And we’re back with part two of the 9 circles of SEO Hell. If you enjoyed the first part, you’ll surely have a good time reading about the final four circles. Grab some coffee, or beverage of your choice, and enjoy the read.
Once you’ve been caught breaking the rules the search engines will either penalize your site or thump it from the SERPs completely. There’s really only one way to get back in the good graces of the search engines and that’s to apologize and stop the bad behavior. Once you get caught you’re supposed to learn from it. Repeating the behavior is just stupid.
Most likely to be in this circle: SEOs that have gotten sites banned before and have neglected to change their tactics. If it has gotten you banned before, STOP DOING IT. Do some more research. Part of SEO is learning and evolving, refusing to do so is heresy.
Not far from going to the Googleplex and holding everyone hostage until your site ranks first for whatever keyword you want, the violent SEO/site owner utilizes a combination of the above tactics above in addition to using other forms of marketing. Email spam and cold calling just name the offline marketing tactics, these guys are abusing it. One thing you have to give these guys credit for is utilizing all forms of marketing to promote themselves/their clients. It doesn’t rectify what they’re doing, but they have realized SEO is more than just tweaking elements on a website.
Most likely to be in this circle: People that know enough SEO to be dangerous but are better at email spam and telemarketing. The mindset is, “I not only need to do anything to get to the front pages of Google, but I need to make everyone aware of my site offline as well.”
IMO this level is lower than treachery, posing as someone who can offer a service but is just stealing money is truly pathetic. You’ve seen the statements, “We guarantee the #1 spot!” or better yet “We know people at Google”. When I worked in house the agency we consulted with actually told me they were going to be asking a Googler some questions and would get back to us. I asked them point blank, “You guys are heading to SMX to ask Matt Cutts a question during the Q&A?”, the silence on their end finally broke with “Uh yeah” my boss looked at me stunned, “Oh man, I’m jealous. I wish I could make it this year” laughter broke the tension. After the call I told my boss we were better off with sending me to the sessions than paying another company to do it.
Most likely to be in this circle: SEO agencies that have to use misdirection in order to gain clients or to maintain current clients. The end result is a dissatisfied client who had been robbed by craptastic marketers. Calling them craptastic SEOs would imply they actually know it/use it.
This is a pretty low and dirty form, and is the same as fraud. Treachery is defined as: betrayal to friends, family, the community and “liege lords” or in this case your clients. Since we’ve already covered betraying/lying to clients let’s cover the rest of the spectrum. A main part of SEO is learning. There is a lot to read and there are some really good places to learn it. SEOmoz.org and SEObook.com are some great places to learn, it’s also a great place to network. From those places it’s easy to connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook. Eventually people try to meet up IRL at conferences and tweetups. But the thing is the people in this circle befriend/network with others for the sole purpose of getting ahead by using others. Be it gaining clients/information/a good industry connection without actually being part of the community. Relationships are about give and take, and I’ll admit being a newbie to a community is tough to give right off the bat. But if an opportunity presents itself no matter how small, give back. The “SEOs” in this circle, never do, they only take.
Most likely to be in this circle: Anyone looking to get SEO done for free, get client leads or anything else at the cost of using and abusing the SEO community.
Not quite as eloquent as Dante’s Inferno, but hopefully you found it entertaining. So what about you? Did we miss any or misplace any SEOs in any circles?