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Google Validates SEO Consulting

Google has (finally!) come around and validated SEO consultants world wide, acknowledging that Search Engine Optimization is an essential ingredient of a successful web site. This took many years! Some will note that Google continued to deny the value of SEO right up until Google itself figured out how to profit from it.

Initially, in the old days, Google denied SEO even existed. They sometimes referred to a small, disjoint community of fringe webmasters “gaming the system” as if it were an annoyance for Google and something bad for everyone. Of course they did this as they built their massive monopoly on search and advertising. They also did this as insiders at Google (Google employees) build personal web empires to exploit their knowledge of how Google works both sides of the traffic control and ad publishing marketplace.

The SEO consulting field grew rapidly due to the market demand for something other than Google’s promises of riches to webmaster who simply follow the published Google rules. Clearly Google’s claims didn’t hold water. Those who executed on SEO practices outperformed everyone else, often to amazing degrees. Still, though, Google tried to brand SEO as evil (and in some cases, “illegal”). In many cases, Google was nearly forced to rewrite and update its published guidelines, as professional SEO consultants exposed situations where Google clearly didn’t behave as it promised to behave.

Eventually SEO had earned so much respect in the marketplace based on performance alone (even overcoming Google’s significant attempts to brand it negatively) that even Google had to pay attention. Matt Cutts opened a dialog with the professional SEO community, and, over time, Google increasingly acknowledged that SEO existed, was important, and that people needed to learn SEO.

Google started an SEO education channel on YouTube, addressing hundreds of common SEO issues. Matt Cutts and other Google employees contributed expertise about how SEO increased the odds for business success on the web. Google answered submitted questions, and Google employees participated in site reviews at search conferences. Google still didn’t openly acknowledge the SEO consultants, however, choosing instead to continue to warn consumers not to trust SEO consultants. For every few words acknowledging that some could be helpful, Google published dozens of words cautioning consumers of the risks of hiring SEOs or following SEO advice.

These days the marketplace has had just about enough of Google’s misinformation. Every day we read articles admonishing Google for privacy invasions, aggressive unilateral moves against select web publishers, and corporate behavior typical of yesterday’s AT&T, SouthWestern Bell, or Verizon. Google has become the big greedy insensitive corporation, despite its promises of “being good”. We are seeing reports of the equivalent of “insider trading” at Google, where Google employees help select friends and associated with SEO issues, secretly and “unofficially” at the same time that Google the corporation refuses to provide public customer support, or even a communications channel.

But now, finally, SEO consultants around the world can rejoice. Google the corporation has validated the SEO consultant. According to reports of  this Google post, Google will start offering SEO services on a limited basis (starting in Norway). Since Google always tests first and usually runs extended “beta” periods for their new offerings, it will likely be some time before we know how far Google will move into the SEO services marketplace. But one thing we know for sure: SEO is an essential ingredient of any web site, and it takes a  search professional (a respected professional SEO consultant or perhaps a Google employee) to advise business on how to SEO their web sites.

John Andrews is a professional SEO consultant in Seattle, Washington. John has been focused on Search Engine Optimization since before Google launched, and a full-time independent SEO Consultant since 2003.

Updated: The Google post was subsequently updated. I now see this (translated to English by Google):

“When we published this post, we did this in order to reach our target audience: Webmasters in the Nordic countries. Some readers misunderstood this as an indication that we introduce help for webmasters over the review of the pages; imidlertig this is not the case.  A site clinic is an opportunity for us to come up with constructive criticism and share tips on improving web pages, hopefully, can lead to better visibility for these pages. Our decision to keep search and advertising completely separated continues to be a definite fact.We should have made this clearer in the original post, and hope this post clears up any confusion.”

I received two requests to acknowledge this. I also note the language used… despite the fact that this still reads like consulting on seo matters where Google legal has imposed a clarifying statement denying any crossover between search and paid advertising, Google chooses language that claims it is the reader who has made an error (“Some readers misunderstood this…“). Perhaps Google needs to return to finishing school for a bit?


  1. Melissa wrote:

    I am not really surprised, but I am pissed. How much more money do they need? Why not appreciate people that have kept pumping how important their search engine is for years. They can’t own the whole planet! I guess it is time for some else to come in and make a better search engine.

