Comments are Easy Marketing Opportunities

People talk about things everyday. When most people talk about SEO (especially those who have never tried to understand anything about how search engines work) they typically tend to spew out biased ignorant garbage that needs corrected.

Of course I don't want to make it sound like I never make mistakes or do stupid things. They both happen all the time. And people have corrected me as well.

The error I tend to have a distaste for is one of intent...the people talking trash about SEOs...what percent of them even tried to learn anything about the industry before they paid a scammer and got mad, or just posted some hate speech with no knowledge on any level?

It is the equivalent of me saying all PHP programmers or web designers are scum because I was cheap and lazy and hired a bad one. I try to go out of my way to make sure I express my name and brand as being a person not being afraid to call a spade a spade. Sometimes people like it. Sometimes they hate it.

Sometimes I intentionally piss people off. One of the most effective ways to do that is to change the frame of reference of the conversation to use their own words 100% against them to make them look silly. The beautiful thing about the web is that you can take a few minutes to craft your response. You don't even have to be immediately good with words to drive a point home.

You can also do well being exceptionally polite to people if you prefer not to be known for calling people out. Any way you slice it, each ignorant post is a marketing opportunity for hungry SEOs. Sometimes even when well respected people outside the industry make positive comments about members of the industry (or reference their content) someone will come along and quickly denounce their posts.

Here is a quote from Andrea, who tends to think Todd is a bad person because his is guilty of being a knowledgable SEO:

BS. That guy is a SEO consultant, most of which are purveyors of snake oil to the unwary. And that's putting it politely. Traffic comes from content, from passion and from something, anything that actually means something to people. If you haven't got something worth talking, nobody will be talking about it, SEO optimized or not.

to which I replied (not sure if he will post it there, so I will post it here):

Anywhere that there is $$$$ and confusion sleazeballs will follow and sell snake oil. But for you to write off the entire industry is ignorant at best. And that's putting it politely.

I recently wrote an article about some of the reasons the SEO industry has a black eye. seobook dot com/archives/001561.shtml

Part of it was that sleazeballs sell snake oil. Another part of the equasion was that most clients are lazy.

>If you haven't got something worth talking, nobody will be talking about it, SEO optimized or not.

People talk about stupid crap all the time. Some people even talk about things they know nothing about. Take yourself, as an example.

You really believe that quality content and passion are the only thing that makes pages rank?

How come I have pages ranking in Google right now that are only page titles, waiting for me to develop and place ad filled content on them? For terms that are worth thousands of dollars a month?

In fact, I have ranked domains where the site was not even up. One of my sites was ranking #6 for "search engine marketing" when Google's cache showed no content at the URL. Since the site was not even up clearly it was ONLY links that made it rank.

The term it was ranking for? search engine marketing.

Here are a few screenshots. This is the search result:
seobook dot com/images/no-page-1.gif
Here is the cached copy of the site not existing:
seobook dot com/images/no-page-2.gif

>I can tell you first hand that SEO only works for sites with great content since building link popularity is nearly impossible for sites without great content.

I have made thousands of dollars off sites that were of such low quality that I was ashamed to have owned them...some of which now only exist as trophies for how to make bad sites.

You can get links to ANY site if you are creative enough. Links are just citations or references.

Look at this page, published today no less:
problogger dot net/archives/2006/03/24/pixel-ad-site-targeting-bloggers-with-deception/

Also some people will sell a link to anyone. And as shown from that Problogger post, some people get links exclusively because their content quality is so low.

MetaFilter and MSNBC even referenced an auto content generator
www dot

Content quality typically does not get much lower than that which is automated or machine composed.

Whenever people talk in absolutes they are easy to shoot down, because the array of human emotion and human activity is so broad. Those who speak in absolutes typically (although not all the time) do not consider much beyond their own perspective.

For anyone who thinks Andrea had any credibility on any level to talk trash about SEO, check out what Google sees as their home page. As of writing this it has no text, no links, and the even the word BIG in the page title is ran together with numbers with an underscore separating them BIG_v1.02 (so Google sees the page title as two words - BIG_v1 and 02). That is literally the single worst SEOed page I have ever seen in my life.

Published: March 24, 2006 by Aaron Wall in marketing


March 24, 2006 - 12:52pm

Your right, comments are a great time to get in a pitch. It happens over at as well.

Keep up the great posts though, your a daily read of mine!


March 24, 2006 - 1:36pm

nicely stated aaron.
not sure what andrea's background is, but she sounds like an advertising or marketing person. Some of these folks are paralysed by what technology is doing, and instead of getting on board, they have decided to try battle the very concept of technology, from
the angle that the interaction is not 'human' enough. What andrea states about SEO being unimportant shows a fairly deluded and anthropomorphised attitude toward search engine spiders, and the fact that people are running out there with the idea that googlebot is a nice fella that occupies a seat at the corner bar like the rest of us after 5pm is pretty crazy.
On the other hand, I like the idea of SEO being a game of getting googlebot 'excited', like we could tweak pages to actually cause some kind of emotional or lustful reaction by an algorithmic process. Googlebot in heat.

