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Failed SEOs Become “Web Marketers”

There’s nothing wrong with increasing traffic to a website by making it genuinely informative and sufficiently alluring to attract links from other websites and bloggers!

I don’t decry the practice of boosting, I’M AN SEO! HOWEVER, I do object to the means that some firms and people use to achieve it.

I’ve written on the disgust I have for spammers and the tactics used by self-proclaimed gurus and web marketers. I’ve also held back while biting my tongue when I read blogs by some copywriters masquerading as SEOs trying to promote their “methods” and “secrets”, often in book form, while failing the SEO game themselves – especially when considering the very websites they use to promote these “methods”.

There are a few camps with SEO.

One – The true SEO, technical and ethical. They’ve walked the line in the past and now know where it is and have evolved to where they can do it with honest methods while providing an income stream for themselves as well as their clients.

Two – The “web marketers” – they are not SEOs. They’re email harvesters and mass mailers. They produce pages like toilet paper that promise the world – scroll after scroll before revealing the cost to purchase, well, usually a method to produce more of this very type of pollution. Their failure in SEO is evident it the fact that they define SEO in terms of “landing pages”, “email marketing” and more obviously spun excuses for not achieving honest top ranking sites that people actually look for in Google. These sites are either thrown at them in email or they’re discovered by click-through from other sites – usually just like them. These “SEOs” usually advocate the use of PPC as a traffic generator – a sign that natural search is out of their league.

Third – The true spammers and hackers – these are evil people, scum of the earth and deserve no further mention. They’ve passed the line and enjoy hell.

I’m focusing on #2 now. Maybe SEO terms have become muddy. But, the truth remains regardless of semantics or opinion, mine or yours.

You have not learned anything from an affiliate purchase that simply tells (re-sells) you to bid high in AdWords in order to achieve top rank. Nor have you achieved anything other than have gifted your money to someone by purchasing a product from some “guru” who pushes their “methods” by crappy SEO efforts. (email marketing)

These self-back-patters usually source their claims when their methods are questioned by directing you to ANOTHER article pushing similar wares, secrets and methods, full of affiliate links and absolutely horrible on-page SEO.

The problem is circular.

One of my big pet peeves with this type of web marketer is when they source an article to defend a claim when that very article is of the same type of pollution that’s initially questioned, a seemingly blind group that subscribes to each others “methods” as the truth and simply refer visitors in an unending circle of falsehoods and self-praise.

Those that preach usually learned from the methods they now promote, in book form or seminar, and it goes round and round and round…. barely escaping to actual search, to NEW customers. These circles are groups, communities and associations that appear to choose their “experts” by the amount of propaganda and pollution the candidates have presented their circle.

Sadly, because their customers are already within the circle, the community is hindered in terms of growth and education, ripe for exploitation. For some associations – it’s too late.

12 Responses to “Failed SEOs Become “Web Marketers””

  1. Steve Mertz March 28, 2007 at 8:20 pm #

    Good observations Knox-the term “expert” is widely thrown around. Now more than ever-buyer beware!

  2. Kendal March 29, 2007 at 3:30 pm #

    Yup, I see it too. A refers to B. B refers to C, C refers A. Very small world for them and hopefully they never open their eyes and compete. But, for a ripe community like that, I bet it’s easy to sell them on more “get rich” programs. Web saturation is ugly. People buy 100 domains and point them to “landing pages”, utterly swamping search results with lame “warnings” and “secrets”. We see it in every search. It wastes time, wastes real estate on the SERPS and pushes INFORMATION out, nudges in with more spam pages. If these people KNEW the “secrets” they wouldn’t be making landing pages, buying ads or spam-mailing. Can we say 1998?!!

    Keep ’em coming, love your style.


  3. Fred March 29, 2007 at 8:44 pm #

    You are missing the point here entirely.

    SEO is a completely uncivilized game. There are no rules. There is no rule book. There is opinion, conjecture and a lot of arbitrary behavior.

    In your article you never once mentioned who is at fault here. How is it that Google tells us thet they deliver quality and relevant results but never defines the term for us. The Search ENGINE industry
    has never made a penny from SEARCH. Instead they are all pretending to be search engines when in reality they make all of their money from advertising.

    There is no incentive to better search…no one has ever made a penny from search. Instead of taking your agression out on marketers competing for eyeballs, why not look at the SEARCH ENGINES and recognize that they are the culprits of the biggest hoax ever.

