I got a lot of attention from the search engine optimization (SEO) community this past week for a post on “What Gives SEO A Bad Name” — the example I used, a parked domain appearing as a #2 Google search results, turns out to be Google’s fault, not the work of an unethical SEO. Or so it appears, based on some very plausible explanations posted by some smart SEOs in the comments of the post — but I can’t know with 100% certainty what’s going on inside Google’s black box, and that’s a problem for SEOs.
Some SEOs got upset with me for appearing to unfairly perpetuate negative perceptions of SEO — but if my post was a mistake, it was an honest one (I posted a correction). The point I’ve been trying to make to the SEO community, not always successfully, is that because they live in a black box, SEO’s PR challenge involves correcting a lot of misperceptions. Many of those misperceptions are unfair, but they are not always intentionally malicious — and they exist among potential SEO clients, like me
UPDATE: Speaking of great search ambassadors, Google’s Matt Cutts showed up on my original post and all but confirmed that my example is likely a problem in Google’s algorithm, although it’s pending investigation. Matt said that if it does turn out to be a problem in the algorithm, it could lead to a larger fix, which would certainly be a happy ending to this tale.