I’m the Snidely Whiplash of SEO?!
Ian Lurie Mar 25 2008
Yesterday Michael Martinez wrote a post about Real Advice from Bad SEOs. It’s a bit of a rant, and you know how I love internet marketing rants and SEO mythbusting, so I loved the sound of his new post.
His overall point is great too: If the search engines start bouncing your site up and down like silly putty on a grill, RELAX. Don’t start taking rash actions. Wait and see how things shake out.
But I do have to differ with a few of his examples, ’cause if I don’t, then I’m an “amateurish” and “ill-informed” SEO professional. I might even be evil. Eeeevvviiiillll…
Here are a few of Michael’s pet peeves, and why I think they’re actually OK:
Michael: “Submit links to directories” is Bad Advice
Michael doesn’t say why this is a bad idea, but I get the sense he really doesn’t like it (cough). I’m not sure why, though. Not all directories are bad. Submitting your site to niche directories is a no-brainer for me. It’s easy, it builds a small amount of link happiness for your site, and it’s generally free or very inexpensive.
Plus, submitting your site to local directories like Yelp can help you gain traction for local search listings.
No reasonably intelligent SEO will tell you to submit your site to 40,000 directories. They’ll carefully pick and choose. But saying all directory link submission is bad seems rash to me.
Michael: “Put links in CSS galleries” is Bad Advice
Again, I wonder, why not? If you’ve taken the effort to build an XHTML- and/or CSS-compliant site, why not get recognition?
I’ve never seen this hurt someone’s search rankings, the links are free, and why the heck not? Doesn’t seem like this is bad advice to me. Does that make me evil?
Michael: “Get links from social media sites” is Bad Advice
Again, I think Michael’s gone a bit too wide on this one. No, you don’t want to spam social media sites.
But submitting a particularly good story to Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon or Sphinn is a great way to get visibility and potentially build links; creating a profile on these sites builds your brand and gives you a chance to tell folks what content you like or don’t like.
My advice: Use the social media sites the way they’re meant to be used. Post all kinds of links, not just from your own sites. Contribute to the community. When you write something that’s really top-notch, go ahead – submit it.
Worst that happens is the community disagrees and votes your post off the island.
Best that happens is other bloggers see what you wrote and link to you from their sites. They likely ‘dofollow’ their links, so even if the initial link from the social network is worthless from an SEO standpoint, the additional links it generates are priceless.
And Yes, Onsite SEO Matters
Of course onsite SEO – great content, good structure, good code and high search visibility – is critical too. That’s why we’ve spent so much time building fancy tools to test sites for problems.
But remember, SEO requires relevance and authority. The latter comes, in large part, from links.
So please folks, no torches and pitchforks. I’m not the Snidely Whiplash of SEO.
I wrote a book about internet marketing. Betcha didn’t know that. You can read it online or buy it here.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More