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Friday, January 27, 2023

Diggers Can't Handle The Truth (About SEO)

It’s been a busy day, with me trying to provide some more balance and
education about search engine optimization in today’s
Why The
SEO Folks Were Mad At You, Jason
article. About two hours ago, I noticed it
drew the attention of those on Digg. It

jumped
to the Tech News popular
page, in fact. And about 30 minutes after that, it was gone.

Gone? Flagged as spam by some, which seems to be a euphemism for some on Digg
to mean “I just don’t like a story that I didn’t bother to read.” Let’s see some
of the ignorance and absurdity, shall we?

Check out the story

post
on Digg. I’ve been in there replying to many of the comments made. If
you’re unaware, many on Digg hate any mention of SEO, since their experience of
it is mostly with people trying to promote sites through Digg.

As my original article explained — as Greg Boser
explained even
better
today — much of that Digg spam isn’t actually down to SEO. But just
as many bloggers have assumed that SEO = trackback and blog spam, you’ve got
many Diggers also making mistaken assumptions.

It was kind of nice to see the article make Digg. I’d actually joked with
someone that if I wanted to really try and educate many on Digg about mistaken
notions of SEO, I’d need to redo the article next week into 25 bullet points.
Then it became popular and I thought wow — maybe people at Digg will actually
read it.

Clearly not. Clearly from the comments, it was a case anger toward an
industry — much of that due to ignorance and misunderstanding — getting in the
way of getting closer to the truth.

The comments speak volumes. RadiantBeing

wrote
:

SEO is a load of shit. Or, to put it finely, it is trivial next to the
challenges of creating great content, designing user-friendly interfaces,
writing code, managing a server farm, etc.

Sigh.

My response
:

Dude, read the article. Scroll down to the part where you’ve got the sex
bloggers trying to figure out WTF with Google. Ah, but it’s so trivial. I mean
a monkey could do this stuff. No idea why Google itself has to provide loads
and loads of information and help. Answer? Some of it is trivial, and some of
it ain’t. And when things go beyond the basics, suddenly having some skill to
understand that search engines interact with sites in particular ways is
useful. Not snake oil.

carguy84

wrote
:

Marked as inaccurate, and would mark as spam if I could vote twice.

He disagrees with my article. That’s fine, though I have a strong suspicion
he’s simply agreeing with what Jason said rather than reading anything I wrote.
So, I don’t know how much to trust his view that what I wrote was “inaccurate.”
But at least he didn’t go with calling it spam.

Spam? Go back to the top of any story on Digg.  You’ll see a button
called Bury. If you click on it, options appear.

The choices?

  • Duplicate Story
  • Spam
  • Wrong Topic
  • Inaccurate
  • OK, This is Lame

You can only use one of the options. carguy84 went with Inaccurate. If they
read it, disagreed, I’m cool with that. If they thought it was lame — fine as
well. But spam? I didn’t spam Digg with this. I didn’t submit it, nor was it
even written with a Digg audience in mind (remember, no number in the headline,
no bullet points in the story). At worse, I added a Digg button after I noticed
it was getting some significant votes, exactly as Digg itself
tells you to do.

The majority of the comments are like those of RadiantBeing and carguy84,
people who clearly didn’t read the story and pretty much seem to know all they
know about SEO from bad experiences on Digg. I’ll continue on.

mtekk

wrote
:

The problem with the entire field of SEO is that many in the industry use
practices that are considered unethical to achieve said results ….
Continuing on this statement, most in the SEO ‘industry’ do things that
tip-toe on the line of web ethics.

Wow. Clearly they thought a lot about the points I made in the article. Hehe
— clearly they did not. From my

response
:

Really? I mean are you just pulling this out of thin air, like Jason did?
If you actually read the article, it cites how Google (which sees a lot of
SEO) does NOT say that most SEO work tip-toes. It says most SEO is just fine
and that only a few give the industry a black eye. But what would they know,
eh?

Well, no big deal if mtekk wasn’t that educated about the topic. After all,
Digg describes itself as a “digital media
democracy” That’s true enough, in that many democracies let anyone vote, not
matter how uneducated they are. But then again, Digg also calls itself a
“collaborative editorial process” where people are encouraged to Digg “the stuff
that you like best.”

As a result, if you have a mistaken, uneducated view of a topic — you aren’t
likely to learn much through Digg. It’s sometimes touted as a replacement for
Google News. Sure, to the degree that I might replace a balanced newspaper with
a heavily slanted one. See the world as you want, and don’t learn anything to
challenge your views.

