tell me that my CSS menus were js before. It’s that sort of ignorance which breeds contempt with devs who will feel they know nothing about how websites work.

    Marketing is definitely an equal part of the job, though I am still to find an SEO company who will market a site naturally, they seem to just spam links all over the place. I get more SEO spam than Viagra spam nowadays!

    If anyone could point me to an SEO company who openly show off their link building methods in the same way as a marketing company would show off their successful campaigns, I’d be very interested to see. I am yet to see one.

    RE: “Sites developed only in flash, robots.txt files that completely prevent a site being crawled, and site architectures designed in such a way that you could be forgiven for thinking that accessing the right information was in fact some sort of IQ test.” – How would you solve these problems without a developer’s skill sets, out of interest? I’d say these examples (if true) are examples of terrible design and development, and would require a complete re-build to proper usability standards before an SEO came anywhere near. If the site fails basic usability, then there’s no reason to drive traffic to it.

    Ultimately, there’s bad SEO and bad dev – proving one exists doesn’t negate the other.

  26. Gerhard says:

    Hi

    I am a web developer as well, but that’s not how I got into this industry, I started as a SEO consultant, back when traffic equalizers and link networks was the thing to do. Through that time and effort I realized 1 thing. Content is king (old but true) and you don’t need SEO people for that.

    SEO is a lot like Feng Shui, you think that structuring your content in a ridiculous fashion will make the flow of traffic better.

    After 6 years of this I can honestly say that my opinion of SEO is that it’s snake oil and as long as you produce accessible sites with good genuine content, you will do well on search engines.

    And I’ll much rather have someone find my site because it has good content instead of being tricked into coming there. Traffic is all about quality over quantity.

    G

  27. Rosenstand says:

    This is SO bulls eye – head on – straight forward. 9 out of 10 projects is 30-50% correcting errors made by programmers. I too would love to get my hands on a well build site for once.

  28. Jason Duke says:

    @Gerhard.

    you said,”my opinion of SEO is that it’s snake oil”

    You’re wrong of course but at least you’re up front :)

    I find it very hard to understand why people who read SEO blogs would say something like this. Isn’t reading this blog, let alone commenting on a post akin to peering into a snake oil establishment’s shop window. Why look at the shop window and check the ingredient list if you KNOW it doesn’t work?

    You then went on and said, “And I’ll much rather have someone find my site because it has good content instead of being tricked into coming there. Traffic is all about quality over quantity.”

    Quality content is a prerequisite to ANY site. If you don’t have it then you’re probably in the wrong game. Having said that, wouldn’t you, as a quality content site owner and operator, prefer to have MORE of that quality traffic coming to your QUALITY site?

    If not then you’re probably not doing very well online at all. To that all I can say is good luck for the future, spending your time reading “snake oil content on snake oil blogs in a snake oil industry”

    Me, I’ll ensure the quality content is there and the traffic will follow. Generally via search routes.

    As a sign off, just remember that Quantity has a Quality all of its own :)

  29. Jason Duke says:

    @Gerhard.

    you said,”my opinion of SEO is that it’s snake oil”

    You’re wrong of course but at least you’re up front :)

    I find it very hard to understand why people who read SEO blogs would say something like this. Isn’t reading this blog, let alone commenting on a post akin to peering into a snake oil establishment’s shop window. Why look at the shop window and check the ingredient list if you KNOW it doesn’t work?

    You then went on and said, “And I’ll much rather have someone find my site because it has good content instead of being tricked into coming there. Traffic is all about quality over quantity.”

    Quality content is a prerequisite to ANY site. If you don’t have it then you’re probably in the wrong game. Having said that, wouldn’t you, as a quality content site owner and operator, prefer to have MORE of that quality traffic coming to your QUALITY site?

    If not then you’re probably not doing very well online at all. To that all I can say is good luck for the future, spending your time reading “snake oil content on snake oil blogs in a snake oil industry”

    Me, I’ll ensure the quality content is there and the traffic will follow. Generally via search routes.

    As a sign off, just remember that Quantity has a Quality all of its own :)

  30. Rhys says:

    @Rosenstand

    Would it be rude to point out that your own site doesn’t validate :)

    Genuine question, though – how do you correct mistakes if you are not a coder yourself? (I’m assuming you are not from your referring to programmers as a separate job)

    Do you just go to another coder? In which case, does it not make sense that a good SEO needs to also be a coder – as it means that one person can do what you are suggesting it takes three people to do.

