Social Media Optimization: Are SEOs Part of the Problem?

Apr 23, 2007 • 10:02 am | comments (6) by twitter | Filed Under SEO - Search Engine Optimization
 

Li Evans writes in a Cre8asite Forums thread referencing an interesting post on Pronet Advertising by Muhammad Saleem about whether SEOs are part of the problem in social media optimization. In the the post, Muhammad references a SEOmoz post where Rand Fishkin offered to award his readers for linking the anchor text "Greatest Living American" to Stephen Colbert's website, ColbertNation.com. Surprisingly, the effort paid off. At SES NY, when it was mentioned at a forum, it was ranked nowhere. As of this weekend, it is ranked #1. In the Cre8asite Forums thread, moderator Li asks if Muhammad has a point.

One of the members, iamlost, feels that the problem is faulted to how Google weighs links.

Much SEO behaviour that non-SEOs find objectionable is a direct result of the SEs (notably Google) giving sheer link quantity a value....

Google either actually can not or (my view) chooses not to clean up mass blog links even after they are lost into site archives. The SEO link rushers are but a symptom of a SE disease. Beating on a symptom will not cure the problem.

I just searched for "Greatest Living American" on the Big 4, and all of them ranked ColbertNation.com for the search term on the front page except for Ask.com. Only Google ranked #1. Therefore, this may be a correct assessment.

The other problem is that there is dislike in the industry when there are contests being held out of "boredom." Because of this ranking tactic, the discussion continues to say that there the increasing concern that SEOs are snake oil salesmen. Danny Sullivan addressed this concern on Search Engine Land not long ago. Bill Slawski writes in to explain that there are all too many search engine optimizers who are not truly SEOs:

There are small business site owners who will only link to people who link to them, creating reciprocal link pages and Triangular Square Oblong Trapezoid link patterns. These are people who aren't SEOs and link only to improve their pagerank rather than adding links on the basis of providing value to their visitors. This is not SEO. This is not an SEO tactic. This is a sad and misguided practice.

I think that the underlying concern is whether relevancy is key. Muhammad has a good point indeed. These tactics are scrutinized too much within the industry and legitimate SEOs' tactics are questioned.

A very deep discussion continues at Cre8asite Forums.

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Comments:

FireBlogger

04/23/2007 03:02 pm

Colbert gamed to the top spot for Greatest Living American proves Google is more about ads and making $s than being completely relevant. Nevertheless I instinctively pop my search queries into Google from the tool bar 20 times a day on average. Bad habits are hard to break.

randfish

04/23/2007 10:45 pm

Tamar - just a quick note; I think you've linked to ProNet with the SEOmoz anchor text above :)

Barry Schwartz

04/23/2007 10:46 pm

All part of our secret plan... ;-)

Tamar Weinberg

04/23/2007 10:50 pm

Thanks Rand, fixed. ;)

jonah stein

04/24/2007 02:11 am

Barry/Tamar While I agree with much of what you say about Google and links and the corrosive impact of SEO on Social Media, this particular campaign had less to do with SEO and more to do with humor and cultural Zietgiest. It was meant to demonstrate something to Mr. Colbert by ranking his site first. Thus it belongs in the realm of social media as much as SEO. It is my hope that Mr. Colbert will use this technique on the air, thus moving out of SMO entirely and raising awareness of the problem to a new height. Read my Mission Accomplished post if you haven't already. Not because it is relevant, just because it's funny! <a href="http://www.alchemistmedia.com/blog/mission-accomplished-top-ranking-in-google" rel="nofollow">Mission Accomplished</a>

Live Auction

05/31/2012 05:14 am

Social Media optimization is very important now days after doing SEO of your site.

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