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There has been some discussion this past week about SEO and the media. Lisa Barone discussed it yesterday and Shari Thurow discussed it on Search Engine Land. We all know about JcPenny and Forbes. We also know that myths and misconceptions about SEO are everywhere. The media often confuses things...is this because so much is wrong on the net about SEO or are they not looking hard enough for the right information? Can we educate them? Do they really want to be educated?
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from Michelle 1368 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I think blaming the media misses the point. While it is clear that there is much about SEO that the media does not understand (likewise, there is much about writing and journalism that SEOs do not understand - but that prevents no one from blogging); assuming that the problems of the SEO industry's reputation would be solved if media really understood SEO shifts the gaze away from what has caused the reputation problem.  I think we need to separate out the "reporting problem" from the "reputation problem" - do we blame the media for Lindsay Lohan's reputation problems?


There's room here to consider that what journalists do is look at a situation, gather information on that situation, and report on it. Some better than others, some with more or less bias than others - but the facts on the ground are pretty much the same. Their interpretation does not change the nature of the problem being reported on. And the fact is, there's a whole lot of shady going on in SEO and we all know it.  Just like in every other industry. And the industries that fare the best are those that self-police.  This business is not unlike the advertising industry pre-regulation.  Key to note there is that they are a regulated industry now - whole other topic - but something that seems to get lost on the cult of SEO.




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from hugoguzman 1368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I think that like most new things, it will be a very gradual process. We're mired in the moment so we get frustrated by mainstream ignorance regarding SEO, but the reality is that SEO (and the internet in general) is still in its infancy.

It could take an entire generation or more before SEO becomes a more mainstream and broadly understood discipline (which also means that it will be a completely different phenomenon since the discipline changes as such a fast rate).



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from Jill 1368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

There was a time when SEO didn't equal spam that the media was getting it totally wrong. Unfortunately more and more today, SEO really does equal spam which makes them not as incorrect as many of us would like to think they are.

Until the search engines stop rewarding spammy SEO it will be the way to go, and it will be what reporters believe it to be because of that.



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from MelissaF 1368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Love this - "Until the search engines stop rewarding spammy SEO it will be the way to go, and it will be what reporters believe it to be because of that"


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from tedster 1368 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I see SEO's perception problem quite differently. Almost every technique that worked in the nineties would be called spam today. So our heritage does include skeletons in the closet, and that heritage colors how we're perceived today.

SEO has a history of exploiting technical loopholes rather than clarifying the relevance of the actual content. Even today, many clients don't understand what SEO could possibly have to do with their marketing focus, or their audience demographic, or why they should spend resources on the pain of fixing technical issues. All the client really wants is keyword traffic.

They don't even understand why their initial keyword wishlist is out of tune with truly productive goals. In short, many clients really WANT their SEO program to achieve spam-like results. They just don't know how to do it because it would take some serious technical chops.

~~~~

SEO's history built up a magic aura of "pixie dust" based on the experiments of early spammers. Who first caught on to server-side redirects and the playground they offer? In the nineties, adult sites ranked for Disney keywords, and the public remembers that.

Then spammers built the first mass blog commenting scripts and suddenly the public had to cope with captchas. And even today, in public communications the SEO industry constantly uses the word "spam". So everyone else - press included - naturally assumes that spam must be all over the place. Why else would we talk about it so much?

Spammers actually built the foundations of the SEO industry by reverse engineering the early algorithms and then driving massive traffic through the loopholes they uncovered. To say otherwise is like pretending the textile industry wasn't built by slave owners. And those early spammers became the rockstars of the day and made some very big bucks. They were smart. And they were having fun. And they weren't breaking any law whatsoever. (Parasite hosting came along a bit later.)

It also doesn't help perception that the line in the sand keeps moving. Yesterday's effective optimization is today's keyword stuffing. Yesterday's landing page is today's manipulative doorway page. The first SEO software ended up being publicly chastised by Google, after many SEOs had been using it for several years.

No wonder we SEOs have a reputation problem! We're pretending that there was a glorious past that didn't contain lots of webspam. Seriously, that day never existed. Let's not whitewash our history.



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from tedster 1368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I realized that my above post could be taken as negative or even hopeless. But that's not how I see the situation at all. Instead, I say SEO needs to fully integrate with the rest of the marketing disciplines. We need to present ourselves as techical marketers rather than technical geeks with esoteric knowldge.

