SEOs Are No Longer United & I Blame The NoFollow

Jun 15, 2012 • 8:35 am | comments (53) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search Engine Industry News
 

CamaraderieA few days ago, I posted on Google+ that the disavow link tool that is expected to be released by Google in the upcoming months makes me a "bit sad."

I wanted to take the time to explain why (note, I will be offline a lot today and might not be able to respond to comments that quickly).

Several years back in the SEO community, SEOs for the most part, stood together. We had each others backs. When one SEO took a fall, we did what we could to help out. There are exceptions to that but that was the general feeling. We had a community and we protected each other. I feel that is not longer the case and hasn't been for some time.

SEOs are no longer united, there is very little camaraderie in the industry and I blame the nofollow.

Nofollow To Blame For Division In SEO Community

What? How can the nofollow attribute, a small HTML attribute designed to not vouch for spam links that was introduced in 2005 be blamed?

This was one of the first official ways for SEOs to publicly claim they don't like a link because they can't trust it. Back then, I didn't see the big picture. I don't know if Google did but they are smart. Most sites who didn't have an SEO didn't use it and still don't. The number of nofollow attributes on the web as a percentage of all links is minuscule. Typically if it is used, it is used by a savvy SEO who simply is making a statement, "I don't trust this link." Of course, there are plenty of platforms that add this on automatically, but trust me, Google knows which platforms are automated.

Either way, we have SEOs clearly documenting what they don't trust. Not submitted a spam report but adding HTML that indicate which URLs they feel are not worthy of them linking to.

Paid Link PageRank Penalties

Then in November 2007 Google started slapping sites who sold links that passed PageRank. It specifically was targeting paid links and this came with no surprise to SEOs, Google warned us, if you sell links, make sure they don't pass PageRank or Google can penalize you. Google said, make sure you place the nofollow on paid links.

Tons of SEO blogs were hit, including this one. But I believe every SEO blog (except one) that was hit almost immediately added the nofollow attribute to their paid links or removed the links completely.

SEO Community Spits

It was at this time where the nofollow split the industry. I stubbornly stood up and even to this day, yelled How Dare You Tell Me To NoFollow My Sponsored Links. I didn't do it because I want to make money by selling links, I did it because I am stubborn and more so, I wanted to see if there was any sense of unity or camaraderie in the community.

At that point it was too late. SEOs split. Most still wouldn't report competitors to Google back then, but they still did so indirectly. There is a a fear that Google has set out there, again, I don't blame them - I would do the same if I was at Google, but that fear set a tone. I also doubt Google cared about scaring anyone, they just want the best results and this is one of many ways to achieve it.

When Andy and I stood up and the rest of the community stepped down, we saw that split. We may be stupid, but I am a big fan of the community and the community being together for better or worse.

Stand Together Or Get Smart

I wrote about this on my personal blog a while back about Digg's Camaraderie and how it reminded me of 11th and 12th grade. I'll give the short version.

In 11th grade, I was in this class that was so united. If one kid was going to fail a test, we all refused to take the test. If one student was penalized some way by a teacher, we wouldn't answer or participate in that class for the day. If one student was kicked out of class, we all left with him. It was stupid but amazing.

In any event, we are all grown up now. It is a different industry. It is wise we are where we are now. But I do kind of miss the old community feeling.

Forum discussion at Google+.

Image credit to ShutterStock for united birds

Previous story: Google Hot Searches: Any Use For SEOs?
 

Comments:

Shashank Chaudhary

06/15/2012 12:44 pm

very true... and I think that there is a strong urge for us to be united...

Praveen Sharma

06/15/2012 12:48 pm

we believe it or not.. but it's a fact that nofollow tag has shown that how valuable it is... and what can happen if it not considered in link building.

