jun 28

Bad Strategies

Mashable story about SEO Tips for using Twitter. Sigh. Do people really think like this?



I inhabit this strange world where I need to actually care about SEO for the sake of clients, yet I feel compelled to call bullshit on anyone who takes it too far.

This is clearly going to far.

To be clear, you should do that painfully common-sense stuff -- proper semantic markup, xml sitemaps, keyword URLs, etc. But if you're the kind of person who starts believing you should craft Tweets to have certain words near the front so that they're more SEO-friendly (#6) or limit characters for retweeting purposes (#8)... get out of the business now.

posted by Rex at 1:45 PM on June 28, 2009

I spend half my time at work convincing the same people over and over that SEO isn't real.

posted by BradOFarrell at 2:02 PM on June 28, 2009

My company does SEO, which also means my company spends time defending doing SEO... however, "Mind your retweetability" is probably the silliest thing I've seen in a long time.

posted by Jason at 5:13 PM on June 28, 2009

Link baiting > SEO

How many times do you think that story was retweeted? Let the echo chamber commence.

posted by taulpaul at 6:09 PM on June 28, 2009

Jason, I'm curious: would your agree that SEO is generally a common-sense science? That it will go the way of "social media experts" who build Facebook pages? That there's some craft involved, but that most people who know the mechanics of the internet know pretty much what to do?

I've dealt with "the best" SEO people and I can't find one who tells me something that I don't know. Occasionally, they can perform some keyword mining that I didn't think of, but that's about it...

posted by Rex at 7:34 PM on June 28, 2009

It's bullshit in the sense that picking a decent CMS and doing stuff halfway right will get you 99% of the way there, and an occasional link from anyone halfway respected will take you way beyond any SEO strategy.

My job's website is second or third in a google search for just about anything we've ever mentioned on the site.

99% of the time, anyone considering hiring an SEO expert would be much better off just hiring someone with a clue about the internet.

posted by alesh at 1:04 AM on June 29, 2009

what once was considered a dark art of the internet is now, to your point, common sense. being an SEO expert is like being a sandwich expert. most of what counts doesn't need explanation, and additional elements/expertise will increase the intended effect by a slight margin beyond the necessary foundation.

posted by ryan at 12:08 PM on June 29, 2009

because i'm an idiot who knows nothing about SEO besides "use words from google trends," i give you this:


posted by fek at 12:33 PM on June 29, 2009


Keep in mind, you've been deeply involved with the web and the way it works for a long time. Knowing this "common-sense" stuff doesn't just come naturally for anybody who starts a website.

I'll agree that plenty of it does seem like common sense. Having a good CMS certainly helps--but many, many small businesses have never heard of ANY CMS, let alone the SEO nuances of custom Drupal or Wordpress builds. Having good copywriters on staff helps even more--but the same applies here... most sites write the same stuff for the web that they'd write on a brochure. Just 2 examples, of course.

So it's a package of basic skills that are greater than their parts, but it's also doing research on things like staying up on Google's whims. Google changes its own rules all the time, and SEOs have to keep up with it. Google's nofollow tag rules changed pretty dramatically within the past year, for instance.

(In other news, this site ranks really well for the search term feeding on itself.)

posted by Jason at 2:48 PM on June 29, 2009

Haha. That's a good example of something I should fix! But ya know, I couldn't give a damn if this site shows up in Google.

It's got a 7 pagerank, but that's just cuz it's been around forever.

posted by Rex at 2:52 PM on June 29, 2009

SEO is a racket. As Rex mentions, there about 5 things you need to do, #1 being write good content. Everything else is bullshit.

posted by sac at 3:18 PM on June 29, 2009

"It's got a 7 pagerank, but that's just cuz it's been around forever." or because Kottke linked to you once, like 5 years ago. :)

posted by taulpaul at 4:55 PM on June 29, 2009

He's got 7 too, natch.

posted by Rex at 4:57 PM on June 29, 2009

I agree with Rex in post 1. Some people just go too far, and to answer another question, yes it is largely common snese, following the guidelines set out by Google, and being very clear at the outset about site structure. Doing everything in an ordered & logical & clearly structured way is all it takes.

posted by SEO Experts at 6:41 PM on July 9, 2009

NOTE: The commenting window has expired for this post.