The Hype and Hullabaloo of SEO

Thu 14 January 2010 14:00, Barry Adams

The Hype and Hullabaloo of SEO

To say that search engine optimizers work in a turbulent industry is a bit of an understatement. Regarded as thieves and scammers by some, a necessary evil by others, SEO is seen as a serious discipline by few outside of the industry.

Part of this negative image may be due to the way many SEO's get caught up in hypes that may not necessarily prove to be so big as initially proclaimed.

I too have been guilty of this, for example on the topic of PageRank sculpting, which has since proven to be a bit of a non-issue.

The SEO business has often been at the whim of hype. When Universal Search was first announced, it was said to be 'the end of SEO'. Regular search results mixed with video, images and news sources would make old-school SEO useless.

Then came the full-blown integration of Local Search on the SERPs. Once again SEO was proclaimed deceased, with local being the new global.

The rise of Social Media initially also seemed to precipitate the demise of the search engine optimization industry, but instead has actually expanded SEO's mandate and helped give the industry added credibility.

And not too long ago Google's global roll-out of Personalized Search again spelled the 'death of SEO' with many believing that personalised search rankings would make search engine optimization meaningless, or at the very least less of a priority.

Recent 'revelations' that search engines such as Google continuously update their algorithms - not a particularly ground breaking bit of news for seasoned SEO's, but apparently quite a surprise for many - made some proclaim that 'SEO as we know it really could one day be extinct'.

And yet, throughout all of this, SEO is still going strong. More than that, it's an industry that's increasingly being taken seriously. The solid foundation of search engine optimisation - links, content, and code - has withstood the test of time fairly unscathed. Hypes come and go, big announcements dominate the blogs nearly every day, but at the heart of SEO lies a diamond core that no sensible website owner ignores.

I for one have decided not to let hypes take over any more. One of my New Year's resolutions is not to get carried away by the latest piece of search engine buzz, but to acknowledge it and then wait and see what actually happens.

I expect that more often than not, nothing will change.

  • Comments (5)
  • SEO
  • Tell-a-cowboy

Comments (5)


  • Isn't the issue simply that SEO, and by definition SEO-ers, is/are percieved as being a cheat, with those involved trying to second guess Google et al. To the casual user of the interwebs, this just means that "honest" results are being manipulated. Rightly or wrongly the average user believes that the web is "true", and in that, G becomes some bastion of righteousness. To then be seen to trying to beat the system is clearly going to be self defeating.

    Many SEO-ers are guilty of thinking solely in terms of getting front page, raising profile and the like. They don't think of what they want when they pop on to G and look for something. The most relevant results are, by definition, the best. By trying to twist one's content and increase links etc, the focus strays from just being any good.

    Do 14 jan 2010, 14:31

  • Good post, Barry. I do believe that transparency is a major issue and still an ongoing discussion between advertisers, web agencies, and Search Engine Marketing companies.

    The internet is becoming more and more open, professional, and performing faster. As a result, there is no place for black hat or old-school SEO techniques anymore. And the Search business can only benefit from it.

    Oh yeah, there will always be plenty of hype and half-truths surrounding SEO. Just try to sort hype from reality.

    Do 14 jan 2010, 15:42

  • That's the hurting fact - SEO has been treated badly as well to take advantage of search engine's incapacities which also made birth to Black Hat but still I do believe that SEO stays as part of how it not only creates instant promotion through the internet but it also lets the public experience how good information can easily be found in these environments. No other medium can give these fast results other than the search engines so it pays to value them.

    Vr 15 jan 2010, 12:12

  • Thanks Barry for an interesting post.
    One main reason SEO seems to have gained a bad reputation is because chancers and scammers convince clients that they can perform miracles and get a website to the top of page one in a couple of days. Over time I think that more and more people will realise that there is no magic formula and SEO will be recognised for what it is


    Vr 15 jan 2010, 16:27

    • Barry Adams

    Thanks all for your comments. I agree that the bad reputation of the SEO industry is due to a number of factors - unrealistic promises, black hat methods, public perception of 'genuine' results, as well as the industry's tendency to embrace hype over substance.

    I think we're all in agreement that what SEO needs is more honesty, clarify and, as Nik states, transparency.

    Vr 15 jan 2010, 16:53


  • HTML is not allowed. URLs are automatically clickable.
    * Email address is not shown

  • DateRank: PageRank for singles
  • Raven Site Finder
  • Google personalized search explained by Google
  • 50 SEO's 1 question
  • SEO Oktoberfest 2008
  • SEO Wars - Planet Link Space
  • Online Workshop: Managing SEO Projects 10 Mistakes, 10 Keys

Last Comments


Last event


  • J-P De Clerck
    J-P De Clerck

    Profession: Customer-centric digi...

    Company: Conversionation

  • Sam Murray
    Sam Murray

    Profession: Senior Search Consultant

    Company: Verve Search

  • Susie Hood
    Susie Hood

    Profession: Head of Copywriting

    Company: Click Consult / SEO C...

  • Tom Bogaert
    Tom Bogaert

    Profession: Managing Partner

    Company: QueroMedia

Latest Videos



  • Lizette van der Laan
    Social Media Image

    Is it the real you, the witty you, the person who reads the most interesting articles, makes t...


Subscribe to SC Newsletter:

Most Read

RSS Feed

Are you a bloggerFacebook


© 2016 - All Rights Reserved - All views and opinions expressed are those of the authors of Searchcowboys.

All trademarks, slogans, text or logo representation used or referred to in this website are the property of their respective owners. Sitemap