The more we see ourselves this way, and communicate from that solid certainty, the more we will be taken seriously by the press and by the businesses who need what we offer.



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from theGypsy 1368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

OK, a timely convo for sure. Considering I've spent the last few days trying to 'educate' a reporter from the WSJ, they most certainly stuggle to understand SEO and how search engines work in general. I found myself realizing how obsessed I am with it that the simplest of concepts were entirely foreign to them.

That being said, I also get the feeling they aren't as interested with 'SEO' nearly as much as getting the story. In this case when pressed, they said it was noteworthy because a major brand (Overstock) was 'cheating'. That was the angle at least. All of that makes me wonder how motivated they actually are to understand it all that much.

As to Ted's thoughts, I am certainly one that presses SEOs to have a stronger grasp of technical elements and even the concepts surrounding how search engines actually work. I personally believe that this can also help build more legitimacy. If we're nothing but link whores and hype merchants, we're destined to end up at the butt end of many jokes as industries such as used car sales man do today.

I know there is at least ONE reporter now whos head is spinning and respects what we SEOs know far more than he did last week... lol... sigh... meh.




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from theGypsy 1368 Days ago #
Votes: 1

huh... comment was flagged? I thought I was pretty tame...sigh... again without 'wh*re'


OK, a timely convo for sure. Considering I've spent the last few days trying to 'educate' a reporter from the WSJ, they most certainly stuggle to understand SEO and how search engines work in general. I found myself realizing how obsessed I am with it that the simplest of concepts were entirely foreign to them.

That being said, I also get the feeling they aren't as interested with 'SEO' nearly as much as getting the story. In this case when pressed, they said it was noteworthy because a major brand (Overstock) was 'cheating'. That was the angle at least. All of that makes me wonder how motivated they actually are to understand it all that much.

As to Ted's thoughts, I am certainly one that presses SEOs to have a stronger grasp of technical elements and even the concepts surrounding how search engines actually work. I personally believe that this can also help build more legitimacy. If we're nothing but link wh*res and hype merchants, we're destined to end up at the butt end of many jokes as industries such as used car sales man do today.

I know there is at least ONE reporter now whos head is spinning and respects what we SEOs know far more than he did last week... lol... sigh... meh.




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from tedster 1368 Days ago #
Votes: 1

We should all remember how poorly the JCPenney, Overstock (and even Forbes) affairs reflect on legitimate SEO. We are the fodder caught in the crossfire between some very big forces here.

I know Dave has been doing a heroic job pushing SEO into more technical mastery. I've been appreciating that for a good while. There are precious few SEOs who even read the Google patents or know what IR and NLP are.

So our industry needs to stretch in two directions. More technical mastery and more pure marketing savvy at the same time. And I, for one, do not want to be part of any "gotcha journalism". Some public education on the topic of real SEO? Absolutely yes.



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from anthonyverre 1368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Let's start this off with a positive note: there must be some effort made to educate what SEO is. And beyond that. As Ted mentioned, and I fully agree with, there's a closely formed dichotomy of technical and marketer-savvy SEO. So, certainly, let's educate and inform.

The not-so-positive: I'm of the opinion that only a serious journalist, the type writing a deep expose, would care to spend the time required just to wrap their heads around what exactly we do, what considerations are at play when we set out on project, and how our marketing objectives coincide with site technical aspects and algorithmic aspects.

As we can see above, Dave made some poor person's head spin like they were playing the lead in Beetlejuice. This person may have "respect" for us, but that respect doesn't play out in "big stories" or news rooms. Maybe there'll be a comment tucked in a paragraph that this is not the true spirit of SEO, but the headline will wash it out. It's not as if sensationalist journalism will suddenly turn the other cheek; disaster, tradegy, unfair play, etc rule the day.

In the end, we can only hope that our outstretched hands are not shun. That one of them take it and at least listen.



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from AlanBleiweiss 1368 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I agree completely with Michelle.  To the media, SEO is only an aspect of the story that fits only to the degree they're capable of finding people who provide them information.  They are not, nor should they become experts at SEO.  And on any given day, in any given article, it's a crap shoot as to whether their "expert" reference follows Googles TOS or not.

No amount of marketing or educating about the technical is going to solve the problem with the media.

No - SEO, ethics and where the line in the sand is drawn rests squarely on our shoulders, nobody else's.

