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Dear SEO Bloggers, I’ve been reading SEO blogs for quite some time and while I appreciate the input you offer up on a regular basis, I’ve noticed a very disturbing trend. It seems that more and more of your posts state your opinions or theories, as facts.
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Avatar Moderator
from Jill 2339 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Could not agree more. About 90% of what I read on SEO blogs is complete bullshit (in my opinion!).

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from Skitzzo 2339 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Jill, I don’t know that I would go that far on the percentage. Most of the blogs I read are fairly good for the most part but then they’ll drop something in the middle of a post that just baffles me. It’s like where the hell did you come up with that? When you ask about it, you get a bunch of people restating the "fact" like that answers your question. Where are the tests, the experiments, shoot I’d even take a statement from Matt Cutts (although I’d take it with a grain of salt). But give me something to at least figure out where you’re coming from.Ok, enough ranting... at least for now.

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from BogglesMyMind 2339 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I think everyone is missing the point here.  Blogs and forums are places to share theories but not necessarily the secret recipe.  If you are so concerned about whether or not something works, then try it yourself.  I think overall, 90% of blog posts about SEO are valuable in that they stimulate the mind and help foster research and tactical ideas.Perhaps you should lead by example, Skitzzo, if you are so concerned with what others are writing?  I don’t see many blog posts at Refugee that fit your rigid requirements.  Not trying to be an ahole here (if I was I would have de-sphunn) but let’s not call the kettle black...perhaps if you mentioned the actual posts you are refering to it would also go towards providing facts instead of just inuendo?

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from Jill 2339 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@Skitzzo that’s certainly part of it, but from my perspective it’s much, much worse than that. It’s so bad that there tons and tons of SEO companies that base their entire way of working on stuff that actually has no real affect on whether the website ends up gaining more targeted traffic and sales. These people and companies have simply followed the incorrect myths that others have talked about and perhaps got lucky now and then.  So they figured it actually worked just keep on selling the snake oil.I just read an article here about supposedly important things to check for to better SEO your site,  and in my personal opinion, based on my many years of experience having worked with hundreds of websites, nearly everything that this person checks will not actually make a difference to the bottom line of a website, i.e., gaining more targeted search engine visitors.Sad but true. And why it’s so important to continually debunk the SEO myths that prevail in this industry.

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from Skitzzo 2339 Days ago #
Votes: -1

@Boggles, first of all, I very rarely post on the Refugee blog anymore (haven’t had the time) and when I do, it’s not often about tactics or methods.With that being said, I admitted in the post that I have been guilty of this as well. However, I don’t think that defeats my point at all.Yes, blogs are places to share theories but when you state them as facts you no longer are sharing it as a theory.  For example, when someone says something like "Links in the footer of a page are devalued." they’re not stating a theory, they’re saying it as a fact. Now I just happened to pick the first example that came to mind but what I’d like to see is some reason that the blogger or poster is stating that footer links are devalued. If there’s been a test, link me to it. If several other people have posted on this subject, link me to one of the posts. If Matt Cutts has stated something along those lines, link me to that. Just back it up with something! If it’s just your feeling or your opinon on the subject, tell me that as well.

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from DazzlinDonna 2339 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I recently spoke with someone who is opening up a new seo firm and will be charging a lot of money to do seo work for clients. (a whole lot - a whole heckuva lot more than i ever would).anyway, this guy had the firm belief that the biggest seo tactic in the world is to use the meta keywords tag.  was shocked to find out otherwise.  said something like, "well, so-and-so said so".  (with so-and-so being some internet marketing "guru" i’ve never heard of and who has never seo’d anything in his life, i’m sure).i’m not sure we’ll ever get away from this kind of thing.

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from Jill 2339 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@Donna... yep...big sighAnd the meta keyword tag is only the tip of the iceberg. Once they’re done with that, they’ll waste time and money on bunches of other useless crap!

