Google SEO & Search Engine Marketing Services

A Reluctant Response to an SEO Rant

I don’t how many of you have read Derek Powazek’s post Spammers, Evildoers and Opportunists, if you haven’t go over there you’re in for a good chuckle.

The post is basically a mindless rant targeted at the SEO industry and anyone involved in it.

When I first read it I simply thought “classic linkbait”, I had no intention of responding with a post or even leaving a clever comment at the bottom. The post had no real substance and was based on an uneducated opinion of SEO.

Then I popped over to Search Engine Land to read Danny Sullivan’s comments on it and that’s what triggered me to write this post and give some sort of response, even though I think it is undeserving of it.

The reason why I am responding is simple, if no one speaks out against the post then people who know nothing about the industry are lead to believe Derek. Also I have had a little search traffic on terms like “seowizz derek powazek” and “Tim grice seo derek powazek”, so obviously some people are interested in what I have to say on the matter, don’t know why but hey!! :)

I am mindful of not making this a personal attack, Derek is entitled to his opinions and I am sure he is ultra qualified in his field, but making blanket statements like below, is rude and naive;

Search Engine Optimization is not a legitimate form of marketing. It should not be undertaken by people with brains or souls. If someone charges you for SEO, you have been conned.

And so, like the goat sacrifices and snake oil salesmen before them, a new breed of con man was born, the Search Engine Optimizer. These scammers claim that they can dance the magic dance that will please the Google Gods and make eyeballs rain down upon you.

Do. Not. Trust. Them.

You see what I mean.

I provide SEO services, I don’t dance and I’m not a scammer. I am clear and completely transparent about what I do, I provide clients with expert advice on SEO and do things that business owners simply can’t find the time to do themselves. SEO is not a quick and easy task, it takes long hours of research and implementation.

Anyway the best way I know to answer Derek’s rant is by pulling a few bits out that I think are particularly ignorant.

SEO is easy and obvious?

According to Derek this is how to optimise a site;

Look under the hood of any SEO plan and you’ll find advice like this: make sure to use keywords in the headline, use proper formatting, provide summaries of the content, include links to relevant information. All of this is a good idea, and none of it is a secret. It’s so obvious, anyone who pays for it is a fool.

I know don’t all laugh at once :)

Just sort out your page, fill it with keywords especially in the headlines and the jobs a good one :)

Sorry for the smiley faces, I can’t help it.

I have lost count of the webmasters I have had discussions with who have built great sites, coded to perfection, flat architecture, keywords in headings, title tags, content, and optimised URL’s (Derek doesn’t use keywords in the URL because it’s a personal blog). They have all created a great resource and some have even created excellent tools but guess what, they still can’t get any search engine traffic. They have indulged in social media which has driven thousands of stumblers and diggers and facebookers etc… but guess what, they made no sales.

If SEO was as easy as Derek makes out every site would be ranking at the top of Google because there is a lot of quality out there, unfortunately the bulk is unseen because of people who have the “build it and they will come” mentality.

The Darkside!!!

Apart from optimising onpage keywords and formats Derek implies the rest is blackhat accusing SEO’s of the following;

Occasionally a darkside SEO master may find some loophole in the Google algorithm to exploit, which might actually lead to an increase in traffic. But that ill-gotten traffic gain won’t last long. Google changes the way it ranks its index monthly (if not more), so even if some SEO technique worked, and usually they don’t, it’ll last for a couple weeks, tops.

Firstly I don’t know if any legitimate SEO who finds loopholes, yes there are spammers and blackhats and SEO cons, however cannot the same be said of any industry including web design and development? Again I have spoken to multiple website owners who have been ripped off and mislead by designers and developers, shall we drop blanket statements about them? Only if you’re as naive as Derek.

Real SEO’s look to give a clients search traffic longevity, some clients want results quick but guess what, SEO is not a quick fix it’s a long term marketing plan.