Here's why I appreciate the Times story, and the reporting as it occured.  Since the story came out, I've had two existing clients, and now four, yes four prospective clients in a row, all reference JCPenney in our discussions about what SEO is, what SEO should be for their sites.

And every one of them has had offers from other industry companies to get them "faster" and "better" results.  Not one of those companies has communicated the fact that their tactics violate Google's TOS, let alone that it could cause them even short term harm, let alone serious financial losses.

For me, the good news is my unwavering view on such tactics, and my honesty with my clients about the ramifications all around.  Which contributed to keeping those existing clients, and to sign on all four prospects.  To the last, they all want the longer term opportunity.

For all we believe it's Google's responsibility, it's only partly theirs.   Unless, as Michelle pointed out, and many of us have been saying for a long time, we as an industry find a way to properly police our own in a serious enough manner, we are most likely going to become regulated.  All it will take is a couple big brands to sue their SEO provider, and enough small / mid-size companies complaining to their attorney generals offices.

The days of "don't name names" and "naming names is childish" need to end.  It's the very people who take that position who are either guilty themselves of inappropriate tactics or are just protecting their friends, unwilling to speak out.



Avatar Moderator
from nickfb76 1368 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I think the issue with the media is that they believe SEO is 100% manipulation.  SEO has a bad rap of writing a check and then ranking.  They don't realise the effort needed to build links and increase rankings.  Content is something that is needed in order to succeed in in the rankings.  Very rarely do you find a static 5 page stie ranking successfully anymore.

I no longer blame the media for the SEO = SPAM analogy.  It's the people who proclaim SEO knowledge, skills, and expertise which they sell to others.  90% of these people have no clue what their doing and end up doing more harm then anything.  This clients get burnt and then further the SEO = SPAM situation.  If there was a way to regulate the real from the pretenders I believe the media issue would solve itself.



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from AlanBleiweiss 1367 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Oh hey - forgot to mention this - did anyone see Law & Order Criminal Intent last night?  A murder suspect was brought in for questioning.  Guy ran a handbag business.  Had been harassing his unhappy customers because he knew if enough people complained online, it would boost his Google ranking.

Turned out he wasn't the murderer - just a side-note to the investigation.  And no mention of Matt Cutts or Google taking action against him - only that though he wasn't the murderer, he was arrested for the harassment.



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from AlanBleiweiss 1367 Days ago #
Votes: 0

oh right - it was Law & Order SVU - sorry bout that...



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from Jill 1367 Days ago #
Votes: 0

LOL straight out of the mydecoreyes playbook!



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from Aaranged 1367 Days ago #
Votes: 0

As a starting point I'd like to point out that all of us are very close to our craft, and so I think we take for granted the basic understanding of SEO we all possess.  So while SEO may not be rocket science, it is both a multidisciplinary activity (think, for example, of the different skills required for an SEO developer and an SEO copywriter) and - especially - a nuanced one.

This is basically to say that search engine marketing is neither particularly easy to understand, nor particularly easy to explain - particularly compared to other marketing activities - as any of us who has ever talked to a CEO or site owner about SEO well knows.  So like Michelle (and others here), I think blaming the media is pointless.  That even technically-proficient journalists should be able to readily understand a suite of activities which are diverse, continually changing, steeped in nuance and ethically diverse is unrealistic.

Ted's fabulous summary of the evolution of SEO techniques raises two issues for me.  First, though readily comprehensible to members of this discussion, it would take a week-long seminar for a layman to grasp what he was talking about.  Again, this is not particularly easy for non-specialists to understand.

Second, most of the techniques Ted describes would probably be classed as "technical SEO."  Both the JC Penny and Overstock activities are centered on link spamming.  While the importance of links is itself a complex technical issue as it pertains to algorithms, at a surface level this is a highly digestible nugget of SEO wisdom:  good links improves your rankings.  Most journalists reading either the NYT or WSJ pieces and subsquently pressed to provide a definition of SEO would probably say it involves acquiring links.  In this limited definition of SEO, it's not difficult for journalists and the public to come up with this erroneous but simple explanation of SEO that sullies the reputation of the profession:  SEO is about acquiring links, buying links is an effective way of acquiring links, SEOs that buy links without getting caught are the most effective, so therefore SEO is about underhanded link acquisition.  Shysters!