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from Skitzzo 2339 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Ha! The desphinn on this is priceless especially after @Boggle’s original comment... lolI’m not sure if this was just added or I missed it the first time but the reason I chose not to highlight the specific posts is because I didn’t want this to turn into a "Skitzzo is calling so and so out" type thing.I think it’s something that many (if not all of us) have been guilty of at one time or another and I wanted to highlight the issue, rather than singling out a few bloggers.

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from toddmintz 2339 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Donna...you’d do a public service by outing that person :.)

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from DarkMatter 2339 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I think singling out bloggers/posts would be in poor taste, plus I’m sure I don’t need any more examples. If you haven’t read hundreds of posts like this, then you either don’t read many seo blogs or you don’t know jack about seo. But that’s just my personal THEORY.

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from jconnors888 2339 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Its too easy to fake results of effective and successful SEO methods. My inbox is full of ’amazing’ offers from leading internet guru’s about super-duper secret ways to a) get more traffic b) get higher rankings c) build huge lists... and it goes on and on.The disturbing thing is that each will usually feature testimonials, images of google traffic reports, website logs and the like sounding really genuine and true - it boggles the mind and confuses newbies and people who dont understand.I know that if I made potentially false claims about goods or services in a traditional market I would be sued/arrested or be reported to the bbb.

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from BogglesMyMind 2339 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Skitzzo I thought you may get a kick out of that.  IMO the problem with your issue is that like you said everyone is likely guilty of it sometimes.  But like I said originally, most people do not want to give the sauce away.  I personally don’t read blogs too often unless they are well established (one of the reasons I love the Sphinn format is because I do get exposure to newer blogs), and in many cases I prefer hearing the high level theory behind something without requiring "proof."  Why would it be in someone’s interest to fake it, unless they are BS artists?  These people will typically be flushed out eventually or simply ignored.OK let the negative votes begin anew. :)

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from MikeBradbury 2339 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Obviously everyone is going to support backing up your theories with facts, or links.  But none of our studies are scientific, and none of the links that we point to are scientific.  It’s just a conglomeration of opinions anyway.  So:1.)  You should always have your BS-dar running when reading a blog as it is.2.)  Putting "in my opinion" in front of your statement I guess would be an improvement if you didn’t have your BS-dar running, or it was temporarily disabled, or your were drunk.3.)  Cold hard juicy facts are available in academic research papers.  When you’re finished reading one,  be sure to shave, because you will have no doubt grown a rip van winkle caliber beard by the time you’re finished.  4.)  If you don’t want to grow a beard, or can’t, or can but should’t be able to, Read a blog.  Just don’t put all of your faith in it.

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from DarkMatter 2339 Days ago #
Votes: 1

@Bogglesyou’ve got a point, but if someone’s learning seo they might not know who the "trustworthy" (for lack of a better word) bloggers are, and I’ve had clients and bosses occasionally send me some junk blog post wondering why we aren’t doing this or that. Then I have to fight the uphill battle to convince them that it’s a waste of time.btw I gave you a negative vote just for fun...

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from hugoguzman 2339 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I think that Jill and Donna point out something entirely different here.Forget about SEO bloggers. It’s the grand majority of SEO agencies that are full of crap!That said, I also agree that we need to reintroduce the scientific method into SEO, instead of making wide-ranging conclusions based on spotty data and little or no verification.

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from Skitzzo 2339 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@Mike lol "or can but shouldn’t be able to" hahaha that’s awesome!@hugo, I think that’s probably putting it very well. Let’s at least TRY to act like this is a science rather than an art.

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from DazzlinDonna 2339 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@toddmintz, i decided to train rather than out the person.  i’m hoping i can turn him into a stellar seo, worthy of the prices he’ll be charging.@hugoguzman, i think you may be right about that.  i don’t know about "majority" or not, but i know i’ve had experience with a couple of MAJOR agencies that have destroyed client sites with cr@p "seo".but all in all, i’m not sure we’ll ever get away from the cr@p that gets spewed everywhere.  i think everyone just needs to always have their cr@p-o-meter turned to HIGH.

