What’s Wrong With SEO, Revisited

viperchilllogoI wasn’t planning to write a followup to What’s Wrong With SEO? but I saw an excellent article on the subject over on a blog with the brilliant name ViperChill, and I wanted to comment on it. (Warning: The link is to a very long article, with way too much information to absorb in just one reading. Set aside about a half hour to study it.)

ViperChill is one of those outfits that does a lot of research and testing on SEO. As a result of all that testing, ViperChill has gotten really good at it, and Glen Allsopp (ViperChill publisher and author of the post in the above link) has become one of the leading authorities on the subject of SEO. Needless to say, he’s so much better at it than I am, that I’m not even in the same game, much less in the same league.

As far as I’m concerned, SEO (past a few obvious simple basics) is mostly a loser’s game. Although Glen is clearly an exception to that.

Here’s the tl;dr version of Glen’s article:

Glen rails on a bit about Google’s inconsistency and arbitrariness, and although he doesn’t say it directly — corruption. He uses the word “unfair” and does an excellent job of backing up that accusation.

I previously mentioned that Google’s excessive unnecessariness has spawned an entire SEO industry. What’s even funnier is that industry has spawned yet another sub-industry with a focus on cleaning up the backlinking mess left by their predecessors (in some cases, the same group(s)). That’s the bunch that you can hire to hunt down and “disavow” the “inappropriate” backlinks which you may have hired an (maybe even the same) SEO company to put there — or may have been put there by competitors waging a negative campaign against you (which, despite Google’s earlier assertions to the contrary, now can and will hurt your rankings — unless of course you are a company which Google happens to like for some insider reason).

After all, not many small businesses can afford the time or resources to hunt down “inappropriate” backlinks, and Google is not going to bother with telling you which backlinks (that used to help) are now hurting you.

Of course, once you have paid a bunch of money for that, Google can, and probably will, change the rules again, rendering that expense moot. And requiring yet another expensive campaign to chase after the new (and temporary) goalpost position. I have elected not to play that game at all.

Whether Google is corrupt, unfair, or just incompetent (maybe some of each), there are two things you can do about it.

  1. Don’t use a business model that depends on Google for anything important. That includes services like Gmail. Remember, you are not a Google customer, so don’t expect them to treat you like one. Google considers you to be their property.
  2. Find and use other search engines (there are several that produce much better results than Google does, at least for the majority of my own searches)
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