It's interesting to read the comments on the NYT and WSJ pieces both because it shows how hopelessly muddled people get about how SEO works - even when it's just been explained to them (again speaking to the complexity of the craft) - and because who really comes off badly in these outing fiascos:  Google.  In part because their algorithm is seen as lacking, but chiefly because they're perceived as fecklessly determining the search fortunes of websites.  E.g., NYT: "The power that Google commands is so freightening [sic]. Thanks for a great article." WSJ: "I think Google CEO thinks he is the new President, he can do whatever he wants."

Lest it thought these are just mindless noobs, take a look at a journalist's article on a journalist-facing site in response these outings - Is Google Playing Fair? (just the title is telling, no?).  People can buy AdWords, the journalist says, so why shouldn't people be allowed to buy links?  Again, there's every indication he read the NYT article in its entirety, so this is not a misinformed opinion.  It's interesting that my very brief response got a Twitter shout-out and retweets from journalists:  yet again, these are not easy issues for the layman to understand, and we need more Davids talking to more reporters to help them along.

Blaming Google for the problem probably isn't all that helpful insofar as they're already vilified - or rather that trying to explain why there are problems with how they factor in links seems to immediately lead people to jump in with irrelevant rants:  the long-touted AdWords/organic synergy conspiracy theory, Google is too big, Google personally hates my website, etc.

And truly the fact that Google's algorithm can be gamed - by purchasing links or, of old, by any of the other techniques that Ted described - doesn't mean that SEO is necessarily about gaming, which is what blaming Google for encouraging unethical practices because it is imperfect inevitably leads to.  We have the search engines we have, and we as SEOs don't get to whine because they're subject to manipulation:  it's rather like a used car salesman complaining that the inability of car manufactures to prevent the rollback of odometers is responsible for unethical car salesmen.   Within any profession there are upstanding practitioners and charlatans, and our reputation "problem" won't be solved by pretending that is not the case.



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from Jill 1367 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Very thoughtful and interesting comment, Aaranged. You lost me at the end, however, because I strongly believe it is Google's problem, and theirs alone.

It's their search engine and what they allow to work and not work is what SEOs will use to determine their methods. If Google seemingly turns a blind eye at link spam, then link spam they shall (and do) get.

SEOs can't really be blamed for giving Google exactly what it seems to love. Only when they stop rewarding webspam of any kind, will SEO stop equaling spam.

Please note, that this isn't just Google. Bing is as bad, if not worse in allowing webspam to influence their results. In fact, JC Penny's spammy pages are STILL showing up in Bing right now. At least Google reacts when forced to. Bing...not so much.



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from Aaranged 1367 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Thanks Jill.  Where you lose me, however, is when you say that Google "seemingly turns a blind eye at link spam."  This suggests that they're aware of the problem, but are somehow willfully doing nothing about it.

Sure, SEOs are going to do whatever they can to deliver to Google what it wants - just as they dutifully delivered meta stuffed keywords until that exploit was addressed, and dutifully delivered doorway pages until that exploit was addressed.

But this doesn't mean that Google can wave a magic wand and make link spam suddenly ineffective.  SEOs can speculate until the cows come home about the importance of different ranking factors, but clearly link metrics are fundamental to how Google and Bing rank websites in their search results.  From improved heuristics to detect and devalue link farms, to the introduction of nofollow to combat comment spam, to the introduction of paid link reporting, Google has given every indication that they're working tirelessly to try to prevent the possible exploitation of something that's at the heart of their algorithm.  This to me is a far cry from turning a blind eye - seemingly or otherwise - to the continuing effectiveness of link spam.

That they haven't succeeded proves that they're an imperfect search engine - just, as you point out, that all search engines are imperfect.  Does it then follow that we can blame any unethical SEO practices on imperfect technology?  That the availability of exploits means that the exploiters are blameless?  I'd argue no.  As Alan, addressing outing in his just published article, stated, Google is "not going to save us from ourselves."

To use another automotive analogy (odd that, given I don't own a car), that Toyota manufactures vehicles that can go 100 mph doesn't mean we should blame them when we break the speed limit, or decry how their high-speed vehicles sullies the reputation of car drivers.  Speeders should get a ticket, just as spammers should receive a penalty.  Just or not, someone going a hundred on a dirt road out of any cop's radar won't receive a ticket, just as a link spammer that isn't detected won't receive a penalty.  In both cases I wouldn't fault the technology.



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from AlanBleiweiss 1367 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Jill,


It's NOT Google's problem alone.  We need to take responsibility as in industry for our own industry's behavior.  And I know you already advocate that.

No matter what the search engines do, no matter how much they do to combat spam, unethical people will always try to scam the system.  We need to bust them for it.



