Sigh. As Danny Sullivan percipiently pointed out, we’re due for another round of slurs about SEO (it’s every two years or so). This time it’s Some Other Dickhead who equates SEO with spammers. Like a lot of disciplines (HR, Marketing, Advertising) people have a whole bunch of beliefs or a couple of negative experiences about ‘SEO’ which they apparently feel justified in broadcasting to the world at large. It’s as easy a game to play as saying “all politicians are crooks” or “or all coppers are bent” or “all nurses are sexy.” Truthfully, if you drew a Venn diagram with ‘scam artists’ on the left and ‘SEOs’ on the right there’s a crossover. Same goes for any line of work. Quite why we’re hated enough to be the subject of such ire is beyond me.
Rather than go through his tedious, playing-to-the-peanut-gallery post point by point, I’ll just satisfy myself with the knowledge that thanks to the activities of “cockroaches” like myself, the businesses I work for get a positive ROI on every pound they spend with us. Whether it’s through improvements in site architecture, usability improvements, enhanced site performance and – yes – inbound links, all we do is work hand in glove with the likes of Google to give them what they say they want.
Do SEOs have to game the system sometimes? Yeah. For all their talk, Google is a software program that calculates relevancy. Not all the metrics they use are fair or transparent. You want to hobble your business by waiting for Google to reward you for not bothering about your site structure, or relying on some disinterested developer who wants to get out the door as quickly as possible and doesn’t know shit about what quality signals Google is looking for? See you in the dole queue, sucker.
The biggest joke of all is that his advice (“build something great”, “tell people about it”, “build a reputation”) is basically a description of what SEO in 2009 is actually about. Like many a simplistic analysis before, he makes the classical error of making the hard stuff sound easy.