Am I exaggerating? Across all of Digg, perhaps. On SEO, certainly not. Look
further at the comments for proof. BrainInAJar

wrote
to explain to someone what SEO stands for:

You know when you accidently mistype a URL and get to one of those f*ing
typosquatting spam sites? Or the shitty blogspam on the “upcoming stories”
page about foot cream or whatever? that’s SEO in action

Sigh. The education attempt continues. I

responded
:

Actually, those domains are called Google AdSense For Domains, largely.
They don’t get traffic from search engines. They get direct navigation traffic
from people typing directly into the browser. Nothing to do with SEO at all,
and easily killed if Google and Yahoo would better police the sites.

Again, if you actually read the story (I know, it’s hard. No bulletpoint, lots
of references and explanations in an attempt to try and educate people), blog
spam is not necessarily SEO. Some people do it entirely not for SEO reasons.
But hey, you know when you get that email spam? That’s all email marketing,
right? Let’s characterize and entire industry by one bad practice.

Now you know when you try to find some company, and you can’t get to them
because they accidentally blocked their entire site from Google with a bad
robots.txt file? Fixing that is SEO. Or you know when someone explains to you
that giving each of your blog posts a unique title will make them more
relevant to the search engines? And you do it? And that “simple” tip that was
simple to someone who knows search engines but not you causes your traffic to
skyrocket, causes people to find more relevant content in search engines?
That’s SEO as well.

There Cynoclast

wrote
:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a euphemism for link spam in -all-
cases.

That took me back to the entire “did you bother to read anything at all”
question? My

response
:

Gosh, let me check what Google

says
about SEO again. I think they have a definition. In fact, it was in
the actual article that you’re commenting on. You read the article, right? I
mean, comments on Digg aren’t just a euphemism for I spouted anything I
thought of based on reading just a headline and a one or two line description.
I’d like to think you’re contributing to the conversation. But in case you
missed it, good old Google says:

SEO is an abbreviation for “search engine optimizer.” Many SEOs provide useful
services for website owners, from writing copy to giving advice on site
architecture and helping to find relevant directories to which a site can be
submitted. However, a few unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye
through their overly aggressive marketing efforts and their attempts to
unfairly manipulate search engine results.

Guess I missed the section on SEO as meaning link spam.

mpeters13 did read the article, apparently. Sadly, all they took away was the
idea that I somehow tried to use women to say SEO is honest. I didn’t, but
here’s what they

wrote
:

lulz. I love how that article sites the fact that the SEO hires women…
like that’s the deal maker to the legitmacy or honesty of a business. PLEASE
accept my token of appreciation at your nasty attempt to build pathos using
women as your crutch. Marked as spam.

Spam. Nice. You disagree with a point of the article, so you choose an
entirely incorrect option on Digg? Lame — Inaccurate, but don’t call me a
spammer. My

response
, for those that care:

Thanks. Yes, I wrote this long look at SEO and really hoped that one
sentence about women being part of the industry would really redeem SEO in the
eyes of many. It was the backbone of the piece. Definitely deserves being
marked as spam. Hey, thanks for the considered read that you clearly gave it.

Finally, I saved the best comment for last. masona3

wrote
:

Well, here’s the thing. If you don’t know how to optimize your own website
for search engines, you DESERVE to get screwed… because you probably
shouldn’t be in web design in the first place. It’s not that hard to tag
things.

Again, it’s hard to see anyone making a comment like this — unqualified —
if they either read the article or actually knew much about SEO. masona3 clearly
does not, as I explained in my

response
:

No, it’s not hard to tag things. Of course, only Yahoo uses the meta
keywords tag, and it carries little weight. So if you’ve been thinking tagging
your pages have been helping, um, you’re pretty screwed.

Look, I’ve spent 11 years now dealing with site owners big and small, with
great content, who make lots of basic mistakes with even the simple stuff.
They don’t necessarily build their own sites, and being a site designer
doesn’t mean you are a marketer or an SEO or a conversion expert or many other
things. People have all types of different skills. If you lack certain ones,
you find someone that can help. And you don’t deserve to be skilled because
you don’t know every single thing under the sun.

Like I said, this article wasn’t written for Digg. It was written especially
for Jason Calacanis (who found it helpful and educational, he told
me), plus anyone else who wants to comment about SEO from a position of being
better educated, rather than being a kneejerk reactionary.

Sure, it would have been nice if more on Digg had a chance to be exposed to
it, and even better if they actually read it. Of course, I’ve been through this
occasionally before. Last year, when my
25 Things I Hate
About Google
article
made Digg,
I was amazed at the people who didn’t read what I wrote or flat out were wrong
in their comments. Heck, poor old Matt Cutts from Google had to

jump in
on another post once to try and give me some backup to Diggers that
rather than being some spammer, I was actually someone “worth listening to.”
(Thanks again for that, Matt).

In the end, seeing the story get dropped of the popular page at Digg was sad
— but much sadder for Digg than myself.


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