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from theGypsy 1367 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"I think the issue with the media is that they believe SEO is 100% manipulation. "

Hmmmm... I have had dealings with reporters from the WSJ, USA Today, MediaPost and elsewhere over the last year and don't really get that sense to be honest. If anything, they're somewhat clueless about SEO and how search works in general (except Lauri over at MediaPost). And I don't really think some care. It's about the story. It's about Google. It's about Big brands... But they certainly don't seem to equate SEO with spam.


As for the rest of it, there ain't nothing easy about building a great search engine. Especially when there are hordes of people trying to manipulating it with new and inventive ways. I don't out people. BUT I have to wonder if we (upstanding SEOs) need to eventually police ourselves against our less than reputable brethren. This 'fight club' mentality and the 'us against them' attitude with the search engines won't help our reputation anytime soon.

I try to teach my members to do things right/safely. It can be done. I do it every day. I have a great respect for information retrieval peeps and talk to engineers almost as much as I talk to SEOs. I see things from both sides. '

We're a community of professionals adrift in the business world. I have friends in the contruction industry that would NEVER tolerate shoddy providers. There are a lot of indutries that wouldn't. Maybe this has something to do with the perception of us. We protect those playing fast and loose with the rules/guidelines. What do we expect?

I for one have stopped caring about this debate because I see the majority of the people I know preferring the staus quo - welcome to fight club.



Avatar Administrator
from Michelle 1367 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Related to what @AlanBleiweiss and @theGypsy are talking about - the concept of outing or policing. I'm not a fan of outing, but I am a fan of personal responsibility and of transparency in actions. I'd like to see less hand wringing over the media (or others) calling out SEO as an industry of ne'er-do-wells and more acceptance within the industry that yes, in fact, there's good, bad, and indifferent amongst us. When a news org (or anyone) says "SEO is spam" instead of heading to the keyboard to fire off a rant, call them ignorant or uneducated, maybe instead acknowledge that "Yeah, some of it is." and actually have a thoughtful dialogue about it.

Just like you've got bars that water down drinks, shoddy mechanics, etc. etc. etc.  there will always be people in any given industry that represent poorly for the industry overall. Not much you can do about that. But the insistence that there's not and constant denials of what are facts and what is for some, standard operating procedure in this biz, will keep this industry on the fringe of mainstream acceptance and understanding.


Also very important and mentioned in some of the above comments - the language we use when we discuss this industry, it's leaders and practices. Words I personally wouldn't miss - anything followed by either 'rockstar', 'bait' or 'juice' - adopting some more mainstream business and marketing language would go a long way in helping out with the rep issuse this biz has.


You just can't have it both ways. You can't expect to get the fortune 500 clients, budgets,  and respect from traditional marketing and media peers - and have a secret handshake society us v. them mentality. We're 15 years in here, it's time to grow up - or stop complaining about the situation we contribute to.




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from tedster 1367 Days ago #
Votes: 0

adopting some more mainstream business and marketing language would go a long way in helping out
Yes, Michelle - exactly yes. And that means learning the language and the concepts behind the vocabulary. There is a real discipline in marketing and SEO needs to honor and integrate with that. Social Media Marketing has seen a meteoric rise, and part of that is due to the fact that it SOUNDS legitimate to the traditional marketer.



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from Doc2626 1366 Days ago #
Votes: 0


@Michelle- I do agree that blaming the media is inappropriate. Your Lindsay Lohan analogy fits well.

A journalist reporting on Lindsay’s or SEO’s “issues” needn’t be either a psychologist or an SEO in order to report the facts. They do, however, bear the responsibility to seek reliable sources in order to ensure they’re publishing good information. As we all know, for the uninitiated, sorting through all the BS to identify the “good” info, is challenging.

I also agree heartily with your statement, “…the industries that fare the best are those that self-police.” Unfortunately, it’s difficult to police that which has no agreed-upon standards, and I don’t see such agreement in the near future. Maybe someday…

@Ted- great points. Our industry, particularly being made up of so many that have neither a clue nor an ethical high ground, is largely responsible for our manipulative image. But let’s be honest… manipulative isn’t the least bit unfair as a description of what we do. That certainly doesn’t mean it’s unethical. But it sure isn’t random, either. ;)

@Tony- You’re absolutely right, no journalist can be expected to fully educate themselves on a topic foreign to them. They necessarily rely on “experts” in the field to provide guidance and corroboration. Of course, the problem there is that they’re no more able than the average client to sift through the BS and land an accurate source. And the size of their readership can make a poor source absolutely catastrophic.

