SEO Future Article Lacks Balance and Leadership

If you are a newcomer to SEO and read a recent article on the future of SEO you would discover there are 16 “expert, industry veterans” in SEO and they are men.

The article, Expert Insights On The Future Of SEO, Part 1, is taking some heat for its featuring men.

For me, the issue isn’t about gender. That was the trigger. The red balloon that escaped into the sky to make us all look up and take notice. The real pain point is the imbalance. The lack of leadership needed in an industry with boundless talent that continues to be represented by the same people slapping the same backs, beating the same drums.

According to some comments left in Part 1, several of the women who were contacted had specific reasons for not participating.  For example,

“I’ve been asked to provide detailed answers as quickly as possible “within 48 hours” so “businesses planning their 2015 budgets can use my input to lay foundations for future results”.

Another woman wrote,

“My first thought was they wanted me to lay out, in detail, what companies pay me to lay out.”

She is absolutely 100% correct in her assessment here. I no longer accept requests for these types of articles for the exact same reason. If a company needs expert advice, they should pay for the expert. A smart businessperson keeps the very best and valuable advice private, for use with paying clients.

The series, in my opinion, was an opinion fluff piece rather than an expert advice series.  From now until the end of the year and into next year the topic of looking into crystal balls will be popular.  What is the purpose of these articles?

Balanced rocksAgain, the balance is off.   What would drive a CEO, Founder or VIP to take the time to share expert advice?  Do they need the traffic and sales, brand reminder, and links?  They are already famous.  Was there no value in finding newcomers?

Clearly, Danny Sullivan is appalled at what has happened with the article. He already knows and understands the hurt women in SEO feel on a regular basis as they strive to find a seat in a male dominated industry. No doubt he will do whatever he can to fix this wrong.  But will he be working on repairing the correct wrong?

How many times a year do we have to see evidence of gender imbalance in a technical industry?  It’s an old fight that for most women in the SEO industry isn’t even the point.  What matters is finding leaders who make a difference.

Well written, authoritative articles boost the credibility and brand of the site that runs them. The strategy is to find skilled columnists who are not afraid to research and get quotes from experienced professionals. However, we see the same people interviewed over and over again.

Is there any interest in asking SEO professionals, who are not experts and veterans, how they may see the future of SEO? They may have a different set of expectations or perspectives not influenced by past practices. Perhaps they have invented their own strategies and have something new to teach us. It is an honor to be asked to participate in a series and it helps new people with their new companies to attract business.  Networking can be done in many ways, and one of them is by inviting a wide variety of people to participate in interviews and articles that feature various opinions and advice.

The best leaders are generous.  They are not vain, egotistical, greedy or unjust.  They know the value of providing all perspectives.  They listen with an open mind to all opinions, not just the elite, famous, well to do and successful people.  They value the skills brought to their industry by both genders.

When people don’t like something, they form their own group.  In the SEO industry there have been gatherings at conferences that are for women only.  There have been websites that feature just women in SEO. This signal went ignored by anyone in a leadership position but it provided a much needed way for the women in the SEO industry to meet and support each other.   It opened up new business opportunities. This new group divided from the greater group because it felt ignored and undervalued. These women wanted balance.  It was never about inequality or a battle of the sexes.

To me the fault of the article could be felt by anyone who values leadership and centered, balanced and unbiased information.

 

Hotjar Insights Provides Usability Testing Platform That Has It All

Finally, a usability testing suite with all the goodies packed into one application has arrived. Called HotJar, it is brand new and looking for you.

HotJar Insights has heatmap, polls, surveys, user testing, chat, and more. If you test websites and gather data from them, you likely are using at least 10 different tools. The top testing systems can be expensive, hard to learn, and take up lots of space on your computer. Add it up. It is long past time there is one platform, one price, one system to learn.

HotJar is in beta, looking for people to try it out. Here is one perk:

Funnel & Form Analysis:

Find the biggest opportunities for improvement and testing by identifying on which page and at which step most visitors are leaving your site. Improve online form completion rates by discovering which fields take too long to fill, which are left blank, and why your visitors abandon your form and page.

Sign up right now and get in on this incredible opportunity.

Sign up here for Hotjar

Taking It Up a Notch

One of the most frustrating parts of watching Kim do her thing is watching her doubt herself.  I know I torture my friends and family as they see in me what I have been unable to.

That ended when I learned some harsh truths and had the chance to step away from the keyboard and Internet to listen, review and take stock of a lot of stuff.  One of the more shocking realizations was the clear, screaming reminder that I know my job, what my career is about, what my legacy will be and any attempts to squash me make me insane.

I love my work.  It chose me.  I had no idea I had the empathy necessary for usability work.  I just felt what was wrong about a web page and was restless, antsy and frustrated when an employer forced me to ignore my knowingness.   Only once in my life did I find myself working for a company that saw my gift and invested in training me to make it blossom.  I created proprietary methods for doing my work then, simply because they encouraged me to do so.

Today, I have returned to that place of creativity in my work.

The past several weeks have been busy, as I am working on a gigantic To Do list of plans, while taking on new client work I never dreamed I would be getting.   More importantly, I’m getting outside and offline, pursuing personal things I could not do when I was not my own boss.  My health went severely downhill the past 2 years and one of the first items on my list has been to get healthy.  To beat diabetes and my arthritis pain that is throughout my spine and knees, I have to stop working several times during the daytime to exercise.  I have to meditate.   Now trained in Reiki, I can work on my pain when I need to.  My Tai Chi classes can be taken during the daytime and evening.  We moved to where there is a walking path behind our house.  These luxuries are available because I am my own boss.