March 24, 2006 - 6:01pm

Aaron, I could not agree with you more! I think the thing that scares alot of offiline business owners that are trying to get into the online world is thier own fear of not knowing marketing in the online world or understanding what it takes to get on top of the engines. I work closely with alot of offline "marketing gurus" whose jaws often drop to the ground when I show them what can be done online. These guys are masters of thier own world and know that, but they also are smart enough to know that times are changing and if they don't do what they can to keep up they will be left behind. Just because of a few bad apples out there that give us SEO people a "black eye" does not mean the entire industry is that way. Anyone that thinks that needs to take a serious look at offline marketing and the scams and money that can and has been lost that way...You have to be smart. FOR EXAMPLE .. If you are working with a good SEO (that has been getting you results) and you recieve a call about "your meta tags being all wrong" take time to think about it before acting ane wasting money ... and have a talk with your SEO people and explain the call and you will find out soon how you just avoided being scammed out of thousands of dollars. We white hat SEO people need to stick together and through posts like this get the word out that there is GOOD out there in our industry!

March 24, 2006 - 7:31pm

I was going to try and find something ignorant you said in this post Aaron, write some clever criticism about it, then put a link to a search engine optimization related page on my firm's site, and then everyone would find it humorous how I flipped your own comments back on you. I had a hard time finding a target for my jive talkin' until I read this line you wrote towards the end of the post "Whenever people talk in absolutes they are easy to shoot down..."

March 24, 2006 - 10:09pm

>put a link to a search engine optimization related page

Good think you did not Joshua. That would have been a cheesy spam oppurtunity, not a marketing opportunity.

March 25, 2006 - 1:27am

Hope he learns the lesson though most likely not.

Erm, I should definitely comment more on people's blogs, I've been slacking off lately...

March 25, 2006 - 3:32am

Interesting post and observations.

The web is an interesting arena, so different than others due to the time lapse... time to respond, and the time that the response is out there... you never know the real motives.

Either way, I think you hit things well. SEO is a hot topic and there are many proponents on both sides of the fence. It is a very hard subject to quantify and measure... yes, measurements can be made, but it can often be hard to determine true cause and effect. And of course the reality is, I'm sure many of those who speak negatively have gotten burned... therefore, the whole lot must be a bad bunch! Reality is, much could be say about many forms of advertising as well, which in many ways, SEO is a form of.... communicating your message to your target audience, as often as possible, and at the right time.

Unfortunately, like many things web, many opinions are being formed after a bad dime-store experience. No one ever spends a little bit and thinks, "wow, that didn't work worth a darn, guess I should have invested more in the project," but instead they think, "good thing I didn't spend any money on that, what a complete waste, clearly that SEO (or whatever) is a scam." At least until they decide to give it one more try, for three easy payments of $19.99 to get top Google placement on the twenty most valuable keywords for their industry, guaranteed to run at least 8 weeks.

March 25, 2006 - 10:56am

I don't know how I missed your comment earlier Brian, but that is the spot on point that most people miss. Great great comment.

It reminded me of when a friend of mine wanted to buy something that required an $80 money order. He thought you just went and gave the post office 75 cents and they made a money order for whatever amount you want. I sorta think that many people view SEO that way, just like you stated... well got $300 worth of scam, glad I didn't buy $10,000 worth of it, etc.

To be entirely honest I hired a scammer SEO who failed to deliver on his vague promise. That is how I first got into the industry.

He told me to do stuff like create 2 copies of the same page and cross link them using ivisible text. I asked him what prevented me from having a program creating 1,000's of them and automating it. He really couldn't live up to answer that he was selling a scam at a price point so low that it precluded the ability to honestly deliver results in almost any market.

And SEO Black Hat has this great post about the scammers catering to people looking for a deal.

Oddly enough someone read my site that was my SEO notes I was writing down as I learned and asked me to work for them before I knew I was selling services. I started with a low price point (only charged them $100), but my client did do well with it. I was really lucky that Google was less advanced back then and he was in an uncompetitive marketplace or there is no way I would have able to have done much for him.

I could have done a better job with 3 clients too...if only they had more time and a better business model, but when you work on thin margins eventually you are marginalized out of the market if you do not sell at a reasonable price. Evolving technology and the feast or famine consulting lifestyle caused me to quickly increase my rates.

You also find that the lower your rates are the greater the average client ignorance of the value you provide. If they pay big money for services they are far more likely to appreciate the value and act on your suggestions.

March 25, 2006 - 7:23pm

I agree with your response to her. Indeed good content is key to strong SEO. However, good content is only valueable from an SEO standpoint if crawlers can actually find it and read it. The value of SEO, in my opinion of course, is presenting this content that is easy for bots to find and read and creates a compelling user experience.

Great topic and I agree with your philosophy!


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