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Are SEOs the ‘Bad Guys’?

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There have been a couple of pretty interesting articles written this week that ask a legitimate (if not somewhat sensationalized) question:  Does Google consider SEOs to be criminals?

SEOs being SEOs are, by definition, people who make a living trying to manipulate the results of search engines.  Now, before you eat me alive here… I don’t necessarily mean manipulate in a negative sense.  But in many aspects ‘optimization’ and ‘manipulation’ are somewhat interchangeable terms. An SEO ‘optimizes’ a site in an attempt to enhance that site’s search engine rank or placement.  By moving a site in the results, you are, by definition, manipulating the results.

There is nothing wrong with that.  There are lots of sites that aren’t ‘search engine friendly’ and lots of sites that just do things ‘wrong’ that, when fixed, will notice an enhancement in their positioning for search queries relevant to their site.  Search engines don’t mind this.  The existence of resources like Webmaster Central are a testament to this. 

Michael Gray So the search engines have rules for SEOs and the SEOs can either choose to follow the rules, or they can not follow the rules and face the consequences.  The ‘foul’ being called by Michael Gray and Lisa Barone however is maybe SEOs are being subjected to something of a double standard.

Google is pretty hard line on paid links.  That’s common knowledge. All SEOs know this and several of them have been taken to task in the past for paid or ‘incentivized’ linking campaigns.  Everybody in the business knows paying for links  – whether the payment be cash or some other ‘benefit’ – is considered a big time no-no by Google.

Michael and Lisa suggest however that there are lots of people getting by with just that – paying/rewarding inbound links – without suffering repercussions from Google.  Just recently, as Michael points out, Google themselves decided to give away the new and unreleased version of their new Google phone to attendees.  The giveaway sparks lots of articles, lots of blog posts and yes… lots of links and attention for the new Google phone.  Is that incentivizing inbound links? Is it a promotional stunt?  Is there a difference?  Michael says that android picked up 50,000 new links within 24 hours of the giveaway.

Sure, lots of sites picked up the news about the Google Ion (the proper name of the phone) …  but I don’t think they posted a specific link for people to point to, nor did they make the awarding of a phone contingent upon some sort of review or plug for the product.  So, in that sense, I would have to call this one a little ‘iffy’ – 50,000 links is an AWFUL lot of links though, isn’t it? But does Google care about links?  Why on Earth would they?  They may have had an agenda with the giveaway, sure… but I would think it would be to generate buzz for Android… not accrue inbound links.  But isn’t one just as good as the other?  I dunno… 

Now as to whether or not an SEO would suffer some penalty if their client gave away some product to generate some buzz, I don’t know.  I’d like to think they wouldn’t.  I guess the devil would be in the details on that one.  It certainly is an interesting thing to think about though.  Does this constitute a double standard?  Would an SEO or their client catch Google’s fury if they tried a similar promotional stunt?

Guy Kawasaki Here’s another example.  Guy Kawasaki, super high profile blogger, Twitterer and all around social media mogul A lister was given a CAR for a while.  Audi sent him an Audi R8 in exchange for him blogging about the car.  I don’t know if you know what an Audi R8 is, but it’s really really cool and expensive and Iron Man drove one in the movie… and I guess Audi knew exactly what they were doing because we are still linking to them months later over the Kawasaki post. 

The Audi example is a little tougher to rationalize.  it was clear that Audi loaned Kawasaki a super hot rod sports car on the condition that he blog about driving it and how great and awesome and fun it was.  Audi knew that Kawasaki has a huge following, he’s extremely plugged into the industry and such a post would doubtlessly spawn tons and tons of talk (and links) in for the R8.  I don’t know for sure, but I doubt he lost any clout in terms of his Google standing.

Now if Ferrari were to send a high profile SEO type fellow a new Ferrari for a month in exchange for him blogging about it, would Google drop the hammer?  I don’t know.  Maybe?  On one hand, I guess if I’m Audi and I loan a car to somebody with the name recognition of a Guy Kawasaki, then I’m just considering that like a compensated endorsement.  We see and hear those on TV and radio every day.  Nothing wrong with that, right?

