Jonathan Leger – SEO And Internet Marketing Blog Internet Marketing Blog


How to spot bad SEO advice.

I'm constantly shaking my head at the stuff I read on blogs or sites run by people claiming to have some knowledge about how Google works.

Here's two quotes from a blog I happened across the other day:

Unethical and dishonest SEO techniques will result in one of two things happening:

* Your website will actually lose rankings and drop like a brick in the Ohio River, or
* Your website will be banned from search engines.

Further down in the post he says:

I won't mention any of the bad techniques here, but if they have to do with creating extra pages in your website; stuffing your site with links, hidden links or hidden keywords, they you are going down the wrong path.

There are a lot of problems with these statements. Let's talk about them so you will know how to avoid such material when you inevitably come across it (and let me tell you, there's A LOT of this kind of stuff out there).

Problem #1: Ambiguity.

The author's BIGGEST problem with his entire blog post is ambiguity.

He refers to "Unethical and dishonest SEO techniques" but fails to give any precise examples of what that might include. He gives a few vague examples in the second statement I quoted above, but none that are precise enough to be useful to anyone who's actually trying to do well in Google.

In fact, he even says:

I won't mention any of the bad techniques here

Um, why not? The post is supposed to help people know what to avoid when building their site, but he purposefully won't say what to avoid. That doesn't make much sense.

In his vague list of possible "black hat" techniques, he includes:

1. "creating extra pages in your website"

Okay, so we shouldn't add content to our sites because that's "black hat"? Stop writing those articles boys! Again, a statement that makes no sense.

2. "stuffing your site with links"

I give you and Both are CHOCK FULL of links and do very well in Google. Google's own webmaster guidlines say:

Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100).

That means that if I have a 100 page site with 50 links per page, Google is fine with those 5,000 links.

Where is this guy getting his information?

3. "hidden links or hidden keywords"

What is he thinking constitutes "hidden"? Does he mean links and keywords placed on the page so they won't be noticed by HUMANS? Or using the same foreground and background color for the text? Or using stylesheet settings to hide the content? Or what?

There's WAY too much ambiguity going on here.

Any time anybody starts making very broad statements like this, BEWARE. There are black, white and gray areas all over the world of SEO. If you're going to make a statement like this, it MUST include precise examples or it has no credibility.

Problem #2: Zero Proof

The owner of this blog apparently expects us to believe that his words are the undeniable truth. I have to assume that because he gives no proof or examples to back up his statements.

Now, if he was Matt Cutts (a well known Google Search Engineer), he could do that with some authority. Guess what: he's not! He's just some guy out there on the web making ambiguous statements about Google. There's nothing wrong with being "some guy out there", but if you want to be believed, provide proof and evidence.

MOST of the rumors about Google are started from posts like this which SEEM to come from credible sources, and SOUND reasonable, but which show very little (if any) proof to back them up. When people make statements but fail to back them up with evidence, BEWARE!

Don't Take This Wrong

I'm not trying to bash the guy who wrote the post. He's probably a great guy who's honestly wanting to inform people about what he THINKS is true about Google. The problem is that the wealth of ambiguity and complete lack of proof only causes confusion and raises questions.

There is a MOUNTAIN of this kind of "information" on the web about search engine optimization (especially regarding Google). Avoid it like the plague. Look for PRECISE examples and PROOF of accuracy. If either one is lacking, move on.

It's this kind of "information" that motivated me to write Search Engine Myths Exposed! Look for the full report on January 9th. It obliterates all kinds of myths about Google with precise examples and a wealth of proof.

Please post your thoughts and comments below.