That’s why I think we have to take the initiative to nurture media contacts, make information readily available and locatable to the general public, and clarify what’s BS and what isn’t. One or two friendly journalists isn’t enough… we need a lot more than just an occasional supportive article.

@Alan- I don’t have a problem with the NYT “expose”. I DO have a problem with witch-hunts, though. And it seems that big media is on the brink of adopting a mob mentality. I think that for us to feed that mob is foolish and can do more harm than good. Does it really make sense to try to bring in others to police something that they don’t understand, for “offenses” they can’t even identify, simply because we haven’t been able to police it? Personally, I wouldn’t consult a plumber on my dental problems. ;)

@Nick- BINGO!

@Aaron- you’re right. We take basic knowledge for granted, by people that have probably never even HEARD of SEO before. That may well be the most dangerous assumption of all.

@Jill- I think saying that the search engines are 100% to blame is far too convenient, and even more unproductive. Google and Bing are in the business of search and advertising. The SEO world is almost certainly a major thorn in their paw. If we ceased to exist tomorrow, they’d probably throw a party. So if the SEO community means anything to anyone, it had better mean something to us and our clients. I think that puts the burden square on our shoulders to fix it. And since we haven’t yet made any meaningful, cohesive and effective effort to do so…. I say the blame is ours, too. Perhaps not 100%... I'd go with about 90%, though.



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from ShariThurow 1364 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Hi all-

Been reading EVERYTHING with great interest. The question is: is the media partially to blame for SEO's bad reputation? I think so. I stand by what I wrote in the article.

I am not saying that journalists and media professionals need to know all of the intricacies of search engine optimization, as I said in the article. I am saying that they need to quit being so willfully ignorant about it. And yes, they have a responsibility to report facts.

I have purposely pulled articles from both print and online publications (long before due dates, of course) because some bloody journalists keep trying to push me into saying something that I do not believe or support. I even had to pull an entire article last year because the editor kept removing things (including quotes from search engine representatives) because of his personal beliefs in what search engine optimization and information architecture really are. It went against what else was being published in the magazine.

Oooh...that's just so terrible. Admitting that, just maybe, your approach to SEO (and the perspectives of writers you select to contribute articles) might be wrong? I have always respected Danny Sullivan for many, many years for his journalistic integrity. He actively tries to show multiple perspectives as fairly as possible.

Not every journalist has Danny's approach nor his integrity, which is a shame.

I agree with Jill in that search engines need to be more diligent in nailing spam. I know that it is difficult to isolate spam and not isolate genuine optimization for "aboutness." So it's easier said than done.

Self policing our industry? I believe I mentioned bullies in the article. There are plenty of them, and many bullying can originate from normally nice people, and very intelligent people, outside of the bullying behavior. (I am separating the behavior from the person.) I know too many SEOs that are afraid of the bullying and just don't want to be pulled into the debate. TOO MANY. I don't have much confidence in the self policing.

I might add that many spammers don't care. They make their money. And that justifies their methodologies.

I think the media helps propagate the negative SEO stereotype. The reporters choose to remain ignorant instead of doing their research. And they don't like to be told, even as politely as possible, that their preconceived notions are incorrect or questionable. I call it an ego hurdle.

It's a big ego hurdle, guys.

My 2 cents.



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from ShariThurow 1364 Days ago #
Votes: 1

@tedster,

With all due respect, I disagree with this statement:

"We need to present ourselves as techical marketers rather than technical geeks with esoteric knowledge."

SEO is optimizing websites (and web documents) for people who use search engines. SEO is part art and part science. I am a designer/developer. Have been for over 15 years. I am an interaction designer. I have a very, very technical background and work experience.

But I understood long ago that SEO is not all technical. I think many of the SEO problems originate with techies, because they force their mental models (often very innocently) onto users/searchers. And talk about ego hurdles...many technical SEOs take great offense when you tell them that their perception of the "user experience" is their personal opinion, even though it is.

This tension happens in many industries, not only SEO. Information architects and usability professionals face this tension on a daily basis.

SEO is not only about technical issues. Nor is it only about marketing issues. People seem to forget about users/searchers. Usability engineering and information architecture are sciences, too.

Another 2 cents.







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