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from andrewsho 2339 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Recently overheard from another big SEO company (they do trade show booths, etc) that was pitching my client (who let me sit in on the call):1. "You’ve got to add meta keywords tags."  When I asked on a scale from small to huge what the impact would be, he replied "medium".2. "Your code to content ratio is too high." When I asked what the ideal code to content ratio was I believe he said "17%".  Everyone got that?MikeBradbury, I definitely have a hard time growing a good beard so your research paper idea might be the ticket. 

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from Halfdeck 2339 Days ago #
Votes: 1

"why have we abandoned phrases like “in my experience”"because we all want people to think we’re an authority. Funny thing is Matt Cutts does a better job of keeping the back door open (e.g. using phrases like "as far as I know") than most SEO bloggers.What I often do is cite a source (e.g. "According to this article, footer links don’t pass value.") or say "I think" if there’s no easy way to back up an opinion.Some of us are also in the business of using misleading headlines and one-sided opinions to grab more eyeballs. Push a false/unverified story to the front page of Sphinn - if people dig deep enough to figure out the story is BS, no biggie. The burden rests on the readers, not the blogger.If your goal isn’t to inform or engage but to get attention, build authority, or get links, backing up opinions with facts obviously takes a back seat to getting readers to click through to an article or getting readers riled up using emotionally-driven, one-sided portrayal of an issue. So I’m not surprised - like Jill said - that 90% of what I read on SEO blogs is misleading.

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from Dorian 2339 Days ago #
Votes: 0

People are expecting too much from free-advice blogs/forums.Try joining some of the private SEO membership sites like seobook and seomoz. You will find some solid information there.

Avatar Moderator
from Jill 2339 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@andrewsho2. "Your code to content ratio is too high." When I asked what the ideal code to content ratio was I believe he said "17%".  Everyone got that?That’s totally awesome.  I’m nearly spit my water all over my keyboard LOL.

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from hugoguzman 2338 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I thought it was 23.574%Actually, we had someone tell us that the only thing that mattered were the first 1,000 characters of code.Yeyah!

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from MikeBradbury 2338 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@hugo - That’s what I always heard.  That agency is WAY off.  @ halfdeck - Spot on.

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from Skitzzo 2338 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@Dorian, so all the high profile SEO blogs out there that are written by recognized experts in the field shouldn’t have to have accurate information on them because they’re free?I get the local paper for free, would you hold it to the same incredibly low standard?

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from Jill 2338 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I get the local paper for free, would you hold it to the same incredibly low standard?I think you’ll find that most of what’s there has errors one way or another too, unfortunately. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold them to high standards, however.My hope with anything written, be it local papers, worldwide news, blogs, online articles, or whatever, that those who read this stuff can somehow manage to filter out the bad stuff from the good. Unfortunately, in the case of SEO stuff, there’s often more incorrect info than correct. Which means we just have to keep spreading the correct stuff as much as possible.

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from Harith 2338 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Jill," those who read this stuff can somehow manage to filter out the bad stuff from the good."To filter bad stuff, the reader should have a solid background of whats the good stuff. And thats not the case most of the time when it comes to SEO stuff. The main problem as I see it is, some "popular names" writing crap under SEO related titles ;-)

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from Jill 2338 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Yes, agreed, Harith. Which is why I said it was "my hope that..." rather than it was actually happening.

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from wilreynolds 2336 Days ago #
Votes: 0

To add a solution to this issue, when I meet groups of people I always say, hey I know this space is full of a lot of BS so let me be your filter, just check out my delicious URL, I read through the crap and only add the good stuff.  I think we’ll see more people opening up their bookmarks which should back up where people get tehir info from for many things they say are truth. I know I miss a lot there, but at least for what I can read I try to do my part.While I am no ballerific SEO, I try to do my part to share with everyone I meet the ability to use the fact that I have to sort through the BS to find the good stuff as a filter for them.How else do you guys help solve the problem of BS SEO recommendations / myths?

