Hats My Arse!

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Source Title:
White Hat SEO...Cesspool? Dirty? Useless? Does it Work?
Story Text:

White hat / Black hat? Oh, fuck off! I'm so horribly bored of the whole juvenile, spotty wank fest surrounding how people do SEO...

Having got that off my chest though, it's an interesting thread that Aaron comments on wonderfully about whether so called "ethical techniques" have any place whatsoever in "SEO" these days.

Personally i think SEO is near dead, i've subscribed to this line of reasoning since i first saw the idiot tabke talk about it in 2002 - Technical stuff is good, but to me, it's more important to do the basics, and really, really make an outstanding user experience. (i know i know...)

I love to spam, it's the programming and inventiveness that keeps me going you know? But if you're out to build a brand....

Anyway, make of that what you will, it's a fun thread and Aarons commentary is worth a read..

Comments

Nick, you really have to

Nick, you really have to stop holding back and just say what is on your mind. ;-)

I should probably hire

I should probably hire someone sensible to edit me....

Too late

It already came in on my Opera RSS feed reader.

Personally i think SEO is

Personally i think SEO is near dead

to be honest I am sorta wishing that I would have focused my book more on the PPC angle (since that prequalifies leads and I don't see it going anywhere anytime soon).

I think SEO still has some days left (but then of course I have to since I sell an ebook on the subject - which I have spent hundreds of hours writing and rewriting), but I totally agree with Nick that the create something useful adage is a better longterm approach (although I have spammed a number of sites to the top).

I think SEO will be around for a while longer, but the biggest problem for me is how do I create something that is both fairly comprehensive and also easy enough for a new person to learn from as search continues to advance.

PPCBook.com is for sale!

Aaron,

Just write another bloody book! Speak to NFFC about the comedy section.

deja vu

> Personally i think SEO is near dead

Didn't I hear this in 1999??? ;-)

fuck no... PPC is for suckas, shame on you Nick

>Just write another bloody

Just write another bloody book!

a friend of mine is right now I think. it can be done well, but to me you need to have a large ad spend to really appreciate how the programs change at various spend levels, and I don't want to be managing all that ad spend. I like the idea of going to Coachella or Burning Man or a small remote island for a while. hard to do that stuff with huge ad spend unless you have staff and some office (and offices are evil).

to me writing a PPC book is probably far better for the writer than the consumers. eventually PPC becomes a zero sum game, and it costs much more than effective SEO does.

with SEO you can have far more effect cheaper. and PPC is getting absurdely complex as well:

  • with Google they factor keyword CTR into the CPC equasion, but now they also factor in the ad copy as well.
  • add to that the CTR they use to figure out relevancy is not the same one that shows in your account.
  • add that to the three syndication groups (4 if you count the cpm site targeting only)
  • then there is exact match, phrase match, and broad match (as well as negative keywords)
  • there is in trial, on hold, disabled, normal statuses
  • and then the issue of budgeting, and geotargeting, etc etc etc
  • and then there are oolies like dynamic keyword insertion and some search engines following and indexing some tracking URLs

and that's just google adwords, of course Overture is a different system as well. MSN promises to have a system more complex than either Overture or Google.

to me it seems both PPC and SEO will get too complex for the average newbie to be able to do well unless they have a great site or the market is not competitive. hopefully that is still a bit off from now though because I need to change the biz model before we go too far down that slope.

I got an email about a ppc

I got an email about a ppc book this weekend, i'll read it later todya and may post it..

it's 5am, lord knows why my body thinks it's tim eto get up, im going back to bed!

But there's still a quid to be made

Argee with the sentiment but not the conclusion: I don't think SEO will die any time soon because there is still a quid to be made, mainly because there is so many people out there without the faintest idea on how to get into a search engine and get good results, and lets face it, many industries work on the same premis, stupidity and/ or ignorance is a market opening. I might be a bit harsh on the stupidity front, but people pay thousands of dollars just to get their site "listed" on Google. I'm mean its hardly the work of a nuclear physicist is it?

Not sure

>>I'm mean its hardly the work of a nuclear physicist is it?

It's getting harder. For the first time we've had sites removed - most likely for having too many internal links. That never happened before.

