Dear SEO Professionals, Please Stop Complaining

Jan 30, 2012   //   by Pete Wise   //   SEO Blog  //  13 Comments

Around the start of the New Year I wrote an article detailing my new years’ resolutions as an Internet marketer. One of the resolutions was to read more, to dive ever farther into our industry to learn all of the secrets I could. What I found instead was a lot of disgruntled SEO’s about all of the changes with Google. Google Personal Search, the Https cloaking, and the absolutely Genius “Don’t be Evil” plugin are making huge waves across the SEO world.

Https Cloaking of Google Analytics:

Around October 2011, Google implemented a protocol to hide keyword and traffic information for visitors to your website if they were logged in to their Google account. What essentially happened was a sophisticated version of cloaking, whereas if a person was logged into Google, their search was completed under https protocol.

Https is a combination of classic hypertext transfer protocol, and SSL/TLS protocol. This combination of protocol allows for secure identification of a server or network from the browser, and opens an encrypted line of communication between your computer and the website that you are trying to connect to. This information is usually very sensitive, and different modifiers can be placed on the information that is traveling down this secure pipe. It is the system most commonly in use for corporate information transfer over an internal intranet, or for payment information for a shopping cart.

What this means for SEO’s is the information that is normally passed along to Google analytics is being encrypted in this SSL protocol, and it will show up as (not provided) when you search for incoming keywords.

The small issue I have with this change is not with Google, but with us “professionals”. Now, I understand that I use the term “SEO” loosely, if I were to describe my position more accurately, I would at least be performing SEM, most likely a full blown internet marketer. I do link building, on-site tag optimization, site architecture optimization, goal funnel creation, content creation, and PPC management.

The only professionals that were really affected by the keyword cloaking were only those that concentrated solely on SEO. The landscape of our positions are changing so rapidly, I would argue that someone that purely specializes in on-site optimization and keyword research had better have an amazing track record, because they are all but obsolete. Yoast, SEOMoz, MySEOCommunity, SEM-Group, SEOJournal and a huge list of others have free guides to on-site optimization easily accessible to everyone. They rank extremely well for their relevant SEO terms, and are written in plain English, with screenshots so anyone can learn.

PPC management alongside good organic SEO and link building is what I would say is the BARE MINIMUM for someone calling himself or herself an Internet Marketer to know. The only thing the cloaking issue did was force pure SEO’s to become well rounded, and you should thank Google; they are doing you a favor.

“Search Plus Your World” – Google’s New Search Function:

Over the past couple of months, it was pretty clear that Google was going to be focusing on the proliferation of Google+. With the constant updates, the use of your Google+ profile in the implementation of author attribution, and the syndication qualities of sharing with your circles made it obvious that Google would concentrate on it.

Furthermore, if you paid attention to https cloaking, you knew that for Adwords campaigns keyword information was still available, regardless of whether that user was signed into Google or not. It made perfect sense that Google was going to integrate Google+ into search and have their profiles show up over more relevant social profiles. So it was a huge surprise to see all of the negative feedback about “search plus your world”.

It seems like we are treating Google like our best friend’s garage band that just signed a record deal; we’re complaining about the fact that they are selling out. Sure, the first incarnation of Google had pure intentions; they wanted to give the people the very best possible way to search for what they needed on the Internet. Their algorithm was almost alive in the way it updated, and they protected our rights by refusing to bend to government subpoena.

We all seem to forget that Google went public in August of 2004. This means that they have been accountable to their shareholders, the public, for almost a decade. To convince Google to go back to their old ways would be to convince the hundreds of thousands of shareholders to change their minds. The loyalties of Google are now with their investors, and since we just make money off of it all, we really have no leverage to justify our frustrations.

People hate “Search Plus Your World” so much that a bookmarklet effectively disabling it was created. The “Don’t Be Evil” bookmarklet is actually an amazing piece of code, and I absolutely think you should all go check it out. However, I don’t see this being used by anyone except SEO professionals. Search plus your world is just going to be a reality for a portion of all Google users from here on out, and instead of convincing them to use a bookmarklet, I was surprised at the resistance to use this new content syndication system.

If it is a lot of work to post to Google+, there are solutions for you. There are a number of browser plugins you can use that posts to twitter, Google+ and Facebook all at the same time. Unless we see a slide from Google+ and it loses popularity, (not likely, since they just broke 90 Million users), I embrace this new medium, and the integration into search, as another way to get my clients seen for keywords they might take months to optimize otherwise.

The Roundup:

Lets review: August 2011 was Panda 2.0; link farms died, keyword stuffing was made obsolete, SEO complained. October 2011 was Google+ and Https cloaking; yet another social network to optimize, people are forced to start actually marketing their sites, SEO complained. January 2012 is Search Plus your World; Google+ is now integrated into searches instead of more relevant social signals, SEO complained. Does anyone else see a pattern?

I have a question to the Internet Marketing community as a whole, why do you think our industry is so hard to sell? Is it because there are dishonest SEO’s? Is it because of article spinning? Is it because there is a lot of misinformation out there? Is there too many tools and not enough proven data about them? Or is it that we sometimes spend more time complaining about certain new features of the search landscape than learning them?

