Received via unsolicited email today:
“I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization. On-Page SEO means more now than ever since the new Google update: Panda. No longer are backlinks and simply pinging or sending out a RSS feed the key to getting Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings, You now NEED On-Page SEO. So what is good On-Page SEO?First your keyword must appear in the title.Then it must appear in the URL.You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing). Then you should spread all H1,H2,H3 tags in your article.Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page. You should have relevant usage of Bold and italics of your keyword.There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword….wait there’s even more…”
Google has created an environment where scams like this can thrive, because web site owners don’t understand what does or doesn’t matter for SEO. Experts work hard to test, reverse-engineer and develop strategies for successful SEO, but real experts don’t write about specifics in public. Tool and service vendors write specifics in order to impress potential service clients. Scam artists write detailed guidelines like the above, which are half based in truth, but primarily designed to sell 1 year contracts while the client is still naive about SEO.
I wrote about this years ago in my Market for Lemons post.
It seems this is all about to change. What might Google do to bring this under control?
- Require registration of SEO service providers- Google could create a “Trusted SEO” program, with service provider partners. Those looking to improve their success with Google would be encouraged to hire the Trusted SEOs, while all other SEO service providers would be monitored for compliance, with threat of penalties for clients and SEOs sans any two-way communications. We saw hints of this with the “pay to play in organic” inadvertently exposed briefly earlier in the year. Surely that was the smoke… and the fire must be burning somewhere.
- Publish a specific list of allowed publishing tactics, with specifics of penalties, filters, and demotions. If complex enough, this would eliminate the market for legal “tricks”, and probably last a few years before truly stifling the 80%
- Publish specific lists of “risk factors” associated with specific web sites, via Webmaster Console. Such an “SEO Score” could allow site owners to better understand and manage their risk, even when working with an SEO firm.
- Make public a list of known SEO practitioners and their web sites / clients. This transparency would strengthen Google’s traditional one-sided control of the search marketplace, while removing much of the advantage SEO firms have over naive clients. It would also hurt serious SEO consultants working “all-in” for certain industries. Such an exposure would restrict competition at the higher levels of SEO.
- Publish a “Chilling Effects” style website about penalties, filters, and bans, using real-world examples, naming SEOs and SEO agencies, as well as domains.
- Eliminate the viability of organic, non-paid listings altogether. Google could label approved organic listings as trusted, and hide true organic listings behind an option setting. Conduct a search, see only the organic listings Google prefers, which would include clients of the Trusted SEOs program. Desire more diversity? Click a link to see the rest. Using such an approach, Google could boost all known Quality metrics through the roof, reward partner agencies and clients, while still claiming to puplish algorithmic organic results sets. Not a pretty future, but possible.
Clearly Google is making big changes and we’ll have to wait to see the final specifics. These are some ideas of how it might go… to help stir discussions. What do you see in the near future from Google? How “bad” willit get for real SEOs, versus canned SEO service sellers, scam artists, and opportunity exploiters?