Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Why #SEOHorrorStories Presents the SEO Industry in a Bad Light

Last week on Twitter SEO trended when the industry, following the lead of Aleyda Solis, a columnist for Search Engine Land, tweeted her own "SEO Horror Story." For industry insiders, the tweets offered a sardonic view of SEO horrors. This following tweet, from Google Analytics offered a relatively straightforward (and common) horror.

We couldn't help but notice, however, that many of the tweets (including the tweet above) implicitly poked fun at industry outsiders--the people who perpetuate these horrors.

Of course, it was all in good nature (we hope). And of course, most "outsiders" wouldn't understand (or care to understand) a great deal of the tweets.
Say what? This was all apparently quite funny:
Funny, right?

What struck us about the "hilarious and horrific" trend was how easily the industry slipped into pessimism. All of these SEO horrors seemingly involved clients, or developers, or designers who had made grave mistakes while the SEO insider stood by, aghast, shocked, horrified.

At times, frankly, the tweets read as spiteful.
We couldn't help but think: in a way (a big way), SEO is about fixing problems. The fact that the problem exists is not necessarily the fault of a specific client, developer, or designer. SEO is a complicated affair, mastered by few, misunderstood by many. By poking fun at the mistakes of others aren't we betraying the mission of the industry: to help our clients; to demystify the process?

SEO, as we've noted before, is a highly specialized talent:

"A talented professional should be able to speak fluently about the latest algorithm changes in a way that makes sense to you. If he/she cannot do this--well, then, you might be best finding another specialist. And take our word for it: like lawyers, this country is overrun with SEO specialists."

Some in the SEO community might read this post as sour grapes. Fine. We wonder, though, how would the same people react to, say, another hashtag from another specialized industry? What if your lawyer was tweeting about your "legal" mistakes? Well, of course, that would never happen--lawyers abide by a Modern Rules of Professional Conduct, and confidentiality is key. Perhaps the SEO community needs a similar rule book.

In the end, we must admit, #SEOhorrorstories was a harmless exercise that elicited little attention outside of the industry. For us, however, the lesson here is clear.

If you're searching for an SEO company to optimize your website, make sure you choose wisely. You want a firm that believes in the value of a consultative approach. You want a firm that will make you feel comfortable with the process. A good SEO firm will teach. You should not be excluded from the process or the knowledge. And you certainly do not want a firm that pokes fun at your mistakes.

If you simply want to learn more about SEO, do not be discouraged by the condescension of insiders. And please do read our blog, which is decidedly not written by experts. Our writers aim, simply, to learn and to share this learning in an accessible way.

As we've noted before: "once you get past the misconceptions, you discover real human beings." It's important for the SEO community to understand that this is a two-way street.

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