Ok… Hmm here goes. I’ll catch some hate for this, but whatever I know that’s because it’ll touch a nerve. It doesn’t make this not true.

I’ve been doing SEO for a long time now, about six years. Successfully for all of those as I worked at home from day 1… Prior to that, I was doing front-end web development and so I still had close connections to the SEO industry. So all in all, about 10 years involved in the industry as a whole.

That’s a lot longer doing this than the average time of someone who is professionally an SEO today. From most people I’ve talked to they’ve been doing it for anywhere between 2 and 3 years. Some less than 2 years.

It’s the last four years in particular that I’ve seen a change in the industry, and it’s not a completely bad one… Today we have more services and tools available than ever, which has helped everyone. It’s easier to rank now than ever in the sense that everything you need is readily available from dozens of providers.

Whenever something changes though, some things change for the better and other things for the worse. That’s just the nature of things.

It’s in those last four years I’ve felt that “Optimization” doesn’t really fit in the job description of what many people are doing now.

I don’t see that being reflected in groups, on peoples blogs and in general conversations I have. Instead, it feels like we’ve moved away from the testing that this industry was built on, toward flat-out manipulation. Don’t misinterpret what I’m saying, when you optimize anything it’s in order to manipulate your rankings. However, you can manipulate without progressively optimizing. Progressively being the key term there.

There are people who still do progressively optimize and test, and of the people that come to mind first it’s;

– Todd Foster
– Matt Diggity
– Colby Wren
James Dooley

Matt, in particular, has continued to share his insights in public, or at least some of them lol

Of course, there’s more, but overall there’s been a shift…

I’ve been working on an on-page optimization course for the last few months, and I’m literally sweating about releasing it because it is very focused on the process of optimization versus flat out “do this, do that” advice which would not work in 100% of cases. That’s what a lot of people expect now though.

But if all you’re doing is following what others say works, buying services whether it’s links or whatever… You’re not really progressively optimizing. Not if that’s all that you’re doing. Like I said I see that reflected in the kinds of questions that get asked, sometimes simple things that can be figured out doing basic testing no matter how many sites you have.

Even testing out PBNs, I can’t even remember the number of times people have said to test PBNs and yet we continue to see the same kinds of conversations come up in The Proper PBN Group on Facebook… It’s not difficult to test their effectiveness, but even simple things like that which used to be commonplace aren’t anymore.

I think this is because of an improvement in the availability of services, but of course, there’s always pros and cons. More information going out there is to promote services, less of the old mindset guys are sharing information (myself included I won’t hide that fact). There are good reasons for that too, and it’s a bit beyond the scope of this, but what it boils down to is the communities today. They’re not what they used to be.

So I don’t mean this to be offensive, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. I want to encourage people to move back toward the progressive optimization mindset which has so much to offer. You can 100% still buy links, pay for services or whatever it is that you do, AND still test and go back to pages and tweak things to see what happens.

1 thought on “Search Engine Optimization Vs Search Engine Manipulation

  1. Great article Dan. I couldn’t agree more that many nowadays do not test which is very bad. These new formed experts are just rehashing other people’s thoughts and the scary thing is a lot of it is actually bullshit.

    I want everyone to do well and the scary thing is I have seen articles written (on purpose) to lead people down the wrong path and now everyone reshares it as gospel when actually the techniques do not work.

    The best advice for any new starters is to always track and test what you are doing otherwise you might be following bad practices and lose a lot of money long term.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This