SEO Scam Artists

Recently, Daniel Dessinger did a post about SEO Scam Artists. Given the nature and tenor of this post, it is not surprising that it’s drawing a reaction from some well know SEO bloggers. You can read the reaction from Rand at SEOMoz and Lisa Barone at BruceClay.com at these links.

Honestly, it does not surprise me. There are lots of SEO Scam Artists out there. Let’s face it, it’s a new frontier. All new frontiers come with their own versions of gold rushes. And every gold rush come with plenty of people who are not the real deal.

But there are plenty of good ones too. I know that STC is not alone in actively teaching our clients SEO as a standard part of our engagements.

One thing that Mr. Dessinger seems to overlook is that learning SEO is not something you can do from a textbook. It requires a substantial investment, and in fact, plenty of trial and error experimentation.

The fact is that search engines do not make the details of their algorithms public for strategic reasons, which include making it harder for spammers to get traffic they don’t deserve. As a result, SEOs do make an investment to learn their trade, and the best have been doing it for years.

Mr. Dessinger suggests that the fact that no SEO has published everything they have learned on their web site means that SEOs are trying to keep things a black art shrouded in mystery. In fact, SEOs do share a lot of information in their blogs, in their sites, and in forums, a fact that he conveniently overlooks.

Mr. Dessinger may feel that he has learned the trade on his own time, and it’s better for companies to keep this expertise in-house. For some companies, this is true.

But all outsourcing is rooted in the same concept. Many companies want to keep their employees focused on tasks related to their key intellectual property and selling proposition (core tasks), and off load those things that do not. Pushing non-core tasks into contract relationships reduces fixed cost, and makes it easier for them to manage their long term expenses.

In addition, with the right contractor, problems can be addressed quickly without the need to wait for an employee who is in a learning mode come up to speed.

But all this pushes aside the main point. Mr. Dessinger seems to feel that it’s OK to malign an entire category of people and offer no justification whatsoever. This comes under the heading of “bigotry”. Sweeping conclusions, applied universally to entire groups of people, are always bad.

No question. Shop for your SEO carefully, just the same as you want to make sure you have a good web hosting company, good software developers, good marketing people, etc. Being smart about business relationships is smart business. But it’s no different here than anywhere else.

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