The SEO Bubble

I was just interviewed about SEO for articles by Forbes and the Wall Street Journal last week. This week Forbes, which hosts doorway mesothelioma pages, has another one titled "Should You Hire a Search Engine Consultant?" Due to Google's push of their news vertical, the Forbes article quickly ranked #4 in Google for "seo", which helps push me down another spot. Arg ;)

The WSJ also published another article about SEO, which includes news of a mom naming her child after a toilet bowl company because the name is rare.

As if the news coverage wasn't bad enough for heating up market competition, some SEO firms are investing heavily in automation technology and are sharing that story publicly, while Google is emphasizing old authority sites, (killing small new sites both in organic search and on ad quality scores).

By the time something is widely talked about the easy ROI is already on the downward slope. Buying domains was really profitable about 5 years ago when the first web bubble burst, but some of the sharpest domainers are buying domains for 140 years revenues. If you are new to a market how can you compete with that?

And since search is almost as old as the web is, and search engines collect so much usage data it is hard to compete without a serious budget or an original marketing angle. Many of the sharpest minds in SEO have moved beyond just doing SEO, because if you only do SEO you will only make a fraction of what you would if you spent that same amount of time doing things that are becoming relatively easier for real SEOs, like folding SEO into a holistic marketing mix and creating real brands. But if one's core profession was not SEO how would there be enough time? Who has time to be a subject matter expert, provide customer service, while learning branding, marketing, monetization, etc etc etc on the side?

Worse yet, the window of opportunity for each new opportunity gets shorter and shorter. Social media is already too hyped to be of any value for most webmasters. People buy votes from top contributors and PR firms are sending out iPods for publishers to keep if they are willing to review it and associate it with a specific merchant. Everyone is buying links one way or another, and if you don't have a budget or some serious creativity you are screwed as a would be SEO.

Published: May 10, 2007 by Aaron Wall in marketing publishing & media


May 10, 2007 - 3:57am

" of a mom naming her child after a toilet bowl company because the name is rare."

Without visiting the link, why would someone want to name their child Armitage Shanks? :D

May 10, 2007 - 4:52am

Ha, I had the same intention last year. I've always liked the name Atherol that I own the .com version of it. It's very rare and a lot better sounding than the plumbing fixtures company.

Adam Audette
May 10, 2007 - 6:12am

SEO should always be part of the broader marketing picture - a subset. You're right about the SEO bubble and the hype is getting ridiculous. Everyone's grasping at Google who's dominating the commerce Web and in a way Google is playing puppet master to SEOs.

Hawaii SEO
May 10, 2007 - 6:41am

Hey Aaron...

Sounds like you need a vacation.

May 10, 2007 - 4:31pm

I talked to a client just yesterday that was nofollowing their entire nav bar because they had articles that were shared across sites and didn't want to "get banned for duplicate content".

It was a site based off of a template from a chiropractor website template company that you had apparently consulted with. There were other things, like canonical and variable URLs with long query strings, mini css style sheets on top of the header on every page, etcetera...

Trust me, there is still a lot of low hanging fruit. I'm with Dave - you need a vacation. Go visit him in Hawaii; I hear his wife is a good cook. ;-P

May 10, 2007 - 4:37pm

By the way, I was not trying to imply that you didn't do your job when I mentioned you had consulted with the company. Perhaps they haven't implemented your suggestions yet.

I also explained to this client that he wouldn't get "banned" but that the content probably just wouldn't rank very well. Just to be safe, I instructed him to put his shared articles into their own folder and dissalow that in the robots.txt file, rather than nofollow his entire site.

May 11, 2007 - 3:46am

Hi Everett
Yeah. I wouldn't tell somebody to nofollow all their internal navigation...I am thinking that something was lost in translation or maybe that consult was me answering a quick question via email and somehow the answer and the question did not match in both our minds.

Glad to hear you got them sorted out though.

Matt L
May 11, 2007 - 9:40pm

This is actually comforting news - I could use less time following SEO and more time working on by business development process so my businesses can grow without me being overly-involved in each detail of it.

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