Lisa Barone I’m not too sure I am ready to fully come down on either side of this one 100%.  I hate to come across as a Google apologist, but at the same time I can’t say that Gray and Barone don’t raise some fairly compelling arguments.  Do I think Google ‘has it in’ for SEOs?  I would have to say no. 

If you asked me if I thought Google was maybe a little more… ‘leery’ of big promotional stunts that came directly from SEOs?  Maybe, but as any SEO can tell you, there are no shortage of shady SEOs.  Sometimes the good guys get lumped in with the bad guys a little bit in the name of the greater good don’t they…. (cough cough) Patriot Act ring any bells?

Anyway, it’s an interesting concept to consider. My buddy Barry has a poll up collecting some responses which should be interesting.  I am extremely interested to see where WebProNews readers fall on this concept too, so make sure you sound off in the comments section.

Are SEOs the ‘Bad Guys’?
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  • http://www.googleandblog.com/ Michael Martin

    Mike,

    FYI the Google Android engineers HATE it when the new phone is referenced as the G2.

    They prefer Magic or Sapphire.

    To add further confusion the phone given away at Google IO is called Ion and the one coming out here in the US will be called myTouch 3G.

    They are all the same next generation Android phone.

    Just trying to help you out so you can get in good graces w Google for them to send you out one – in exchange of course for some links back ;)

    ,Michael Martin
    GoogleAndBlog

    • Mike McDonald

      Ah, thanks for the clarification. My bad on the G2. Ill make an edit…

      (If I HAD a myTouch 3G, I’m sure I’d be able to remember the name of it…. ;) )

      Michael McDonald
      Follow me on twitter.com/mmcdonald”>Twitter!
      Managing Editor
      iEntry, Inc.

  • http://www.welive2care.com Call center worker

    I thing Google is the one created the world SEO. They made this job which prompted some academe to include this in BS Marketing curriculum and of course IT courses.

    I find online marketing or SEO is just the same as the traditional marketing in TV and Print media. Can we say the print media guys are bad too for they are manipulating readers concepts on the products. I think not and the logic is clear.

  • http://www.Snoqualmie-Casino.org Cornelia Cunningham

    We study SEO and the trends because we need to keep up with our competitors in the word wide web. This is basically similar to real life marketing. I find nothing bad in it. It is in fact stimulating.

  • UMMMM….

    from MATTS blog:

    Straight from Google: What You Need to Know
    http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/seo-for-bloggers/

    May 30, 2009

    in Google/SEO

    So, I guess if “SEO” WAS bad, then so would “wordpress” …since they just said “wordpress is 80% seo ready”

    Is this a trick article? ;-)

  • http://www.orangepeelpr.com Gary Thoulouis

    Mike, I don’t agree that you can equate the word optimisation with manipulation even with your clever explanation and therein lies the rub . . . as the bard would say.

    Great SEO is not about attracting visitors, it’s about attracting potential customers and goes way beyond tags, keywords and codes to include content and non all non paid forms of advertising, but I agree that those SEOs that are simply trying to manipulate algorithms are nothing more than technophiles who tarnish the reputation of a form of marketing and pr that has opened up a world of opportunities.

    . . . and yes, Google has right to be at odds with great SEO, because it is far more effective with much higher returns than Adwords campaigns, especially for SMBs.

  • http://www.infinitetattoos.com jerryford2009

    The whole internet marketing industry has spring up to HELP people promote their websites
    google is just a list that is open to manipulation by anyone!

  • http://www.patrickmcmurray.com Patrick McMurray

    So keep it positive, no bad mouthing. SEO has its place

  • the other side

    okay. most of you are defending yourselves. how about an opinion from one of the thousands of entrepreneurs out there who has been taken advantage of too many times by “SEO experts” or, espoused SEO experts”. absolutely, there are valuable, legitimate companies (or people) out there selling SEO services and SEO certainly has it’s place, but like the internet has always been, the world of SEO is still the wild, wild, west.

    i have wasted THOUSANDS of dollars trying different SEO tactics through different companies that have solicited me. i think the biggest myth is that you need to pay someone monthly to submit you to the search engines and keep your site optimized. i won’t go into details because you all know that that’s a bunch of hooey.

    a large part of SEO is smoke and mirrors. just be honest guys.

