in SEO, Web

Ending The Market for Webspam

We’ve all seen it in the inbox:

And in our comment filters:

And in a whole bunch of other places online.

It’s web spam.

And we can talk about wearing different color hats, following webmaster guidelines, and the ethics of SEO. But in the end, there is only one solution for ending, or at least reducing web spam, eliminating the market for it.

Which means, at least in part, that search engines need to find ways to make it ineffective. But it also means that there needs to be some education about web spam and accountability from people who purchase it.

You see, unless you work in the SEO industry, follow major SEO blogs, or at least know someone who is an SEO, you probably don’t have any idea about how the internet and search engines work at a very basic level.

Even more sophisticated business owners still don’t even know that there is a difference between paid and organic search engine listings.

What they do know is that more and more people go online, use search engines, and social platforms, to do stuff. And so, they conclude that they need to get their businesses in front of those users.

So, they start searching for internet marketing, search engine optimization, website design, etc.

And they call and talk to internet marketing and SEO consultants.

And, by and large, they get sold a bill of goods about getting #1 rankings, back links, and followers.

And this is what most people think internet marketing and SEO are. And the market for these services has grown astronomically. Which is why we are inundated with emails, blog comments, and tweets that are complete web spam.

But does this stuff work? Or is it just the gap in knowledge?

I haven’t run any scientific tests on whether or not blog comment spam actually works. I know that most blogs are nofollow. I know that most blog comment spam never even sees the light of web as it is caught be blog comment spam filters. But I’m forced to confront the sheer volume of comment spam that we see daily.

Is it because these peddlers of crappy SEO trash are getting results for their clients? Or is it because they’ve sold their customers on the idea of a quantity of blog comment snake oil? My bet is that it’s the latter.

Which leads me to conclude that the solution is actually more about educating purchasers of SEO services than it is about search engines reducing their effectiveness.

However, this isn’t the same for all aspects of web spam. In fact, I have witnessed with “mine own two eyes” some very effective web spam. Should we blame the purchasers of this spam? Sure. But will that ultimately end the market for it? Absolutely not. And why? Because it works.

Maybe all is fair in love and SEO.

But if we really want a “better web” there has to be responsibility and accountability from:

  • Search Engines – to make web spam less effective.
  • Purchasers of SEO – to know what they’re actually buying and measuring its actual results.
  • The SEO Community – to be held accountable when they peddle stuff that they know just doesn’t work.
  • Internet and Search Engine Users – To learn about, report, and block sites and profiles that don’t provide them some value.

Is any of this likely to happen? No. But wouldn’t it be nice?