Pump the brakes: SEO and its sweeping statements

By Simon Ensor

The following article is an opinion post written by a guest author and may not necessarily reflect the views of Search Engine Watch.

Knee-jerk reactions are rarely based on sound judgement. Instead they are driven by emotion. In such scenarios, you would be better off giving due consideration prior to taking action.

The problem is that this advice is lost upon what would appear to be a worryingly large portion of the SEO world. At critical points, the SEO community has proven that they are prone to not only making knee-jerk reactions, but then vehemently defending these reactions long after the dust has settled.

It is somewhat excusable though. Search Engine Optimization is an imperfect science. Google is continually changing their fiendishly complex algorithms and will often neither confirm or deny such changes.

It’s a poker game where everyone wears masks and keeps their cards very close to their chest – and no-one shows their cards for free. Add to this the threat of your website being heavily sanctioned by one of Google’s many bizarrely-named updates due to ‘spammy’ techniques, and you can see why people are on edge.

To add to this, the amount of ‘how to’ SEO articles on the web is staggering, and can be intimidating even for those working in the industry every day. It can be a challenge to decipher which research to trust or whose advice to take. As a direct result, SEOs tend to hang on every last word released by Google.

Filter this down and the recognized names in the industry – the likes of Rand Fishkin, John Mueller, Danny Sullivan and Neil Patel, among others, hold considerable sway over how the industry acts.

So what’s the problem?

Well, it’s the knee-jerk nature of reactions to news or statements made by Google or the aforementioned industry experts. The community treats these like a call to arms, without considering the individualistic nature of any SEO campaign or the often countless other factors that should be taken into account.

Matt Cutt’s denouncement of spammy guest blogging in 2014 was one such example:

“Guest blogging is dead!”

In January 2014 Google’s very own leader of the crusades against spam, Matt Cutts, posted an article on his blog titled “The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO”, a strongly-worded commentary on how the SEO community had used guest blogging as a manipulative SEO technique. They had ignored the distinction made by Cutts himself between high quality and low quality guest posting, a distinction that was central to the point he was making.

What followed was a deluge of articles warning readers not to engage in any sort of guest blogging. That guest blogging was “dead” and would fetch heavy penalties – irrespective of whether you were contributing heavily researched articles to major media outlets, that were then engaged with and shared on the web hundreds or thousands of times.

The reaction was so one-sided that Cutts had to add a final paragraph to his blog stating that he was Go to the full article.

Source:: Search Engine Watch

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