    • Robert

      While I have not paid for any SEO services I sure have gotten a lot of calls from them insisiting they can help with my page rankings. Funny though, none of them have even bothered to visit my site and have no clue as to what my site is about!

      Even funnier during the call is all the SEO tools they’ll have me run on my site showing me all the problems I have. After one call I ran the tool against google.com, boy they have more problems than I do. Hey SEO’s I found you a client “Google”.

      Worst is the pushy SEO Reps, I politely in a round about way mention I’m not in a position to pay for any services at the momment only to be slammed with “Well guess you don’t want to make any money, yadda yadda ya!”. Well, I do but they’re not going to get any of it for sure with comments like that.

  • http://www.seosandiegoca.com SEO San Diego

    As an industry I cannot believe how unscrupulous some of our people have become on the phone. So, I think the manipulation is truly out of control in signing up consumers by lying to them. Had a site call me and claim they owned a “SLOT” for a particular search phase (PPC) in the sponsored section–as though it were a piece of prime real estate! Is that manipulation for you?! I’d like to see us police our own industry somehow. We already have a terrible rep as it is. People like this make it worse.

    Gotta go purchase that Google slot before it’s gone!!! :)

    p.s. I’m done posting here since it’s now no follow. Waste of my time and effort.

  • http://picturemousemat.com Guest

    there are definately two issues here.

    The first, is Google’s self delusions of ultimate power.. Google is the dominant player in the market of search, but like every other dominant entity in civilisation has been, Google is slowly being corrupted by its delusions of ultimate power and its insatiable hunger for more money. Like a corrupt dictator Google will merrily implement rules for others but at the same time happily discard the rules without a second thought where it’s own income needs to be maintained or can be increased

    The second is that Google doesn’t really know how to evolve in my opinion. It stands astride the search industry like a colussus with competitors snapping at it’s heels and can’t see a way to maintain the large income to which it has become acustomed so it can only shake the search industry up every now and again by changing the rules and sending out vague and often contridictory messages in order to continually re-invent itself.

  • http://www.thehallers.com Emma Haller

    SEO has its good guys, those that believe in creating a quality site, focused on user experience with quality content that is optimised and publicised in various strategic locations on the internet.

    Like all industries there are the bad guys whose sole aim is to manipulate the results regardless of the quality of the site.

    Google has not yet optimised their algorythms to display fair results and this encourages the bad type of SEO, those only interested in links without offering anything in return. Unfortunately regardless of what has been publicised these sites achieve incredibly high results – so what incentive is there for this type of SEO to focus on quality?

    I hope Google (I mention google as it remains the giant among search engines and therefore the main goal of SERP) can perfect the algorythm to fairly display the results.
    Perhaps, they should call on the SEO professionals for help. I know we would all love to assist in a quality results listing that distinguishes between quality and black hat practices.

  • http://www.whcng.net Rich

    I don’t understand what the complaints are about! I have found that big SEO firms usually just don’t know what they are doing. I am a web designer and one of my customers recently went off to a major SEO company and had them talk to me. Their representative analyzed my site and got onto me about things like META Keywords, he thought they were crucial for Google ranking. He also wanted me to include words like “in, to, and” which Google truncates in the content and was especially worried about special characters at the end of body content keywords. Lastly this guy told me further optomization would benefit from reciprocal linking.

    If you are Google savy you probably know that this thinking is a bit old school and in some cases misled. That is why I have drawn the conclusion that SEO companies many times just don’t know what they are doing and don’t drive the traffic because of it.

    Otherwise there are great SEO companies. It is unfortunate that today Google has a legal monopoly as a search engine. If you want exposure you have to simply play ball with Google’s wishes and at times those get unreasonable.

    We are trying to advertise, it is just part of making a living. There is nothing wrong with making a living and providing for yourself or your family. To think there is would be a complete dillusion and is a very marxist mindset. This ideal if widely adopted would mean the end of competitive business and would destroy the overall quality of products that people would consume in the long run.

    So don’t frown on people trying to make a living. Either by promoting other people’s business however they can, or doing so for their own.

  • http://www.tetrissite.com Tetris

    When you work as a SEO you working with google. The only difference , is the that your business partner is the one dictating the rules. You just comply with it. Nothing more.

