February 26th, 2007

A Challenge To The Well-Intentioned SEO Industry


UDPATE #2: My last word on SEO, at least for a while, is here: What I Learned About SEO

UPDATE: I promised Aaron Wall, my favorite SEO who makes it impossible for me to stand by any negative stereotypes of SEO, that I would update this post if he added a good explanation in the comments, which of course he did:

Google’s algo currently places a lot of weight on core domain authority. Threadwatch has a lot of authority. And the relevancy algorithms may also add weighting on fresh documents (and weighting on old established trusted documents). Once the freshness boost drops off if it does not pick up many more links it will rank lower. Was it intentional ranking for that phrase? I didn’t intend it to, and I am not sure if Natasha did, but it’s ranking will probably fade over time, unless a big issue is made out of it and controversy causes more people to link at it.

I will take Aaron’s advice and not provide any further reason to link to it. Of course, another SEO, among those determined that I retain my lingering doubt about SEOs as a group, posted another post on Threadwatch with my name in the title and a link to the original Threadwatch post, which will surely rank for my name on Google. To whoever posted that — this why there are unfair bad stereotypes of SEOs! Fortunately, Aaron and others who showed up below show why such stereotypes are not fair, despite the concerted efforts of other SEOs to propogate them.

I’ll close this off by pointing to a change in my Google ranking that happened overnight. Hmmmm….go figure:


I was going to title this post, “Why You Don’t Mess With The SEO Industry,” but I thought I would take a more open-handed approach. To all the well-meaning SEOs out there, can you explain how this SEO smack against me in one of your forums got to be the #2 Google result for my name?


My gut tells me that this is in fact what happens to you when you mess with the SEO industry — which leaves me feeling a bit like I’m dealing with the mafia.

But I’m hoping that I’m wrong. Can some SEO please explain to me, and to all the readers of this blog who are your prospective customers (very large customers in some cases), why I’m wrong

Or maybe an SEO would like to explain how I can make that NOT be the #2 result for my name.


Some will surely ask, why is Karp jumping to conclusions again. Didn’t he learn his lesson?

A few reasons. First, the Google results for my name have been stable for months, and all of sudden this SEO rag shows up as #2. Hard to believe that’s a coincidence. Second, Jason Calacanis, a far, far harsher critic of SEO, has complained of his Google results page being gamed. That’s all circumstantial evidence, of course. But add to it some lingering doubt about SEO, and before I know it I’m jumping to conclusions.

So, again, I plead to any SEO who can hear me, please help wipe away that lingering doubt.

  • Scott,

    Don't despair. This isn't "magic" that made your name appear on someone else's blog and rank in Google. Perhaps if you asked a few of your blogging buddies to link with the term "Scott Karp", you could probably restore your rankings.

  • Careful there Scott, some Internet marketers do actually derive a living from Google and know exactly how it works (a far more important part of online publishing than the blogosphere).

    It's basically a computer so taking it out on the only community that understand's it isn't very Publishing 2.0 (or smart).

    "people distrust Google and SEO" your quote Scott.

    Try telling that to my clients (I can pass on some details if you would like to confirm for yourself).

    Why do so many people use Google? Does the end user really distrust Google, or is that something you made up?

    Scott, get out there and start studing, who know's you might enjoy it.

    Knowledge is power, adapt or die.

  • As the person that posted this to threadwatch last night, I have some thoughts I posted here:
    Insert Name Here: Online Reputation Management

  • Natasha,

    Sort of, but with a few important, if nuanced, distinctions. First, my post is not going to rank on any Google search results page, so it's confined to my current readers, and will quickly fade into history. Second, I have a way of correcting the outcome -- at Aaron's prompting, I posted a bold correction to the post, which through RSS was again pushed out to my readers. So if I decide I was too confrontational in the title, I can admit my mistake and take it back. In my most recent post, I have further admitted that mistake and promised not to do it again. Your post, on the other hand, will forever live in my Google search results.


    No worries, I will update the post.

  • disqusererer

    Hi Scott
    I updated a sentence in the part you quoted.

    Once the freshness boost drops off if it does not pick up many more links it will rank worse.

    I accidentally wrote better (where worse belongs) in the first post...must have been tired when I did that. Sorry on that.

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