The Top Controversies in SEO Today

The Top Controversies in SEO Today

SEO has always been a somewhat controversial subject area and one that has never been free of controversy and disagreement. Of course part of this disagreement stems from the simple fact that SEO is done online which in turn means that people are most likely to discuss it on forums and on comment sections where mankind has never been known to be at its most agreeable. The other problem with SEO is that there's no single authority on the matter and no real 'right or wrong' answer. Of course Google are probably the best people out there for telling us how to get to the top of their SERPs but they never do explicitly explain their algorithms. If they told us the algorithms they used outright then it would be incredibly easy to play the system, meaning that the whole process is purposefully shrouded in a cloak of secrecy.

Add to this the fact that those algorithms are constantly changing, that new technologies are constantly being introduced and that lots of the information still out there is outdated and you have a recipe for disagreements. Here are some of the most common...

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Is Google the Bad Guy?

One of the most common disagreements you'll come across in the SEO world is whether or not Google is a bad guy. Google's motto has always been 'don't be evil', but when a sudden algorithm change destroys many businesses that claimed to be innocent it's no wonder that some factions are turning against Google.

On the other hand though of course it's also Google's prerogative to do what they want with their algorithms, and it's thanks to them that many of us have a job in the first place. Furthermore their algorithm changes and de-indexing behaviours might be destructive in some ways, but most of us would agree that most searches currently yield less spam suggesting they've done a good job.

SEO Is Dead

Some of the conspiracy theorists who have taken a stance against Google believe that the whole reason that Google makes these sweeping changes is to 'kill' SEO by making it unreliable and thereby drive more customers to their AdWords service as the only reliable way to get on their SERPs and stay there. Thus a lot of people think that SEO is already dead or isn't effective, but then again there are still plenty of success stories out there that suggest otherwise. My take is that SEO as it once was is dead, but that if you listen to Google and update your strategies you can still be very successful with it. And many businesses seem to agree too as the industry is hardly struggling.

Negative SEO is Overhyped

Many people a fretting a lot about negative SEO, but if you read elsewhere it seems others are of the view that it's not the be-all-and-end-all that some say it is. Google has admitted that a dodgy looking links profile will be bad for your overall ranking (and even provided a disavow tool), but surely some low quality links would actually be part of a natural links profile? This can be seen as just a small part of a wider disagreement over whether SEO should mean running around cleaning up stats and being very technical, or whether you should focus more on writing the content and the rest take care of itself.

So what are you going to do?

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  • avatar

    This totally destroyed my hopes of a beginner to apply seo and achieve success when even professionals and experts fail from just an algorithm change

  • avatar

    I agree with vida and larry. I think SEO plays a huge important role in web marketing and it will not be gone soon. I believe that those who are engaged in this industry must exercise more prudence in order to safeguard the unsuspecting or naive public.
    I used to think that almost everything on the internet is wholesome and reliable information. But when I got more introduce with the idea of SEO, I began to be more careful in picking out the detail I need from the internet. Especially in gathering leisure information, some contents are almost close to being virtual as being very far from the real thing. I do not think to thrive in business is enough reason to justify being deceiving, misleading or insincere. Especially in this age of information, those who engage in SEO must act more responsibly for the sake of protecting the next generation from sensitive and false information which can be easily picked up on the web.

  • avatar

    I’ve just been watching my steps more carefully. Staying away from link spamming, getting my back links from credible sites, and using other “genuine” link building techniques has kept me ranking fairly highly on Google.

  • avatar

    Seo will never be dead, It’s all a matter of how google sorts data depending on relevancy, you might not get the top spot but you can still be on the first page.
    Google would more be leaning towards artificial intelligence to get the exact information that a user is requesting. Jobs such as ‘search engine evaluators’ help to bring forth proof that this is the direction they are headed.

  • avatar


    I don’t agree that SEO is dead. I just think we need to take a different approach in SEO. SEO has been so focused on keyword density which has compromised the importance of quality content.

  • avatar

    Some food for thought about negative SEO. Lets say you are an energetic young webmaster looking to cut every corner you can and you decide to build a blog network to point at your own site. Your goal is to generate better rankings by giving yourself backlinks.
    Suddenly you realize that Google isn’t giving you better backlinks, instead they have downgraded your site and you aren’t getting as much traffic as before the network went live. You unlink your network and a Penguin refresh later your site bounces back.
    In this scenario you have built a negative SEO tool, the owner may decide to point his network at his competitors with the reasoning that since it hurt his site it will hurt other sites too. Do you see what I’m getting at with this? Anything you do for your site that ends up lowering your traffic will also, in theory, lower your competitors traffic if you link to them instead. For that reason SEO may very well be alive and well.

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