    Rule #1 of Public Relations is to Name the Debate, Frame the Debate and then you can Claim the Debate.
    Apparently you bought into the idea that these private corporations are the stewards of the internet.

    Search Engines will not define quality because they cannot. At that point the game is up and they lose all of their power.

    Wake up and smell the eCoffee. in the words of Bill Gates, “Search is Pathetic.”

  4. Knox March 29, 2007 at 8:55 pm #

    Fred, you’re right, it’s uncivilized. But there are rules – I’m not talking about the guidelines set by the engines, I’m speaking of moral and ethical guidelines.

    You say I never mention who is at fault but I never “faulted” anyone.

    Money. You are wrong.

    Search engines make money through advertising. If the search results provide good relevant information then the user will prefer that engine. If the results aren’t what they regard as useful then they choose something else.

    The money you say search engines aren’t making is actually in the billions each year from advertising. That’s how they make money Fred.

    I do not buy into the “stewards” of the internet. Fred, what would users do if not for search engines? Just wait for an email from you trying to sell something?

    Bill Gates also said the iPod was a flop.

    He also said they’d “catch Google” in a year – 2 years ago.

  5. Fred March 29, 2007 at 9:37 pm #

    Knox. I appreciate your prompt reply.

    We are definitely on different pages here.

    I’d love to hear your idea of moral and ethical guidelines in a game that has no rules. One of us is on thin ground here and I’m pretty sure it is not me.

    Civilized games have rules. Look at hockey, football, baseball and you will see clearly defined rules and penalties. Referees enforce the rules of the game.

    Look at Google, Yahho and MSN and there is no such luxury.

    Even Championship Wrestling has rules.

    Really, where are the moral and ethical guidelines in a game that has no rules? It is a contradiction in terms.

    Have you ever studied what the search engines consider to be black hat SEO? All that it is, is showing one page to a visitor and another page to a search engine spider. The purists hate black hat.
    Meanwhile it works. Huge corporations use it. And more importantly the very people who use it want to keep the game to themselves so they spread a lot of misinformation about it.

    Where is the harm in it?
    It’s nto about Google, Yahho or MSN. It is about how I attract and communicate with the customer.

    If I choose to hire 10 guys to run out into the highway in chicken suits to flag down business, how is that against the rules?

    Rules? Give me a break. I’ve had compeltely legitimate sites de-indexed from the search engines with no explanation.

    ANybody who has been around longer than a year will siffer the same fate.

    Rules? Read a few articles about “google Bowling” where your competitors can get your site deindexed for you and let’s talk rules. Look up “Google Bowling.”

    If Google, Yahoo and MSN were governements they’d make Hitler, Stalin and Saddam Hussein look like altar boys.

    Search Engines use search as a lead generator for their online advertising. Plain and simple. Most businesses get so frustrated by search that they just go out and purchase the traffic.

    Knox. I mean no disrespect but the rules thing is so weak. If you disagree with me contact Google, Yahoo or MSN and ask them for a rule book. Ask them for a workable definition of quality.

    Here is a better question….

    How do you play an uncivilized game?

    Answer? (It does not mean ou have to be uncivilized!)

  6. Knox March 29, 2007 at 9:52 pm #

    I think we are talking about different things.

    Yes, I know very well what is considered “black hat” and the one example you gave known as cloaking, there are many. Large companies do use that (sometime) and do get caught as well sometime (BMW).

    MSN, Yahoo and Google all have “quality” or webmasters” guidelines, those are their rules books. I never saif “play by the rules” – may have been mistaken.

    But the large companies ARE NOT who I am talking about here. They may be the monsters that “allow” access to information, but they are what we’ve got. That’s not a reason or excuse, I think, to blatantly spam them and hope you don’t get caught and be happy if you drive kids to find a sex site. Again, the “major” companies aren’t doing THAT but many smaller ones are.

    For a matter of record, I do know FULL WELL what kind of crap is online, in my former life I was a cop and also sickened tracking some of it.

    What I’ve learned was a bit different than what an average SEO would learns through forums. Sure, it’s helped my private career but the frustration is still there. My biggest rant here was about “marketers” saying they are SEOs when in fact they don’t work in search. That’s the conflict.

    Ok, how do we play an uncivilized game?

    With our conscience.

    You might say that’s naive, but I’ve made many companies and myself rich doing it. It works.