    What skills do you have that a coder could not learn from a simple book?

  31. Gerhard says:

    @Jason Duke

    To be completely honest, I didn’t know about the existence of this blog until someone I follow on Twitter tweeted about it (No SEO was needed for that). And because I felt that I had some insight in both the fields I could contribute to this “conversation” which seems to be more of a developer bashing thing. It seems to be a “if you can’t beat them, hate them” scenario.

    The truth of the matter is that if you guys didn’t have developers to rely on your “skill” would be worthless and 2 years from now when you all move on to the other snake oil industry: “social media experts” (because let’s face it, that’s the only career that has a higher return and require even less actual knowledge) developers will still be around making the Internet a better place, while you will bleed clients dry for a product that essentially doesn’t do anything of value.

    The difference is that that developers love the technology and we like to build on the wonderful product that is the Internet, making it better, while you are just there for a short-lived quick buck.

  32. @gerhard – I can’t really speak for Sarah completely, but I do know that her motive isn’t to bash the behaviour, knowledge or discipline of a fellow online professional, purely because they are part of a different discipline. It is clearly addressed to “SEO Deniers”, and I know that Sarah works with a great many designers and developers with first-rate technical skills, who also understand the marketing elements.

    In addition to put the post into context, it was a response to a series of posts from web developers, designers and associated disciplines, denying the efficacy or legitimacy of SEO as a practise.

    I’m not so sure that there is such a difference between SEO’s and developers, to continue with your polarised positionning, and a great many of us are in fact developers.

    Finally; I can assure you that none of my clients (nor any of my colleagues clients) are being bled dry for a product that doesn’t do anything. Regardless of service, it would take a special kind of idiot to pay for a service that does not consistently deliver on the agreed objectives.

  33. Andy says:

    Gerhard,

    Do you not believe that the majority of people with the “SEO” remit of web development have a design and programming background? Do you think that SEO is simply an industry created by marketeers to brand developers as sloppy and to “fix” small errors in their coding whilst charging a fortune in the process?

    I can tell you one thing, it’s always nice to start working on a site which was developed nicely and well maintained from the start… but the crux of the matter is, most websites out there which are designed to make money have flaws. They’ve been botched together with fixes over the years since they launched. They have masses upon masses of duplicate content issues, which, incidentally, you may want to check:

    http://www.codeninja.co.za/
    http://www.codeninja.co.za/index.php
    http://codeninja.co.za/
    http://codeninja.co.za/index.php

    And that’s just on your small portfolio site.

    Also, your code doesn’t validate:

    http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http://blog.codeninja.co.za/&charset=(detect+automatically)&doctype=Inline&group=0

    I know you’re going to go and check my site, and find tons of errors too… but guess what, I’m an SEO, and not a “developer”, and I’m just here to sell snake oil.

  34. carly says:

    Only just seen this post, but here here!

    Some of my last job included tidying up developer’s poorly written code – clunky pointless inline Javascript left in by lazy developers…. Inline html/CSS because they didn’t follow standards and set things separately… 100s of dynamically created pages without doctypes, titles or meta descriptions – but needed to be in Google… I could go on!

    Coding things the ‘quickest and easiest way’ can often lead to bad user experience too, which will equal less sales.

    However, let me not just attack the developers: I’ve seen terrible SEO too that’s led to poor user experience…

  35. carly says:

    Quote Andy:

    Do you not believe that the majority of people with the “SEO” remit of web development have a design and programming background?

    Every single one I’ve worked with since I started SEO has a web dev/design background. I worked in-house, so many of the programmers on the team that didn’t know SEO were really thankful for tips too – especailly for their own projects.

  36. Jason Duke says:

    @Gerhard.

    Don’t you think I develop? I pretty damn sure that the stuff I build defines the cutting edge. In the meantime, have fun with JQuery. I also bet you a coin of the realm, that you believe in RoR ?

    Dude, the similarities and difference between you and I are simple.

    We are both geeks, yet I am a geek with a very fat wallet.

