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

A dog forced to wear a Santa hat looking quite disturbed.

It’s this risky season again and many of us who optimize websites for search 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 search engine optimization. Tell them you work on the Internet. When 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 family that your rank dropped. They might get it wrong and think about a bank instead. Just imagine their conclusion.

3. Don’t try to explain to anybody that Google rankings are not “natural”. You shatter world views! Most people think what’s most important is on top.

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 work with computers say you don’t. You only use your computer like other people use phones.

People may think you’re an IT person and 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 work on the Web, you have no clue how computers work. Just like driving cars doesn’t make you a mechanic!

5. Do not tell relatives that their websites do not rank well or are not optimized. Next year they will want you to optimize their meta tags – 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) online. They will hate you and think that “you’re sooo old!”

7. Don’t try to explain to average citizens why you use Twitter. Everybody will get angry and start arguing about President Trump. Those who oppose him will mention him first!

8. Don’t disclose ads! Don’t try to point out – e.g. 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. Compliment them that they are Internet-savvy enough to use Google.

9. Don’t talk business! In case the conversation touches topics like spam, blogs, hacking etc. leave the room instantly. They will blame you more or less directly.

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. 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.Be flexible and creative.

In case you do not want to take any risk, just say that you do research most of the time (you do, keyword research).

Last updated: December 19th, 2017.