Dear SEO Bloggers,
I’ve been reading SEO blogs for quite some time and while I appreciate the input you offer up on a regular basis, I’ve noticed a very disturbing trend. It seems that more and more of your posts state your opinions or theories, as facts.
Now don’t get me wrong, this is nothing new; people have been doing it for as long as they’ve had opinions (and in fact, I’ve been guilty of this as well), but it seems to be happening more and more often in the SEO blogosphere.
Why, just yesterday I read 3 different posts, from SEO’s I generally respect as knowing what the hell they’re doing, and yet within those posts, theyÂ casually stated a “fact” that as far as I know has never been proven and remains at best, a theory.
Of course, blogging is essentially stating your opinion on matters or offering your take on an issue, but why have we abandoned phrases like “in my experience” or “as far as I can tell” or *gasp* “I think”? Are we all so desperate to sound like authorities in our field that we have to state everything as definitive fact rather than opinion or theory?
To make matters worse, these statements aren’t being backed up with anything! There’s no logical reasoning applied to them, there’s no research provided, there’s not even any links being given to other articles or posts that support their position!
One of the things I like most about SEO is that it’s constantly changing and really, only Google knows precisely what works and what doesn’t (and to be honest, I even have my doubts about them). But the fact that things change so often means that there is very little “common knowledge” in this industry. Even something as simple as “links are the key to ranking” will be hotly debated by some members of our industry.
So please, the next time you want to say something along the lines of “________ doesn’t work anymore” or “________ links are devalued” orÂ “doing _______ will harm your rankings”, please, please PLEASE back it up with something! I’d be much more comfortable reading “I haven’t been seeing ____ links helping my sites as much as they used to” or “As the results of this experiment suggest, doing _____ will harm your site’s rankings.”
It might seem like I’m splitting hairs here or dealing in semantics but keep in mind you’re not only writing to other seasoned SEO’s. People that are completely new to the industry or that are trying to learn more about SEO often do the bulk of their learning on blogs and forums. When one blogger writes one thing as an established fact, and another blog states the exact opposite, it leads to a lot of confusion and, in my opinion (see how easy that was?) hurts the industry as a whole.
If our industry ever wants to fully shed the reputation of snake oil salesmen, I believe we’re going to have to start putting some serious data, testing, and documented experience behind what we claim as fact.