Now you need to get the right balance between content, internal anchor and external.

PPC on the other hand is easy and instant. Not as profitable as a site at #1 but you can replicate it over and over hundreds of times. Just choose how much you want to earn and build the requisite number of sites :)

Look at your audience.

The majority of the high PPC players use agencies which add go their PPC costs. There must be n thousands of small businesses who need some help with PPC and a book aimed at those would probably fly.

The YPs in the US are selling 'buckets of clicks' in the same way as KFC sells chicken - wanna bucket/how big? Literally standing up at Kelsey conferences telling the assembled hoards that they are doing it.

I predict these will not have a good ROI for either the end user or the advertiser.

Sometimes a little knowledge is dangerous and sometimes a little knowledge is better than no knowledge at all. Pick your target.

....and this thread is going waaaay of topic.

SEO the term might be dead...

But, SEM the industry is alive and thriving and will continue to thrive for quite some time. If all you focus on these days is search engine optimization then your days may be numbered. ;)

Aren't hats usually worn by people who are going bald? I've made it a point to steer clear of all hat discussions. Never wore one myself. ;)

SEO the practice will

SEO the practice will continue on long after it may cease to be viable as a business. Content site owners will still want to know how to improve their rankings and people will still figure out ways to do that. So this is good news for Aaron since people will still want his books. ;)

Also keep in mind that a lot of this SEO angst is because Google is getting harder to manipulate - but the price Google is paying is IMO a decline in relevency - sooner or later that will effect their market share. Web search is still too much of a monoculture.

yes, i think that all fits

yes, i think that all fits with my views - seo as a terms is indeed becoming obsolete - but there will always be a market for web marketing in many shapes and forms...

and here's one thing that

and here's one thing that will become more and more lucrative i think countering negative SERPS PR

well...

....and this thread is going waaaay of topic.

Is that really a bad thing? I mean, how many threads do you see that start with hats that go off topic without straying into ethics or genetilia size?

>seo as a terms is indeed

>seo as a terms is indeed becoming obsolete

I still don't get this. I do SEO as a living. Nothing else, no PPC or "SEM". I'm doing better than ever....

I do SEO as a living...

I think most of us do SEO for a living. It is still thriving in most industries and gaining those coveted top positions is still an art and a science. But, if you are a new business just starting out online, the depth of what needs to be done goes beyond SEO.

Taking an existing site that has an established presence and performing SEO is another facet of what we do and is of course a primary factor in maintaining and improving upon what was originally started.

Today's SEO/SEM needs to be well diversified in a variety of strategies/areas with SEO being the core focus of it all, from the beginning!

I still don't get this. I do

I still don't get this. I do SEO as a living. Nothing else, no PPC or "SEM". I'm doing better than ever....

having well looked through your business model, I can also say that you are smart enough to use multiple streams and are trying to build legit value in many of the things you are doing.

many people do not do that and do not have the technical knowhow or financial capital to get around having tunnel vision.

SEO -- optimising your site

SEO -- optimising your site for search engines, and results/rankings -- certainly won't die, and its frankly proposterous to suggest it. Certainly, that section of the SEM industry will be curtailed into a much smaller niche, as it becomes harder and harder to positively (or negatively) affect the search results (and potentially, the web at large), but this will only increase the quality in what is currently a deluge of mediocrity.

The golden goose for search engines is clearly the semantic, personalised web, which would, if rolled out all in one day (as opposed to incremental technology improvements) destroy the SEO industry as it stands. But even after the fallout of that, SEO would still occur - perhaps it would be less viable, and more costly, but you can be sure there'd still be ways to get targeted leads from certain terms -- to get the "bums on seats" as it were.

SEO is dead, long live SEO. And so on and so forth.

Also depends

if you're talking about SEO for corporate clients or SEO in bathrobe by the pool with a margarita.

It's geniunely hard for a new player to start, learn the ropes, and succeed with spam sites on google. It's pretty easy on the other hand for a sales guy to bullshit an exec to death until they land a corporate "SEO" contract.

As long as there are

As long as there are systems to locate individual pages across a network and people use them;

There will always be someone that wants to “rank” higher(make more money) and is willing to do whatever it takes to figure out what “criteria” the system is using to “rank” and then exploit that knowledge for their own benefit...