    Way to stimulate the economy, Google. You are no longer my preferred search engine.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Permalink
  2. Mark Jackson wrote:


    I cannot imagine Google wanting to get into something that is not scalable (this is a service that would require a lot of human staffing). So, as the post that you’ve referenced mentions, this may be a good thng for the Industry, I believe.

    It will be interesting to review their findings (they say that they will post the results of the reviews). Do you think they’ll recommend link building initiatives?

    Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Permalink
  3. Jason wrote:

    So now would be the time to get a Norwegian website going then eh? and submit it to google webmaster tools.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Permalink
  4. Scott wrote:

    Sounds like a conflict of interest if the world’s largest search engine has spent billions on developing an algorithm to place sites on the first page which are most relevant to its users, and now will offer paid services to help your site get there.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Permalink
  5. Johannes wrote:

    Google certainly isn’t going to offer SEO services. They are just doing siteclinics for 3 or 4 domains in their Webmastertool Blog as they have done in several other counties. Nothing to worry about and a good example why you shouldn’t trust all 3rd party blogs without verification.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Permalink
  6. Kasia Bauer wrote:

    Interesting post but I’m not clear with the money concept for Google. How will they get it?

    The second thing: Didn’t Google made site clinics before?

    I believe Google is warming up to SEOs because they want us to make the web more crawlable (they finaly figured that, eh?), implement microformats (so they can understand the content and keep scraping and selling ads on it)and populate Google services.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Permalink
  7. Sounds like nothing more than the old Paid Inclusion model.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 6:41 pm | Permalink
  8. Alysson wrote:

    So, how long do you suppose it will be before those who hire Google to provide SEO services are given a measurable advantage in the organic SERPs. A single ranking factor variable in the algorithm would do it and there would be no way in hell any of us would be able to isolate it or gather any evidence to prove it.

    I’d like to take off my tin foil hat here, but I can’t…seems that Google just took a big step toward trying to take over the SEO/SEM industry entirely. And who do you think people are going to flock to for SEO if they begin offering these services worldwide? This is not a good thing for our industry. Tick-tock…

    Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Permalink
  9. SEO agencies which work with Google will get all the tools and knowledge needed to gain more advantage and Google will gain money from it. Result are paid listings in Organic Results. Or what about spam reports of these companies? Will these companies get more power so that they can try to wipe out competitors?

    It is all about control. Nothing more, nothing less

    Friday, February 12, 2010 at 1:38 am | Permalink
  10. Colin Hall wrote:

    Google may say that SEO is an essential ingredient to any website, but this is far from saying that Google rewards good SEO. I still think that Google’s target is an accurate appraisal system of ranking websites. They [IMHO] will always prefer to have search engine results based purely upon content instead of SEO techniques. They’re not there yet, but I can see it developing.


    Col :-)

    Friday, February 12, 2010 at 3:11 am | Permalink
  11. Gareth james wrote:

    No I don’t believe this. They cannot possibly offer SEO services, it would wreck the integrity of their index.

    Friday, February 12, 2010 at 3:45 am | Permalink
  12. Kasia Bauer wrote:


    And who do you think people are going to flock to for SEO if they begin offering these services worldwide?

    I think SEO Consulting is not enought scalable for Google.

    Paid Online SEO tools is what Google could do. But then it’s too obviously evil for them :).

    Friday, February 12, 2010 at 6:52 am | Permalink
  13. CK wrote:

    I see some sort of Google SEO Certification forthcoming…

    Friday, February 12, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Permalink
  14. I’m not really surprised about an having SEO Consulting team. Google are have no attention to reveal their real algorithm because they’re afraid the spammer will lead theirs site in Search Engine by spamming the website. I agree to Google that should reveal the their secret recipe how to eliminate the spammers in Search Engine. About to Matt Cutts, we should use our own views in understanding how Google updates its Page Rank. Now we learned a lot on this article specially the tips on how to avoid your site to get spammed.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 4:17 am | Permalink
  15. Jonas Voss wrote:

    Hi John,

    I tried posting this message on Friday, but maybe it got lost in your moderation queue, so I’m trying again (:

    My name is Jonas, and I’m one of the authors of the blogpost announcing the Site Clinics for the nordic markets.

    I’m just writing to let you know, that we added a paragraph to the original post that Magne also refers to, and we hope it clarifies things a bit.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Permalink