Okay, so I had to write about this as soon as I read Jill Wahlen’s post on Search Engine Land on July 16. (So, I’m a little behind).
I don’t know too much about Jill Whalen but her profile says she’s been doing SEO since 1995. But her post on ‘Is Most of SEO Just a Boondoogle’ sounds to me like she’s really focusing on little things and not looking at the bigger picture when it comes to achieving great SEO rankings. I respect that she’s putting herself out there and now I’m going to put myself out there and say I think she may need a better understanding of how SEO works on a higher level.
To wrap-up her post, she basically says that SEO agencies are charging innocent business owners a lot of cash to perform these SEO tactics that are a waste of time and don’t do anything to truly help your rankings and PageRank.
She talks about how XML sitemaps are just a way of sounding techie to the client when really they are not a necessity for most sites.
She also talks about how H1 tags are useless and adding keywords to your URLs are pointless to SEO and your rankings.
So, my problem with the post is this: SEO is a combination of changes made to a webpage, whether big or small, over a period of time. No, it’s not one little thing here and there that’s going to make all the difference. We SEO agencies know that. Again, it’s a combination of everything that helps, and I’ve seen it work.
Anyone who thinks they can add an H1 and all of a sudden expect huge results is silly. We know this. But adding H1 tags, modifying URLs, implementing a site map with priority and frequency levels, etc are all things that add up, and over time can make a significant impact in your PR and SEO rankings. And yes, I do these things on all of my SEO clients, and it’s not bullshit.
Of course, now we all know that PageRank sculpting is out of date, but at the time everyone was told that doing this tactic will help improve your results – you would be stupid not to do it when senior level execs are telling you to do it. Does it make us angry that we spent time doing it after these execs went back on their word? Yep. But I still have no regrets for doing something I was told would help.
For my clients, I do everything possible to increase their rankings and PR whether some people believe in it or not. Yes, I focus on building great keyword rich content, adding anchor text , link building and providing the best user experience possible, but these elements all work together and over time, even the small hanging fruit like sitemaps and H1 tags will help increase your PR.
Now some things I do agree with her on is not messing around with meta keywords. But we’ve been told that the search engines don’t really use them anymore. SEO is in a constant state of change and if you don’t read and stay up to date then yes, you could be doing things that are wasting your time.
Thanks Jill for giving me something to write about; And no hard feelings.