This week, an article emerged on theverge.com titled “The People Who Ruined the Internet,” causing quite a stir. Essentially, it points fingers at the SEO industry, claiming they’re responsible for the internet’s downfall.
But wait, this claim is as wobbly as a Jenga tower missing a few pieces. Let’s peel back the layers and set the record straight.
Has the Internet Truly Gone Down the Drain?
The article starts with a grand proclamation: the internet is in shambles. According to the author, Google (apparently the only search engine in town – more on that later) has seen better days.
But hold the phone!
In my book, the internet and Google have only improved over the years. More services, heightened security, user-friendliness – the list goes on. Sure, there are bumps in the digital road, but to say it’s all gone down the drain? Well, that’s like crying over spilled digital milk.
Google’s Global Supremacy? Not So Fast!
The author seems to think that Google rules the search engine roost. Surprise, surprise! Beyond the U.S. borders, the story takes a different turn.
Sure, Google dominate globally – but closer to 80% than the claimed 90%
But in China, Google barely manages to grab 2% of the market. Yep, you read that right.
And in Russia, where Google has around 30% of the market, Yandex takes the cake. So much for global dominance, huh?
And if we look at shopping search the picture is very different
SEO Warriors: Unsung Defenders of Free Speech
The article conveniently overlooks a fundamental truth: we all have the right to influence public discourse, including businesses and their advisors.
It’s called freedom of speech!
Whether it’s duking it out with politicians or attempting to sway search engines, it’s all part of the democratic dance.
And guess what? In the democratic world we all have this right, whether we’re taking matters into our own hands or hiring a PR-form or an SEO agency.
Do Search Engines Call the Shots for SEO Folk?
The article rambles on about how “unethical” SEO folks have tried to outsmart Google over the years. It also mentions Google’s guidelines.
But here’s the truth bomb: Google doesn’t write the rulebook!
Just like newspapers have their guidelines, it doesn’t mean we’re obligated to follow them.
We all have the right to walk our own path – that’s the beauty of democracy. On the other hand Google, of course, has the right to turn a blind eye to your digital endeavors.
Did the SEO Industry Wreck the Internet?
If, for a moment, we accept the article’s notion that the internet is in ruins, let’s take a closer look at whether the SEO industry deserves the blame.
In my humble opinion, most of what the article concludes is pure balderdash.
Just as it’s Google’s duty to provide a stellar search engine, newspapers should deliver quality news, and politicians should make sound decisions.
However, I haven’t heard either Google or newspapers claiming that SEO or PR folks are to blame for their media’s shortcomings.
That would be quite the absurd declaration, to put it mildly.
No, both Google and newspapers are responsible for delivering quality content. And yes, it’s a challenge when many stakeholders attempt to influence search results or news, but that’s the premise of a democratic world with freedom of speech!
Are All SEO Activities on the Up-and-Up?
Certainly not! But the same can be said for PR and lobbying.
First and foremost, SEO folks, just like everyone else, should follow the law wherever they operate.
Over time, I’ve seen SEO activities that don’t adhere to this simple principle. Campaigns that violate marketing laws, privacy laws, or data protection laws, for instance. I’ve even been offered opportunities to place links on hacked websites. Naturally, I declined.
Beyond activities that are outright illegal, some things could be considered so unethical that they’re best avoided.
I’ve personally witnessed highly aggressive and automated link-building campaigns that have wreaked havoc on innocent private blogs. I find that so unethical that it’s best to steer clear, even if it’s technically legal.
As businesses, we should be able to justify our actions in the end. I can justify taking some liberties with Google’s rules. But I can’t justify acting so aggressively in a market that it seriously harms innocent bystanders, even if it’s technically legal.
The SEO Industry: Not So Different from the Rest
The article attempts to portray the SEO industry as especially unethical and on the wrong side of the law.
But it’s not an image I can recognize.
Most industries must fight hard to achieve their goals, and the SEO industry is no different.
If you lean back too much and play it safe, you might not come out on top.
There’s nothing unique about the SEO industry in this regard. We’re all battling to achieve our goals, and that’s perfectly okay.
It’s the freedom we enjoy in a democratic world, and we should celebrate that, rather than the opposite!
You can read TheVerge article here.