  • http://officialsafetyandsecurity.com Official Safety and Security

    I have no affiliation with Google but I can say I pretty much view SEO as a rip off…a necessary evil, if you will. I’ve paid more money than I care to mention to have my safety and security web site optimized with little or no results.

    I found a guy at the beginning of this year who worked on it a little and I started to see some results but now I can’t find him. I’ve sent him emails, visited his blog and web site but all I get is silence. I’d like to continue working with him but I can’t seem to find him.

    I’d love to do my own SEO and have done a few things that are simple but I just don’t have the knowledge or time to devoted to it.

    Thanks, Mike, for sharing.

    • http://www.canzdesign.com San Diego SEO

      Hi Mike.
      You make a very good point, it’s all very well deciding you are going to do your own SEO.

      But the time taken to learn about SEO, and editing a website, and then the time to actually do it, then find out you brought the wrong book or wrong program or went to the wrong forum, and it didn’t really help anything, only to start over… who’s got the time, better to get an expert to do it, and to actually work with sales it generates.

      The problem with SEO books or SEO courses their cheap, and really how many secrets are you going to find in them that isn’t readily available on the internet. The books i have taken a look at, only have the basics, that would have worked years ago, in none competitive phrases, and little more.

      I offer an SEO consultancy service, where I look at the site, study it in detail and then give the site owner a list of options they might use to to increase their rankings. Problem is they have to know about how to change their website and the way it works.

      Sure I do SEO as well, but SEO isn’t rocket science once you know they rules. It’s one of those things that when it’s explained correctly, you think, well that makes sense, why didn’t I think of that… well it’s like that with me, I can read some post on a forum and thing that would work, or more often than not “oh god get real”, how many times has this person tested this theory, and how long has it “worked for”

      Thanks for posting
      Lynny

  • ANonyMouse

    I have all kinds of views about SEO

    • Guest

      who stops Google from world domination!? I like cool tools and stuff as most of us do, but I am not happy with the Google way of business and the blind obedience so many accept their “big brother” terms.

      • http://www.movie666.com/ Deke Thornton

        I kind of agree. On the one hand, I respect Google for its simplicity, relevance, and determination to improve its product… in other words, I like Google! On the other hand, you have to wonder if Google’s domination is ultimately doing a disservice not only to content publishers but to information itself. Google needs some true competition.

  • Guest

    Every business has some “sort” of this subject going on – whether it is finding the right car salesman, the right mechanic, plumber, electrician etc. Finding the right person to help you market in the SEO world is the same thing.

    There are examples to the point even in the comments – “I’d like to continue working with him but I can’t seem to find him. I’d love to do my own SEO and have done a few things that are simple but I just don’t have the knowledge or time to devoted to it.”

    Bottom line – supply and demand – I want a service that I dont have the time or knowledge to complete so I will hire someone to do it. The service that makes the world go round – why is that bad?

  • http://twitter.com/Connectionary Sean

    Here’s the thing: content manipulation is as much of a business model as is providing a service, content production and presentation. Search is the combination of the three–a search engine provides a service (indexing data), presents it to users (in form of SERP), and manipulates those results to best suit its revenue model. Yes, the last part is key to keep in mind.

    Google makes money off of advertising–selling it, offering it, and manipulating it right along with search results. Every search engine does that allows sponsored links and advertising. When you have a large market share as Google does, you can also begin to dictate practices of other businesses to ensure your revenue stays up while choking out the competition and ensuring users become dependent on you for survival.

    Google is employing the same tactics that have made MS the troll under the bridge, punished by regulators for monopolies and unfair practices.

    People who depend on Google for their business have built their business to be a one-trick pony. Here’s a simple challenge… Block Google from your site for 120 days and see if your business survives and what condition it is in for having done so.

    I am sure the thought of that scares the Hell out of a great many business owners. Never mind there are hundreds of other search engines and that if you have done well and taken care of past customers you will find new business and have repeat business. If you can’t live without Google, you’ve created a weakness in your business model, and done so willingly. Would you hire someone to help build your business if they told you flat out they were going to build a dependency on another company into your core business model?

