Search Engine Optimization: Scumbags? Amazing

March 11, 2013

If you are paying upwards of $2,000 a month or more for search engine optimization, you will want to read “Sick of SEO Scumbags” and the comments to the post. Web site traffic is important. What is tough to swallow is that most of the billions of Web sites get little traffic. You can check out if your Web site rates with a quick check of’s free analytics look up. Sign up at

The search engine optimization experts practice the dark art of SEO. The idea is that these experts have methods which can trick Bing, Google, Yandex, or any other free Web indexing service. Once fooled, a query for a topic will return the client’s Web site at the top of the results list for a query. Magic. Almost.

The problem is that Bing and the other outfits want to sell ads based on the content on a Web page. If the content or other element is misleading, the ads won’t hit their target. Most ads do miss but in today’s landscape a slight improvement in targeting may be enough to keep the ad revenue flowing. Where else can an advertiser go to get traffic? SEO wizards know that paying for traffic works. Some SEO actions don’t work.

The post asserts:

Recently, a well known flower shop lost both the rankings for the brand name and the keyword ‘flowers’, the SEO agency involved are a good agency and this post isn’t about the tactics used but large companies like Interflora have years of brand building, offline campaigns, TV advertising, word of mouth, mailing lists, newspapers and shops to fill the gap incase any one vertical (search) drops, they can and will still survive, there will be a dip in some profit sheet somewhere and someone might lose their job, but the company doesn’t fold. If you do that with a small ‘mom and pop’ shop (Dom’s Flowers) and they get banned or lose the rankings for ‘flower shop east leeds’, Game Over, most of the smaller clients I see depend on Google traffic…

Where’s the scumbaggery?

I’ve seen companies who have built a site for a client, no index it then charge for an SEO package to ‘sort out the rankings’, Domain change audits with no 301?s,  I’ve seen agencies charge £10k for ‘keyword research’ which is copied and pasted straight from Google Adwords and more than a few times I’ve seen companies charge a thousands per month for an IBP report. We all make mistakes, we all have clients that want to be #1 for $crazy keyword, but as the search team involved with the campaign, you have to set realistic expectations and know the risk when placing links and making site changes, those that don’t, that just take the money and hammer with shitty links or try and scam the client to extract more money, those are the SEO Scumbags and they are giving the search industry a really bad name.

Does SEO work? The answer is that what actions the SEO expert takes may help or hurt a client. What annoys me is that the word “search” gets dragged into a traffic and click related exercise. Using the word “search” to refer for methods of buying traffic and for actions such as finding information in an organization’s archive muddies the water.

When it comes to scumbaggery or to a more serious activity such as enterprise search, clarity is useful. If a Web site wants traffic, man up and buy it from Google. If you want to build a brand or position a person, use content. No tricks required.

Stephen E Arnold, March 11, 2013


One Response to “Search Engine Optimization: Scumbags? Amazing”

  1. seozark on March 12th, 2013 1:10 am

    It was obviously a link baity post. And good points were made.

    ‘Use content no tricks required’… Yes, but if your content is relatively equal to websites a, b, …x and your content is marked up with microdata, has author verification, and is published on a verified website …

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