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# Okay back on point
'My point is: You do what anyone could learn to do in a week, pretend it's rocket science and charge a lot for very little. Argue back to that point.'

It is in essence simple. You're exactly right. SEO is all about the following:-

1. Producing a site that both looks decent AND is indexible in the search engines.
2. Write content that both is readable by users, and as well includes a range of keywords that you would like to be ranking for in Google. Again, it's not that hard!
3. Market your content to relevant people in the hope of getting links to it.

There we go, it's learnt. However, a good SEO will have a list of directories that AREN'T free for all & spammy (which are rarer & rarer these days). A good SEO will help grow bloggers blogs & their clients sites by being useful. A good SEO will craft contact that will both be readable by the search engines & not be drier than the Sahara Desert. Building a list of contacts take time & expertise, which people will pay for.

I sell advertising on my sites, they are sponsored links. I will not have an issue with anybody selling advertising on their website. I have an issue with two things:-

1. People who sell people paid links without explaining the risk.
2. People who have a go at SEO firms whilst - assumingly (and yes I'm assuming here) - profiting from them.
(, Mon 21 Jun 2010, 19:24, archived)
# .
So you agree with me that SEO consists of producing an indexable site with good contents and then trying to get relevant links?

I don't believe there is anything more to it than this (excluding black hat SEO). You claim that the following are a skill set which is worth paying high rates for:

1) A good SEO will have a list of paid for directories to place a clients site.
As you do not know the algorithm used by any search engine today (let alone how it will change tomorrow), then surely you cannot possible asses the quality of a directory link? You can only fall back on anecdotal evidence, which is not evidence at all. Therefore if your clients were to cut you out and then randomly choose paid directories to list in, up to the value of your fees, then why would this not be better value for them?
2) A good SEO will help grow bloggers blogs & their clients sites by being useful.
Nice and specific, 'by being useful', what does that mean?
Can you link to an example of a useful blog post you have produced for SEO reasons?
Can you explain why anyone would ever bother to read, let alone link to, a blog article written by a person who's only role is to churn out blog articles without love of the subject matter? Without backlinks to your articles, you have achieved nothing more for your client than a single link from a page with infinitesimally low page rank.
3) A good SEO will craft contact (sic) that will both be readable by the search engines & not be drier than the Sahara Desert
Does that mean you have to have qualifications as a copywriter? If you do, fair enough. I will happily concede that is a skilled job in itself.
4) Building a list of contacts take time & expertise, which people will pay for.
Yet again more vagueness, mysterious contacts. Who are these contacts? Let me guess, if you told me, you'd have to kill me. I'm not one of your clients, and you are not going to be able to fob me off simply by saying that you are an expert and have contacts. What expertise? If you really have expertise then surely you should be able to be more specific about it.

As for trying to turn things back on me, which seems your approach to argument (pointing out hypocrisy is not a logical argument - everyone is a hypocrite about some things and at least I get self-hate for anything spammy I do). I admit that I have tried some spammy SEO techniques when seeing if I could use my viral work to promote my day job, though I felt cunty doing it, and so stopped. Sometimes it feels like "If you can't beat them, join them", though at least I try and link from things I have made for the right reasons and was charging no-one to spam on their behalf.

I'll try and link build for myself via making things that I hope people like, and still build things when there is no seo value in it, but the only 'SEO' I actually sell is based more around accessibility, and it's a low one-off charge for this, plus explaining the concept of link building so that their marketing teams can do it themselves. And even then, I won't go out of my way to sell it as a separate cost, the optimisation I try and do as part of building a site.

I have no problem taking money from an SEO firm who want to buy links. I don't see why it is hypocritical. I see you have worked on a tobacco site, so I assume you agree with all the ethics of the tobacco industry? The fact they can afford to buy the links just proves to me that there's silly money in it.

If you want accusations of hypocrisy, you starting a post with a title "I have an in built hatered (sic) for web designers" is hardly not trying to provoke on a forum heavily populated by designers, so you can hardly complain when someone does an equally heavy-handed criticism of SEOs.

If, for example, you said to me that you are a qualified copywriter (which you may well be), or a qualified statician (which, again, if you are - then all this post isn't aimed at you), then I would say that you are worth the £200 a day you boasted about getting, if you are *very* good at it.

If however, as any books I have read on SEO suggest, it can be learnt in a day, I can't see why it is so lucrative unless it is a confidence trick.