Gregory Smith

06/15/2012 12:52 pm

Hello Barry, As owner of RxSEO, I intentionally add the nofollow tag to just about every link I create, all except for my inbound. In other words, I don't trust anyone. Google has blessed me for doing this over a period of time. I don't believe in automated tools and never use them. It takes a lot of time to add the no follow tag to all those links after writing a post, but it pays off in the end. I will write more about this today. gregory smith

Anti-SEO

06/15/2012 01:05 pm

Oh, common ) The old community have been cracking algo on every update and now you finally can't crack it. You were together for the profit. This has nothing to do with support. Now you're lost (I mean community, not you personally, because you were smart enough to create your own brand) and it's time for nostalgie(fr.))

Andy

06/15/2012 01:32 pm

Google and all the hype about negative is creating a ridicoulus culture of (even fake and wrong) denunciaton and blackmailing schemes. Me: "Hey google, this competitor is having a bad viagra link there, and there are these footer links which are definitely from PAID sources, and there are these really spinned articles pointing to him from link wheels and stuff" ((trust me, because I created them personally lol)) Google: "Hey competitor, link warning! WE(!) detect some bad linking there, use the disavow tool within 2 days, 6 hours, and 27 minutes if you want to have nothing to do with it otherwise you tell us that you are an aggressor!" Competitor: (refreshes bad link list in WMT except during bathroom breaks, uses disavow tool on link) Me: Rinse and repeat...

Tad Chef

06/15/2012 01:43 pm

I think there is no SEO industry left at all, like there is no blogosphere anymore. Everybody is doing SEO nowadays and the SEO community is too big to function as such. Also I have been working with some big names in the SEO industry and they have ripped me off. It's about the money not making friends. Sad but true.

semnomic

06/15/2012 01:45 pm

no follow "i dont trust this link" ? then dont link. I dont trust this link but im putting it on my site anyway is a nonsense and non logical. logical programs find non logical links eg PANDA. so what does panda make of nofollow links? Remember "i dont trust this link" but I dont care if people/visitors to my site click on it. SO WHY IS IT THERE.?

Barry Welford

06/15/2012 01:59 pm

This is one of the many messages that are being sent out in this strange world that Google has created. They're all coming at it from different directions but if you smell the coffee or see the big picture then you can spot the underlying reality. Even Danny Sullivan's rant at SMX was another indicator that the world is out of kilter. The most telling one is the recent message from John Mueller of Google who tries to summarize the present state of play by saying that Google only wants you to put in natural links. Of course his reason for saying that is that PageRank only works if they only have to deal with natural links. That makes sense before PageRank came along. Perhaps the social media would have created a great deal of sharing and liking of links. After all we all want friends and how best to do that than by giving a little help to your friends (one of the themes in Danny Sullivan's rant). However the biggest influence by far in creating all these 'unnatural links' is the never-ending publicity by Google that links are important and PageRank is the key to understanding them. There are no longer any natural links apart from those from cloistered academics who give citations on scientific truths. John Mueller is asking us somehow to go back to the old glory days of 1997. We must put the genie back in the bottle. Then there will be no need of Matt Cutts and his team trying to identify the unnatural links. It's all baloney. PageRank is dead and it's time to move on. It was a great product for a time and has created enormous benefit for Google. Let's stop the enormous waste of human energy and the great misery it has created for so many. Google has many other ways of delivering great search results. It should concentrate on those.

Barry Schwartz

06/15/2012 01:59 pm

If you say so.

Andy

06/15/2012 02:18 pm

The problem is much simpler. It begins with google's definition of a link as a vote from site A to site B. With links like "This company is very bad at %keyword%" you would actually give them more traffic for that and other keywords in the end (and that works until now, by design lol) They make billions with a business model that is actually flawed, because what about negative votes? So google did a lot of simple, unoriginal things to counter this: nofollow links, bad neighbourhoods, penalty fear and now negative SEO fear.

