10 Christmas No-Nos for SEO Specialists to Avoid at all Costs


CC: Santa chucks the finger by BoSoxBrent.

It’s this dreaded season again and all of us in the SEO industry will have to endure humiliations we have to face each year. To lessen the impact of the Christmas SEO woes I compiled a list of 10 holiday no-nos for SEO specialists to avoid at all costs:

1. Do not tell your relatives you practice “SEO”. Tell them you’re an internet specialist. If they want to know more, tell them you optimize websites. Then change the topic of the conversation. Remember, some family members will always want to know but will never be able to understand. Then all of a sudden everybody in the room will ask whether you work for Google, manipulate search results and whether it’s illegal.

2. Do not tell your girlfriend or wife that your PageRank got bigger or worse, smaller. Especially as she might get it wrong that your “paycheck” got smaller.

3. Don’t try to explain to anybody that Google rankings are not “natural”. You shatter world views! People either won’t believe you or they will become cynical and detached when they realize that Google is not God and rankings are not based on traffic or a website “being the best”.

4. In case someone asks whether you’re a computer specialist say you are not, you only use your computer like other people use cars. Otherwise they will make you fix their broken Windows XP machine. Don’t try it! You will spend hours and hours with it and give up in the end anyways. You’re an internet specialist, you have no clue how computers work.

5. Do not tell relatives that their websites do not rank well or are not optimized. In 2009 they will want you to optimize the meta tags or the PageRank, for free. Most importantly they will not want you to change the site or add some content because they love the site the way it is. “You just need to do some SEO, nothing else.” ;-)

6. Do not tell younger cousins that they should not post their private party images (where they are drunk or naked or both) on MySpace or Facebook. They will hate you and think that “you’re sooo conservative!”

7. Don’t try to explain to average citizens why you use Twitter. People will think you are crazy to tell the world what you have for lunch.

8. Don’t try to point out to your (potential) parents-in-law that the “search results” on top of Google are actually ads. You make them look stupid and they won’t like you anymore for the next 10 – 20 years.

9. In case the conversation touches topics like spam, blogs, hacking etc. leave the room instantly. Otherwise you will be the person to have to explain yourself why SEO is spam, comment spam and SEO hacking no matter how white hat you are.

10. Don’t criticize Google for anything. People love Google. So you telling them about privacy concerns, a monopoly or China will make them assume that you are a crazy conspiracy theorist.

I’m pretty sure that there will arise more problems like these. Try to generalize this advice and in case you do not want to take any risk, just say that you do research most of the time (you do, keyword research).