My answer is simple, and its inspiration comes from my father. My father is a man that embodies the essence of never giving up. He never went to college, got a library card to learn what he needed to, and worked 14 hour days just so he could eat more than a can of tuna fish a day. He built a business with my mother, overcoming the problems of mixing work with pleasure, to become successful.

We make money off of Google. Everything change they make is just another way for us to specialize, to add to our resume, to learn, and charge more for our services. Every hour spent complaining is an hour that people that refuse to give up; get ahead. His advice to me is the same advice that I want to share with you:

Step Up, or Step Aside.

It’s not being harsh, its the reality of our business. I love what we do, and the more we just step up, the more Internet Marketing will gain credibility.

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Pete Wise

Pete Wise is a White-Hat SEO Jedi and SEM Analyst. An ultra-statistical SEO, he spends his days with Magento On-Site optimization, Google Places Management, Social Media Engagement, Link-Building, and Content Writing. He worked at Customer Paradigm until July 2012, whom employ the most experienced Magento Developers on the web!

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  • Tessa says:

    Good motivation post. ” Step Up, or Step Aside ” thanks for the great quote.

  • Matt

    Pete – This article, to be very, very honest, is one of the best SEO-related articles I have read so far! Do you know why? You are using a clear language, you are neutral, you are not aggressive in the tone & you actually reveal things like the (not provided)-issue with Google Analytics and Google’s Personal Search.

    Other than that, you open the eyes, and it’s shocking to know that so many SEO’s are so negative and also frustrated, when there are always new ways to discover, right? There were always new ways and there will be, you just have to be up-to-date and to read articles like these. More of these articles, Pete. I have added you to my Google+ circles.

    By the way, just optimized my private Google+ profile with links to the business I work for, they are do-follow and with G+, I believe there may be some return of “investment”, treating Google+ like a place to be & use very much for online interaction. I think, I just think but do not know, yet.

    Now I will check out all of your mentioned top SEO platforms and follow them via Twitter.
    Please get back to me via Google+ and let’s get some more stuff of this.

    Just signed up for Gerald Weber’s SEM-Group-Net-Newsletter and will email him as well.
    Sorry for my little novel. More of this stuff!

    Matt from Tropical North Queensland, Australia

    • Pete Wise says:


      I really appreciate the comment, you totally got the article!

      I took a look at your + profile, and the optimization looks good. If you are getting more and more serious in internet marketing, and are looking for back links from relevant blogs as a way to attract inbound links and traffic, you should absolutely get a Gravatar.

      This allows your email to be saved, and when you comment on blogs that allow gravatars to be displayed, (almost all wordpress blogs) you will have a picture show up with your comment.

      • Matt

        Hey Pete, just went onto the Gravatar website & will get such a thing if you recommend it :).
        Thanks for the tip. Also, I have just Gerald yesterday an e-mail, hope he will reply to this one, it’s regarding Linkbuilding and its secrets.

  • Ray says:

    There were a lot seo gurus complaining about the https/ssl and no keyword info and reporting in analytics. I don’t know if they just learned to live with it or if they have a backup plan because I haven’t heard as much complaining lately.

    • Pete Wise says:

      It has calmed down more recently, but there will always be another topic, whether it be the Facebook IPO, or if Pinterest is too difficult to leverage.

      This article was meant to be motivating, to lead toward accomplishment and positivity.

  • Vic

    I’ve also observe a lot of SEO, who have shouted their complains on their social media corners. Though they have the right to do it, you’re right in saying that we need to step up or step aside. Also, for me those problems and difficulties are just hiding as opportunities.

    • Pete Wise says:

      I couldn’t agree more Vic! I truly believe that every second that I spend NOT learning new systems, someone more driven than I am is learning them. I just refuse to fall behind.

  • Mike says:

    The main thing that I would still like around is to get at least some hint of what kind of keywords generates the most traffic and as I still get this idea I don’t have anything to complain about.
    And we all were aware that Google will turn into more social algorithm a while ago and we had time to prepare for this, so we really don’t have anything to complain about.

  • Michael says:

    I kind of wish Google would place LESS emphasis on back links and start doing more rewarding for writing really good fresh content. I realize you can get good back links from writing good content, but it is painfully slow compared to these types that go out and create artifical back links (and ranking high fast) instead of gainng them naturally. I’m not saying back links are evil, but there is so much emphasis on them it has created a culture of dropping back links EVERYWHERE.

  • Joshi says:

    I completely agree “step up or step aside”. Google is doing all the changes and updation so that a normal visitors can find the site he is looking for without any difficulty. Being a professional seo guys we need to be honest with our client and work hard to provide good results without using any short cuts. Hard work always bring good results but some time it might be delayed.

  • Great post Pete. Google make changes to benefit their users, not SEO and I think a lot of people forget this. I think it’s great that Google make SEO harder to keep marketers on their toes and encourage competition and evolution. One great benefit of this is that the small guys have a chance to beat big businesses by acting first – something big businesses usually struggle to do as they’re weighed down by extension consultation.

    @Michael, looking at the last Google update they are dropping one link valuation (they haven’t said which this is) so I do think they are actively moving away from links but they need a working system in place first. I think this will be social (G+YW), local (local results now default for a huge chunk of queries) and personal (based on web and interaction history). For an average Google user, their first page of results is now made up of sites they’ve visited before, sites their friends have recommended and businesses local to their search. I think that’s a big deviation from link valuation!