So here’s another example of what gives SEO a bad name — UPDATE: correction, it appears to be an example of Google’s bad results, which some (like me) might mistakenly blame on SEO. I was checking out search traffic for Publishing 2.0, and noticed that my Online Publishing category was a #9 result for “online publishing” on Yahoo Search. I often get more traffic from Yahoo and MSN search, surely a shortcoming in my SEO. So out of curiosity, I tried “online publishing” on Google, and here’s what I found:

google-online-publishing.jpg

So check out the second result, www.onlinepublishingnews.com:

online-publishing-news.jpg

Of course, I don’t rank high on Google for this keyword — who can compete with quality sites like these?

Thanks SEO!

UPDATE #2

All evidence, from the many smart minds who showed up in the comments below, suggests that this is a piece of garbage that Google has yet to purge, i.e. a former content site that is now defaulting to a domain parking page. See Aaron Wall’s intersting analysis. So while I’m not entirely convinced that this isn’t evidence of some shenanigans, there’s no clear evidence that it’s SEO shenanigans.

BUT, that said, the problem is that, when stumbling on something like this, it’s all too easy to blame it on SEO. And while people like me may not know how to correctly interpret such instances, people like me are also potential SEO clients. So perhaps this is better characterized as an example of why SEO has a such tough PR task with prospective clients.

THAT said, the SEO community has many execellent ambassadors (like Aaron), many of whom offered insights in the comments below. If you’re looking for a good SEO, there are a lot of things you should look for, but one of them is a good ATTITUDE in circumstances like this (i.e. NOT condescending). Fortnuately, there are many who fit that criteria very well.

UPDATE

SEOs have a choice to make.

They can either go about the hard work of educating people on the complexities of search and what good SEOs do and do not do, so that they are no longer the victims of unfair misperceptions:

Scott, if you ever have anymore of these questions about why one site is attaining a certain rank, I would be happy to answer them for free in oder to educate and help you understand SEO more.

Or they can write off everyone who doesn’t get it as idiots, and remain stuck in their pigeonhole:

Scott Karp, Get a Clue About SEO Before You Go Bad Mouthing it

So, thank you Scott for blaming poor search engine updating on SEO and proving how little you know about SEO.

Around here, I’ve seen much more of the former than the latter, and it’s certainly very much appreciated, but the latter is still an albatross around the SEO neck.