Truly popular shit tends to rank well.
Over the next couple weeks, I’m going to be interviewing a handful of obscenely awesome online marketers for my SEO Podcast. Who am I interviewing, you might ask? Well, here’s the current lineup. (And by lineup I mean people who have tentatively agreed but now will be publicly pressured into not backing out since I put this on the interwebs. Yay, peer pressure.)
So, if you’ve got questions for one of these guys, shoot em at me on Twitter or leave a comment.
Alright, so *technically* Festivus would have been the 23rd. But. I was busy being lazy and didn’t get this finished in time. In case you’ve lived under a rock, this should explain Festivus…
Or. You know. I might just point out some stuff that bugs me about our industry instead.
Let’s start with SEO rock stars.
Normally, I’m a fairly live and let live sort of guy. (Unless I have to deal with you directly every single day… then my tolerance level for bullshit tends to start dropping.) However, the prevalence of SEO rock-stardom is getting to be a bit much. Mainly because I look at a lot of these guys and think “What would you say you do, here?”
And, to be clear – I mean what do you do *now*.
If all you do is blog about the SEO industry news and run (now dead) circle-jerk voting sites and conferences… well. Then you’re basically the Perez Hilton of the SEO industry.
The other thing that worries me is that these rock stars blog a lot. Almost too much, really.
If you’re blogging 4 times a week and guest posting and tweeting every 40 minutes, and you work a full time job… when are you building, tweaking, and testing your own sites? No – not that site where you blog about SEO to chase/keep the rock star status – sites that are aimed at commercial terms.
I’m not comfortable taking advice from anyone who is solely going by:
That’s not to say client data is no good, or isn’t to be trusted. My point is that the audience of SEO blogs, and to an extent these large conferences, typically don’t work on large brands. What happened with that massive client your agency has isn’t really a good comparison point for the guy working with the local dentist.
But – show some data/learnings from an affiliate website you started a few months back and you’d actually be useful.
The problem I’m noticing, though – is that these guys aren’t running their own affiliate sites. How could they be? They’re apparently spending all their time blogging and pitching to speak at conferences.
Now, hopefully I’m wrong. Hopefully these guys are staying sharp by making sites that play in commercial niches. But – I have the sinking feeling that this isn’t the case. It feels like these guys would out every piece of data they had to keep pushing their name. The idea that they’re being all secret agent about projects they don’t mention seems really unlikely. But again, hopefully I’m wrong.
Second thing that’s been nagging me is conferences. It ties into the rock star bit, but there’s something going on here that’s worth addressing separately.
There is, clearly, too many conferences.
I say this because I see the same things being presented over and over and over again. If there’s that little *new* stuff to talk about – we don’t need another conference. More specifically – if you don’t have something new to talk about, there’s no point in you pitching to speak.
I see guys I’ve met before – genuinely nice guys – going and presenting stuff that is basically a mashup/rehash of blog posts they’ve already made. Now, the info is still good. But it’s not new.
There’s no additional value add by turning those blog posts into a powerpoint and reading it out loud to people.
Now – this would be totally fine, if people weren’t being charged ~$1,000+ to go see these presentations. Presenting stuff like that at a small, community event like The Philadelphia SEO Grail Meetup is fine. It’s a whole $5 to go, and even that fee is only because people were ducking out without paying for all their drinks.
To me – price tags at this ~$1,000 level should demand new, engaging content. Not the shit you blogged about two months ago. Bring something new, or stay the hell home.
Now – individual presenters aside, the conferences are really at fault here. They’re the ones that select speakers. Apparently there’s fairly low editorial guidelines here, and the question “Is any of this new?” doesn’t come up.
Last point. “Ethics” being brought into the particulars of how a link is acquired.
Like Aaron Wall points out, SEO is a zero-sum game.
You want to rank #1 for a keyword? You’ve got to take it from the guy who’s already there.
You want that traffic? You want those sales and that money? You need to reach into that other guy’s pocket and take it from him. That’s the business we’re all in as SEOs.
With that being said, the idea that people want to turn a blind eye to how cut-throat our business is and start whining about how someone goes about getting their links is laughable.
“Sure, I took over your top 5 keywords and cut that piece of business in half on you and caused you to drop that part time worker you had…. but I did it ethically, with whitehat methods!”
Go. Fuck. Yourself.
There’s very little room to argue that even agreeing to operate within a zero-sum game is an ethical endeavor to begin with. Every win you get comes at someone else’s direct expense. Accept this, and move the hell on. And please, keep your whining about “cheating” to a minimum. You’re distracting the guys actually doing some work.
[notification type="standard"] TL;DR – Airing of grievances. [/notification]