Frank Reed of Marketing Pilgrim put out a challenge to all SEOs to chime in a SEO problem ShopCity was having with Google.  A number of SEOs started picking apart ShopCity’s SEO program, or lack thereof, and ShopCity’s own Colin Pape joined in the fray.  Even a Googler, John Mueller, added his 2 cents.

For those of you with a large network of directory sites, you might want to check out the article.  There are a number of great pieces of advice buried in the comments section.  But what most intrigued me was what the exchange illustrates about SEOs, at least the ones I tend to know, follow, +, etc.:

  1. SEOs like to show off in public
  2. SEOs are quite passionate about their craft
  3. SEOs like to help

While a quick read of the comments might leave one with the impression that SEOs are a bunch of egomaniacal hotheads piling on a poor site owner for having the audacity to not only not know but also to question Google’s fuzzy guidelines, a more detailed read shows that most are trying to help ShopCity solve the problem.  Sure they might get some publicity out of the exchange but ultimately I think most of the folks participating in that discussion are doing so because they find the subject interesting and they don’t like to see site owners get dinged.  I think the best SEOs are like doctors that way.  While we like to make a living, we’d still stop and help a guy who was having a heart attack on the sidewalk.

Check it out at Calling All SEOs! You Be The Judge And Jury

(Regular readers don’t worry.  I am not on Paxil or anything. Just trying to pass on a little positivity after the whole debt ceiling fiasco)

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7 Response Comments

  • Frank Reed  August 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Thanks, Andrew.

    I was hoping that I would find some SEO’s that woke up on the right side of the monitor in doing this little experiment. I know how testy this bunch can get.

    In the end I think there was a lot more good than bad and I have to give credit where credit is due as’s co-founder jumped into the fray like a referee for a battle royale.

    Pretty interesting to see just how much is known and unknown about SEO after all these years. We have been so quick to “move on” to social media and other tricks when we haven’t completely mastered SEO yet (and really, can it be truly mastered?).

    Thanks for contributing and spreading the word. I won’t let anyone know you were being positive (wouldn’t want to ruin your gig).

  • The Autocrat  August 1, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    “… SEOs like to help …”

    Well – I spent mroe than a few years on the Google Webmaster Forums,
    and spent time looking at places like Webmaster world, DaniWeb, Digital Poitn and SitePoint etc. …
    … I don’t recollect seeing many SEOs around.
    We had the pleasure of seeing Rand Fishkin make a few posts…
    and Phil of summit made an effort for a short time …

    but in all – I don’t see many SEOs around providing direct help… unless I’m looking in the wrong places?

  • Andrew Shotland  August 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    @The Autocrat: I personally don’t spend any time in the Webmaster Forums, but I know Mike Blumenthal spends half his life there helping people out for free. If you tweet, + or blog comment most SEOs I know, they’ll get back to you.

  • The Autocrat  August 1, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    @ Andrew Shotland
    Thanks for that.
    I know Mike spends alot of his time there (I believe he’s a TC?).
    But in general – most SEOs don’t appear in the public places giving of their time/skills/knowledge.
    Even Rand only made the occassional post 🙁

    That said – I will add Cre8aSite to the list – as there are more than a few there willing to give their time … and more than just SEO, as there are also those that deal with User Experience/Usability/Accessibility etc. there as well.

    Jsut seems in teh main, the SEOs post to their own sites (kind of makes sense from an SEO view :D), and don’t wander out among the masses.
    Or you have to pay to join to get some free help (I love oxymorons :D).

    Maybe that is why SEO gets such a poor wrap. It’s not that the majority are bad, it’s the good ones are rarely seen.

    So – for the SEOs that may be reading this, pop over to WebMaster Forums (here, have a link []) and give a little 😀

  • Andrew Shotland  August 1, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    I’d put Rand pretty much in the “oversharing” category, even if he does it mostly from his own sites.

  • Wesley Wise  August 22, 2011 at 4:01 am

    SEO’s give short indefinite guidelines, but they will never provide the exact guidance. Mainly an SEO’s job is to make search engines believe a site is important. That’s my two cents. 🙂

  • Andrew Shotland  August 22, 2011 at 8:17 am


    If you read the comments on Frank’s post you’ll see there’s a lot of “definite” guidance. If a SEO is not giving definite guidance they are not doing their job.