    Especially when that other company practices double standards, has its own agenda, tries to dictate parameters for your marketing and business model, and makes a sizable portion of its own revenue thanks to the actions of copyright infringers and spammers?

    What would you do if after 120 days your business survived, found new customers, penetrated new markets? What if you discovered you didn’t need to spend a lot on SEO if you simply hired developers and designers who built a standards compliant site and followed best practices–and then retained the services of a copywriter who simply wrote in a good, clear manner?

    On the flip side, there are those bloggers and site owners trying to earn a living off AdWords. Can’t blame a person for trying. But plastering irrelevant ads all over a site is just more of the traditional billboard meets crap advertising path. It ruins the scenery–which happens to be your precious online presence/business. At least vet your advertisers and stand for something.

    Everyone seems to be worrying about Page Rank instead of Public Relations, worrying more about link leak than finding ways to make strategic partners out of competitors, more about “no follow” than “follow me, I’m an innovator” and more fearful of dropping in SERPs than dropping the customer service ball.

    I wonder if there’s any studies done on the amount of gray hair, booze and Excedrin sales Google and SEO are responsible for? It all makes one wonder if somewhere along the line too many business owners forgot the importance of multiple channels and the dangers of depending too much on one in particular. If you’re dependent on Google, the odds are you’re probably neglecting a significant portion of your potential market–and the portion that is most likely to be a pre-qualified, niche market dweller.

    Hardcore kayakers are hanging out on hardcore kayaker sites…and discussing the finer points of blade design with other hardcore kayakers already there. They may Google to find other sites/communities to participate in and gleen information from, but they are unlikely to buy some new paddle design based on the text in AdWord ads plastered in the SERP or on some blog about the outdoors.

    SEOs aren’t necessarily evil, but they are working in sweatshops for Google and helping the search slave trade. Google is raking in over a billion in profit each year after paying you a few cents for clicks you work hard to provide them so they can sell them off to advertisers for a fat chunk…and they change the rules regularly to keep you scrabbling.

    Ever toss a handful of fish food into a pond filled with goldfish or carp? That writhing, frantic feeding frenzy is just what happens every time Google tosses some tidbit regarding code or practices out for site managers, webmasters, developers, designers and marketers. Truly sad.

    One day, business owners will reawaken and realize that Google needs and is dependent on them and not the other way around. You shouldn’t be letting a search engine dictate your business model or marketing strategy. Let the search engines adapt to coding practices, standards, new media types–that is THEIR JOB. If they can’t do it, they’ll become irrelevant and go out of business.

    • http://www.cafepress.com/theusa Guest

      They, Google’s human editors, and engineers target the highly optimized websites with premium products and/or services for exclusion in the hope that the owners are, sooner, rather than, later, prompt to buy into Google Adsense campaigns.

      That’s where my main gifts shop, The Best USA Gifts Shop & Collectibles, is with Google in our battle to be indexed in the TOP 5 on its company’s name, and the many keyword phrases its indexed in the TOP 3 on MSN, Yahoo!, Lycos, Lygo, and Ask.Com.

      Googles’s dictators are the human editors. Yes, I said human editors who decide what Google’s algorithm with index in its Top 10.

      I go into more details about my battle with Google at my main website, http://www.cafepress.com/theusa.

      So I totally agree with the assessment of this author. Don’t build your online business to be dependent on Google, because its human editors simply might not like you for whatever reasons? They’ve settled for given my main website some “backdoor” kind of traffic via “LINKS” to it on other sites I’ve established online.

      http://www.cafepress.com/theusa

    • sharono

      You are EXACTLY Right.

      It’s not about SEO, it’s about the manipulative abilities of Google making it impossible to simply create a good website and rewarding those who keep their content current, specific and on point.

      Thanks for a great comment!

  • http://www.redevolution.com RedEvo

    I play by the rules and keep telling myself it’s the right thing to do. However, the SERP’s are full of examples of sites ranking by breaking the rules. Until Google gets better at genuinely killing the spammers it’s going to continue to be a tough one to call as to who the bad guys are.

    SEO’s get a bad wrap simply because they understand what the search engines are looking for. So many site owners, as Mike McDonald says over and again, miss the basics. An SEO comes along, fixes the site and it’s assumed they worked some kind of voodoo, ergo they are bad guys.

