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We can find comment after comment and article after article about why we all love digital marketing/SEO. But what are some of your pet peeves with the industry itself? I've heard comments from others that everybody just kisses each others butts, and of course the black hat side giving the industry a bad name.
What are your thoughts? What are things about the industry that drive you nuts?
I hate it when clients think they know more about SEO than I do. BUT, what bugs me even more is when they actually do know more than me. #doyourownSEO
I hate when clients call me and tell me that Google has called them and told them that their local listing needs to updated. Of course this isn't Google, but some SEO company trying to sell them crap. Not only does it give us SEOs as a whole a bad name, but because my clients think its Google, they think I am dropping the ball.
That is interesting, I've never heard of that! Crazy what some people do.
Oh yeah, this sure does happen. Beleive it.
I've heard of people leaving bad reviews on Yelp, Google, etc then calling up a business and saying "Hey I'll clean up those bad reviews for you, it will only cost you $XX" Pretty sad.
Yep, I recent prospect (time waste = I should've known better) was adamant, three years ago he paid £150 for a Google listing with a support phone number from Google to call when ranks dropped :)
Sort of off a few others, my pet peeve is when my clients tell me they no better and that I shouldn't be doing X to get them links... Just let me do my damn job that you're paying me to do!!
The first few months is a learning game for them if they are somewhat new. What makes it worse when they read outdated articles and think we should be doing those techniques. Or the.... "but this website is doing it" type of questions. grrrrrrrrrr
To be fair, a lot of those same people could have easily been burned by bad SEO in the past. From their point of view they're just covering their asses.
I've got a couple (aside from the ones mentioned already)...
1) When SEOMoz puts out a blog post that makes every attempt at covering the same topic seem not worth it :)
2) That SEO or "Internet Marketing" still gets no love in just about every "Industry" field that is part of forms, surveys, etc. I hate using "Media" or "Advertising"
1. When people do/think/write/evangelise SEO for the sake of SEO. None of us got into this because of SEO. It's a strategy set in context of something that's much larger. That thing is deeply personal to each of us. Focusing more on that will put SEO in context. I got into SEO as it was the only way I could scale revenue (through traffic) for my first ever website. I learnt SEO by competing with Cnet.
2. Another link building article...
3. Relative lack of innovation. Either people are incredibly secretive and don't share, or they're not experimenting enough. I loved the "three lines of code to rank" and the "0-to-100,000 visitors post". Ultimately, this pain compounds to problem #2.
Spammers who make us look like sleazy snake oil salesman.
when the twitterz goes down, and I have to quickly think of something to do with life..
when Rand shaves his beard and didn't even ask me if that look was cool for Whiteboard Friday
when a day goes by, and I don't see the letters, e.p.i.c. in type
when no one shares the same content
when i don't get to laboriously explain yet again when everyone in the room understands 'what i do'
when i write upon biggest pet peeve threads
I feel like bad luck Brian when twitter goes down on the day of a big content marketing push. Really scews things up.
Ha ha http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3szwf2/
People who know nothing about SEO setting up an SEO agency and offering guaranteed number 1 results...I have met some real jokers at events who should not be running a company.
They give time limits like "in a month you will see your page in the top ten" and if somehow they succeed, they will boost themselves with fake testimonials of you, your site, and they will have a photograph, saying that how much our company appreciate their work, and saying ironically, you will not even recognize who is that photograph
Some of the egos in the industry.
People who spout off buzz terms like "#RCS", "Content is King", "TAGFEE" etc. without implementing the ideology or even having a clue about what it means.
How it appears to be a prerequisite for SEOs to have flannel shirts and goatees.
Old school SEO was based around gaining links that gamed an algorithm and although we are still trying to do this there is a greater emphasis nowadays on content and relationships. The issue I have is that people write blog posts about manipulating people to do what they want that are based around building relationships and then do exactly the same with people on Twitter within our own industry.
Hi Sean nice comment -
please link to me
hey chris, i like you as a person. give me a link.
Hey, you guys are both really cool.
Can I have a link yet?
guys your links are broken, here's a resource that I think will add value to this conversation, please link to it
The biggest issue with being an SEO? Depending on one single company for your bread and butter. Google OWNS you. You can do blogging, social media and optimize for traffic with all kinds of inbound techniques but ultimately you are at the search monopolist's mercy.
Great thought. So many people don't take advantage of the other small markets. They all add up!
So true... but so hard as Google drives tons of traffic that converts. Maybe someday there will be a search engine that levels the field a bit.
THIS!!! ALWAYS THIS!!!
The amount of agencies who claim to be 'innovative' and 'forward thinking' in terms of strategies, technology etc. but they actually just outsource everything in order to reduce cost and effort and make as much profit as possible.
People who look at link building from a purely algorithmic point of view (and still do, post-Penguin), without even assessing or considering the UX, marketing or even more common sense factors involved....
Like this guy I referenced in a recent SEOmoz comment: "I even know of one SEO professional who - no joke - said: "why don't we
just get a ton of directory submissions or blog comments with the anchor
text 'click here'?" It pains me that this fool is still in this
industry... Talk about completely missing the point by about 100
Sadly clients don't want UX etc. either, they just want the SEO in the strictest sense.
