in Business, SEO, Web

C’mon Man! Joe Brockmeier RWWE Edition

UPDATED: It has been suggested that my post came across as a personal attack:

That’s fair. Perhaps it was. To clarify, my post is an attack on the perpetuation of the idea that there is/should be a distinction between SEO and developing good content. It’s also an expression of my disappointment that Read Write Web would be the news site perpetuating what is, in my opinion, misleading information at best, and flat wrong at worst.

Yesterday (December 13, 2011 2:00 PM), Read Write Web’s Joe Brockmeier Enterprise Section published Google’s Matt Cutts: Good Content Trumps SEO. Really Joe RWW, are you so desperate for traffic that you’re pulling these types of misleading gotcha headlines? I mean, C’mon Man!

And of course, not even a full 24 hours later, the post has 410 tweets, 49 recommendations on Facebook, 157 shares in LinkedIn, 20 +1’s, and 15 comments:

So what’s the big deal? The big deal is that Joe Brockmeier Read Write Web should knows that Matt Cutts didn’t exactly say that good content trumps SEO. But they certainly generated buzz.

Here’s a conversation I had with Stem Legal’s Steve Matthews:

Glib coverage indeed!

So what did Matt Cutts really say? He said that Google tries to deliver good content despite technical mistakes by webmasters. He was responding to this question:

Google would appear to favour sites that are built by those who know all the SEO ‘best practice’ techniques (and follow you tips!). There must be many technically poor sites that actually have fantastic content, surely these shouldn’t be penalised?

And here’s Matt’s reply:

(Uploaded by GoogleWebmasterHelp on Aug 18, 2011)

Did Matt say that good content trumps SEO? I didn’t hear it.

What he did say is that Google tries to compensate if there’s good quality content but people still make mistakes.

He said that when people ask him, “Why don’t I get a bonus for having WC3 code that validates really well? The answer is that there’s a lot of great content that doesn’t validate but is still really very good.”

Which makes sense.

So what went wrong? Joe Brockmeier Read Write Web went wrong.

SEO IS developing good content AND fixing technical site issues.

Don’t believe me? Look at what Google has to say:

Many SEOs and other agencies and consultants provide useful services for website owners, including:

  1. Review of your site content or structure
  2. Technical advice on website development: for example, hosting, redirects, error pages, use of JavaScript
  3. Content development
  4. Management of online business development campaigns
  5. Keyword research
  6. SEO training
  7. Expertise in specific markets and geographies.

With all the crap SEO out there, it’s hard enough to explain to people how good SEO can make a huge difference in their online success.

The reputation of the SEO community is getting to be as bad as the reputation of the legal community (I should know, I’m both).

Joe Brockmeier Read Write Web, you should know better. I get that you wanted to write a headline that would draw readers, inflame SEOs, and spur discussion. Mission Accomplished!

Next time, try to do it without throwing the entire SEO community under the bus!

UPDATED: Check The Future Buzz’s Post: Dear ReadWriteWeb: WTF? Signed, SEOs Globally