• http://managinggreatness.com Gil Reich

    Lisa Barone’s post today started with a link to Darren Rowse’s article attacking the myth that great content markets itself. It’s really the same issue. People somehow need to believe that great products sell themselves, and that marketers, SEOs, etc. are thieves and charlatans. In other generations it was farmers going on angry tirades against bankers and traders. Some people are so obsessed with themselves that they will never accept or understand that other people in the chain legitimately add value. But Danny — the Angels swept the Sox and you have World Series tickets — don’t let morons like this get to you. Just be glad we’re living in an age where he’s not coming after you with a pitchfork.

  • http://nickroshon.com nnnick

    Wow, that gets me fired up. I just sent you this link on Twitter, Danny, but I thought I’d post here. The first commenter to his “SEO FAQ” (http://powazek.com/posts/2101) says “I think I will continue to produce quality posts (I hope) and ignore all this SEO stuff.” While I don’t think that was Derek’s advice at all, his rant is so misleading that I can see how his readers would interpret that…further ironic because that first commenters home page, http://www.thedailymba.com/, isn’t cached, despite meta code telling the robots to index and follow.

    To me, Mr Powazek comes across as a web developer with an ego bigger than the web itself, and seems to be making the argument that all companies should spend top dollar on SEO-saavy web developers like himself (just don’t call it SEO-saavy), as opposed to ever consulting with a firm that specializes in SEO or offers SEO without designing the site for you first. It’s a very self-serving argument.

  • http://ItsTheROI.com Jonahstein


    Thanks for (once again) rising to the challenge of defending out industry from pople who attack with broad strokes and limited transparency. I was going to jump in the thread last night and then passed. I think the interview with Brent Payne goes a long way towards putting some real facts around why doing SEO is essential even if you have great content. http://www.wordtracker.com/academy/brent-payne-interview

    Most of us can’t or won’t talk about particular SEO projects, but this is a really concrete example that shows Derrick is full of.. himself.

  • http://www.seoworkers.com Webnauts

    Danny, I read that rediculous and misleading blog post of Derek before I arrived here. It is obvious that this guy just posts a bunch of BS to draw attention. That said, it looks like he really has a very serious problem. But definitely not with SEO. :)

    I honestly appreciate your approach, defending the professionals of our industry.

    Thanks and thumb up Danny!

  • http://b b

    Sorry Danny, but the situations you describe are still just good web development. Any decent web developer will know to do those things. Just because some developers don’t doesn’t mean SEO is a legitimate industry.

  • GopiKrishna

    Hi Danny Sullivan, i am total agree with you, SEO is not just getting listed at top of search engines, it’s a way to create your website user friendly manner, getting some traffic so users can know about you, it’s not an tactic it’s a open standards which are build to make web more meaning full….

  • purposeinc

    I agree. Something is only easy once you know how to do it. It is almost daily that I end up explaining to some business owner the basics of getting started with SEO. Just cause it is easy to you, does not mean it is not valuable. :)

  • tcbee

    Oh, it’s just the worst semantical mis-communication ever. The irony is that as an SEO, Derek’s post makes complete sense to me. I agree 100%, except for one tiny thing:


    He should have have said “SPAM” is not a legitimate form of marketing. “SPAM” is poisoning the web.

    I fight, fight, FIGHT to educate against spam on the web. It pisses me off and I take it reeeal personally that tacky tactics like that rub off on my mission to help people leverage exceptional online content even more by making it search-friendly.

    Email marketing has similar backlash: we all detest spam emails, but no one can deny that a ingeniously crafted, opt-in email campaign does nothing but improve customer loyalty.

    SEO can be used for good or evil. Derek’s ranting against the evil while completely missing the value that legitimate SEO brings.

    (His “under the hood” paragraph is also a messy misinformed miasma of reverse-engineering, but I digress…)

  • http://www.onlinematters.com Arthur Coleman

    Danny, et al: my comments from yesterday were too long to put here. See http://www.aboutonlinematters.com/2009/10/why-search-engine-optimization-matters/.

    Sorry if a bit rambling or dense – time is so tight that editing cycles get nixed.

  • Rolex24

    I don’t know. I think I agree with Derek, but I see your points. There are people out there that really don’t know thing one about a website or SEO. But does that mean we should charge them a lot of money to do something that is fairly common sense? Sure that’s fine. And I’m sure there are many people out there who would be glad to do it.

    Where I think it becomes unethical is when SEO experts make it seem like what they do is extremely complicated and could not be done without their help. I’m a writer, and I started seeing SEO on everyone’s resume’s, so I thought, I better learn what this is all about. I bought a highly recommended book and I was shocked in the first 15 minutes I had it how common sense it was (and how much I already knew). I guess my point is….for someone who has a clue about the web SEO should be friendly advice. You can find most everything you need to know here http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/

    For someone who has no clue, and isn’t willing to learn they may be a better candidate for SEO services. But if they aren’t the type to really be clued in as to what they are doing online then it may be a wasted effort. Because as Derek said “You’ll build a reputation for doing good work, meaning what you say, and building trust.
    It’ll take time. A lot of time. But it works. And it’s the only thing that does.” If they aren’t willing to put the work in then they’ll never get very far.

  • http://managinggreatness.com Gil Reich

    Rolex, the same can be said (and often is said) about almost anything. You were “shocked in the first 15 minutes I had it how common sense it was (and how much I already knew).” OK, that would be true if you picked up a book in economics, nutrition, marketing, PR, writing, etc. I’m not an SEO. I work at a website. I have no axe to grind and no vested interest. But I will tell you that in my experience, as with most other things, common sense gets you pretty far but an expert can get you a lot further.

  • http://www.itsafamilything.co.uk carps

    A brilliant defense! I think those who argue that ‘good’ web developers will just code things for SEO naturally in this comment thread are kind of missing the point.

    Remember Adam Smith’s description of the amount of labour that goes into making matches… the old ‘division of labour’ thing. A match requires someone to chop down the tree, someone to mine the sulphur for the tip, someone to create the chemicals, someone to create the machinery to shape the match and so on… It would be foolish to think that one person can make the perfect match without all this outside expertise.

    Websites are no different. Someone who’s great with visual concepts might not understand how a website is even put together. And the person putting the website together might not know how Google works. And then the owner of the site might blunder about spamming the internet because – hey! – they’ve got a business to run and don’t have any frame of reference for buying links or adding content to their site properly.

    So SEO is just the study of these things and the application of them to a website – not some kind of meta-criticism of web design or business.

  • http://www.Homes-In-Crested-Butte.com tgiassa

    Danny, Thank you for writing this brilliant overview of a “hairy” problem many of us “out there” face!
    I am not a mommy but I sell homes, and, in a resort market like mine, having an effective website that is found when people go to Google and type in “Crested Butte real estate” or “Homes in Crested Butte” is uber-critical!
    I had initially hired an SEO guy that may fit into the not-so-good category. He never did the basics, ie: title, keywords, etc. … in fact, I’m not sure what he did for the $450/mo I gave him. So, I let him go and now am trying to educate myself on the subject. I am re-writing my pages and while having great content (I think), I am using some of the tools and tips I have picked up by spending hours doing research. It’s really hard to find the time to learn and implement but feel it is my best option at this point – besides I know the content best.
    My husband sent me your article and now that I found you I will be including your articles in my research — so keep the good stuff coming!
    Make it a great day! Trish Giassa

  • zuko105

    linkbait = achieved