Our CEO, Tony Wright, recently wrote an article titled “Cheap SEO Costs Too Much.” I’ve written similar sentiments before on other sites and in the Future of SEO, where I noted that Internet marketing is only going to get more expensive as companies have to divest themselves of cheap link-building tactics and get back to real, actual marketing.
But let’s assume, for a moment, that you wanted to take the blue pill … see what the other side of the cheap SEO world looks like. What kind of SEM “expertise” could your $150-500 per month buy you?
Dirty Deeds Done Dumb
If you’ve worked in the Internet marketing industry long enough, you’ve seen it. We all have. It’s the phenomenon of offshore workers proclaiming to be experts while simultaneously asking beginner-level questions. Worse, sometimes you’ll find them on professional forums dishing out straight-up bad advice.
In what can only be described as the knock-off purses – excuse me “designer replica handbags” – of Internet Marketing, offshore cheap SEO farms (most often from India and Pakistan, but increasingly also from the Philippines, China, and some Eastern European nations) are posting serious questions in online forums asking for ridiculously bad information. They are a daily comedy source for those of us who actually
know what it takes to perform sustainable, beneficial SEO. I’ve decided to collect some of the best examples of these I’ve come across recently and display them here for your amusement.
“How much importance to submit an Infographic?”
Asked by “SEO Expert” Jaydeep Kolkata, “Sr SEO Expert” at seowebsol.
In a world where Google exists and a plethora of relevant studies are at everyone’s fingertips, self-proclaimed “SEO expert” (the double use in his title lets you know its official) Jaydeep wonders:
“Is there any Positive feedback (like increase rank or increase traffic) to submit an infographic on behalf of a website, because creating an infographic is not so easy as article writing or another submission documentation.”
J-Deezy makes a great point when he notes that creating an infographic is not as easy as spinning out a poorly-written, crap article or submitting a site to yet-another-directory.info. It takes time, money, and a lot of effort to brainstorm a good infographic, compile the data for it, design and iterate it as the project evolves, and then promote it.
We’ve got a lot of experience with infographics here at WrightIMC, and we’ve had clients’ infographics picked up and promoted by some pretty big brands. The process from conception to completion wasn’t easy, but that’s sort of the point Google’s making when they stress making content people will love and share, isn’t it?
“In my Google Analytics – Every time it shows “Not Set” and “Not Provided” while checking keywords. Can anyone tell me the exact reason…”
Asked by “Aravind ‘lists-his-title-as-his-middle-name’ SEO Analyst Chennai”, SEO Executive at Cogent Cyber Solutions India Pvt Lts, and a “Top Contributor” on LinkedIn.
As an “SEO Executive” at what must surely be an illustrious and well-respected firm, “SEO Analyst” Chennai (I feel like he should be announced like a pro-wrestler) asks why he keeps seeing
[not provided] in Google Analytics. One has to wonder how someone becomes an executive in the search industry without being aware of Google’s big [not provided] push over the past couple of years. How did he possibly miss this one? Looking like an Indian Bubba Ho-Tep and displaying a profound ignorance of SEO on even a basic level, Aravind “SEO Analyst” Chennai (they have some strange naming conventions in India, apparently) provides definitive proof that one can, in fact, live under a rock for more than two years.
There’s really no excuse for missing perhaps the biggest news in the history of SEO if one is both a self-proclaimed expert and analyst … but here we are. At least if his SEO career doesn’t pan out, he can go back to battling mummies with JFK.
“We are interested in just guest Blog posting and article posting So we need good site for that please give it to me if you have.”
Asked(demanded?) by Neetu Gupta, no job title, “Top Contributor” on LinkedIn.
This right here… This, guys, is why we can’t have nice things. When Matt Cutts talks about why guest blogging and article marketing have dried up as link-building sources over the years, it’s because of the prevailing attitude of the SEO community at large that just because you can slap letters together to form (often incoherent gibberish) sentences and find a host site to leech PageRank off of, that you’ve somehow met the requirements for “guest blogging.” I suspect a bulk of that assumption is concentrated overseas, which seems to adapt to trends later than the Western world.
The concept behind guest blogging has been around since the dawn of the World Wide Web, even before “blogging” existed. Sharing your expertise with someone else’s audience is a fundamental activity online, whether you’re providing input in professional forums like Quora and Stack Exchange or teaching busy parents how to make a Lego ninja/Star Wars crossover snowball fight diorama on a mommy blog.
However, as other tactics to build links have dried up – like comment spam, directories, forum signatures/profile links, etc. – guest blogging has taken on a new role. Seen as a potentially eternal option to build links en masse with little risk of being deemed gray or black hat, guest blogging saw an influx of people using every trick they could to get many links from guest posting, as quickly as possible. This caused a backlash by Google, and now guest posting, while still valuable if done right, has been cast in a pall since several sites have been penalized for facilitating guest posting.
So, when you see someone asking for guest posting site lists – or worse, article directory lists – run the opposite direction.
Not to Call Anyone Out, But…
I hope this blog post has been a fun look at some of the crud we in the industry have to slog through on a daily basis. I’m not trying to call out a specific nationality here, and I have great respect for some very talented off-shore individuals who’ve displayed a masterful grasp of Internet Marketing. I’ve personally worked with very talented people in India, the Philippines, Romania, Ukraine, Pakistan, and other nations, who are far better at their specific fields of expertise than I am.
However, it’s indecent and self-deceiving I think, to ignore a glaring issue just because it’s politically incorrect to point it out. The entire SEO industry has been tarred with a brush that should have been reserved for the bottom-feeders and bad actors. And, Western agencies and companies that send business to these sweatshops because they’re looking for a cheap, silver SEO bullet are equally to blame for propagating the problem. But, if we can have a bit of fun highlighting the issues, and get people to pay attention by doing so, then I say let’s go for it. After all, we wouldn’t have hilariously bad Chinese tattoo translations and other hilarious mistranslations if we could not poke fun at our failures.
Share your thoughts or examples in the comment section below.