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FutureNow Post
Monday, Mar. 5, 2007 at 9:55 am

Is Search Broken?

By Jeffrey Eisenberg
March 5th, 2007

Tom Foremski’s post is fascinating, not so much for what he gets right but for what he misunderstood. Read his post and comments to see what is broken. What is broken is lay people’s understanding of how search engines work. It is why Search Engine Optimists are able to overcharge so many businesses for services they don’t need.

I’m not saying Search Engine Optimization doesn’t have a time and a place. I’m simply saying that the average person doesn’t understand that place. That is why so many business owners pay Search Engine Optimization (SEO) firms–sorry to the handful of ethical SEO firms–what amounts to extortion money out of fear of losing their rankings; even when that ranking brings traffic that doesn’t convert. Sad! They should ask better questions.

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Comments (7)

  1. As you imply by saying ask better questions, garbage in, garbage out. Or, as I like the expression, measure twice, cut once. Or, the easiest problem to solve is the one that never occurs.

    It’s all about insight and understanding. As opposed to just information, which too often can be information overload.

    We explore how these concepts relate to politics in Politics 2.0 – the convergence between politics and web 2.0. The shifting and evolving political landscape means that the political ROI, in this case conversion being votes, fundraising, media and volunteers, is increasingly dependent upon, or at a minimum integrated with, interactive and social community elements that build “stickiness” and interest and loyalty from among the information clutter (also, the next generation of message microtargeting as well).

  2. GIGO. That is the problem.

  3. Personally I think the majority of the problem lies within the Industry itself. How can we expect anyone not involved in search to understand the complexities of an Industry yet to be unified and held to some form of standards and testing.

    Anyone can just set up shop and call themselves an SEO without any qualififcations at all. Check out some of the freelance sites around and the quality of providers in there passing themselves off as SEO’s. It’s a worry when people who have nothing more than a good list of web directories pass themselves off as an SEO Expert of 4 years.

    I think a unified Industry with uniform standards and testing would go a long way to weeding out those giving quality provders a bad name. There is plenty of information out there, both good and bad, regardless though any quality provider would set their clients or potential clients straight in regards to what services are required for their project.

  4. Great article!


  5. Agree Mark, you need to go to school for years to qualify for anything, but everyone can claimed to be an SEO expert and even when they can show their portfolio there are still no easy way to ditermine if theyre good or not

  6. I find that a lot of problems with ‘business owners paying Search Engine Optimization (SEO) firms what amounts to extortion money’ is because they are not knowledgeable on the basic structure of web marketing or the purpose of website directory themselves.

    What I am trying to say is that if you have an online web business and you are making money from it then it is also your responsibility to be fairly knowledgeable on how to market your business to get more sales. I am not saying that you should be proficient in SEO language, all the associated jargon, or be an expert in site building or Flash.

    What I am saying is that if only business owners pay a little TLC and show some interest in wanting to learn the basics then there is no chance for these so-called unqualified marketers to budge in and claim superiority over the industry because they will be weeded out in no time.

  7. It would be a good idea for companies to have someone “in-house” who actually has a good grasp of SEO, so that he can find proper companies to contract.

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Jeffrey Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark. You can friend him on Facebook.

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