    If you’re happy having an emptyish one, then I for one am cool with that :)

    viva capitalism

    P.S. I miss TW and this thread is the closest I have seen to the old haunt in years!

  37. @Gerhard

    If you are not a believer of SEO why have you implemented the basics on your own blog? I say basics because a 2 minute pass over it produced 763 broken links, 116 multiple canonical formats and 118 pages where simple H1 tags were missing.

    Don`t get me wrong I am merely pointing out the obvious.

    As others have politely mentioned we have all started from a coding origin and realised that it takes much more than a dancing penguin to make a website succeed. Which is why we have all dedicated ourselves to learning SEO best practices in delivering exactly what searchers are looking for and it all begins with the best content for that search that our clients offer.

    The difference in my opinion is we deliver the targeted search traffic, ‘snakeoil’ offerings on the other hand are at a level which delivers zero for promising the moon and believe us all when we say we are trying to clean up our own backyard.

    Just to reiterate Nicholas point, we are not beating on each other, it is simply to highlight that we do have an effective industry that delivers, we do trust devs and also rely upon them, it is when we have to clean up the mess of a bad one.

  38. actually I don’t come from a dev background at all, I was in sales before I was in search, however, I have taught myself to code in order to be an effective SEO, and while it will inevitably take me far longer than is cost effective to make any changes, I can, if necessary. I think this is the key point, there are very few good SEO’s out there who can’t discuss how best to implement site changes with a developer, because while the two disciplines are distinct and different, each need to learn to understand the other.

    My sole point with this post was to point out that devs have not earned the right to criticize SEO until they have resolved the issues in their own industry that cause SEO’s to have to learn dev.

  39. Barry Adams says:

    Prompted by Andy Blackburn I thought I’d share something with you that happened to me today. One of my client’s websites was being ‘improved’ by the web development company who originally built it, with this update being heavily geared towards improving the site’s search engine friendliness. We got a triumphant email today from the web dev company saying they’d ‘SEO-ed’ the site. And what do I find in the meta tags on the site’s homepage? meta name=”robots” content=”index,nofollow”. (And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…)

  40. Kev Strong says:

    oh dear @ Barry. Been there with somethine similar recently so I feel your pain!

  41. Rhys says:

    RE: “Finally; I can assure you that none of my clients (nor any of my colleagues clients) are being bled dry for a product that doesn’t do anything. Regardless of service, it would take a special kind of idiot to pay for a service that does not consistently deliver on the agreed objectives.”

    Do you tell them upfront exactly what you are doing and how it works? I’ve spoken to loads of people who pay a fortune for SEO and don’t realise how much spamming goes on. They certainly don’t realise that as soon as they stop paying a monthly fee, the links they have ‘got’ will just vanish and they’ll plummet down the search engines.

    Many SEOs make out that it’s the on-site changes which are doing all the work, distracting from the fact that it’s just the link building.

    I’ve seen major SEO companies who do next to no on-site SEO (Pages left without title tags etc), and focus on the link spamming.

    It doesn’t take a “special kind of idiot” to fall for this, just a dishonest salesman abusing someone’s trust.

    RE: “We are both geeks, yet I am a geek with a very fat wallet.”

    *Vomits*

  42. Rhys says:

    RE: “I think this is the key point, there are very few good SEO’s out there who can’t discuss how best to implement site changes with a developer, because while the two disciplines are distinct and different, each need to learn to understand the other.”

    Could you explain what you believe these distinct differences between a developer who builds sites to accessibility standards (as a non-cowboy dev should) and the role of an SEO performing on-site SEO are?

    A site built to meet accessibility standards will be completely Search Engine-readable, and should have proper mark-up. (I guess one difference is that SEOs rarely seem to care for mark-up etiquette and will shove header tags all over the place)

    As far as I can tell, the only SEO skill is then to make sure the pages are appropriately themed for realistic keywords.

    The thing that annoys me about bad SEOs is the pretence that they are doing dev work to distract from the link building, which is ultimately what gets the (temporary) results.

    I think most devs have complete respect for any SEOs who logically create site structure and interesting content to give a site it’s best shot, and very little respect for spammers. Though, as I mentioned before, if anyone above can point me to an example of their work where they have given a site perfect on-site SEO / created interesting content and haven’t just linked to them from thousands of russian directories, I’ll be flabbergasted.