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from charlieanzman 2336 Days ago #
Votes: 1

It’s getting bigger and it’s getting worse.  I’m just glad to see Jill here :)

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from dannysullivan 2336 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Getting people to qualify anything in SEO was always hard but lately, I was remarking to someone recently, it feels gone altogether. I’ve seen both SEOs and search engine representatives fail to do this. So I really enjoyed this open letter."I believe we’re going to have to start putting some serious data, testing, and documented experience behind what we claim as fact."This is harder. I’ve seen plenty of tests done where they prove nothing, because testing often doesn’t get all the variables. Still, i certainly appreciate as many real-life examples as possible.That also builds the reputation of the people posting. Some people I don’t know might post about an idea they have, say they’ve seen such-and-such, and I just don’t find myself convinced. Others that I know well -- who have a documented history of being right, backing up statements, who might work with multiple sites and so on -- then I’m much more inclined to go "hmm, interesting."But in short, yes, I much prefer people who write and speak saying things like "in my experience" or "i believe" or qualify things. Matt Cutts might be the master of evasion to some, but he’s also the master of qualification because qualification is really, really important.

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from Peter 2335 Days ago #
Votes: 2

It’s not just bloggers.  Its the agencies too. If the industry is to mature, it needs (in my opinion):a) Measures to help baseline current SEO results and identify/prioritize a site’s problem areas.  b) Identify relatively standard actions to fix/improve problem areas.c) Measure cost and results of these actions in order to understand value and ROI (improved conversions from the SEO activity) of an SEO activityd) Prioritize future SEO efforts based on expected ROI (you never have enough budget to do all the changes)e) Create well understood, definable and repeatable processes that can be explained and quantified to c-level execs and trained to junior folks.Then, not only can you say "in my experience" but even "in my experience, in a situation similar to yours, I’ve seen... and therefore I would recomend... and it will cost... and it will likely delivery this result." 

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from seoz87 2335 Days ago #
Votes: 0

wow :)Well actually each SEO is working in different Niches. And those tiips and theories developed from the result you get by working in your niche. And its a natural pheonomena that a process or strategy that has driven results for one niche may be unable to drive the same result for an enirely different niche. Each SEO is actually sharing his/er experience. Its not like they are wrong, but its like target audience are wrong.A tip for a person working in auto industry is obviouly not gonna work for a person working in health niche. :)So, STOP blaming SEOz or ..I tell u what ...the theory that anyone can hurt his/er competitor ranking is TRUE.:Pjust kiddin

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from MelissaF 2335 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I was asked to do a local SEO bare basics workshop in my home town by the local economic development council. We said we were only stating the basics and we discussed what to ask and look for when hiring web designers and SEO companies.  So, this one guy came and has been emailing me about how he is "educating others on SEO"...an hour and a half on the basics and he is now qualified to educate...So, here is something that made my mad at first then had me laughing. He sends me a "carefully constructed paragraph for SEO" to go on his web site...63 random terms seperated with the three spaces each. So, I respond and explain why this could not work and could hurt him. I asked if he researched these terms and he responded yes. He got them from the categories of Superpages cuz that is what people are searching for. So, this guy believes he is now qualified to teach and impliment seo strategies. I have a list of favorite SEO blogs, I read others. I have read some blogs that many people here love and there is information in articles I don’t agree with. I stick to the same blogs and sites; I do read the blogs in the search caps and I have found some from Sphinn, but I eliminate more than I bookmark.What is to stop the guy I discussed from starting his own blog? Nothing. He thinks he knows it. He thinks he is so educated he can teach it. So, like with anything on the net you have to assume it is crap. Unfortuntely, some poor guy may come along and think that having paragraphs that make no sense is an effective way to do well on Google, just cuz this guy says it is so.

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from BogglesMyMind 1959 Days ago #
Votes: 0

since people decided to vote down my comment, i decided to desphinn after all :p

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