S.E. Troll

06/15/2012 02:33 pm

That comradery you're so keen on was all the loophole needed for an army of useless people to call themselves SEO experts. They have thoroughly infested this industry while you clung to a code that protected them. They exploited the unspoken rule to its fullest. These not-seos black hatted your system.You should check out the get rich online infomercials. You should look at small business want ads on craigslist. They came into the industry calling themselves your peers without any desire or need to respect you. You defend it even now. But why should they start showing that respect now?

SLight

06/15/2012 02:35 pm

Was it ever that 'together'. Maybe in the old old days when you could count the number of people doing SEO on the back of a napkin (or more likely beer mat!). When I started it was around 2006 and I got the distinct impression back then that the community consisted of a bunch of high profile SEO's, and everyone else just got on with it. I knew tons of SEO's and none of them were part of the 'community'. I think these days every man and his dog are doing SEO and the community term may actually be more applicable. Yes it is much more segmented but there are more people connecting and talking about SEO now than there was before. In my opinion SEO has got de-centralised, but has a far greater community than ever before.

Anti-SEO

06/15/2012 03:00 pm

Most of the content is UGC (user generated content). It's impossible to control every link users dropping. Especially when 80% of the users consider themselves as SEO. Everybody is SEO, everybody wants to promote own content, everybody knows the links importance, everybody is dropping links everywhere. Try to control this. No way. "Content is king" made a lot of dust in industry. When the dust settles the industry will be more professional and more responsible. Then your question will make sense.

semnomic

06/15/2012 03:09 pm

This idea of link endorsement is open to abuse.. one eg there will be more. I endorse a link from www.jucy x lucy x shoes .com clever @#$% at www.jucy x lucy x shoes .com adds 100 new links to this page and changes the scope of the site. now what? honest google when I endorsed that link the site was an online shoe shop not a foot fetish site. ? This will end bad.....

Anti-SEO

06/15/2012 03:11 pm

Yup, it's all Google's fault !!! )

Todd Mintz

06/15/2012 03:44 pm

I think there is a core group of people that are still very much together...I also think there are a lot of people outside of that core who never knew how it used to be and have no point of reference for what you're saying.

semnomic

06/15/2012 04:03 pm

"It's impossible to control" true for about one more month..... you will soon be opening up webmastertools and accepting inbound links to your site and if you accept the wrong kind of link, you will be on the wrong side of google. There will be NO EXCUSES.

Matt Bluff

06/15/2012 04:21 pm

I think it is much worse that what you have outlined above. The iAcquire debacle should have been the circle-the-wagons kind of event in the history of the SEO community. It still amazes me that white hat SEO folks are missing the big picture. Google won't deindex a site for hosting malware - they only put up a warning. Google won't deindex a site for selling illegal drugs Google won't deindex a site for pushing clear hate messages Google won't deindex a site for encouraging people to commit crimes Google will deindex a site for helping webmasters beat Google's organic rankings. This was a line drawn in the sand moment. Google has made it clear that it is willing to punish not just sites that violate the guidelines, but the sites that help sites violate the guidelines, and in particular for paid links. That single step is HUGE, because it opens the doorway to penalize and punish SEO agencies across the board. The shot heard round the SEO community should have been that a single paid link took down iAcquire. Nearly every link building strategy - even the venerable guest blogging - falls under this description from the webmaster guidelines: "Links intended to manipulate PageRank". Notice that it doesn't say "primarily". That linkbait you created, yeah, it was intended to manipulate PageRank. Let's follow the list... First, they came for the spammers Then they came for the link farms Then they came for the blog networks (BMR, et al) Then they came for the free directories (15% blanked) Then they came for the paid link agencies (iAcquire) Seriously, this isn't the start of a slippery slope anymore. That bus already left the station. This isn't a coincidence, this is a strategy. A strategy to warm the pot up just slowly enough that SEOs get boiled before we realize what is going on. Here is the direction as an industry we should be going... 1. Removing Matt Cutts from SEO industry events. Sorry, but there is no reason to have the Spam Team present at SEO events. Their prime directive is to identify and stop manipulative SEO techniques, and one strong way of this is cultivating relationships at conferences and spying on SEOs (hell, they already admitted that they profile leading SEOs years ago). The information he provides is no better than that which is freely available in his webmaster videos and the help forums. Yes, his name is a draw, but that comes at a great price to the community at large. 2. SEO Agencies: It is time you realize once and for all that YOU are Google's biggest competitor. Your product offering directly competes with theirs - AdWords. Every time you offer your businesses a chance to rank organically, you are taking business from them. Sure, Matt Cutts will tell you that money doesn't play into their decisions. I really believe that from a man made millionaire many times over by Adwords. And now that their algo updates are punitive and not tied to search quality (Penguin), it is more and more clear that they intend on stifling that competition, regardless of its impact on users. I am making an appeal here to the big fish - Distilled, BlueGlass, SEOMoz, SEOBook, SMX, PubCon & WMW, etc. Guys, we really need you to stand up. We really need you to come out and say that, at minimum, Google needs to create an "Agencies Guideline". They could at least start with being up front with how they will treat agencies. But more importantly, we should let them know that censoring SEOs is not an acceptable response.

