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Infographic: The Biggest SEO Fear

by Frank Strong

SEO Greatest fear

Panda’s may be in need of some PR.  First the world is confused as to whether it’s more closely related to bears or raccoons and now Google has Google-bombed its namesake.

The one-time lovable and cuddly-looking species – which even has its own reality show – has seen its trademark hijacked by the mighty search engine.

The panda PR people are writing op-eds. The panda lawyers are filing claims. But nothing compares to the outrage of the panda SEO staff.  As Google rolled out Panda 4.0, all eyes were on the web to discover (h/t Danny Brown) the winners and losers.

My bank is sending me a new credit card because eBay is already having a bad week.  And then Panda 4.0 bites.  But it’s not just big business getting hit.

Rae Hoffman, one of my go-to SEO blogs, points out small businesses are getting hit too – over “false positives.”

Panda judges a site based on a mathematical computation and decides if it’s guilty or innocent and levies your sentence. But, you have no idea what crime you committed. You also never got to take the stand. And you have no ability to file an appeal. (Mainstream media note: Reconsideration requests apply to manual penalties only.)

SEO rage fuel derived from sentiment

In many ways, I believe Google is caught between a rock and a hard place.  SEOs will say it’s of their own making – that ranking sites based on links invites gaming. That may be true, but when the search engine got started, it was simply a better way to identify relevant results to search queries.

It still is.  Hence the Google war path.

No matter what Google does, there’s a dark element of the web that will game its system.  That’s human nature. We are inherently selfish creatures that strive to break the instinct, but often fall short.

This is why communism was a disaster and why capitalism, though far from perfect, is a much better system of economics. Incentives appeal to our core, and smart leaders structure incentives to benefit a group, a company or an organization. It’s a consideration for Google too.

Even so, SEOs are worried and many of their complaints are quite valid.  Which brings me to this infographic: Search Marketer’s Greatest Fears.  The infographic was produced by ReferralCandy and I first spotted it on Visual.ly.

Defining SEO fear

Of the 41 search marketers mentioned, I know two:  Paul Shapiro, currently with Catalyst, who I somehow met through social media and Ian Lurie, of Portent, who probably has no recollection that I once moderated a webinar with him.  AJ Khon, with Blind Five Year Old, is also mentioned, and though I do not know him, I have seen his work often making the rounds in social circles.

Shapiro’s SEO fear, listed under #13:  

False information spread by SEO “experts.”

Lurie’s SEO fear, listed under #9:

SEO being considered a “separate thing” or something that lacks credibility.

Kohn’s SEO fear, listed under #16:

How to scale my business while delivering quality.

The complete infographic follows below, and if you’ve got ideas for restoring the good name of the giant panda, feel free to leave a comment.


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