I have two big peeves right now.
"Read It Somewhere" Viral Bullsh*t: when a totally nonsensical idea spouted by someone who is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of clients gets spread around as if it was the truth. Then I have to waste time debunking it for clients who read it somewhere. Where are people getting this idea that Google has recommended nofollow links for better ranking?!
Completely Fake SEO from Established Developers/SEOs: Not going to name names (yet) but I have recently encountered a couple of well-known companies who have repositioned themselves as Inbound or Content Marketing, and still do the same thing as they always did - nothing. No on-page, no content strategy, seem unaware of concepts like authorship, the importance of 301 redirects when redesigning... maybe a little low-grade link building is done? And I just love collaborating with them - "Oh yeah… we are planning on doing that but didn't get to it yet". The scammers are not limited to the "rank #1 for everything overnight" crowd.
Nonsense and garbage the some people spout out gets on my nerves. It's no wonder that clients get conflicting messages and end up confused and distrustful.
TL;DR posts & unstructured posts. Within the SEO industry there are FAR too many long posts, when ultimately the point could be got across in about 25% of the space. The rest of just fluff and more nonsense.
Also blog posts that ultimately say nothing at all. I'm sick of seeing "10 tips to utilise LinkedIn better" etc. Why do people still create these posts when you can read the same nonsense on other websites?
To expand on the old saying....if you have not got anything unique or interesting to say and you can't stop waffling on, then don't say anything at all
Biggest Pet Peeve: when client are telling me that SEO is not that difficult of a job, maybe if they read a couple of more articles they could do it themselves.
When you're measured by 1 keyword.
Beyond some of the ego's that are... enormous, I think my biggest pet peeve is the reputation of SEO within the traditional marketing and software / development industries. A great example of how skewed the perspectives are is the comment thread on hacker news that went crazy after Rishil got his SEO article on there... smart tech folks are writing-off SEO as some giant consumer scam, because a LOT of it is.
There are so. many. bad SEO's... including many of which are attempting to run agencies. But what's worse than anything else, has to be SEO's with billboards. I mean c'mon, what's more pathetic than digital marketer's being forced to use display media <em>in print</em>, they might as well take out ads in teh newspaper.
I actually think some of the big egos are what makes this industry bad at times. There are a few that like to stir up controversy way too often...... all for the sake of attention and link bait.
Agree with Nick here. Not only are some of the egos huge (and often unwarrantedly so), but there's a distinct cliquey-ness in the conference speaking circuits in the SEO industry that really puts me off. That said, I absolutely love the search marketers I get to work with at Conductor and the customers I've met through work are some of the most innovative people I've met.
The lack of a hacker culture. We talk often, but don't seem to build much.
SEO should be a massive bit of leverage for all of us. We should all be hacking some project on the side, building something worthwhile, testing our theories. We sure spout theories often enough and get them shared in the community.
Think about it - we're making our companies or clients tons of money (if we're good at our jobs) and there's no reason we couldn't do it for ourselves on the side. Why don't more people do it? Where are the side projects, the small attempts to test, create and build?
It feels like the only thing SEOs hack on the side are blogs about SEO/Inbound.
I think we're missing out because the real value of SEO is understanding how it fits into the larger context of marketing a business. Go build a web business - dropship something if you're into ecommerce, do affiliate marketing, do lead gen for a local business, anything. Learn what works. Learn what doesn't. Understanding what it takes to generate profit from the ground up, not from link building down, will make the entire community better.
+1, where can I sign up to your newsletter?
First of all, I agree that there needs to be more of a hacker culture. Secondly, I think there are a ton of SEOs with side projects and websites but they are VERY apprehensive to announce it to the community because they know how well versed we are in breaking down and analyzing competitors. That being said it's still not a good reason that we don't see more projects.
This is exactly how I got started in SEO and still fund myself on a number of small side projects.
Lead gen on high ticket items in very easy niches, I'm not going to give away all the secrets in an open forum, I'll package them up and sell them as a WSO one day (lol) but just to say there are people out there willing to give you a very good amount of money for providing them quality leads worth tens even hundreds of thousands. Just get off your backside and attend a few B2B networking events.
I'm doing 60% less client work in 2013 to help me find the time for several projects I plan to launch. Two of which I plan to have running in the next 3-4 weeks and another I plan to launch by the end of March.
When big SEO authors and everyone else assumes that what works in the SEO industry applies to other industries online. Most of the people linking to SEO articles are other SEOs and they are hyper aware of the value of links so they dish them out like they're hot, whereas other industries are not as apt to link. That's an old gripe though...
I know it says "biggest" but I have a list of pet peeves:
1) SEO's that think they know everything. Dude, so you've been in the industry for like a year now and think you know everything. Get over yourself there is sooooooo much to learn in this industry. Plus, there are usually multiple ways to skin a cat.
2) SEO Firms offering crappy SEO makes us all look bad. Especially when they achieve zero results.
3) Webmasters that want to charge you to remove links!
4) Bloggers that want to charge you to "guest posts".