Matt Bluff

06/15/2012 04:22 pm

Yeah, surely no one has cracked it - http://www.google.com/search?q=instant+loans

Anti-SEO

06/15/2012 04:27 pm

Don't see problem here. You can't be wrong with the links from: wikipedia, big brands, FB brand's pages, etc etc etc ... you perfectly know the whole list by yourself. And I definitely would decline links from .co, .info domains. You have to understand why the link was posted, if you're professional. The industry is too young. It's Wild Wild West time. You have to be able to protect yourself.

semnomic

06/15/2012 04:59 pm

You missed something link building is not dead. There is one type of link I can put on my site Google will NEVER ban.......... Its a paid link, its a link I have no control of, but google will ignore it, and that is 100% guaranteed. how? why? Because its a adsense link $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ > GOOGLE :) case and point. How will a big company replace all those links it was forced to remove (post panda)? Easy answer....... adsense links $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ > GOOGLE : )

Pro

06/15/2012 05:16 pm

Nop, it's never Google's fault!!! we can play this game like forever

Anti-SEO

06/15/2012 06:00 pm

Interesting, but sad. Good example of why so-called "SEO industry" must be destroyed.

semnomic

06/15/2012 06:14 pm

lol wow panda's sleeping again :) It will be good to watch this search term see how long it takes to get attention. EDIT I just noticed the url of the first 3 links lolololol ... :)

Michael Martinez

06/15/2012 06:24 pm

Every time I have seen Danny Sullivan or Matt Cutts ask an SEO conference audience if they wanted the ability to disavow links nearly every hand in the room went up. That seems like solidarity to me. Now that people are about to get what they have asked for some people are starting to feel doubtful, and that is natural. I see no reason to be sad. Disavowing links is not equivalent to SEOs eating SEOs. Most of the links that will be disavowed won't be passing value anyway. And Google's Web spam team doesn't need a tool like this to figure out where the spammy links are. I should think that was made absolutely crystal clear by the Blogacalypse and Penguin updates.

willspencer

06/15/2012 06:35 pm

Todd, I don't think there is one "core group" as much as there are many separate island groups. Within each group, people are still sharing ideas (and links). The camaraderie has just gone underground to hide from the prying eyes of Google.

willspencer

06/15/2012 06:47 pm

Excellent post Matt, but I think it's doomed to failure. We all seem to be stuck in a massively parallel variant of the Prisoner's Dilemma. Perhaps if we publicly agreed never to link to or promote SEO agencies who publicly suck up to Google?

Anti-SEO

06/15/2012 06:54 pm

Definition of the SEO by Matt Cutts (read Google) and definition of the SEO by SEO Agencies are totally different. Here is the problem and guideline will not help. You still will define it the way YOU want. There is one very important rule in the financial markets. The market is a train. You can't go against the train, it will smash you. Do you doubt Google is an internet market ? Try to go against it. Try to make Google accepts your definition of the SEO.

