Bad Dated Advice
People who are well established can trade on reputation and attract strong enough clients to not need to perform tests to learn the algorithms intimately well.
Recently another well known marketer put out a video saying domain names were irrelevant to SEO. Then they got feedback from viewers who said they thought that statement was wrong. And then their reply sent to thousands of members on their list included
It's true that your domain name has no REAL effect on your SERPS.
That answer is intuitive, but it is also incorrect. The only way one would claim that as fact is if one has not done any testing recently.
It is one thing to be wrong, but it is another thing to be wrong, be called out on it, and stand by your incorrect claim. People are spending good money to read incorrect and/or outdated information. Unfortunate really, but if you are already doing well you don't need to track and test every little thing to keep doing well. Very few gurus openly sharing information have thin affiliate and newly launched test sites that back up their claims. But it is getting harder to succeed with thin affiliate sites as Google becomes creative director of content development.
Share REALLY Good Tips & Die
Most established people are too lazy or too busy to do in depth testing. And if they are doing it, they probably do not want to share it publicly. Share a hole and watch it get plugged. After a search engineer reads your blog and destroys one of your sites you mentioned, it makes it much harder to want to reveal tips and algorithmic holes with hard evidence behind them. Show your proof and watch Google burn it to the ground. Even if you know what you are doing you can't overcome a hand edit unless it was unjust AND they care enough about your site to let it rank again. You were right, but only until you opened your big mouth. :)
Much of the game of relevancy is a mind control exercise. The conversation revolves around debates including "should be" or "in an ideal world" rather than "how it is".
The Endless Sea of Tests & Noise
People newer to the field have less to risk by being aggressive, place a lower value on their time, are generally more excited about the pursuit, are more willing to try things that established people may not, and are more willing to share their results. But many of them have limited exposure, limited confidence, and/or are drowned out by an endless sea of incorrect information. With so many people saturating the SEO market it is getting harder to be the person first with the scoop. Today blogs are a lot like forums were a few years back. There is no way you could ever get any work done if you subscribed to all the SEO blogs, so it is impossible to read all the information.
Marketing, Marketing, Marketing
If you create a public facing SEO brand, so much of your time goes into brand management and marketing that it is hard to have time to launch many new sites unless you have scaled out a staff. If you have scaled out a staff, you must keep more of your secrets to yourself, because getting a site burned or losing a competitive advantage not only hurts you, but also hurts everyone who works for you. This really hit home after Google killed a site that I had a team working on.
I Was Just Looking At Your Site!
Some of the people who introduced themselves on SEO Book recently mentioned that they were in fields or owned sites that directly competed with some of my sites. If I share all my best ideas with them for free on the blog and they share almost none of their best ideas with me that gets a bit hard to compete with them on my secondary sites, especially if I am competing with them and search engineers decide to pillage my sites. ;)
More Work for Less $ = Bad Trend
The market is getting more competitive. So longer hours are required to achieve similar profits from thin sites. People who see and feel this trend are not only working extra to make up for it, but are also working extra to establish a firmer foothold for the future. 1 hour of work today may be more effective than 2 hours of work next year, or 3 hours of work the following year. But after you get that network effect behind a site the ball is rolling down hill. Gravity is on your side.
SEO as a Subset of Marketing
As it gets harder to fake it people make more legitimate sites offering more value. But as their sites become more embedded in the web doing SEO tests related to links become less and less relevant because it is harder to isolate variables. Dominating the search results becomes a game dominated by the people who are the best at spreading ideas. And so with each passing day SEO for most webmasters is more of a subset of marketing than an independent discipline.
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