There is a reason why SEO sucks for many, many people. It seems SEO is HATED even, in many cases. I usually ignore that SEO Hater stuff because many, many people don’t really understand what SEO is, and some people like to foster SEO F.U.D. (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt… the same stuff that sells backup systems and certain unnecessary insurance policies). Whatever. But today I have a concrete example of why SEO sucks.
SEO sucks because it is like SCHOOL. And of course everybody knows, School Sucks right?
SEO is like school, because it is all about learning. Not memorizing, not completing requirements, but learning and getting along. If you listen to people who say “school sucks” it is usually because the people at school are mean or boring, the classes are boring or simply wrong or meaningless in the real world, or school sucks because they simply can’t make the grades. And if you try and make it in the world without proper schooling, your career choices can seem unfairly limited. Ditto for SEO.
Some SEO people suck. The ones who cold-call clients pitching guaranteed rankings, exploiting the ignorance of the buyer, or the ones who over-promise and under-deliver, or do nothing at all. Scammers often like to pretend to be SEOs, and they suck, too. Some of the more vocal “SEO sucks” people used to be SEOs, but didn’t do very well. Some just don’t like it when they learn how much good SEO costs, so they get annoyed and say it sucks. So that’s the people part of the “school sucks” analogy.
A lot of SEO is boring. Title tags, site maps, and endless re-writing of insider abbreviations and graphic labels so they actual make sense, and can be read by search engines. Complex projects are often completed because of clever shortcutting, and often SEO is about unrolling those shortcuts. It’s not always exciting stuff. Kind of like accounting class, at the middle level when it’s all abut regulations and not about why those regulations exist. Bo. Ring. And many people who try SEO school fail. They do “everything right” 9in their own eyes), but don’t rank. That’s like going to summer school and still failing the course. Kinda sucks, right?
Which brings me to today’s real-world observation. I liked school in general, but at times I hated it. I liked it when it showed me I was ignorant, but capable of learning. I hated it when it simply told me I was ignorant (often when I knew I was not). Usually when I hated it, that was because it was either incorrect or did not apply to my version of the “real world”. I don’t mean it was outright wrong, but in my world view, it was either unnecessary or would be soon. For example, if a Computer Science instructor wants to teach you assembly language programming for a long-retired piece of IBM hardware, because he thinks it is good for structured learning, I might disagree. I might think he’s just lazy, and wants to have an easy life teaching (grading, understanding) what he already knows. It really is true that good students make for good teachers, but not if you tell them to shut up and go with the program. If you go to school to learn, and they teach the wrong stuff, then school sucks. If you go to read about SEO and they teach the wrong stuff….
Blog hopping today I hit imjtk.com. He’s a designer. But he has a post about SEO. It’s keyword-stuffed ‘n crap, but in a nice way. But it’s wrong. And then he admits it’s not SEO… but it is… but not completely… but it works….. but not 100%…. but enough for him, since 1998. And he says “I don’t believe in Splogging“. And then he says (in the comments) “I am not really up to speed on specific SEO techniques these days. I try and do the basics, but if you want some turbo charged SEO I would contact...” and then it links to an SEO blog. An SEO “firm” that promotes Blogging for SEO. Aptly named “The Blog Mill”, I might add. And there, amid the not-exactly-correct-nor-useful SEO “information” about using blogs for SEO, I click thru to a portfolio example. It’s a splog, folks. And it isn’t even well indexed. And it doesn’t rank for the key terms I tried. Oh, and it appears to have some canonical issues.
Now I know that might be some sort of feeder splog, not intended to rank itself, blah blah blah whatever. Sorry to question the skillz. My point is not who knows SEO, but who teaches school. SEO sucks because… well, because School Sucks. And the only way we can fix that, is by asking politely, that good web designers stick to web designing, and stop preaching SEO. Please.