A post by a Google employee on Hacker News this week sparked some controversy in the online marketing world, when it essentially claimed that SEO was spam.
The comments were posted by programmer Jonathon Rockway. He kicked off by saying that the affect that business can have on search results is severely limited, before going on to say,
“SEO isn’t good for the Internet at large.”
This was already in argument with the rhetoric that Google puts out on a consistent basis over the value of search engine optimised content, but online marketers and webmasters were left even more frustrated by his follow up comment.
Purporting that his employers were working to ensure that only their adverts would guarantee a good ranking, he stated:
“It’s a bug that you could rank highly in Google without buying ads, and Google is trying to fix (this).”
He did then go onto make a statement apologising for any confusion about the mention of ads, and reiterated Google’s insistence that search results should,
“only depend on the quality of your content.”
However, this did little to appease all. Recognising this, an official statement was released, saying that paying for rankings is not possible, and insisting paid for services never related to rankings.
It’s an embarrassing episode though, which could well have repercussions later on.
Jonathon Rockway has only been with Google for a short time, and it has certainly not been a stunning start. It’s unlikely he’s irreparably damaged his career, but he certainly hasn’t optimised it.