    There are also scores of businesses out there who think they can simply build a site and people will find it and buy stuff off them. When the penny drops and they realize their site isn’t showing in the engines they begrudge paying to have something fixed what they’ve just paid someone else to build. So again the SEO’s are framed as the bad guys because the website owner hadn’t reckoned on a second significant spend. This is usually when they start asking for guarantees that their $200 site will rank above CNN when someone searches for something or other…..

    Perhaps the real fault lies in the web design industry not the SEO industry. The web design industry is awash with people who haven’t got the first idea about what the web is about, they can use Dreamweaver and that’s all that matters. They’ve made a lot of SEO’s rich though ;)

    d

  • Shane

    I agree with emma haller there are good and bad guys in the seo.So they need to try to get rid of the bad seo companies and promote the good guys.But i feel its not right for the good guys to suffer from what the bad guys do also.

    • Guest

      I also agree that there are the ones with integrity that do a fine job for the client…others that are just out there to take the money and do nothing for the client. KEEP THE GOOD….GET RID OF THE UNETHICAL…

  • http://seo-partners.com Dave D

    SEO feeds my family and buys our Mustang/house/cabin/snowmobile — we’re too big to fail….if they put us out of business I hope the Government will bail us out! :)

  • http://www.rankontoponline.com Rank on top

    Before we were incorporated.

    We learned the ins and outs
    followed Google and decided that If optimizing means.

    Fixing a persons or companies alt tags
    Fixing descriptions.
    Not overloading keywords.
    Helping with any questions honestly and having very fair pricing.

    Also just letting our customers know that their websites are like a store and needs to be set-up and organized with the easiest lay-out for the customers to find what they are looking for without supposedly using False advertising to lure the customers in.

    Operate fair and have a conscious.

  • http://www.hyphentechnology.com Web Development India

    SEO is not Anti-Google and seo are not bad guys, unless untill they are not doing any black hat methods and not trying to do any thing to implement with Google rankings.
    its an interesting question for the seo’s and very generic whether they are search engine friendly or Anti-Search engine

  • Guest

    :))) Secret Agenda ::))) Thier agenda is and always will be to make “MONEY” !!! Considering what they have done in China
    and other places, I consider making money the least of thier sins.

  • Guest

    Are “SEO’s” the bad guys ??? No.. Not really !!!!

    The “internet” is the “wild west” of our day. Trust NOTHING and
    NO-ONE !!!! Do Your HomeWork !!! If a “blog” says its “true”
    … that should be the 1st warning !!!!

    Any time “you” “click” a “link-back” you should be prepared for a sales pitch !!!!

    I do believe “paid” links should be acknowledged and if “you”
    “write” a blog about a “gift” it should also be acknowledged.

    Anything “online” should be taken with a spoonful of SALT :)))

  • http://www.aboutuganda.com Richard

    The highest achievement of any SEO is to game the search engines. If SEO was not there, i guess Google wouldn’t have those many factors to consider before ranking a website.
    But to the world, SEO is meant to improve business and at the same time provide relevant results which would in turn make the search engine results trusted.
    SEO is a good thing and so search engines like Google should work with the SEO guys to improve their index.

    What does your conscience tell you anyway?

  • Art

    SEO companies first and biggest pitch is to guarantee top 10 ranking to all and sundry and I need nothing more than this to conclude that SEO is a bad thing. Simply put, it is lies all lies.

    As an example.. you start up a website advertising anything from cars to hotels, first look at all that competition there is already out there. “English Hotels” brings shows more than 21 million results… 21 MILLION. So you got to an SEO and tell him you wanna be in the top 10 for the search “English Hotels”, thing is only 10 sites can feature in that top 10.

    Being very conservative, lets say that 21 million results equates to 20,000 genuine individual websites. So you have to beat 19,990 other websites in order to get on the first page. Question is are you the only one using SEO companies to get you into the top 10? Chances are, if you are doing it, so are many of those already listed in the results. Lets assume then that the whole top 10 are already using SEO to get them there, and now you come along as number 11. There lies the rub with SEO companies, they simply cannot get everyone who uses their services the positioning they want for the terms they want.. only 10 out of every 11 sites, and the thing is, I bet they dont give the money back when they fail.

