No Public Outing of SEO Tactics

SEO Geek stuff ;)

Why do seo publicly out other seo’s strategies? If it’s not for selfish competitive reasons, they are stupid. I mean, why unrinate in the well we are all drinking from?

I sometimes think Google lets you manipulate some verticals using pretty low quality methods with a view to learning how seo are doing them and preventing the effectiveness of these strategies in others verticals.

Google guidelines tell us what not to do, but the simple fact is ALL of the things Google say not to do WORK in a lot of cases – for a period of time, at least. If buying links were ineffective for instance, Google wouldn’t be telling us not to do it. Same with EVERY guideline in there.

My focus is on getting quality links from real sites – I have never bought a link on a particular website I have identified a want a link on (apart from a directory like Yahoo), but many do. My other main focus is building a good site for the long haul – but I will, generally, take a link from anywhere, as long as I am not paying for the link. I don’t have a problem paying to syndicate content I create – but I don’t even do that much these days. EDIT – I don’t syndicate articles any more at all.

I prefer defensible strategies and that DOES MEAN I follow Google guidelines a lot – but that’s just smarts, not ethics. I am no white hat shock troop – but I am not into industrial spam these days either.

Ethical SEO is a misnomer (if that’s the right word) – in fact – it’s a non-statement. Google is just an automated top ten list – there’s no *&^%$ ethics involved in getting a site listed in there (if it’s legal).

When I see folks breaking the rules, I don’t complain about it. I learn from them. You can monitor tactics for a while and see if they incur a penalty, or if the site gets away with it. If it gets away with it, you can copy it in a better fashion, too.

I see plenty of stuff on a daily basis that works but shouldn’t – it doesn’t mean I do any of it.

Keep ‘outing’ for companies who might be a consumer scam or supports a listing that actually hurts other sites or injects malware – I have no problems with outing that stuff – but as far as outing seo for strategies (and I see a TON of them) I am firmly in the NO OUTING camp these days.

If you are outing other seo tactics – you’re a collaborator, simple as that, and this is war on a lot of fronts.

Brands will get away with stuff you can’t because Google would look stupid without big brands in their results – so dry your eyes.

(If this is beyond you – White Hats are folks who slavishly follow Google guidelines, Black Hats are those who don’t give a toss about them. What’s white today, could be black tomorrow. Black hat seo is typically thought of as ‘short term’, white hat seo is traditionally thought as as longer term. But that clearly depends on who is doing it!).

My friend Paul Madden has a similar discussion at his blog.

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13 Responses

  1. Greg says:

    The problem with your “collaborator” analogy is that Google is paying my bills. When someone is paying me, shouldn’t I make a reasonable effort to work with them? They are after all feeding my family. It’s a crooked business. But, don’t blame the peons for fighting over the scraps. Blame the guy at the top yanking everyone around for profit. You should avoid analogies of white = good and black = bad. Even if everyone else is doing it. Especially when you start proclaiming your whiteness as I imagine you were trying to make this post about race.

  2. kev grant says:

    hola Scotland couldn’t agree more, ..occasionally out spammers who (over)push their luck, but tactics & strategies are there for us to learn from, not expose like big jealous look-at-me nancies. it also amuses me daily the nonsense people spout on forums etc about this not working, or that being devalued, when as active seos we see this & that still working just fine if you have the bottle to use it. ..obviously on client sites you just cant risk anything less-than-white, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. amazing how so many “experts” regurgitate the WM guidelines as though it’s seo-fact, rather than “please don’t do this we’re not very good at defending against it” regards from sunny Ibiza.

  3. Mark @ Organic SEO B says:

    Funny. Those who “out” only make it harder on themselves in that they take a tool off of the table for everybody, including themselves. This is true.

  4. Sam says:

    Well said, outsmarting competition is certainly alot more successful than trying to hurt competitors by revealing their tactics…it’s amazing how much effort some people waste on bragging about what exactly others do instead of simply getting work done. SEO isn’t magic or about secrets, it’s not rocket science, it’s work and there is no shortcut.

  5. Cameron says:

    Rather than trying to show up the competiton isnt better to work with them and come up with your own ideas, trying to run others down seems like a waste of time and recourses.

  6. Shaun Anderson (Hobo says:

    Well, thats what I am sort of trying to say. Nobody likes a grass…..

  7. Sandy says:

    Good post Shaun and I’m in your camp. Outing folks can always be a bad tactic as it can invariably bite you back in the arse some day. What goes around as they say. What would make a more interesting post [for me anyway] would be a discussion on outing the PPC companies that are ripping companies off every day with their scams and outrageous setup fees.

  8. Shaun Anderson (Hobo says:

    Hey Sandy, you could do a guest post lol

  9. sandy says:

    Could you afford my fees? ;-)

  10. Website marketing says:

    It’s not just smarts–it’s smarts AND ethics. Just because Google outputs something akin to, as you say, a “top ten list,” doesn’t mean that its algorithm wasn’t designed specially to root out the sites that employ unethical or deceitful techniques.

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