New company coming soon.My new company has been registered and new business cards ordered.  It is time to do what my family and friends have always believed I could do.  My new company is an LLC, and I am taking some of my friends along with me on this venture.  Of course, one of the first comments sent to this new website was a complaint by someone who hates the bloated code for this non-custom site.  As always, there are those who pass judgement on matters that are none of their business.  I  never claimed I built this site from scratch.  I have five websites that I maintain or own.  I could hand code a responsive site, or do client work.  Most self employed people need to work to pay their bills.

I’m having a blast.  Thank you to my friends for your support, especially those of you who always believed.

Article Pick: SEO Guide to Ads Placement

Where do I put my ads?Ads placement remains a necessary evil for the user experience, threat to Google and marketing revenue darling.

One of my favorite tasks for my old Cre8pc site was bringing attention to good works by people in the SEO and Usability industries. Continuing with that tradition, here is one of my favorite finds.

An SEO Guide to Adsense, Ads and Placement was written in 2011 by Cyrus Shepard and featured on MOZ. When the article came out, it was helpful for many people struggling with ad placement and Google slaps for banners placed above content. Shepard includes mockups of ads placement for “Panda Friendly” page layouts.

I continue to see news and directory sites plastered with banners. That they don’t appear to be punished by Google is curious. And not only from the SEO perspective, since the user experience suffers when content is broken up with ads. The day we all come to web pages for the sole purpose of finding and clicking on ads is the day I retire on a remote island with my own “girly drink” hunky waiter to serve me.

Is there an update to this article? If so, let me know. We all want to earn money and placing ads on pages is not an act of treachery. Do we have the right to place them wherever we want to?

What are your findings?

 

Discussion Picks: Is SEO Ethical?

What is SEO? Is SEO Ethical? Nearly 20 years later and the question remains a hot discussion topic. What is an SEO?

Webmasterworld takes a fun frolick on the ethics, in Is All SEO Unethical?.

My point was that all SEO except the purest WH, is unethical as it deliberately causes harm to other sites. For any SEO to work, the main goal is to knock someone out of their position in the search engine. In other words, the goal is to cause harm to some other site, by definition any SEO of that nature is negative SEO as it intends to unnaturally unseat another site.

SEO and EthicsThe key word is “manipulate”.

In the real world, two gas stations or even four, are placed at an intersection. Each of them wants the same customers. They change their gas prices as the most visible way of competing. When they each sell for the same price, they work on other ways to draw in customers, from gas pumps with TV’s to great cheese steaks. Sometimes one of them will hire a dude in a costume to stand out front dancing around to get attention. Would you call that manipulation? Ethical? I call it friendly competition by using creative ways of promotion.

20 years ago, the work of getting pages into search engines was called “promotion”. To promote a website meant getting it indexed. Optimization was a gentle term that came later but was a badly needed method due to the enormous volume of pages competing for the same audience. Black Hat fought the secret mafia of search marketing because behind every search engine were people taking money for rank, meaning corporations would always win. BH got a bad rep because the methodology pissed off the people getting rich first.

We refer to SEO as “manipulation”. That is how hundreds of thousands do SEO. There are other techniques that fall into the human experience side, such as making websites that work for all people rather than bots. To me, this is experience optimization and an under-valued method of online marketing.

What Is An Seo?

a topic at Cre8asiteforums, appealed to beginners who wanted to show off their knowledge to get post counts. This is never wise, especially when what you know is what everybody already knows, like the guy who defined SERPS for us. The discussion fizzled to loud thump when I asked:

Is it part of the job of an SEO to include the user experience within their methodology? Or is the purpose to rank high with no follow through once a visitor clicks into the website?

One person responded with “no”.  And there was no debate.

For hundreds of thousands, if not a few million SEO’s, their mission in life is to get pages indexed and ranked in the top 10 spots of search engine results pages for specific keywords. There is no need to know anything about the people who visit optimized web pages or why they chose specific search phrases. There is no interest in what resolution searchers use, or device, or if they are someone relying assistive technology that reads web pages to them. Marketing quality web sites is not part of their job.

Which is one reason why SEO has a bad reputation.

Kim Krause Berg Launches UsabilityandSEO.com Directory

Kim head shotAfter putting in so many hours on the new UsabilityandSEO site, I find I am having stage fright about announcing it.  For starters, it is a huge undertaking just getting it to function, and then I worry nobody will like it.

I have a nephew, a local popular artist who paints gigantic life scenes on large, several feet wide canvas with swirls of colors.  To some people, they look at a piece and see what might be more like a child finger painting a wall.  And yet, if you stand back to look, you can see the people, buildings, cars, trees, water, sky and whatever else he put in there.  The more you are still and gaze at a painting, the more you feel drawn into it, as if you are suddenly part of the experience.

As much as I wish to make websites like that, I am not an artist. I do like to think that someday I might crack the code of what I call “kindness experience design”, which is what we all deserve when we go to any website.

As an advocate for people who use websites, I am not without a keen understanding of what it takes to make them and I am in no way a gifted designer.  I know what to do but I’m clumsy with a paint brush, which is to say I am dangerous with HTML5 and CSS3, not to mention Photoshop.

To do my job, which is mostly site reviews, I guide and teach but am also well aware that someone else can do a much better implementing my advice than I can.

For when I try to work with clay, the sides fall down.  I admire potters.  I have a deep respect for designers who make amazing things happen with code.

When I try to make a website, I try themes and then hand coding responsive code and themes again and hand coding and finally get fed up and think I’m making the whole process harder than it needs to be.  And then I remember my old Cre8pc sites.  They were hysterically awful and yet people liked what I put in them.

I hope that legacy continues.  UsabilityandSeo.com Directory is dedicated to the people who are great at what they do, those who are trying to do great work and the joy I get out of promoting  great people, companies, products and resources.

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