19 Dec 2005

Ripping into Google’s Information for Webmasters.

Today I decided to re read the "Google Information for Webmasters" Page.

I agree with much of what Google says here….but there are some items that make me scratch my head and go "Really?"

Let’s start at the top

Many SEOs provide useful services for website owners, from writing copy to giving advice on site architecture and helping to find relevant directories to which a site can be submitted.

so "Useful SEO services" are ones who "write copy", "give advice on site architecture" and "help find relevant directories"?…

hum….seo’s write copy?….maybe, but isn’t the best copy written by site owners who know the topic…not the SEO?….do SEO’s really write copy?…that’s advisable for an SEO?? writing copy for clients websites? Really?

"Give advice on site architecture" – OK, yes…I’d agree here.

"Help find relevant directories"? hum….from what I’ve seen the past few years, Google’s been wacking directories like a wack a mole…help find them? there’s pleanty of lists of directories…it certainly doesn’t take an SEO to find them.

You should never have to link to an SEO

Hum, I don’t like my clients to link back to me….but if I asked them to, why should they not…isn’t it the same as if a client linked to their website designer? Why is this bad?

While Google never sells better ranking in our search results

IF that’s true, then what’s this?

from the New York Times:

Google, which prides itself on the purity of its search results, agreed to give favored placement to content from AOL throughout its site, something it has never done before.

Continuing on Google’s page:

You should ask how long a company has been in business and how many full time individuals it employs

Does size matter? If it’s only a one person shop, is that better or worse than a 10 person shop or a 100 person shop? I’m not sure what Google’s point is here.

Years in business? is this a factor too? is someone doing this for 10 years better than someone doing this for 2 years?….I’m not sure.

 Ask your SEO firm if it reports every spam abuse that it finds to Google using our spam complaint form

 I’ve never submitted a spam abuse form…does that make me bad? Do only good SEO’s submit spam forms? C’mon. Does submitting Spam complaints make one a good SEO?

Ethical SEO firms report deceptive sites that violate Google’s spam guidelines.

B.S. – That’s all I’ve got to say.

you should insist on a full and unconditional money-back guarantee. Don’t be afraid to request a refund if you’re unsatisfied for any reason

hum…to me, this kinda contradicts with what google says higher up on this page:

Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings

Guess what the first reason someone who’s going to ask for a refund will cite….bet it would be "they didn’t get me rankings."

"unconditional money-back guarantee" right…you’re telling me what guarantees I should offer "Don’t guarantee rankings" but guarantee "unconditional money back"? Does Google adwords offer "unconditional money back guarantees"? I’d just love to see that…."hey, I had no ROI on my Adwords, give me my money back"…oh how I’d love to see how Google would handle that. 

Google, don’t tell me what guarantees I should offer and what ones I should not. That’s between my clients and me. And if I give, or don’t give a guarantee "unconditional" that does not make me a bad SEO.

I guess that’s about it. Like I said at the beginning, I do agree with most of what Google is saying on their "Google Information for Webmasters"….just these few points I have some issues with.

Do you agree?


  1. Georgi December 19, 2005 at 5:15 PM

    Yes, absolutely agreed on all points Jim. I have read those pages at Google a couple of times, and these things have awlays made me brow.

  2. Network marketing tips December 19, 2005 at 7:25 PM

    I agree with you.
    As far as I see. All Google cares about is linking popularity. If you have decent websites with quality content, unique without links, you would never show up in their listings.
    The ultimate SEO strategy is linking strategies from article distribution, press releases and direcotry submissions.

    Nabil Khoury, MD
    The MLM doctor

  3. Andrew Johnson December 20, 2005 at 1:28 AM

    Thats pretty funny! I’ve been watching the whole AOL thing very closely. Interesting to see how Google’s definition of “evil” quickly changes when money is involved (ie: AOL image ads on the SERPs.)

  4. SEO Blog [dot] biz December 20, 2005 at 6:31 AM

    Нечистоплотность Google?

    Один из участников форума Cre8asiteforums.com в одной из дискуссий привел цитату из NY Times:

    Finally, around 9 p.m., Richard D. Parsons, chief executive of Time Warner told Eric E. Schmidt, chief…

  5. bobmutch December 20, 2005 at 10:20 AM

    Well said Jim. It it coming.

  6. randfish December 20, 2005 at 10:43 PM

    Yeah, that last one is especially egregious – dictating hypocritical business practices leaves a very bad taste in one’s mouth.

  7. Brian’s Blog » Misleading Google Webmaster Guidelines December 21, 2005 at 7:39 AM

    […] Google has updated it’s Webmaster guidelines. […]

  8. Jill December 21, 2005 at 9:26 AM

    [quote]hum….seo’s write copy?….maybe, but isn’t the best copy written by site owners who know the topic…not the SEO?….do SEO’s really write copy?…that’s advisable for an SEO?? writing copy for clients websites? Really?[/quote]

    Jim, you are correct that SEOs should not be the ones writing copy. But neither should clients unless they are a copywriter, or have a copywriter on staff.

    Copy should only be written by professional copywriters. Period. But any good SEO worth their salt should have a professional copywriter (or two or three) on staff or on call if they outsource.

  9. Jim December 21, 2005 at 9:33 AM

    actually we work with about 26 writers… I was just suprised that Google was saying that “writing copy” was part of the “SEO’s” job.

  10. Jim December 21, 2005 at 9:34 AM

    I should add that I’m totally suprised (well, not really) that “getting links” isn’t mentioned…to me that’s the biggest job of an SEO.

  11. Jill December 21, 2005 at 11:28 AM

    [quote]to me that’s the biggest job of an SEO[/quote]

    Different strokes for different folks, Jim. You must know by now that there are many different ways of skinning the SEO cat! 🙂

  12. Jim December 21, 2005 at 11:56 AM

    Jill – you’re totally right about different ways to skin the SEO cat….any maybe I’m wrong on the writing content part….we approach SEO from different angles, I’ve read your books and newsletters and forum and I can totally see that what you’re doing works great (how can I argue with someone who’s #3 in Google for “search engine optimization”?)

    I approach SEO from the “link angle”, you from the “content writing angle”. (and you’re one of the best at the “content angle”)

    I agree that SEO’s should work on content, or should I say, Optimizing content, or helping the client to writing content.

    perhaps I was wrong to imply that SEO’s shouldn’t be writing content.

  13. Aaron Pratt December 21, 2005 at 12:23 PM

    I don’t want to put fuel on the fire but I believe they should just have a few words about SEO companies in their guidelines.

    SEO Companies

    [seo companies]Only 1-2% are any good so be careful![/seo companies]

    Might as well be honest, I agree.

  14. » Under Manual Review: Editorial Control and the Search Engines - Stuntdubl - SEO Consultant January 4, 2006 at 6:35 PM

    […] I am constantly baffled by Google’s insistence that there is such a low level of human discretion and editorial control in their organic search result determination. Isn’t the decision to leave editorial control up to a silicon based form of intelligence even SOME level of editorial control to begin with? Determining which forms of user data from the toolbar and other sources must certainly qualify as a certain level of editorial control based on human bias. There is nothing inherently wrong with human bias, and it becomes less of a bias if the views and decisions are directly expressed. I think Yahoo is a bit more open about their level of editorial control, but not really much. I really hope that the transparency of these decisions improves with both engines over time. Insight to this process would help to MEET those guidelines and stay within less ambiguous confines of the terms of service. […]

  15. Lee Odden January 7, 2006 at 11:58 AM

    Jim, I just found this post from Todd’s blog. Well said!

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