Were simply spammers

Again another ignorant blanket statement;

SEO cockroaches employ botnets, third-world labor, and zombie computers to blanket the web with link spam. 99% of spam comments to blogs are these kind of links. The target of these links is not the blog readers, it’s Google.

Cockroaches, nice guy.

If you’re an SEO, when was the last time you spammed? Employed third-world spammers or sent out botnets? Did these tactics not stop working years ago anyway?

Derek, I am sure there are people around that still undertake these tactics and your right, they are cockroaches but real SEO’s have nothing to do with this type of activity.

SEO bastards are behind worms that attack blog services like Blogger, WordPress, and Movable Type. Some hack into the blog templates themselves to insert links that are hidden from the readers of that blog, but visible to a Google crawler.

Please, this is where it starts getting embarrassing and Derek shows just how naive he is about the industry.

What more can I say?

Derek’s guide to online marketing

That’s it. Make something you believe in. Make it beautiful, confident, and real. Sweat every detail. If it’s not getting traffic, maybe it wasn’t good enough. Try again.

I agree make something great, however what if it is great but still doesn’t get traffic, or do you actually believe every great resource, tool or service out there get’s traffic?

Instead of just leaving a potentially great site and starting again how about trying this;

  • Create a great resource
  • Research keywords searchers use
  • Implement onpage optimisation
  • Create a flat site architecture
  • Link internally and using relevant keywords
  • Have a content creation plan that incorporates longtail keywords
  • Create an xml sitemap and submit it to Google
  • Build links to target pages through social media, viral marketing, content distribution and press releases
  • Be patient, consistent and have faith

Is this spam? Is this web development? My opinion, NOPE.

This is a marketing plan, this works, this drives traffic, this builds authority, this is SEO.

So if you’re reading this and feel a little torn about SEO, please don’t listen to the rants of people who know nothing.

Every multimillion pound corporation out there has an SEO team. The Telegraph only a year or two ago implemented SEO strategies and increased their traffic by over 2 million a month, SEO is worthless? Was this simply web development?

Look I’ll let you make your own minds up.

My feelings are simple, you want to rank high on Google you need SEO, not Derek’s divine plan but real SEO. If you want to listen to people like Derek, be my guest, less competition means more opportunity for those who know how this industry works.

If you want to read another response to Derek head on over to Aaron at SEO Book

Sorry if you found this too rantish, I know lots of people have responded around the web but felt it my right as an SEO to give clear insights into the industry.

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Author: Tim (254 Articles)

is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 9 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Director of Search at Branded3, a Digital Marketing & SEO Agency based in the UK.

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{ 4 comments }

timethief October 17, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Well said Tim. I have used your free tutorials to educate myself and I find the rant you have responded to to be entirely off-base.

Tim October 18, 2009 at 8:54 am

Thanks timthief,

The truuth is these rants are pretty regular, this one particularly ignorant. I don’t know anyone who has practised SEO and found it to be a scam or swindle, in fact I know web developers that have come to discover and appreciate SEO as a valid marketing strategy.

creativeonion October 19, 2009 at 8:18 am

I really appreciate your response to Derek’s ignorant rant. You’re right that it didn’t really deserve a response, but there are a lot of hard working professionals (like yourself) who could be hurt by such gross information.

I found it funny/ironic that Derek didn’t even use the proper term for what he was describing – “blackhat” practices. Most likely because he doesn’t know what blackhat or whitehat tactics are, let alone the difference between them.

Again, thank you Tim!

Tim October 19, 2009 at 11:18 am

@creativeonion,

Thanks, I was always in too minds whether to publish a response or not, partly because I value my time and partly because I didn’t want to give him the benefit of the traffic and link :) . There are so many people with this opinion of SEO whoever never really delved into the industry. It made me laugh when he said “I now rank nineth for SEO, just by writing an article people enjoy and telling a few friends on facebook” no that didn’t rank you the insane amount of links you got did, SEO right?

Anyway glad to see Google has updated the SERPS and dropped the page, getting a site there is one thing, sustaining it is quite another.

Thanks for the comment.

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