tedster - 6:40 am on Aug 28, 2010 (gmt 0)
This is a rant that's been building in me for a long time.
Recent years have seen a flood of interest in SEO. Unfortunately, a lot of recent entries into SEO have no sense of perspective and no idea of how to evaluate advice that they read or hear. And still they write blog articles ;( There's a lot of regurgitated second and third hand learning being spread today - and it's even being sold to clients.
SEO began in the 90s, back before the acronym itself was even created. Most of the pioneers were early affiliate marketers who personally reverse-engineered the search engine algorithms of the day. What they learned was privately shared, until it stopped working so well. At that point, the tidbits began to bleed into the wider pool of knowledge.
Why do I bring up this old time stuff? The same pattern still holds. And taking anyone's SEO advice at face value is a dangerous practice. Anyone who is not doing their own testing and measurement is at a disadvantage. They may be buying into advice that's outdated by many years - and some of it may even come from back in the 90s!
An entrepreneur today cannot hope to reverse engineer SERPs the way it was done in the early years of SEO - the field of information retrieval has become much too complex for that. But the disciplined state of mind that SEO pioneers used, the logic and rigor, all that still needs to be part of a successful SEO mindset.
Whenever I read any SEO article, one of the first things I look for is a sign of that logical rigor. If the author doesn't use technical vocabulary accurately, that's a danger sign. If there's no hint of HOW they arrived at their "knowledge", that's another. And if there are bizarre jumps in logic, that's even worse.
Watch out for "post hoc ergo propter hoc" fallacies. Watch out for confusion between a statement and its converse - the truth of one does not imply the truth of the other. If you can't think logically, you cannot be a good SEO.
Even more, always watch out for the DATE of the advice you read. And most of all, look for your own evidence - through testing and examples or anecdotes. Otherwise you might well tank your business.