It seems like an age now since Eoghan McCabe of Contrast wrote his controversial “SEO is Bullshit” blog article back in 2008. That article was followed up a few weeks late with an article titled “SEO is Still Bullshit” which included discussions and comments from some of Ireland’s most respected SEO experts.
At the time, Eoghan’s article and subsequent comments irked me quite a lot. He, like every other SEO sceptic totally ignored the value and definite “need” element of SEO and focused purely on the usability issues that were generated by poor techniques used by most SEOs in order to get websites ranked in the Google search results.
In hindsight and after many more years in this business, seeing the rise (and fall) of (too) many so called SEO expert individuals and companies; I’ve finally woken up to the fact that SEO is in fact total bullshit.
Yes that may sound quite alarming coming from someone who has sold the importance of Search Engine Optimisation for over a decade. But the simple fact is that SEO has probably one of the biggest cons of the 21st Century.
I say this with complete sincerity and assure you that this is definitely not an article designed to create linkbait as was suggested at Eoghan’s reasons for his original article.
Let’s look at the very basic facts surrounding SEO.
- Ranking a website is easy!
Yes believe it or not it’s quite easy to get your website ranked on Google or any other search engine. Granted, the more competitive the key phrase wish to rank for, the harder it is to rank.
- Google wants to find Good websites with relevant content
A very simple fact of the matter is that Google wants to rank websites that are relevant to the search being performed. Searching on Google would be a waste of time if the sites it ranked in the top results were not relevant to what you were searching for. A simple rule of thumb is to build a website that a user likes to visit and is easy for a search engine to find relevant content. That’s not rocket science is it?
- SEO is not Rocket Science
I’m sure you’ve been there before, discussing search engine optimisation with a so called expert and he/she talks in riddles and makes SEO seem extremely complex. Well it’s not – there can be quite a lot to it if you are targeting a competitive key phrase, but in most cases it’s pretty straight forward.
- SEO only drives traffic!
One major misconception I come across with people who know a little about SEO is that they sell SEO as a way to drive business through your company. Well the fact is that all is SEO does is drive traffic. Of course with more traffic, it should in turn produce more sales – putting more effort into focusing on building a website site that will convert as many visitors to your website as possible will in the long run be more useful than having a website that only a search engine can understand.
- SEO does not Educate!
A lot of SEO’s sell SEO as the holy grail in terms of marketing your business. The fact is that SEO only targets people who already know about a service or product you provide. If you have a brand new concept or product that n0-one knows about – SEO will not help you get in front of the people that are likely to buy your product or service.
- SEO is just Good Web Design
Every website we build now includes FREE on-site search engine optimisation – we just call it building search engine friendly websites. A lot of SEOs like to class themselves as elite God like beings that are more important than Web Designers themselves. But they’re not and the reality is that you should be thinking about making your website search engine friendly from the time you start building your website. I used to be shocked at how little HTML knowledge a lot of SEO experts actually have. Iif you don’t understand how a website is built under-the-hood, how the hell can you really understand SEO??
- SEO Forums / Blogs aren’t always right and are often taken out of context!
One of my pet hates is discussing SEO with someone who has read up a little about SEO and automatically assumes that the information they have read is the Bible truth. If you happen to be reading an SEO article online, please check the date the article was published. Chances are the information you have is incorrect or well out of date.Also, please ensure you are taking everything in context and not just jumping at conclusions without testing. SEO is all about trial and error – NEVER assume anything!!
For a classic example of how unconfirmed theories send shockwaves through a whole industry, read this article – a prime example of an out there theory… http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/7594-is-email-reputation-now-a-google-ranking-factor
- Matt Cutts is not an SEO
Yes I’m sorry Matt lovers, but have you ever seen any websites that Matt himself has personally performed a search engine optimisation job on? Well I haven’t, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t of course!
Yes, one thing he has got over us all is that he has inside information. How much is questionable as he rarely seems to throw out anything more than the obvious.
He’s constantly being taken out of context, with a lot of people taking what he says as “fact”, without reading into the actual meaning of his comments in the overall picture of things.
SEO? The bottom is that anyone can can do it. That sole reason is why we now have a market saturated with SEOs that claim to be God’s gift to Number 1 rankings on Google.
The SEO industry has become one that preys on vulnerable companies who will never truly understood how the web nor search engines work, but believe the hype that is discussed at length at nearly every business seminar across the country.
There’s no doubt SEO is important, but its value in most cases has been greatly over exaggerated. For any website to be a success, you must create a search engine friendly website at the very least – whether you should go further depends very much on the competition in your field.
SEO is in the gutter as far as I’m concerned – from the companies that offer you “guaranteed No. 1 spots on Google” to companies who offer “link building services” from websites with little or no value. And of course we have the SEOs who think 301 redirects are the solution to all your problems, it just gets more ridiculous as time passes.
Maybe Eoghan saw all this long before the rest of us, one things for sure… he certainly seen it before me.
- Beginners’ SEO (ikroh.com)
- The Story Google Did Not Tell You About Your Rankings | SEO Theory – SEO Theory and Analysis Blog (seome.me)
- What are the the lowest-hanging fruit opportunities for SEO? (econsultancy.com)
- Getting Creative With SEO (searchenginewatch.com)