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May 16, 2007

Australian Search Engine Optimization Is Spam

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It’s been a somewhat slow blogging week for me as I try to get caught up on things, but I didn’t want to let this one pass by. Andy Beal pointed us towards a hilarious The Age article that declares that most Australian search engine optimization firms are spammers. Here we go again.

I suppose The Age is filling in for Jason Calacanis as he takes his month-long reprieve away from blogging and SEO-bashing, reporting that most Australian search engine optimization firms are using spammy tactics to trick the search engines even though Google has given them clear guidelines to follow. You Aussies are such jerks!

Or actually maybe you’re not: All of the The Age’s information came from multiple anonymous, but I’m sure very reputable, sources. One source refused to be named because he didn’t want Google to retaliate. That’s a totally legitimate fear. I’m sure Google has absolutely nothing better to do than waste its time blacklisting Google haters. They’re going to catch on to that Jason fellow any day now.

In fact, I bet it’s no coincidence that Jason and Matt are taking their vacations at the same time. Matt probably has him bound, gagged and locked up somewhere. Huzzah!

But I digress.

The bad press for Australian SEOs comes after Found Agency, a Sydney-based optimization firm, "virtually disappeared" from the Google index once it was caught using a click counter that linked back to the Found Agency site in order to boost its inbound links. It’s like SEO circa 2001 over there, and as usual, one bag apple spoils the bunch.

Obviously, it’s unfair to cast doubt on an entire industry because one company was found to be using dodgy tactics. There are plenty of SEO firms in the States playing on the other side of the line, but that doesn’t mean we all are. We’re not all snake oil salesmen, nor are we card cheats.

The Australian search engine optimization industry is still growing and maturing. There’s going to be a natural weeding out process when those using spammy techniques are going to learn their lessons the hard way. They’ll start teetering over the dark side and they’ll find themselves banned. I’m sure Australia has its group of "over-aggressive" SEOs as the article called them, but it’s unfair to label most SEOs as acting in that way. I’m sure there are plenty of reputable Australian search engine optimization firms to be found.

I’m not completely versed with the search engine optimization landscape down there but I can vouch for Bruce Clay Australia. I know that Jeremy and Des (who are totally awesome guys who should visit more often) run things the same way Bruce does here in the States. It’s pure white hat, tried and true, best practice search engine optimization.

I don’t want to get all self-promotion-y because that’s not my thing, but if you’re in Australia, and you’re not sure what’s right, what’s wrong and where the line is in optimization, Bruce will be in Sydney 6-8 August teaching the Australian SEO course. You may want to check it out. Whether you’re an SEO or a site owner, it’ll give you a chance to learn the basics and make sure the campaign you’re running is based on best practices.

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5 responses to “Australian Search Engine Optimization Is Spam”

  1. Terry Reeves writes:

    Australians are great people. The one’s I have worked with in the past are true risk takers. They are just getting a feel for the edges is all. Who doesn’t like to push the boundary?

  2. Fruit Engine writes:

    Pushing the boundaries is great, but not when it puts your clients’ welfare and interests at risk.
    White aht all the way!

  3. Phillip Kemp writes:

    HI nice article. I’m an independent Australian SEO, And, i do think the Australian Marketing “and seo” industry needed a shake up and a wake up. So its a good thing from a local angle.

    And hopefully? another Australian firm takes there place at no1, and holds it for a few more years once again. Considering we are so new at it and all, we seem to do a bit better at it than most.

    Kindest regards
    Phillip

  4. Miles Burke writes:

    Yes, it’s a shame to see the actions of a minority once again give an entire industry a bad name. The Australian media love a good bash-up at any opportunity.

  5. Kalena writes:

    The thing about Australian media is that they are generally clueless about what SEO actually is. I have been optimizing web sites in Australia since 1999 and I can tell you that there was virtually zero interest in the subject until about 2002. The SEO companies that seem to attract the most media attention here are the ones “caught out” doing dodgy tactics and penalized by Google. Unlike the U.S. where the industry has matured, the Australian search industry is still suffering the black eye earned thanks to a handful of loud, unscrupulous yet successful SEO firms that make life difficult for the rest of us. But we boring professional Aussie “white hat” SEOs and search marketing educators don’t make very interesting reading, do we?



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