Is SEO evil?

I read this post yesterday: Spammers, Evildoers and Opportunists by Derek Powazek with much interest.

Derek discusses SEO, and suggests that anyone offering SEO services is a conman and that SEO practices are damaging the web. While I think the first assertion is false (because many websites need a dose of SEO before they get significant traffic from search engines) I do agree that SEO practices are filling the web with trash.

The way Google works is damaging the web.

I’ve thought this before, and have blogged about the pointlessness of web directories (web directories are a large subsection of the web that seem to exist purely to provide links to other websites, while adding no real value to anyone).

But how do we fix the system so that people aren’t encouraged to ‘game’ the system, and add junk to the web in their quest for more links?

I always encourage clients to look for ways to add value to the web. If you want to be found, try being useful. Rather than adding junk for the sake of links or fresh content, try adding useful information.


  1. I have to disagree slightly with the statement “The way Google works is damaging the web.”

    Google is a clever and ever-changing beast that I believe rewards well-marked up, well-written content to produce the most relevant results.

    As a front-end developer, I believe that the best SEO is exactly that — well marked-up, well-written content. I’m very suspicious of companies offering SEO as a service. They often have little regard for the integrity of content and in turn, the accessibility of that content.

    Web pages that need ‘SEO’ are just poorly written in the first place, and their authors need to employ good development and copywriting to do the job properly.
    .-= Barry Bloye´s last blog ..Greg Wood: Bespoke post design =-.

    Comment by Barry Bloye — October 15, 2009 @ 8:44 am

  2. Hi Barry – thanks for your comment.

    When I say that ‘the way Google works is damaging the web’, I just mean that because many people believe (rightly or wrongly) that a key part of SEO is continually gaining more links to your website, there is a constant goldrush for links.

    In the quest for links, people will do anything. (Including constantly spamming my blog comments!)

    I know Google work hard to discourage spammy SEO tactics, but in reality a lot of the junk that exists on the web was put there to court Google.

    Comment by Leif Kendall — October 15, 2009 @ 1:42 pm

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