I Hate SEO

I am quite sure there are very bright, ethically-minded people out there who think search engine optimization (SEO) is a legitimate branch of marketing. But I think it’s a boondoggle.

First, it’s the Sociology of the marketing world. It’s a “science” for people who find physics too demanding. In other words, SEO it’s a place for marketing people who don’t have the wherewithal for real substantive communication. For goodness sake, learn how to converse–with your customers, with potential customers, with each other, with communities your company is a member of–and turn the SEO hucksters away at the door. If you want to waste your money, I’ll give you the address for my PayPal account.

Second, it’s trickery. Aside from talking enough, talking clearly and with some focus about the industry your company is a part of, the rest of it is calling a garbage man a “sanitary logistics engineer.”

Third, it’s risky. If you try to trick a search engine into registering your site you run the risk of being caught. Once you’re caught, you may well be removed from a given search engine. Relish not showing up at all, anywhere, on Google? Also, it looks fishy. (Primarily, because it is fishy.) And nothing, in this age of transparency as an ideal, in this age of people fed up with companies trying to trick them into parting with their money, is going to permanently fuse a dunce cap to your head like a botched gaming of search engines.

Fourth, it’s not a magic bullet or pill (or whatever small, round or oval object of swallowing or shooting you prefer). Engaging in, creating, sustaining conversations takes time and effort and many people consider it a waste of time. What they want–what you may want–is the aforementioned enchanted pastille or projectile. Basic SEO, the kind you create by engaging in the conversations that show up on search engines, is the only kind that is available. The rest of it is magic alright, in the same way a shell game is magic.

Shel Israel said it aptly in an email.

There is a whole school of folk who are trying to make the game SEO search engine optimization. They are system-gamers for the most part if you ask me. They are deceiving people to promote traffic and again, I don’t much like this. I don’t think it is very good business in the long run.

(The calm understatement freaked me out a little, coming from Shel.)

I might have said, if it’s too good to be true, it’s not. And SEO, by and large, is too good to be true. Take the time to represent.


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