    The main reason this has come about is because of our good old friend “affiliate marketing”. Sure we all use it, but consider a users experience when he/she searches for a product only to reach blog after blog after link farm with reams Of Adsense space or hotlinks to other affiliate schemes. This was my experience only a few weeks ago when I was trying to find somewhere to by a new mobo – the sites where I could actually buy the mobo from didnt appear until the 3rd page. As an internet user, this is not my idea of a good experience, but it is because there is so much money to be had from blogging about products and services out there, that SEO is a required evil nowadays.

    SEO’s are bad? In my opinion – YES. I also think that their lifecycle is coming to an end. This is evident by the increasing number of SEO companies using affiliates to send SPAM email from yahoo and hotmail companies. I wonder if they even consider how this makes their business look when prospective customers receive email from yahoo email addresses LMAO!!! So no credibility in their marketing and no credibility in their claims – for me they GOTTA GO!

  • http://www.kortia.com Kortia

    Fact if any one says they can gaurantee you a top position then why are they selling SEO? They would be building sites and getting each one in the top 10 over and over, Like me.

    I think people need SEO companies Yes indeed and they should be expensive. Just not enough time in the day to do to many accounts and do them correct.
    Just watch out for the big promise. A great SEO company will tell you your odds upfront. And more importantly if being in the top ten will even do you any good. Being number one does not mean business unless peopel aresearching for what you have. The Web is just another medium like the yellow pages or billboards.

    Goog luck and see ya in the top 10!

    Rod H.

    Kortia

  • http://www.opusalbums.com Guest

    Mostly NO.

    People who are better than me at SEO are good. And believe me, I’ve spent enough on gurus!

    Link farms, pages of keywords with no real content, illegible text etc are bad – and Google knows it.

    Doing the right thing gets there slowly – as I believe I am doing with my photographic sites http://www.opusalbums.com, http://www.printalot.org etc

    Daniel

  • http://seobycanz.com San Diego SEO

    “Successful SEO isn’t about page rank or search engine rank, but about driving quality traffic to a site.”

    I have a client, a dentist in San Diego, who by the 3rd month of my SEO work was only getting around 400 visitors to his site… however out of those 400 visitors he got 16 new patients, 4% of his visitors became patients,
    the profits on those new patients alone, has paid for the whole year long SEO campaign.

    Good post in general.

    Lynn

  • http://www.tomrayner.com.au/ cooee

    SEO like web design is a service, to help web site owners improve their site positioning etc etc.

    For the most part SEO practitioners do a much needed service. Sometimes think some people within the SEO and search community get their knickers in a knot, they should just get over it and get on with the job.

    Like all industries you will get your cowboys, but don’t demean the whole industry because of a few, even if that few are a big rather than small group. Do have to admit the industry has the reputation similar to car salesmen and real estate agents.

    But we still use them because they are needed.

  • Driss arfal

    SEOs likes us helped google to improve their Algorithm …

    So we are not that bad i think. And Also by optimising sites we make the crwling easy for Search Engine

  • http://mxproject.com Johnson

    There are plenty of resources that google let users use like webmasters tool, and anayliytics that help SEO.

    I notice sites that are search engine friendly are easier to navigate

  • http://www.szenekonzept.de sznenekonzept

    …. because they just CAN follow the Google guidlines how they would like the web to be. There is no other way to succeed in a long term than being a informative and useful Website, just how Google likes us to be. So the Google guidelines are just made for us, they keep the Web useful and they would not exist, if Google would dislike SEO. I often saw the raise of unuseful sites, trying to go the Black-Hat way and i saw them all disappear one day. But I do not think there is a real payed link problem (I use them still successfully) but there is a problem with SENSELESS payed links. The question always is (and stays) how relevant are the OTHER links (and content) on the refering Site? I would say: you CAN buy some link love if its link LOVE ;-)

    • http://www.sourceme.co.nz ManBat

      My love/hate relationship began when in the late 90′s, at a Search Engine seminar in Australia, an upstart from Google, got up on stage and stated, ‘at Google Plex, we regard SEO as a 4 letter word.’

