Robert Scoble by Alex de Carvalho
In the attention economy the attention rich win over those who get less attention. As controversy and ignorance creates more attention than common sense and boring expertise we have to deal with the phenomenon of SEO bashing every now and then. People pointing fingers saying “look at that, how stupid they are bashing SEO again” create even more buzz.
Web 2.0 celebrities can use this attention gap in order to push their own interests. Failed entrepreneurs like Jason Calacanis have done that in the past repeatedly to ride the wave of negative hype. So this time I was a little bit astounded to hear it from Robert Scoble the web pundit everybody seems to listen to.
I seldom listen to Mr. Scoble as I’m too busy to listen to my trustworthy friends and my own echoes on the Web: I’ve just been nominated as one of the 100 most influential online marketers of 2009. Not sure I am but if others say so, I maybe am. So let’s use a little of my perceived influence.
It’s about how Robert Scoble’s ironic video advertorial confused the masses and the search marketing industry. Yes, you heard right. It’s ironic and it’s an advertorial.
It’s ironic and an advertorial because these guys Scoble talks to are from an SEO company themselves.
In fact they even compete with us, SEOptimise, in the search engines. So I just did a little checking with some tools everybody can use to take a look at any website to find out why they deserve such attention. The guys in the video advertorial represent a company called roiworks.com
Keep in mind that the guys from roiworks.com present their site as a “Search Engine Marketing Firm”. Search engine marketing of course entails SEO, PPC and other online marketing tactics SEOptimise offers as well. Indeed we even have similar keywords in our HTML title: UK Search Engine Marketing Agency.
So let’s compare our rankings for search engine marketing firm:
- roiworks.com is nowhere to be found. Neither in the US/Canada nor the UK.
- We’re at 13 for search engine marketing firm in the Google UK results in spite of not having the actual word “firm” in the title at all.
OK, OK, we know search engine rankings don’t mean much, I’ve said it myself more than once. Let’s take a look at the backlink numbers via Yahoo Site Explorer then:
Yahoo backlink numbers don’t show much as well some people will argue. So let’s take a look at web analytics. roiworks.com exists at least since 2001 according to Archive.org but Google Trends or Google Ad Planner can’t find any data on them. So let’s try Compete.com! roiworks.com is an US company and Compete measures US traffic quite well so let’s take a look at the numbers for visits in November:
In case you wonder why we lost so many visitors over the recent months: I’ve been quite lazy lately. Aside of this there must be something wrong with these numbers, after all, they get featured by Robert Scoble and we don’t. Did they actually sleep with him? Or maybe they’re just friends.
The video setup by itself is also quite funny. You have those two awkward guys talking like for ages. The one, more the Woody Allen type is keen on stressing that black hat SEO is very, very bad while the other dressed in black and wearing a black hat like in a mafia movie might be his bodyguard.
They talk about SEO, search and search marketing all the time telling us how important it really is. For instance they argue that local search is crucial etc.
Update: Make sure to read the statement by George, CEO of roiworks.com
So Robert Scoble’s post asking whether SEO will not be important anymore in 2010 is just a rhetorical question. It’s as if you’d ask: will the sky still be blue in 2010? Will the sky be blue in 2010? Yes, it will. I recommend a post by SEOMoz which, among other predictions, shows a statistic according to which 78% of questioned marketers assign more importance to SEO in 2010.
Btw. Robert Scoble admitted the baiting of the SEO industry later on. Mr. Scoble is not stupid, but the reaction of the SEO industry is too predictable by now. Thus I don’t link to such SEO bashing posts and advise you to refrain from doing it as well. The company Mr. Scoble is featuring really needs attention and all those links. They barely got any. Unlike more “traditional agencies”.