We do like our jargon, don’t we? I thought the marketing game was bad for excessive overuse of jargon, but damn, the SEO industry gives the marketing world a run for its money, ranging from completely obscure terms to attaching our own meanings to a range of otherwise innocuous phrases. Here’s my run down of the phrases that have annoyed me this year (in no particular order):
In the context of “an authoritive site”. There was a point when people would refer to authority sites and mean the likes of the BBC, DMOZ (back in the day), Yahoo and other mainstream web properties. Now it really just refers to “any site that doesn’t have hidden text on it”.
I’m really not sure what people think “authority” means, but the term is batted around so often (usually as part of a “why did Google penalise my site – I’m an authority in my niche” type posts) that it has lost all meaning. Think it through – will anyone outside the SEO industry have any clue what you are talking about when you refer to authoritative sites (because, let’s face it, you really mean “high PR” sites but are just too embarrassed to mention PageRank).
I raised this one years ago – it’s still with us. Why won’t it just die? Ethics have absolutely nothing to do with SEO – we’re not powering websites with baby tears and puppy dog tails…
Again, another BS term that has no meaning outside the SEO world.
Just. Fuck. Off.
I really hate Google for 2011. The Panda updates have really sparked up a wealth of paranoid theories, particularly amongst those who have just got into SEO in the past 4 or 5 years or so. Those going back longer than that remember more frequent (and brutal) updates so 2011 is really just business as usual.
Now we have a host of SEOs – wait, no – scratch that – not even just SEOs – anyone in the digital industry who thinks they know a bit about SEO – anyone with a vague knowledge about SEO has decided to regurgitate the speculation posted on forums and blogs as “advice”. It has gotten to the point that people are taking vague offhand statements from Google employees and turning them into SEO advice. I read a news article (yes, on a proper industry news site) where the writer actually suggested that going through a website and correcting spelling errors would be (part of) a solution to combat the Panda update. PUUUUUUUUKE!
Matt Cutts says
Poor Matt. Probably the best and the worst thing to happen to the SEO industry. I get the distinct impression that he is regularly torn between his normal geeky nature to do things properly and internal corporate chains that keep him from doing so. I think his biggest mistake was making the effort with the SEO world early on (but in retrospect that was an entirely profitable exercise for Google), but unable, politically, to be as transparent as we want him to be (and he probably would like to be as well).
The guy can’t catch a break really. Ever minor statement he makes is analysed, quoted and misquoted with abandon. The worst of it – and the reason it really irritates me – is that the quotes tend to be thrown into a discussion as a definitive answer to whatever vague question was asked. They’re not the definitive answer – they may be useful titbits of information from time to time, but in no way definitive. Even if Matt was able and willing to provide clear information, it’s still just tech advice coming from a company with a commercial interest in YOU doing things in a certain way. Their way. And that shouldn’t be what your entire business strategy gravitates around.
It sucks. SUCKS. Nothing to do with this post, but though I’d just throw it in there. Google did search reasonably well, and Adwords / Adsense were a good idea at the time, but since then…
(I really hate Adsense. It could be done so much better for everyone involved….don’t get me started…)
Forgot to add this one earlier. Most of us know what thin content is, but there seems to be an odd confusion in the industry as to whether or not your content is actually “thin” or not. The problem stems from the SEO perception that the content they churn out en mass is even halfway as good as professionally written copy. It isn’t. And I’m not just talking about the old school, keyword density era which gave us such hits as:
Come to Bob’s big red widget shop for the best big red widgets in town. We have such a wide selection of big red widgets, you won’t need to go anywhere else for your big red widgets.
I think the perception is that because you’ve taken the time to write more than 50 words before moving onto the next page that your content isn’t “thin”. Let’s put into context. There was a time where many web designers would just skip the whole “let’s get a proper graphic designer to design this” part of the process and go ahead and design it themselves. Guess what SEOs have been doing with copy?
“Thin content” is a vague term. It means any rubbish content. That can mean 10 words of rubbish or an entire essay. I’ve been guilty of this in the past, and I’m sure many other SEOs have too. It can also refer to duplicate, semi duplicate or repurposed content. The only real question you need to ask yourself is, “would this page still be ranking highly if it wasn’t for my l33t SEO skillz?”. If not, then there’s a good chance your content sucks.
So, anything you’d like to add to the list?
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