I have a product that can be explained in one or two sentences. It is fairly well documented. Yet i’m being asked to write 4,000 word articles describing and comparing my product with the competition. Why? Because SEO.
I’m being wooed by a couple of ‘SEO Consultants’ who claim their expertise is guaranteed to get me on to the first page of a Search Engine’s results. They claim a ‘multi-pronged’ strategy. First they check my website to make sure it has all the appropriate tags, keywords, descriptors. That taken care of, they have a bunch of blogs where they will write articles about my product. Then they will get a bunch of ‘paid-influencers’ to write articles about my product. Simultaneously they have a team that posts questions about my product (and the answers) on Quora and other social media forums - basically seeding a link of my site on as many other sites as they can get hold of.
All these and one final trick of trade. That is to set up an ad account and pay the Search Engine to show my site at the top of search results. Why? Because there’s so much competition in my line of business and i need the initial paid traffic. The logic peddled is once i start paying the ‘search tax’ more people will start clicking my link, and in a few months my site will start to show up organically in the first page of search results. Of course, it’s never just a few months. I must pay to stay.
Why do all this? Simple. To trick or treat the Search Engine into assuming my product is popular. With many different people (and sock puppets) writing and talking about my product, the Search Engine assumes my product is popular and slowly starts bubbling it up in search results. Does this work? ABSOLUTELY - according to the SEO Consultants. They present their proof. I’m blown by their confidence.
I like to think search ranking algorithms are not as complex and machine-intelligent as they’re made out to be. They just bubble up the most gossiped links. Search Engines need some kind of validation to decide what’s popular. What better validation than gossip.
And that’s what the internet has become. Full of gossip, junk content, paid posts, con articles, click bait links, sock-puppetry, spam, regurgitated spam, free e-books, self aggrandizement, fake followers, fake news, - all designed to achieve one thing - con the Search Engine - and you.
Don’t the makers of Search Engines know this? Of course they do. It’s just not in their interest to bring clarity.
SEO Consultants are an unpaid army of evangelists who channel billions of dollars in ad revenue to Search Engines. Why would a Search Engine want to disown the evangelists when so much money is at stake!
SEO is easy money. It attracts the bottom feeders of the tech world. It’s easy to make a livelihood off of SEO. Why? Because it requires little skill. The startup costs are little. There’s a huge and easy market … lots of entrepreneurs who will grab at any straw of hope that promises to make their product more visible.
UPDATE: 25-June-2019 Follow the discussion on Hacker News: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20256764