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Boondoggle SEO – Jill Whalen Stirring up Bad SEO’s

Mike Valentine

Jill Whalen, one of best SEO’s in the industry, stated the obvious last week – that there are bad SEO’s working away with unknowing, uneducated clients – and suddenly there’s an uproar due to the great (link bait) title for her Boondoggle SEO post at SearchEngineLand. Not surprisingly others interviewed Jill because she stated the obvious (with that great link-bait title), causing another wave of blog posts and a bit more controversy.

I have a lot of respect for Jill, and also for a few of those she disagrees with. But the disagreements all come down to differences in opinion on minor issues that can turn bad SEO’s into evangelists for their pet techniques. (They’ve gotta protect their image and justify what they just sold to the clients who may question their recommendations after hearing of Jill’s position.)

My opinions have ebbed and flowed on ingredients off the secret sauce of SEO for a dozen years, but we are all acting on a single method – deconstructing search results.

Google doesn’t tell us how to make sites search friendly, we have to figure it out by doing searches and looking at the results. Some are lucky enough to be in a position to do large-scale testing, some may rely a bit too much on some carefully stated pearl of wisdom from Google insiders uttered at a conference or in a video. Some build vast technical tools with carefully crafted algorithms meant to figure out the machinations in Mountain View, and still others do nothing but adopt the latest technique they heard at some forum or in a newsletter.

Sometimes new things are discovered that work to adjust search rankings upward which may work only temporarily because the engines are working on stopping it from becoming the next search engine spammer tool. But at the end of the day, the fundamentals matter most, some things stop working because the search engines see that they are too easily abused, and we SEO’s keep struggling to make sense of it all.

Kudos for gaining the attention of the industry Jill and thanks for re-focusing our attention on best-practices and fundamentals. You can count on BAD SEO’s to attempt to rip your statements to shreds because it upsets their business model. Count on some disagreements from some and some supportive rallying cries from others – while we all keep doing our best for our clients and employers at honing our skills and keeping up with industry trends and new developments.

I do love this job – but sometimes it gets ridiculous how dramatic the obvious can become.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • marcsternfield August 25, 2009, 9:19 am

    Thanks for pointing me to this article, Mike. Jill Whalen's post is extremely helpful, as is the discussion.