  7. Fred March 29, 2007 at 10:14 pm #

    Knox. I genuinely respect your integrity.
    As a former cop I can completely appreciate your background and your respect for the law. I also don’t question your ability to achieve results.

    You mention webmaster guidelines as being “their” rule book. Those webmaster guidelines were crafted by PR agencies using words and terms to control vocabulary.

    I am a former stock broker. I love trading. Have you ever wondered why a stock is called a security? Do you think that is accidental? Nobody every talks about the Securites market going down in value. Stocks go down. Securities go up.

    Spamming the search engines? How can anybody do that? When they have inferior results it is called spam. Wouldn’t the sacred algoithms be able to detect that? Isn’t it the search engines that crawl the web looking for content….in this instance the content is not being pushed on anyone like email spam.

    Search Engine Span is search engine vocabulary. They go out and find a page that is total crap and then they call it SPAM.

    Aggressive SEO companies SPAM the search engines to get in the index and when they achieve that objective change everything but the title of their pages to hide how they did it. Where is the harm?

    I am not anti search. I simply have no regard for todays Search Engine.

    The way we play an uncivilized game is by recognzing that it is uncivilized and recognizing that black and white distinctions only work well where there are rules involved. Then we can only study the positions of the leaders in the marketplace and adapt accordingly.

    You’re right that Mr. Gates was worng abotu the iPod. He was also wrong about Google. He was also wrong about RAM and tons of other things. However, “SEARCH is PATHETIC.”

    Consider how a search engine currently defines quality and if you can disagree with Mr. Gates after you wrestle with that issue for 30 minutes, I’ll stop my rant and take the blue pill.

  8. Knox March 29, 2007 at 10:27 pm #

    I can’t really argue with anyone who ends with a “Matrix” quote – We actually agree on most of this.

    Honestly, if the I thought the search engines were perfect I’d be out of a job. If I didn’t think they were vulnerable then that would make me a miracle worker.

    The search engines is what we have – we have to accept it for now. Though there are other ways to explore, discover and search (like Digg, where you found me) they don’t come near the use of the major engines. Sure, they use language to their advantage, just as I do, you and everyone else. They must or they would lose control.

    Maybe we define spam differently. The article I wrote and mentioned above is my view.

    Do I like search engines? Not really, but users still utilize their free service to find our products and services.

    With respect, have a good night.

  9. patrick March 30, 2007 at 4:39 pm #

    You are both right, there are no rules in the jungle. HOWEVER, a company’s tactics indicate the company’s moral behavior in other areas. For example, I’m not going to TRUST a company that uses hidden text–why would I? They most likely would hide defects in their products, hide fine print in contracts, etc. I ALWAYS consider the “ethics” of a website and judge the company by it.

  10. Fred March 30, 2007 at 7:30 pm #


    I found you and your site through
    As far as I am concerned that is the best definition of quality online. The community decides on value.

    Look at the SEO handicaps on the issue of quality.

    If I write too much I’m diluting your sacred “keyword density.” “If I use the words too often I am spamming the search engines.”

    Stop and think how easy it would be for the search engines to allow users to vote on their experience….just like
    Then all the black hat, white hat debate goes away and value rises to the surface. Then it doesn’t matter how you got your page to rank it is the community that will determine the value the page offers its users.

    Wish I could patent the idea. 🙂

  11. Knox March 30, 2007 at 7:56 pm #

    Fred, that’s great. Ok, I agree with much, not all.

    First of all it’s not MY “sacred keyword density”.

    Digg is on to something but, just as google and link popularity, is run a bit by mob rule.

    Engines will evolve, but for now they are what we have.

    The non-savvy, our mothers – have no idea what digg is. People still type into the freakin’ search box to find google.

    A true “USER” voting methods is better I think vs. link polularity, but those methods aren’t main-stream yet.

    Wish you had the patent too!

    Actually, our talk yesterday got me thinking about some things and I wrote a draft out at starbucks about the “guidelines” (you caused me to look at them again) and decipher the words they use.

    Good challenging talk, thanks for dropping in again.


  12. sahdow July 3, 2009 at 6:50 am #

    Over the years I’ve had many clients work with many “marketers”; though I will not blanket label them, I generally agree with your insights.

    With that said, I want to offer a simplified definition for camp 2

    Used Car Salesmen of the Web 😉

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