      What a dick.

      SEO, ensures that the Search Engines are submitted Relevant Content for their index and users.

      Search for used car parts, FIND used car parts.

      Google are like most of us, they just dont like to be manipulated.

      YET

      They introduce PageRank.

      It has un-levelled the playing feild – who has the most $ for links, wins.

      AND

      The easily manipualeted humans, have taken to replacing vocabulary, such as .. ‘search for it’ to (fkn) ‘Google it’

      Sick

      Bring on the Yahoo/MSN Search Engine that topples Google.

      ManBat

  • http://www.fashion-in-bag.com/ Replica Designer Handbags

    SEO is not Anti-Google and seo are not bad guys, unless untill they are not doing any black hat methods and not trying to do any thing to implement with Google ranking.
    They just CAN follow the Google guidlines how they would like the web to be.
    it help google bot to crawl the website smoothly!

  • http://potpolitics.com Seo’s time for you to get a real job

    Many of the so called Seo’s I have come across are no talent arrogant Goofs,Google no better they are always scheming. If both were gone I wouldn’t loose any sleep or money;)
    Google that !

  • http://mdssolutions.co.uk/services.aspx Website Design

    Surely all SEO could be defined as trying to manipulate the results? As long as think you are doing “white hat” SEO, you’ll probably be OK.

    Web Design and SEO Services in Darlington

  • http://weddingeventvideos.com John Willman

    Google dislikes the process of paying for higher rankings SOOOO much, that they will list you at the top of the search engine if you do so. What a stupid comment they made. They only make comments like this so it will create more hoopla and comments back. Oops! Wait a minute! That’s exactly what I’m doing… I’m commenting on their comment… Darn you Google, for being so manipulative that you suck me in too!

  • Guest

    If I go to a lawyer, I expect them to put my best interests forward, I pay them for their advice. If a Law office followed the SEO model the way webdesigners do, there would be a two tier system – Lawyers would offer their advice, but if I wanted to have the REALLY sound advice, I would pay a premium. No law firm would exist long with such a business model.

    So why do Webpage designers think they can get away with it? If you design a webpage, then design a webpage – period. If you know your craft the accurate page rank will follow.

  • Paul
  • http://www.movie666.com/ Deke Thornton

    In my opinion, the main problem with Google SEO is the way publishers are forced to unnaturally tweak their content in order to let Google find it… e.g. boring yet search engine friendly headlines, unnecessary bold tags, keyword loading, splitting long pages into shorter ones, etc. In this regard, SEO has produced a large body of Google-optimized content that is often clunky sounding, lacks literary flair, and is often bereft of actual content… the “information wasteland” that Google itself has railed against.

  • http://www.cpasitesolutions.com Kenny

    The problem with Google’s policy against paid links is that it’s unenforceable. In the end if I call call Ed and Judy set up non-reciprocal links with them Google has no way to know I paid them for those links. Sure they can identify paid indexes and discount those links, but in the end they can’t track down every ferrari that changes hands.

    An argument can be made that these links, while paid, are at least more organic because they required personal networking, but google is living in a dream world if they think they can stop people (SEOs or anyone else) from making linking arrangements that benefit their sites.

    As for the word “criminal” I’ll just write that off as silly dramatic hyperbole to get me to read the article. To my knowledge Google doesn’t have the power to pass criminal legislation… yet.

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  • http://www.fascino.co.il/%D7%A2%D7%99%D7%A6%D7%95%D7%91-%D7%A9%D7%99%D7%A2%D7%A8 ????? ????

    Most seo actions are good and help google identify the site in a better way, that is why google is not entirely against it.

    ????? ????

  • Guest

    The course of action that the SEO’s have taken at Google are an example of white collar crime. However, in the converging of the social spectrum google ementcly facilitates the stronghold of the convergance of the worlg; economically, politically, and socialy. They have been enormously successful at the goals in which were set out to achieve. The public must accept the power of influence that they set out to achieve, therefore must accept that they grew the company to act as such. People should be more adept at sifting information with an editing eye as information without a bias does not exist.

  • http://finbarrmccarthy.com Finbarr McCarthy

    Audi can send me an R* if they want. I will blog about it all wek….

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