  43. Jason Duke says:

    @Rhys re Vomit Comment: The more you dislike it the less competition I have. This means more results for me, less for you and a fatter wallet every day.

    thankyou :)

  44. Jason Duke says:

    @Rhys

    You also say, “point me to an example of their work where they have given a site perfect on-site SEO / created interesting content and haven’t just linked to them from thousands of russian directories, I’ll be flabbergasted.”

    Dude, look at the name of the job title. Optimise for the Search Engines – IE Rank!

    NOT Optimise to the specifications that the search engines tell you to.

  45. Rhys says:

    @Jason

    My point was that SEOs do not tell people what exactly it is that they are doing. They distract that it is technical “you couldn’t possibly understand” on-site stuff, when in fact it is mostly just spamming for bad or paid links and thus very temporary results. I would say unless a client is told this, then the practise is incredibly dishonest.

    “Dude, look at the name of the job title. Optimise for the Search Engines – IE Rank! NOT Optimise to the specifications that the search engines tell you to.”

    Most people are sold on it meaning optimising the site’s code, not getting them as many links as possible. Often they are blinded with science, even though SEO theory is simple to explain in layman’s terms. People think they are paying for permanence, when their results will vanish quickly.

    If SEO just means “rank”, then why do SEO books focus on the optimisation of the site. Link building is not optimisation, it is spamming. As I mentioned, if it is not – give me examples.

    There *is* a skill in building a site with strong code and link structure, however I see your own site is built entirely in images with no alt tags – so I’m assuming that you don’t value accessibility or on-site SEO much in the work you do?

    What would you say your specialist skills are in your work that your clients could not do for themselves?

    RE: “re Vomit Comment: The more you dislike it the less competition I have. This means more results for me, less for you and a fatter wallet every day.”

    I was vomiting at the fact that you can seriously judge things on how much money they make you personally, and nothing to do with SEO. I can understand people enjoying the challenge and statistics of SEO, though you appear to be rather more Patrick Bateman in your reasons for doing it.

  46. Jason Duke says:

    @Rhys

    SL .com shows how wrong you are about what SEO is about. It is about defining a target, winning it and delivering against it. SL .com site does that.

    Re Bateman. As a man I wouldn’t call myself a Mr Bate, but I do yearn back to the times of youth, of being a Master Baiter. Now whether that be for links, or self fulfillment, I’ll let you decide. :D

    Rhys, Dude, Mate, Pal,

    Wake up and smell the PG Tips and full English fry up.

    Let me explain SEO 101 (to coin an American phrase) to you.

    Find a topic, have some fun with it, and then see where it gets you. If it works, rinse & repeat. If not then keep on trying.

    As to that being Spam, well I think I can live with that -http://equitymind.blogspot.com/2005/10/danny-sullivan-and-brett-tabke-embrace.html

  47. Rhys says:

    @Jason

    If you agree that it’s spam, fair enough. At least you’re honest. More than most!

    Personally I stand by Wikipedia’s definition of SEO – “Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a web site or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.” – but that’s semantics and beside the point.

    If you believe that SEO is just ranking during the time a client pays you, rather than improving a site’s code and content for permanent benefit, would you not say that pages like this which are arguing over on-site dev issues (as most SEO blogs seem to be) are ultimately pointless and just an attempt to disguise from the spamming links side? Perhaps an attempt to make the job look as if it’s skilled technical work, worth the costs, rather than something anyone can do with a few hours training?

    Ultimately, if SEO gained permanent links, then a monthly fee would be out of the question as natural links do not fall away so fast. Is this why crappy links and spamming seem to be favoured, because long lasting links would mean the SEO was no longer required?

    (Again, if an SEO here does not just spam crappy links, please give an example of your success – as I’d be interested to see it and am willing to change my opinion if given evidence)

  48. Rahul Batra says:

    According to me an SEO is a time consuming job, it needs patience to be on the top. That is why some people have problem with that.

  49. Jason Duke says:

    @Rhys

    A few things.

    1stly and most importantly,

    I, and I don’t believe anyone else other than YOU, in this thread, has said anything about taking a client’s money and running / spamming / only ranking while they pay us etc etc etc.

