Self Serving Marketing Advice

Many people dole out information with deceptive intent, or to push their own agenda. Recently I created a contest to rank for Dave Pasternack, and so far the results have been quite revealing. Where you rank for generic terms does not matter much if you are looking for good SEO clients, but to say SEO is of limited value across the entire spectrum is dishonest. As NFFC said:

I think the root of the problem is the fact that SEO is very difficult to scale. By that I mean that SEO is a craft best practiced by a small highly motivated team, it doesn't lend itself to a production line approach. That stands equally for those SEO's working inhouse as it does for those consultants plying there wares. Now David isn't a complete idiot, to his credit did-it have plenty of years experience of having their clients bitched slapped all over the SERP's by kids in basements. He knows better than anyone that SEO doesn't "scale".
So I think the general reason that people are pissed off with David is that instead of him holding did-it's hands up and saying "we don't have the management skills to be able to offer SEO services to our customers", he instead tries to make out that SEO is not a good choice for his clients and that they need PPC. That implies a readiness to be economical with the truth and a lack of ability to be critical of your own companies short comings that, imho, doesn't bode well for those looking to do business with his company.

I realize that a large part of pushing a profitable company is market differentiation, but if you have to lie about the viability of a competing field to push your current business model that is shifty at best. And if you are using the media to spread your misinformation that is blatantly wrong, and you should be called out for it.

Since the contest has started Did It has done the following:

  • spoke of protecting Google's purity

  • begged for links by offering to donate money to the American Cancer Association
  • put up a t-shirt page on Cafepress that links to David's biography page
  • linked to David's profile from Kevin's blog
  • linked to David's profile page sitewide on Did It
  • created duplicate content

Lets run through those one at a time.

Protecting Google's purity: What makes this claim so entertaining is that David Pasternack wasn't ranking #1 for his own name. How a person calls SEO garbage without even ranking for their own name is beyond me. I rank in the top 10 or 20 for words like Aaron or Wall, and am the 5 results for Aaron Wall.

On top of that, PPC people believe you can buy any term you see fit. How can they believe in protecting Google's purity, especially if the consultants also push paid inclusion?

American Cancer Association: You have to throw the cancer card to rank for your own name? That is pretty sick. What do you do if you are asked to compete in a competitive marketplace? Talk down SEO? Oh yeah, I forgot...

T shirt and blog links: If you have been doing decent SEO, and SEO is a one time event, then why the need to come up with these techniques to get a few more links?

Sitewide Link: You are going to change your entire site structure based on a silly $1,000 contest? Sounds a bit reactive for a forward thinking marketing company, isn't it? Hopefully you give your clients more holistic and forward looking advice.

Duplicate Content: Creating a near identical second profile page is lame. And maybe an effective strategy if it were a few years ago, but not for today.

The terms that are worth more than any others, as a branded person who frequently speaks to the media, are your company name and your name. But to already have mainstream media exposure and STILL need to use all of those gimmicks to (hopefully) rank for your own name is pathetic. Ranking should be a given.

Notice how reactive Did It was to a silly $1,000 contest. Clearly SEO isn't a one time thing, or they did a bad job of SEO on their site.

Published: January 27, 2007 by Aaron Wall in marketing


January 31, 2007 - 12:59pm

Very unimpressed Aaron. Quite sad about it all, actually.

I expected more from you.

January 27, 2007 - 7:16am

I'm always amazed that you're able to turn being irritated into an opportunity to teach.

January 27, 2007 - 8:45pm

"SEO is a craft best practiced by a small highly motivated team, it doesn't lend itself to a production line approach"

I agree with this.

The problem that even small SEO companies have though is that apart from their contract monetary value, they don't tend to have as much incentive to ensure that everything is done really well - that only the best, relevant, one-way inbound links are chosen.

Is the future of SEO going to be more about training individuals or departments within bigger organizations?

January 27, 2007 - 11:44pm

Call me crazy, but I think SEO could be done in a production line approach if you did it right. However, it really depends on how you approach it. You can apply production-line efficiencies and methods to processes like SEO if you remember that a certain amount of customization will be needed for each project. Realistically you break down the SEO process into logical groupings and get highly skilled people to perform those tasks. You automate what you can in those processes and just keep improving them.

SEO is absolutely something that can scale as long as you go about it the right way and are realistic about the expected results.

January 28, 2007 - 7:20am

A media company that I work has been employing an "assembly line" approach to not only SEO, but to all aspects of the creation, promotion, and optimization of their sites.

With a five person team, they are currently creating 2 affiliate websites per week. Essentially everyone is cross-trianined on every aspect, but have also been trained as a specialist or lead in one area.

With strong task management, the system has been working very well and the "strategy" has been quite profitable to date.

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