Instead of posting my comment on John C. Dvorak’s column in PC Magazine, I thought I’d just post it here since honestly, he won’t approve the comment anyway. So, just think of this as the comment below his unintelligent piece about SEO being snake oil accidentally getting approved by one of his interns he later fires.
“Frankly, I’ll be surprised if you even approve this. It looks as if you haven’t approved a single comment b/c there’s NO way that NOT a single person (especially if any SEO in his/her right mind read this) did NOT try to respond to your own “snake oil.”
First, John (can I call you John?), if SEO is snake oil, why do companies spend millions of dollars on it? Is it because every corporation who spends their money on “snake oil” just love to dump marketing dollars into a business that you basically call “unproven nonsense” for their websites? Why does Thomson Reuters have 50 SEO’s on staff? Is it because they’re stupid and not some $12.9 billion company that’s been able to avoid the pitfalls that it’s friends in the newspaper business has?
Second, you’re talking about SEO from your own silly perspective. So, you tried a few url structure changes and it didn’t work. Did you bother to think it will take some time to populate the internet with a new address? Did you know Google doesn’t always index everything in their system which holds probably more pages than the universe or space has stars? Give this a try: change your phone number, don’t tell anyone and see how many people find you. When you change your url, you had better be telling google via your sitemap or be registered to Google Webmasters so they can see your changes sooner than later.
It’s almost a year since your SEO fiasco. Most likely the urls have populated and you’re back to normal, if not higher. Then again, you freaked out so quickly and it looks like maybe went back to your old way of creating your blog’s urls and failed to see the real results of what a semantic version of the urls would have done to your blog. However, if your claims about being a very well read columnist are true, why are there no comments here? It’s most likely you don’t pay attention to this or you don’t want what’s really the truth out there to be posted below. Like I said, we’ll see if you even see this or even approve it.
I don’t know who you talked to to apply SEO principles on your blog, but frankly, it sounds like the person didn’t explain it well enough. Let me clear up some misconceptions you have about the whole biz:
A) SEO can help big businesses or highly trafficked sites/blogs like yours if it is VERY WELL THOUGHT OUT and strategically planned out. This also must be accompanied by intelligent and long term thinking management who have patience to see the true results. The more your website drives in terms of visitors, etc., the more careful you have to be in terms of your changes. You have to make sure EVERY SINGLE DUCK is in order and even expect dips in your traffic in the short term.
The long url change that you made makes sense from google’s side. It clearly identifies what the heck your post is about (or page, for that matter). If you have some way of producing a shorter url with your engineers, so be it, but it’s going to be harder to identify what the post is about via your url. So, that’s why we have one of the other 200 factors that could help your site still gain traffic via organic search results.
One thing you might consider before you even write something in the future is to see how many people out there are even searching for what you’re writing. You call this “SEO Fiascoes” which organically you’re listed #1 on google, BUT nobody searches for the phrase. So, nobody finds this. They find it through PC Mag and probably the blog you were whining about.
If you would bother to do the proper research, you would see that something like “seo snake oil” gets more searches and you would not only title your article some permutation of this, but probably create a url structure based on it and not something like “article2/0,2817,2340694,00.asp” It just makes more sense; it’s almost comical that you don’t understand this. When you’re out at a book store, you’re not looking for ISDN8292392122, but the title of the book. You’ve lived long enough to realize some things just make sense and over the long term it prevails.
B) Which gets me to the bigger point about SEO: It’s long term
You don’t get results overnight. It takes some websites to start climbing googles’ indexes years, yes YEARS before it’s actually in front of someone who wants to click the link. Some are luckier than others who have HUGE reputable authority websites backing them like PCMAG which has been around for years. It has enough authority to push up parts of it’s site to the top of the rankings simply because you guys have been around long enough. However, depending on how competitive the keyword phrase that you’re targeting, you could rank for it right away or not at all. If it’s a news piece, google sometimes inserts it much higher b/c they think recent news is more relevant. However, most things are not judged that way.
C) Lastly, SEO isn’t for everyone. Not everyone in this world is savvy and patient. If you lack patience, or if you’re the type who expects results overnight and freaks out about a change in your traffic in the short term, go with PPC – the sister business of SEO. Spend the millions of dollars my old company Expedia does monthly on Google’s PPC product adwords. You seem to have the money.
SEO is for people who want to spend less over the long term on their marketing and hopefully get the long term benefits of plugging away as many small businesses do to try and become larger ones; AGAIN if done correctly. SEO is for people who like to plan out their marketing and not just get easy viral posts to boost their traffic for the short term and have their 15 minutes of fame. It’s for us small businesses who truly work literally 16-18 hours a day to make sure our clients are happy no matter what happens. It’s for people like me who have to defend what feeds my kids because people like you who make hyper-generalizations off your own own little problem that doesn’t necessarily equate to the whole world, but you go ahead and write that because you feel the need to.
I’ve spent 39 years being critical of every business in the world to make sure I made the right choice when launching my 2nd business. I couldn’t have made a better choice. I’m critical of religion, I’m critical of politicians, I’m critical of everything including many of the SEO’s out there who don’t take their work seriously. However, if it’s done correctly and done well, you’ll only be reaping benefits of working hard as it should be.
I know that this wasn’t edited well (and I apologize for that), it wasn’t looked over by many of a larger publication like PC Magazine and definitely didn’t even get a 2nd look through because I have to do something more important than blow smoke up peoples’ butts, I have to take care of my clients and people I love. So, yah, there will be some poor logic and bad writing. I just want to end with a little humility: something that Dvorak clearly lacks.