I promise you that I am willing to listen to reason and change my mind, I just find people are only ever defensive rather than explanatory (which hands up again, I was unnecessarily provocative in my above post for the sake of it). I'd just like to see actual evidence that it's decent hard graft and worth the money. Show me the evidence!
(, Mon 21 Jun 2010, 21:49, archived)
# Answering your points
1. I never said a list of "Paid for Directories", I said a list of "non free for all directories". There are directories out there that are free but don't allow porn/viagra/dodgy stuff out there. dmoz.org for one. We don't list in paid directories.
2. Of course no SEO knows what happens with Google. We are very careful saying that we can't guarentee results. But what we do say that we test any new work on own sites. If it works, great, if not, no. Testing takes time, time costs money.
3. I cannot divulge client blog posts that I've put out there, but I'm going to link to a blog post that I wrote to promote my blog - www.howtomakemyblog.com/marketing/how-to-get-mainstream-media-interest-in-your-blog-2/ - a blog where I talk about SEO & Blogging. Relevent links, n'est pas? Useful is in the eye of the beholder. I consider it useful considering the comments & the feedback I've receieved it useful.
4. I'm not on £200 a day. Nowhere near. Find me an SEO that's on £200 a day. Nowhere did I boast I was on £200.
5. Contacts are easy to find. Just look on my twitter feed & make contact with a few of them. They are people I've spent ages connecting with. Of course, they may not exactly treat you the way they treat me. That takes time. Time costs money.
(, Tue 22 Jun 2010, 9:46, archived)
# .
1. Dmoz is huge and well known.
Please give an example of a decent free one.

2. According to your website, there are over 100 variables google takes into account, others say as many as 500. These change hundreds of times a year. If you do testing, what statistical techniques to you use to keep your variables constant? How many sigmas is the confidence level of your results? If your tests are not scientifically valid, then the testing time is pointless.

Indeed, how do you test?

As for not giving a guarantee, your website says "We will get you high positions on Google searches (SEO)" without any qualifier, does it not?

3. Why can you not divulge client blog posts?
That suggests they are not up to scratch and you are scared I will point out their failings, or they don't exist.
Of course your own blog isn't relevent, unless you say that all it takes to be qualified is to have your own blog?
As Christopher Hitchens says, "What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence."

4. Sorry, you "charge" £200 a day (http://www.b3ta.com/questions/professions/post738019#post740174). My mistake.

5. Why do you need to be Twitter friends with an SEO client? As for contacts, that's called building a business. Everyone has to do this, so it is not an SEO qualification.
(, Tue 22 Jun 2010, 11:25, archived)
# Going on the offensive
1. www.freeindex.co.uk/. Yes huge & well known, but like DMOZ it's not known by everybody. Sure a little bit of research can get you the links, but how many business owners want to do that? Not many from my experience.

2 & 4. The examples you give are from a company I no longer work for. I did recently change jobs. £200 was the going rate for SEO in my old work, which included my wages, rent of the building, heating, leccy, etc. Most business guides mention this. Yes I know you got the examples from my CV, which is on my website.

3. I can't divulge due to non disclosure agreements signed between the clients & myself. Not unheard of in business.

5. I am not twitter friends with many (indeed I'd say any) clients, but you asked for my contacts list. That's right there.

The reason we can justify charging what we charge is that we can track that our work is earning the client far much more than what we charge them. Again, with knowledge of Google Analytics - this can be proven. Can you justify your earnings?

I'm assuming you've done research on me. You will also see that I know PHP to an adequate level, I admit I can't design for toffee, but I consider myself to be pretty knowledgeable when it comes to SEO.

Anyway I'm prepared to take this discussion into private messaging, feeling it's getting vitriolic.
(, Tue 22 Jun 2010, 15:29, archived)
1. You could just link reverse a site which had been SEOd by someone to find an easy list of directories, surely?

2. Fair enough, but you said you still test, so how do you test, and what is the accuracy of those tests?

3. "I can't divulge due to non disclosure agreements signed between the clients & myself. Not unheard of in business."

Seems unlikely, but could you tell me what your non disclosure agreement you give to clients says?

5. So, why did you bring it up as a qualification?

"The reason we can justify charging what we charge is that we can track that our work is earning the client far much more than what we charge them."

Is this not like homeopathy - the placebo effect sometimes works, so it's fine to charge a fortune for very little?

"Can you justify your earnings?"

Yes, I breakdown costs and explain exactly what I'm doing. If a client thinks it excessive, they will go elsewhere. I will offer them a range of options. I will talk them through their site and see what they actually need. Do you explain exactly what it is you are doing for a client or do you say it is all Top Secret and thus must be worth it.
(, Tue 22 Jun 2010, 16:23, archived)