Barry Welford

06/15/2012 07:15 pm

"Disavow links" Huh! Which links are white and which links are black? Which links are 'natural' and which links are 'unnatural'? It's a false and irrelevant dichotomy. I'm sure if they asked the question, "Is PageRank now an irrelevance given the inordinate amount of effort to purify the data?", then even more hands would be going up.

Megan

06/15/2012 08:24 pm

Its great to see how SEO's feel about there community and share there experience here. However barry SEO's are united against Google's certain views and will be against coz they have a reason to. Google do say that you need to follow there guidelines which is good at the initial level. But when it comes to links building its not an easy job. Also the world of SEO's is now very hard. Its not easy to be on the 1st page when you are in competition. How would it be possible to be on 1st page in google when google only displays 10 results which means only 10 companies. I have a request to GOOGLE, if they think that they have come with penguin and panda then they must allow to show at least 40 results on the 1st page in a scrolling manner which means the 1st four pages should be on the 1st page itself. Google had some plans about this earlier, but i am not sure if they are going to integrate it. This would be great opportunity for all SEO's if this happens :)

Claude "CodeAngry" Adrian

06/15/2012 11:37 pm

"SEO Community Spits" - I think you missed a 't' in this title, right before the end :)

Jason Diller

06/16/2012 12:06 am

We're like the apes in that movie. Stick together, many apes strong. We'll never as tight as some communities, but we're closer than others...

StuartL

06/16/2012 12:29 am

Couldn't agree with you more Matt but it will be a cold day in hell before the big names in the industry stop sucking up to Google

Sigh

06/16/2012 04:40 am

"Most of the links that will be disavowed won't be passing value anyway." So you are saying that the algo caught and de-indexed all the blog networks? This wasn't manual? Google couldn't catch these links. They worked like a charm until it was abused by the whole community and Google had to do something. Did the algo catch paid links by iacquire? I think not. The link signal is broken and has always been broken, "Most of the links that will be disavowed won't be passing value anyway." Then what is the purpose of Penguin? If the algo is so advanced, why is a scare tactic even needed? Ignore the poor links and let brainless SEOs spin content all day long. I think the algo is much less sophisticated and too many people give it too much credit. Google had to take drastic measures to instill fear into the community and website owners, since their algo is so limiting. Terrorism at its finest. Fear and obey.

Sumit Kumar

06/16/2012 04:58 am

Guys Lets Celebrate Anti Google day and stop one day display ads on our sites make a community for this may be it can give some pain to google in terms of revenue loss. what do you guys hink????

matcutt

06/16/2012 06:25 am

Total link painterly remove all link web site and site painterly

Daniel

06/16/2012 06:26 am

Just a litte tidbit: This search result sparked my interest so I had to look a bit deeper. On the many computers I have access to I could only duplicate the spammy results on safari as a browser and after the initial search, it would pull it up the spammy results when set to private browsing. The initial searches I made while logged into my google account, non-personal google accounts that I recently logged out of and any searches (logged in/ not logged in, cleared history, blocked ips etc) done from chrome or firefox all pulled up relavent results.

Alan

06/16/2012 07:30 am

Technically all SEO's are competitors! So why would we be united? Reminiscing about old times is just wasted cycles. Barry this is 2012 it is time to move on. So make those sponsor links nofollow or remove them. Increase your pr and get some google love back. You have made your point now move on.

Webstats Art

06/16/2012 12:50 pm

What is wrong with Google using their page rank 9 homepage for prominent dofollow links to google plus? If you have high page rank and control the way it works, then you decide who gets to leak page rank and who does not. You have absolute power and no-one can stop you or criticize it because you make the rules. In order to be fair, it might be better to change the ranking algorithms so that they work like a jackpot machine.. then again, some SEO folks believe it already works like that.

