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Thread: Why SEO Disgusts Me

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    Franc Tireur is offline Senior Net Builder
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    Why SEO Disgusts Me

    Before my SEO friends get their panties in a wad over today’s headline, let me emphasize that I understand the practical value and wisdom of basic Search Engine Optimization practices. There are many prinicipled people in the field doing good and useful work.
    But the competition to out-fox the search engines is getting ugly. Beyond ugly.
    I recently had a discussion with the CEO of a leading Midwest search firm who described their common practice of creating fake accounts to pump client links into the comment section of blog posts and forums.

    The process goes something like this:
    1. The company hires home-bound individuals or low-wage people in developing countries to freelance as professional blog commenters.
    2. The blog commenters are trained on how to pose as fake people and comment in a way that does not alert the suspicion of Google or the author of the blog.
    3. The freelance commenters are then given assignments, fake personas and email accounts to provide an appearance of legitimacy. A 50-year-old man in Indianapolis might be posing as a 30-year-old housewife in Pittsburgh, for example.
    4. The commenters are compensated by the number of client links they can successfully work into a comment or forum — as many as five in one post.
    Reality check. Isn’t this fraud?
    Why SEO Disgusts Me | WebProNews

    I am glad that someone raise this problem. I don't know how many time I talked about this, but it is real and it seems to work with the search engines.

    Yes the puppeteers are everywhere, they don't have any ethics and they have always one step above the search engine spam teams or even their competitors.

    That's not new and you can find them on every single marketing platform.

    By the way I will say that more people left behind by the search engines rankings and more spammer puppeteers there will be.

    What do you think about the puppeteers SEO?
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

    Voltaire


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    Loko's Avatar
    Loko is offline Super Moderator
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    It's inevitable that the search engines are being gamed by blackhat techniques. Like in the offline world, people who don't follow rules often have an unfair advantage over those who follow the rules. The problem lays in the fact that the SEO industry is not regulated (thankfully in my opinion). Google is having its own anti spam team, they are and cannot be ahead of all things spam and black hat. Therefore, we have to take it or leave, beat them or join them however unfair either choice may be.

    Especially (very) small business owners are going to have difficulties. Often they don't have the time to do SEO/SEM themselves and are at the mercy of someone to do it for them.

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  4. #3
    Franc Tireur is offline Senior Net Builder
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loko View Post
    Especially (very) small business owners are going to have difficulties. Often they don't have the time to do SEO/SEM themselves and are at the mercy of someone to do it for them.
    That's correct, small and very small businesses don't have time, knowledge and money in general to hire good SEO/SEM experts.

    Let take a look at one brand strategy amoung others. We all know that search engines and particularly Google don't like pay links, but what about pay for puppeteer reviews or company offering pay service for reviews that huge brands are sign up for?

    Customer reviews are the most difficult part to acquire, and one technique to do so is to start by hiring puppeteers, so people feel more comfortable to review themselves.

    Paid puppeteer reviews are an entire industry working for the corporations.
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

    Voltaire


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    TopDogger is offline Über Hund
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    I fail to see how hiring fake blog commenters has anything to do with SEO. That tactic will certainly not rocket a web site to the top of the rankings. While it is clearly unethical to hire fake commenters, it is just not an effective SEO method. I would agree that any company who offers services like that and calling it SEO is something that would disgust me as well, because is just not SEO. I've always seen fake comments and fake reviews as a tactic used by weak sites to make their sites look popular. That would make it a marketing technique, but not SEO.

    Perhaps the real problem is that the author of the article does not really know much about SEO. Read his profile. There is no indication that he has any experience with SEO or Internet marketing. He is a university teacher.

    This reminds me of an article that John C. Dvorak from PC Magazine wrote a few years ago where he also blasted SEO as a scam. He went on to outline the advice that he had been given by a "friend" who claimed to know SEO. He ultimately implemented that advice on his web site and traffic plummeted. That was his proof that SEO did not work. No SEO professional would have given him that advice because what happened to his site as a result was predictable. He followed bad advice from someone who thought he knew something about SEO, but obviously did not.

