commit: 6b2ca8a - #414 (2014-03-05 12:54:44 -0500)
It’s crazy to see that people still think SEO is so easy that they can just knock up a quick service or sum up everything you need to do in such a short space. SEO is harder than it’s ever been, takes longer to learn than ever and has more pitfalls than ever. Stating anything else is just misleading.
Thank goodness they included step 6.1.
I agree with you Mike 100%, but can see the benefit to Kulraj and Sean in producing this (until it got discovered that is). For many small businesses and for people trying to learn online marketing, specifically SEO there's so much conflicting information out there that it very often becomes overwhelming. All I seem to see from the SEO community is opinion, identification of problems and no alternatives.
I certainly agree with the good intentions Stephen, but I think the main worry here is that the spreading of this misinformation could be directly harmful to your site. As you say, SEO can be a bit of a minefield with theory and counter-theory, so to have a general guide on an authoritative site that everyone can relate to, such as HSBC, would be a fine idea. The problem is that the advice given will not help online business, but could very well hurt them, as we've seen with Penguin, while the Mom and Pop shop is none the wiser.
This is a solid, if unremarkable, SEO plan; not a blackhat guide. Is it up-to-the-minute? No. Is that a problem? Only if it's ineffective.
To say that traditional link building, constructive commenting, guest posting, and giving "people a *reason to link to you*" is blackhat or unacceptable is simply foolish. Points: "remember your users;" "do not go over the top;" "SEO should be only one element of your... strategy;" "the detailed work is best done by a... specialist."
The only thing that is against any regulations is the affiliate program, and that's going to be only a small portion of any strategy anyway and anyone capable of setting one up would likely follow best practices.
Included among some of the dubious tips there is some reasonable advice. As Doug points out, of the highlighted points, only the affiliate network is likely to get you band. The others are just questionable value.
There's even advice on taking your time, improving user experience and building good content.
If I didn't look at the actual document I would be condemning the advice too, but I think this article is just a fun piece of sensationalism.
Interesting that one person associated with this content, Sean McPheat is a quite renowned sales specialist, author and speaker. Quite surprising to see him there for a number of reasons (and yes, knowledge of SEO being one of them).