Boe

06/16/2012 05:23 pm

Thanks for a fantastic well-written article. No-follow should google erase from their algorithm, too many dosent know the meaning of this tag

Barry Schwartz

06/16/2012 09:17 pm

FYI, this is not Matt Cutts.

Ben Guest

06/17/2012 01:46 pm

The SEO community is dividing because of the differences in what is believed to be good morals and ethics. When a loop hole is found in Google's algorithm, it gets exploited, and SEOs generate gains. It is not until that loop hole is closed that an outcry is pointed at Google. I look forward to Google updates as they tend to get rid of the greedy, money first businesses. The ones that want to cheat to get to the top rather than earning it! If I see sites come out of nowhere, I take a quick 5 minutes to see what they are doing. If it's shady, I report it. If they do not follow the terms & conditions on the platform they are being shown then it's a no brainer. I work way too hard to bring value to the internet to allow this non-sense. Landing pages that don't make sense or have synonym after synonym in it. Keyword stuffed, cloaked, etc. All to manipulate... It is up to us that have good morals and ethics to clean up our industry and fight against people that think their good just because they find a hole in a program. Or because they ranked a extremely low competitive keyword #1, and are all of a sudden an SEO expert. Or the ones that use article submitters just to spin their articles into oblivion. And if we think Google is fighting against SEOs, that would be crazy. Agencies are bringing everything Interent to themselves (at least we have), i.e., SEO, SEM, SMM, etc. We do Adwords for businesses, and are a member Google Engage. Google would be stupid to hurt us in the SEO department as we also push for Adwords especially with the statistics behind click %s on PPC and Organics showing at the same time. We want our partners on the first page PPC and Organically. If we can't make money from Google then there is no Google. I dare them to bite the hand that feeds it. Do they not know we also "sell" Google + to our partners? Why bite the hand...

Ben Guest

06/17/2012 02:05 pm

I also blame the 2009 documentary Inside the Mind of Google where they showed the number of links pointing to your site ranked ya.

Anti-SEO

06/17/2012 03:33 pm

You, SEO people, are so selfish )) Why do you think Google treat you somehow different ? Who are you compared to Google to fight you ? Google is fighting algo manipulation. Period. It doesn't matter how do you call yourself. Do you manipulate Google's algo or not - this is the only question Google considers. re : "If we can't make money from Google then there is no Google. I dare them to bite the hand that feeds it." LOL ))) Watch Seinfeld's "Soup nazi" ... At moment Google's soup is the best in the city and you'll stay in line to get it (me too). And this is not the Google fault. Just nobody can do better soup.

Sheared Sheep

06/17/2012 04:06 pm

Question for anyone knowledgable in this area. I had assumed that the Penguin penalties were for over-saturation of keywords. It appears that I was incorrect, and that the penalities are related to linking instead? I would appreciate any response.

Response

06/17/2012 04:13 pm

You were incorrect. Now you are correct.

Sheared Sheep

06/17/2012 10:23 pm

Thanks for your response. So.....I've lost about 2,000 visitors per day because other people have linked to me (this is what I'd call 'natural links'). Something of which is totally out of my control. It has also impacted earnings (duh).

Sheared Sheep

06/17/2012 10:24 pm

No, but I'll bet you the ranch that he's watching things here.

