I’ll Admit SEO’s, Like Me, Have Ruined the Web

In SEO, The Digital Marketing Blogby Kelvin7 Comments

It’s time to own up, I might not have done it, you might not have either, but someone has gone out and wrecked the internet; and they’ve done it in our name. It’s about time we took some responsibility.

Comment Spam – They do it for SEO

Annoying Every Single Person with a Website for a Link Request – They do it for SEO

Hacked Websites with injected links to Viagra Sites – They do it for SEO

A Clean City is A Healthier City, No Litering

Just a few of the hundreds of crimes committed in the name of SEO, each and every day. You might be whiter than white, you may never have ventured into that grey area between what’s right and wrong, but lots of people have, each time they do it they’ve slighted your reputation and we need to do something about it.

Never Send Another Link Request

The fact is link requests very rarely work, they never really did. Don’t get in touch out of the blue and ask someone for a link. Spend some time on a site you’d like a link from, let them know you read their site, open up a conversation and give them something useful that the might want to link to.

It requires a level of subtlety and sophistication you’ll struggle to pull off if you’re used to treating link building like data entry, this approach will get you more of links that actually influence search rankings rather than prop up a link count.

There’s that phrase, if put enough monkeys in front of a typewriters and one of them will eventually write the complete works of Shakespeare, are you taking a similar approach to your link building efforts?

If the Site Is Rubbish and Only Exists for SEO Don’t Help It Out With Money

Why do so many useless directories still exist? because clueless, or worse, lazy SEOs keep them in business by handing over their Paypal details in return for a listing.

Most culprits might realise they might be wasting their money, but I don’t think they’ve fully understood that they are sending a message. A message, which says it’s okay to bung rubbish up on the net as long as you might be able to make a few quid.

If you can make something great you deserve to make some money from it, don’t look at it the other way and make something that only exists due to a Faustian pact where you give money but add nothing to the quality of the internet.

Don’t Turn a Blind Eye To Your Partners Or Team Perpetuating the Problem

I know for a fact several big agencies ship out most, if not all, of their link building efforts to offshore link building firms. Just because they are overseas and outsourced doesn’t mean they don’t deliver good work; but that extra step of removal means search marketers are less likely to be keep the close eye on the work they are carrying out.

You might have a similar situation within your own team, what tactics are you encouraging? how are you measuring campaign success? does that process make it more or less likely you’ll achieve good links and not make the web a more spammy place?

Even if you aren’t personally adding to the cesspool of the back-end of the internet by allowing it to happen you are endorsing spam by association.

Make things Better

So we’ve had a part to play in a spread of trash online, it stops now, everything you do online should be adding value. Every guest post you write for a client should be the best you can possibly make it and genuinely add positively to the net.

Every tactic you use to build links shouldn’t just think about you and your aim to go up the rankings, think about the person you’re approaching. Do they want to hear from you? Are you helping them as much as your helping yourself?

If we all take a bit more personal responsibility search marketers can make the net a better place rather than a worse one.

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  1. Interesting, you should read about the “Tragedy of the commons” which explains how a common resources is depleted because of individual abuse

  2. I totally agree with you, but it is just the way life is. A small % of people will always abuse or exploit something if they can earn a few quid out of it, or even just because they like to be d**ks.

    Look at email spam, you would think that doesn’t work, but a very small number of people are still churning out millions of emails per day.

    Even semi decent SEO agencies stop using these techniques there will always be hundreds/thousands of crappy offshore companies. If they can’t sell directly to the SEO companies they will sell directly to useless clients. Look how many websites still sell search engine submission services? It is ridiculous.

    It is not an issue just in our industry really though is it, how many crappy companies are selling diet, sex, or whatever products. If you can make a few quid out of exploiting someone or something there will always be someone doing it.

  3. I see this as a simplistic and naive answer to the demands of shareholders and results driven environment that most businesses are in. If 9/10 or even 19 out of 10 companies rankings for your terms in the serps are linking building aggressively, it leaves you very little choice but to link build (unless you decide to report all your competitors). Its true Google needs to do something about the situation but it is not going to stop companies link building in the mean time.

    I do believe link building has become the reality although I do not support the kind of link spamming we are seeing common place right now (30 footer links of unrelated content). These guys will eventually get caught and lets hope its earlier rather than later.

    The lines are getting so blurred now regarding link building now… who can say some of the whiter hat techniques are actually ok.

  4. Great article. I fully agree with the senitment. Unfortunately, there remain far too many SEO’s willing to commit these ‘crimes’ for a fast buck.

    This is made worse by the fact that many of these techniques still work. Until Google gets to grip with spam, there will always remain opportunists happy to cut corners.

  5. I completely agree that putting in the effort of offering something unique which adds value and creates a buzz is the best way to gain in the search results and by using that path it will also provide longevity.

    There will always be people who want the prize without putting in that type of work though.

  6. The perception for most is of exponential growth in spam, even for those of us without Hotmail accounts – were you getting Korean-language spams, say, a year ago? This is supported by a blizzard of surveys. It’s getting to the stage when email as we know it will collapse under the weight of unsolicited, err, email. internet marketing

  7. I don’t know about this mate. The web has always been a pretty seedy place. Most of the internet is porn and illegal torrent sites and spam existed on the web before search engines. SEO’s might not of helped much but in reality I don’t think normal internet users are affected adversely much by the actions of SEO’s.

    I think as an industry we need to get over this idea of ‘making the internet a better place’- its never going to happen! That said i agree with all your points about tactics and techniques

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