You Know What Annoys Me?

Written: 10-Jun-2011 | | Filed under: Industry Buzz

What’s annoying me today: people who claim to be experts on SEO, but then use such imprecise and misleading language in talking about SEO I can’t tell if they really know what they’re talking about or not.

For instance, when somebody’s putting on a presentation to tell you about the Panda update at Google, but they use the term “PageRank” when they really mean rankings. PageRank is a very specific term that has to do with the value of links pointing to a page. The Google Panda update didn’t have anything to do with PageRank, but it had a lot to do with rankings.

Or — again talking about the Panda update — an alleged expert talks about scraping as though that’s a synonym for content farming. (It isn’t.)

  • Scraping is when somebody copies your content wholesale, without your permission, usually with some kind of automated script (so they don’t have to do any work at all to create a so-called “content-rich” site). If you’re lucky, they’ll run it through some kind of software to mix up and substitute words so it isn’t an exact copy of what you originally posted, but often they just take and post as-is… so scraping can lead to a lot of duplicate content out there.
  • Content farming is when you create that content-rich site by hiring armies of low-paid “authors” or “experts” to create tons of “informative” articles for you. Most of those articles will be very short and very low-value, but — at least, pre-Panda — a site made up of hundreds of thousands of very short, low-value articles could still do pretty well. And while the “authors” may be “inspired” by existing articles, these content farmers generally pride themselves on having original and unique content. It’s original and unique crap content, to be sure, but at least it wasn’t simply scraped from another site.

Why does this annoy me?

Because it’s confusing to folks who are trying to learn about SEO so they can improve their sites. See, I hear these things and I roll my eyes and chuckle to myself and think “Jinkies! Somebody maybe isn’t as big of an expert as he claims, eh?” Because I know better.

But a person who’s just learning — whether a site owner / webmaster or a newbie SEO — doesn’t know. They think they’ve just learned something. They take notes. And they probably tell others about what they’ve “learned.” And then when they hear the real deal from somebody who seriously is an expert, they get all discombobulated. Because there are so many people floating around claiming to be experts and sounding all authoritative, but the “experts” don’t agree.

And until you’ve got some experience under your belt, it can sometimes be pretty darned hard to tell which one is the real deal and which one is the poser.

I wish I knew what the answer is. Those who do know what they’re talking about try to tell people, but somehow the phonies always seem to be able to talk louder and longer. I just have to hope that eventually people will learn enough to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Thus endeth the rant for the day…

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