    That includes giving and/or not giving full disclosure about what is being undertaken including defining and stating risks and rewards with the client looking at the options, recomendations and making the decision based on a risk reward strategy.

    But all of that sounds far too corporate for me to say in blog comment, but I tell you what, everyone in this thread who I’ve seen work (and its most, if not all of them) would be the consumate professional with their clients. Whether that be an internal or external client or even themselves as the client!

    Let me put this to you. If you DON’T tell the client the strategy that has massive risk yet humungous rewards, then that is very very very wrong too!

    To advise and lead is the modern SEO’s job, not simply to accept medicore and crap text you read from a book (You’re the one that said you got your SEO form a book. I hate to say it mate, but if you learn this gig from a book, then you’re crap and I for one hail that. I much prefer to NOT have talented competition)

    2ndly, Re Wikipedia

    Wikipedia is full of SEOs, based on your viewpoints I wouldn’t trust it too much :)

    3rdly, re Wikipeda Definition

    I actually don’t have an issue with that definition but here is the truth of the matter. If you consciously go out of your way, whether it be adapting the title tag, or abusing 1,000,000 3rd party blogs for links, to gain a foothold in the SERPs then it’s abuse of a 3rd party’s websites’ algorithmn (the search engine)

    I know I’ve been VERY consistent in this view. The photo above is dated (and it’s me with Danny Sullivan and Brett Tabke, the joint godfather’s of search marketing) and my mention of this exact same viewpoint from the excellent and well missed Threadwatch almost 5 years ago can be seen by what is now Europe’s largest search business.

    http://www.threadwatch.org/node/5677#comment-34539

    Ergo it’s SPAM!

    I will admit that there are different levels of SPAM but just like there are thousands of different types of salami, all catering to the myriad of tastes, that doesn’t stop one man’s chopped meat and ham NOT being SPAM.

    Do you like a bland plain smoked pork sausage – salami
    Do you like a blow your head off chilli fuelled beast – salami
    Do you want more or less Paprika – salami, salami, salami :)

    Let me put this out to you – My contact details are out there and real. Let’s have a chinwag on the phone, let’s get to know each other, let’s discuss, laugh, disagree and have a discussion.

    I actually think your views aren’t that different from mine, I just use more colourful language and you’re anally retentive.

    BTW that’s nothing wrong with being Anal, some of the best spammers I know are as well :D

  50. Rhys says:

    “I, and I don’t believe anyone else other than YOU, in this thread, has said anything about taking a client’s money and running / spamming / only ranking while they pay us etc etc etc.”

    If new content is not generated, and links are bought – how could a site do anything but rank only whilst they pay an SEO. No one seems to be doing any work (after the initial on-site stuff) with long-term benefit. I’m happy to see evidence against this.

    I am not an SEO, I’m going only on the work I’ve seen done for my clients and what they have told me they have been sold compared to what has actually been done.

    If I’m missing a big area of the work and it is long lasting, fair enough, please point me to evidence and I’ll happily recommend clients hire the companies who do such a thing.

    “To advise and lead is the modern SEO’s job, not simply to accept medicore and crap text you read from a book (You’re the one that said you got your SEO form a book. I hate to say it mate, but if you learn this gig from a book, then you’re crap and I for one hail that. I much prefer to NOT have talented competition)”

    Surely the reason you don’t need to learn it from a book is because it’s so simple, and not a technical skill. How long would it really take you to teach someone everything they need to know? Books on it just end up as padding after padding (with the exception of David George’s book, who actually seems to know his stuff).

    I’m not an SEO myself, I just learnt the skills as I was looking into promoting my own site, and was shocked how spammy the whole thing was, even by supposedly reputable companies.

    “I actually think your views aren’t that different from mine, I just use more colourful language and you’re anally retentive.”

    Personally, I think it’s useful to have paradigms to work from. It’s how logic works. If we don’t agree on the definition of a main term, then it’s pointless moving on anywhere else in a discussion.

  51. Jason Duke says:

    So does that mean you’re not going to call ? :)

    You can’t say I didnt offer.

  52. Red says:

    Rhys How rude! What kind of direct personal attack is this?
    How can an SEOer take the stance from your quote: “to advise and lead is the modern SEO’s job” if the person you advise is not listened to by the people they rely on? I guess you had a few bad experiences with online marketers.

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