5) Companies that waste our time with in person meetings and act like they want to hire you..... just to pick our brains and try and do the work themselves. This has only happened twice to me but freakin annoying. Nothing worse than showing up for your presentation having half the marketing and IT team there to just ask questions.
6) Clients that watch the SERPS more than we do. "Hi, my site was #1 but now we are #2. What did you do that caused such a drop?" Seriously.... it's going to happen from time to time.
7) Potential Clients that think our prices should be like 1/4 of what they are. Sorry company.... you are making $10 Million a year in sales but don't want to shell out $4K per month in SEO Services that will make your company an extra $3-4 Million a year... easy.
"4) Bloggers that want to charge you to "guest posts"."
This is the SEO industries fault. Most of them bombard bloggers with crappy requests to do crappy guest posts ideas "Hey I have this really great post on BLAH, your readers will love it", when it's not targeted and usually total rubbish. Why not charge them. They are probably a big time suck. I am sick of visiting inbound.org to see content about "Guest Blogging" on the front page. I don't care what people say, guest blogging isn't complex. Some of the posts I have seen written about this makes it sound as if someone is being launched into space.
Exactly. Guest blogging for the sole reason of link acquisition can have some extremely terrible results content-wise.
My biggest pet peeve about the industry? Probably jargon used in the wrong context. You know, content marketing, toolbar page rank, inbound marketing, do-follow, canonicalization, multi-touch attribution models, etc. The other day someone asked me about improving their Alexa Rank so their website would do better. I wish I could say "make your website better and then you'll have a higher Alexa Rank, which is biased in these factors".... but of course I refrained....Another one would be relying on one/two/three "SEO tactics" and then cry when it gets struck down by a Google algo update. Build up some relevant referral and direct traffic man. You know, the type that'll convert? Yeah, I felt it too when Image search traffic tanked - suck it up and let's move on.Last but not least, it's when I see another "list" content. I know it's easier, I know readers actually do prefer them, I'm just personally sick of them (but still write them myself, and occasionally hate myself for doing so).
I have to add that worn out cliches and phrases such as guru, ninja, Jedi etc used to descibe an internet marketer are annoying.
'Holier than thou' designers or developers pontificating on why SEO isn't necessary, or why it's 'evil'.
1) People who have decided they have the right to be a moral barometer for an entire industry by claiming certain things to be "not SEO" based on their own personal beliefs/opinions.
2) Seeing the same content rehashed over and over (and over) again.
3) Conferences that charge $X,000 for full passes, and then sit idly by while speakers fill the sessions with content that is readily available, for free, from countless blogs/forums. Often just rehashing stuff that has been blogged about for (literally) years. (see #2)
4) SEOs who call themselves a 'ninja/guru/whatever' and then wonder why they can't get big budget clients to take them seriously.
5) The fact that I've lost all desire to post about stuff that's actually working, because either people won't do anything with it, or it will be against my own best interest to post in the first place.
Amen on the Conferences
Just out of curiosity on #5, how do you know people won't do anything with what's actually working? :) Have you seen someone else, or have you given out an excellent piece of advice and you know literally no one benefited from it?
Meant more that if I post something that's solid, actionable, and working really well (the ideal blog topic) then people can use it to compete against me. They only way that doesn't happen is if (a) no one is in my niches or (b) they read the idea and don't execute on it.
Option A definitely isn't happening given where I'm playing. So the only hope to not (potentially) hurt my own SERP visibility is to shut up, or count on no one actually putting any advice into play.
The Seo industry on the whole is a great thing to be a part of, there are some extremly clever and funny people out there that give real insight and methods.
The big pet peeve is
Everyone has to be an expert seems like people self label very quickly sycophantism and ego dont make a good Seo or a good blog successful experience with clients in different industries or in being house over years can lead to being an expert.
And a small one that i dont like but im sure lots do :) Flowery Blogs covering politics or the latest hastag to come out of the latest conference.
Now open this up to digital and I can rant for days :)
SEO: "I read an article on JoesSEOBlog that says Solution X using method Y is the best way to fix problem Z, do it this way!"
Me: "There's what problem and you want to fix it how because you read what?"
companies for india/asia emailing their services. and good links getting harder to get and expensive
How about when you get a cold call from an SEO Firm wanting to sell you SEO Services. I'm alleyways like.... "dude, did you even see my website and what we do? then I hand up promtly and hit my head on the desk a few times.
If I have the time when I get those calls, I try keep them on the line as long as possible before casually bringing up that they clearly haven't checked out who they are calling. Kept one guy on for about 20 minutes by repeatedly finding reasons to put him on hold for "just a second".
I'd really love to hear from Rand Fishkin on this one. Unlike other big names in the industry, he seems to be very quiet about his dislikes of the industry, or something that secretly bugs the crap out of him.
I hate that SEO is such a dirty "word" now, and that clients sometimes already know the black-hat strategies and ask you to do them. Then you spend half your time explaining how those strategies will screw them in the long run instead of having a more positive conversation about organic strategies that are actually valuable.
I just hate it when clients act as if they know more after reading a few SEO articles.