    While there is no question that there are a lot of unethical SEO companies out there and a lot of legitimate complaints about SEO scams, articles like this written about non-issues by people who know very little about this topic are annoying to anyone who runs a legitimate SEO company.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


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    bogart is offline Super Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loko View Post
    It's inevitable that the search engines are being gamed by blackhat techniques. Google is having its own anti spam team, they are and cannot be ahead of all things spam and black hat.
    Google is aware of the spam. But Google prefers to deal with the issues algorithmically. So, sometimes it takes a long while before there's an algorithm to deal with specific issues. With the internet growing everyday, manual just isn't a good option.

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    Franc Tireur is offline Senior Net Builder
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopDogger View Post
    I've always seen fake comments and fake reviews as a tactic used by weak sites to make their sites look popular. That would make it a marketing technique, but not SEO.
    If you take for example Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews, I don't think they work for weak sites, but rather for big corporation chains
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bogart View Post
    Google is aware of the spam. But Google prefers to deal with the issues algorithmically. So, sometimes it takes a long while before there's an algorithm to deal with specific issues. With the internet growing everyday, manual just isn't a good option.
    In the case of fake comments and reviews, that would be hard to detect with an algorithm unless they are repetitive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Natural Elements View Post
    If you take for example Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews, I don't think they work for weak sites, but rather for big corporation chains
    They look like high-end software solutions that target high-end merchant customers.


    Social Commerce Software by Industry | Bazaarvoice

    The Features & Benefits of Customer Reviews | PowerReviews

    These services do not appear to provide fake reviews, but rather are systems that prod users to provide reviews from verified purchasers. They say that they provide "trust reviews" and "structured reviews". I'm getting more and more e-mails from online merchants who I purchase products from that ask me to provide a product review. It is one way of building product-focused content if you can get enough reviews. I always check customer reviews at Amazon before I buy a product, but those reviews are more of a marketing tool than an SEO tool. They are also a double-edged sword because about half of the time I do not buy a product based upon negative reviews.
    Last edited by TopDogger; 26 June, 2011 at 12:31 PM.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


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    Franc Tireur is offline Senior Net Builder
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    When corporations start buying services for reviews or comments instead of getting them from customers, perhaps it is not fake in the strictest sense but that's not the way it is supposed to work.

    There is a big difference between people working for marketing companies specifically paid to reviews products and reviews from customers who bought the products. That's why corporations (and they shouldn't do that) are paying for marketing reviews are fake, unnatural and deceiving the customers who buys the products based on the reviews.

    Remember the FTC blogger rules?

    $250K Reasons to Pay Attention to the ‘Blogger Rules’
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Natural Elements View Post
    When corporations start buying services for reviews or comments instead of getting them from customers, perhaps it is not fake in the strictest sense but that's not the way it is supposed to work.
    I fully agree, but are the comments generated through Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews fake? These look like systems that prod customers to provide reviews as a follow-up to the purchase. If that is the case, then the reviews would be legitimate. It is really hard to tell by reading the information provided by each company. The reviews that I found about their services are even more vague.

    Some of the phoniest reviews that I have ever seen can be found at Amazon. Although I always check the reviews, it is pretty suspicious when there are 10 positive reviews about a book or a product that is not yet available. Amazon recently started to add an "Amazon Verified Purchase" message to reviews so that you can sort out the legitimate comments from actual customers versus those that are questionable. I don't think that Amazon is salting the comments, but it certainly looks like book publishers, authors, product manufacturers and 3rd part sellers are doing this.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


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    andrewstephens1 is offline Unknown Net Builder
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    I still haven't been able to crack the SEO nut yet... for the umpteenth time i have thought of hiring a seo professional, but then backed off.

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