So true..

Quote:
It's geniunely hard for a new player to start, learn the ropes, and succeed with spam sites on google. It's pretty easy on the other hand for a sales guy to bullshit an exec to death until they land a corporate "SEO" contract.

This is so true and it's also becoming a huge problem in our industry. Much more of a problem than black hat or white hat, cloaking, spam or whatever.

SEO as a doing thing

SEO as a doing thing profession is probably dying. Not sure if I was a website owner that I would trust ANY outside body with my code and / or brand when their focus is so narrow.

However, SEO as a consulting service is alive and kicking. Big business, heck even the SME market, need access to specialised knowledge. Consultancy fills that gap. It also reduces costs, because rather than paying big bucks no whammy for work, they pay big bucks no whammy for the knowledge that a code jockey in India can implement.

All of this is good, IMHO. Consultancy is way, way better. All care, no responsibility, bigger budgets, more money for less work. It is also a format business understands. Consultants get far more respect than tech people ever did, and branding SEO as a consultancy service legitimises it, as it says "we have knowledge you must have", rather than portraying it as a black art that requires rediculous levels of access to core business infrastructure.

I am sure some people will cry at the change, because, as underpanters with little to no social skills and a frustration with the inability of advice to be accepted, consulting is their idea of hell. Fair enough, there are plenty of more technical ways one can earn a crust, but that doesn't mean SEO is dead. Far from it. It just grew up.

So, IMHO;

SEO is dead, long live SEO!

SEOs doing their own thing

Today’s SEOs that don’t have the stomach - or people and sales skills - to do the consultant gig can use their SEO skills on monetizing their own sites. Much money can be made on attacking product niches ripe for a top 10 ranking.

These SEOs will build out their own site to dominate the niche’s SERPs and sell the h*ll out of the product leaving the do-it-yourself webmaster’s in the niche scratching their heads as they try to figure out how this “newbie” is ranking ahead of them. Then repeat above 10 times over.

The result: “SEOs” can still make lots of money and (most importantly) work in their underwear. The only difference is that they will be their own client – by far the best client to have.

Clients? No thanks

couldn't agree more... who the hell wants clients anyway!?

Working on my own site: more $$, long term revenue stream, less aggravation
Working for client: less $$, short term revenue stream, potential aggravation

no brainer

no brainer

That's what I keep telling folks...

Hey, Mike

... I'm listening. :)

You and Tabke sharring the same opinion on SEO?

If you are phishing, well done. People have been saying SEO is dead nearly since it was started. As long as there are natural results there will be SEO. In a way it has gotten easiern in the sense that rank is more predictable, and that linkpop is such a factor.

Yet, I think the golden age was back in the day when it was just on page/on domain factors that were added up -- then it was all about raw talent.

SEO will never be dead

I think it is silly to claim SEO will be dead. To be dead will mean that natural results will be dead. With the % of informational searches being done, I can't see that day coming ever.

Personalized search killing SEO? Come on. Just means SEOs need to find ways of getting in front of the bulk of the people. Studying surfing and clicking habits, and figuring out what keeps users on your page.

It may mean the end to the wild west days of SEO, but it will never die. As long as natural results are around, someone will be manipulating them to their advantage.

>>>It may mean the end to

>>>It may mean the end to the wild west days of SEO...

IMO Never gonna happen.

I live in the real wild west, people still carry guns here and you can still get your ass shot off for calling someone a liar or a cheat.

The real wild west never died, what makes you think the virtual one will?

It may mean the end to....

I think you will see an end to SEO on competitive terms over time. By competitive, I mean highly commercial, highly searched terms. Things like viagra, cell phones, and desktop computers. Commercial sites may be forced into adwords or whatever affiliate program Google creates down the line. The trend is to make Joe's Viagra shop pay, and that Journal of Medicines article on Viagra free.

So my comment on the wild west was more in tune with the ranking of highly competitive commercial sites. I just see those days slowly coming to an end. However, still leaves plenty of room for us to play.

Dead? or Evolved?

Has it evolved into more of a 'user experience' thing?

We don't die we multiply...

Has there been a month that the game of SEO DIDN'T change?

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