Sigh

06/18/2012 01:28 am

All SEO is designed to manipulate (Yes, this is a tired argument). If your initial desire is to get link juice, it is manipulation. You can try and justify any type of link building, but it is all an attempt to manipulate. This is where it gets cloudy and self-proclaimed experts get on their "soapbox". This is where the definition of hats start to get thrown in the mix and your so called "ethics". It is a matter of risk and reward. You find tactics that get results and weigh the risks, just like any marketing. It isn't YOUR job to police the SERPs, that is Google's. Are you unethical for driving over the speed limit? Do you run around chasing speeders in your city with your little "SEO Guru" badge? Getting ahead by using a blog network may be shady in your eyes, but it gets you to where you want to be faster, and comes with inherent risk and reward. Just like you speeding to catch your third viewing of "The Vow", you are running the risk of getting caught. Are you unethical or just playing the odds? As a Google Fan Boy, you fail to realize that Google is also failing you. If spammy sites are ranking on page one, this is due to the lack of an effective algo and not SEOs. What keeps SEOs from spamming every site above them and then reporting them to Google? Nothing. Every site on page one is inherently at risk of negative SEO and being reported, especially the small or local businesses. For years, Matt Cutts has been asked about negative SEO and he has always responded the same. Don't worry about it. He lied to us all and we are all now in trouble. Unless you are Zappos, Amazon, or any big brand - you are at risk. We all get the fun of trying to clean up poor links whether we created them or not. You are not free from this because of your "ethics" and Google has made it this way. Quit blaming SEOs that are trying to get ahead or make a buck in a competitive environment and start pointing your smug fingers at the source. You claim to be a leading "expert", maybe Google will listen. SEOs now get to point fingers and self-promote more than ever. Not because of resukts, but by ousting and tearing each other down, they are playing into Google's hands. Even if you are "white hat", any link builder can make you look "black". Let the community do the dirty work. They helped rank relevant sites and educate the world about Google. Now let them battle and run each other out. Dog Eat Dog.

Ross Dunn

06/18/2012 08:55 pm

I have to agree. I have been doing SEO since 1997 and although I knew of a few of the "top" SEOs back then it was only because they were in the conference circuit. They were definitely a cliche and (I know this only by second hand) protected themselves and a swath of other known people around them. The people I knew in SEO were entirely cut off from that community and we were none the poorer for it. As a result, I don't feel any loss with how things are today. Don't get me wrong, since I got to know many of my fellow "old guard" I am often happy to see them and share old stories and the latest news. I would even jump to their aid if given the need but I don't feel I am an integral part of any centralized hub. My feeling is the industry has gotten too large and too misshapen with fly-by-night "SEOs", crooks, and genuine SEOs who all have their own networks and friends. Uniting them all is a pipe dream because we all feed on the "wild west" energies of the Internet; it is part of what I love about working on the Net. And this wild west is what Google is forced to respond to and they do it in their own 'special' way.

Eyepaq

06/19/2012 11:29 am

I think is a normal phase in the evolution of SEOs. A few years ago there were only a few - the community was very tight. Now the pipe is on - a lot of SEOs are falling in this area - and it's normal for the community to dilute. Also a few years ago there were only a few public SEO figures - now we have a lot of people in the spot light - that's good but that's also creating some competition that was not visibile before. Search was way easier back then - now it's more complex and some insights can bring the needed twist to get more shares - comercial wise so that is way some people are not sharing as they used to - most of SEOs are passive. It's a new generation...

Bill Sebald

06/19/2012 04:31 pm

This is an interesting post. I'm an old school SEO too. The only solidarity I recall was when the industry was first coming up, but even then there was a lot of people wanting to keep their motives secret. Granted, there were less tactics and technology, and black hat was really underground. But I recall there were still different camps over at High Rankings and the other forums; I remember huge splits on whether clean code mattered, whether Page Rank sculpting worked, whether links were more important than keywords, code:content ratios, whether keywords in URLs mattered, and even if H1's had any power. I always remember people would following some SEOs and blast others quite a bit. Everyone had a username then, now we're more legit with Twitter. I know you said "for the most part," but I think a lot of SEOs still have each other's back, even if there's a perception of "more" division. It's a bigger community so the camps just got bigger, which makes the divisions look bigger. I would also grant you that there are more camps, too. At the end of the day, there's still a low tolerance for bullshit and glam, and ways to express it that are more accessible. That's just my 2 cents. We're an industry of a lot of fluff and opinion, but the real scientists and curators of tested content that is actionable are the ones that avoid scrutiny.

Eyepaq

06/23/2012 12:40 pm

name a few - it make sense to speak out loud.

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