Bad Advice That Sounds Good

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Many professional lies are passed off as good information because they are just part of an industry vernacular or learning curve. For example, many people say make quality content, but never attempt to define what quality content is, or even how certain types of quality content are being marginalized by scrapers, social sites, user generated content, automated news sites, and search engines.

Bad advice is frequently given out as though it is good advice because

people talk in terms of ideals because…

  • they want to justify the time they spent learning what they know
  • they want to justify the career path they chose (which may become a large part of their identity)
  • they buy into white lies that put themselves or others at the top of social networks
  • they get paid more if only a few people can do what they teach (supply vs demand, etc.)

professionals want to make their profession seem more complex than it is…

  • to lock new competitors out of their market
  • to feel proud of themselves for the hard work they do and all they know
  • to justify the fees they charge
  • they get paid more if only a few people can do what they teach (supply vs demand, etc.)

many people with authority only consider their worldview…

  • because they are insecure or it is all they know
  • or they realize that if they (or the market) were less idealistic they might lose their authority / income / market position
  • they get paid more if only a few people can do what they teach (supply vs demand, etc.)

A few white lies I hate…

  • Create quality content. Why do I hate it? If you don’t have much brand recognition higher quallity content will lose out to average content. Most people never talk about the social aspects of the web when saying to create quality content.
  • Don’t buy or sell links. Why do I hate it? The major search engines are the largest link brokers. Their guidelines are based on them extracting as much value from the web as possible, and many of them buy and sell links with intent to manipulate their own indexes or pollute other search engines. Most quality links are in one way or another bought. If I package value and give it away and then people link at it then I bought those links. If I list my site in the Yahoo! Directory I bought a listing.
  • Create your website for users, not for search engines. Why do I hate it? Search is marginalizing many publishing business models. To pay for the costs of creating linkworthy content it makes sense to add a significant amount of lower cost highly monetized filler to a website.
  • Used variable width liquid design. Why do I hate it? Using a fixed width design allows you greater control of the readability and ad integration (and thus monetization) for most of your target market on most content sites.
  • Validate your site. Why do I hate it? Most successful sites do not validate.

What web design / web development / SEO white lies do you see most often? Which ones frustrate you?



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Aaron Wall is the author of SEO Book, an ebook offering the latest
search engine optimization tips and strategies. From SEOBook.com Aaron
gives away free advice and search engine optimization tools. He is a
regular conference speaker, partner in Clientside SEM, and runs the
Threadwatch community.

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