Why I’m bored of SEO right now

Well, I say “bored.” I like my job (I’ll never say “love” because I firmly believe love is for your hobbies and interests, work is still work), but as an industry it’s all just got rather dull to me lately.

Yes, I’ve probably clickbaited you with the title, and if you clicked you’re likely one of the following:

  • An SEO who clicked thinking you’d be the knight in shining armour of the comments section, quick to tell me SEO isĀ amazing.
  • Someone working in another niche whom is here to back the post up, and tell everyone SEO is dead because they have a vetted interest in whatever they’re selling to the marketing mix.
  • Someone who values my opinion and just wanted to see what I had to say.

I apologise if you’ve clicked for any of the above reasons. I know deep down why SEO is amazing, I disagree if you think SEO is dead and if you value my opinion I feel bad for you. It’s 8.30pm on a Monday, I’m tired from my work commute and I just needed to vent. So here’s my list of why I’m a bit fed up of SEO right now…

Nothing has shaken up how we do our job in ages

Taylor Swift shake it off

Yes, Google roll out a lot of updates, but when was the last one that actually meant something? One that gave the websites doing the right things a boost and the ones doing crappy things a proper slap?

The last Penguin update in September was a non-event, likely because in most legit niches the industry has got a hell of a lot less spammy.

You can argue mobile is getting even more important, but is that really news? I’ve been working in SEO for five years now and mobile has been important since I started back in 2011.

Then again, you could argue it’s a good thing. Penguin and Panda were shit storms which put SEOs, agencies and businesses through hell and back. On the plus side, it weeded out a lot of the crooks or those who were in it for the easy money.

Maybe I should be careful what I wish for on this one?

What happened to all the actionable posts?

Action man

Rehashing content and putting your own spin on it has always been a thing, but these days it’s all I seem to find on blogs I used to previously value.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still some great stuff out there, but I’ve always been a sucker for a post that makes me rethink how I look at things, how I process data, improves my efficiency and makes me better at my job.

Data is taking over the world of SEO blogging now. I know the value of data and some of it is interesting, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen anything that’s made me say; “Wow, I need to do this right now.”

Conflicting and/or incorrect information

Captain-Picard-Facepalm

I don’t want to single any people out, but there are some odd opinions in the SEO world. In the last two years I’ve seen people claim adding structured data can fix indexation problems, that links are no longer needed for SEO, that Google sees 301 redirects as manipulative, that 301 redirects aren’t important, that people in marketing should have a marketing based degree to carry any clout, that Google Analytics is a poor tool to base marketing decisions on and God knows what else.

Yes, it keeps me in the job as it means I can save businesses from making terrible choices every now and then, but it also means businesses get burnt by poor decisions. The people offering this advice are the reason many businesses are distrusting of SEO, so it makes all our lives harder.

It’s always good to challenge common logic and question things, but to outright insist something that’s proven by data to be complete BS? Go home.

People still acting like God damn wizards

david blaine bo selecta

Sorry, but SEO is hard these days. There are no guaranteed results. We make decisions based on data, best practice, advice and experience to make your site rank the best it possibly can for keywords with traffic. We strategise and prioritise based on what is achievable with your budget. We tell you what is and isn’t realistically achievable.

I still get mail outs from people with respectable reputations in the industry whom are pushing this idea that they have the secret SEO strategy no one knows about that will get you results over night. I know these folks might be going for the hard sell here, but all you’re really doing is burning us as a wider industry.

If you’re selling magical SEO formulas in a one-size-fits-all format you’re not a wizard; you’re either ‘black hat’ or ‘bull shit’.

Tools are lagging behind requirements

There i fixed it bike pedal door

I know this is a hard one to criticise, as many tool developers are constantly adding new features in an industry with ever-evolving needs, and they deserve credit.

However, I’m still wondering why no decent tool exists to audit hreflang implementation yet? I’ve experimented with a couple, and none simply come back with a list of what’s broken. My life would be so much easier with that tool.

Another one, why don’t any SERP trackers tell you what title/description is ranking for keywords and give you a simple yes/no answer if it matches what you’ve optimised it for? Having that information at a click would be very useful.

I’m also yet to see a rank tracking tool outside of Advanced Web Ranking that nails tracking results in the local Snack pack. Local SEO has been a thing for as long as I’ve worked in the online space, you’d expect every tool to do this well by now surely?

Be the change you want to see in the world

Reading back this rant, I feel it’s important to reflect that know I could be doing more about my frustrations. I could be providing feedback to SEO software companies, I could be posting more blog posts on the things I find valuable, I could be correcting wrong opinion when I see it. However, it’s hard for me at present. As I said, I like my job, but at the same time, between a personal battle with anxiety and depression this year I’m trying to do the things in my job that fulfil my own goals and focus my time more positively outside of work.

For the record, there are still some great SEOs out there creating some brilliant content and making my brain tick. I just feel like we’re in an SEO rut right now, waiting for something big to come along and challenge us in the same way Penguin and Panda did, or change the way we work in the same way Screaming Frog has.

I’m just hoping Mobile-First changes things in a way we’ve not seen for a while.

Some men just want to watch the world burn

Agree? Disagree? Perhaps you’ve got some good advice or tool recommendations to save me from myself? Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Callis

Technical Search Consultant at StrategiQ
Dan Callis has been working in SEO since 2011. He also does a bit of freelance video work. Outside of supporting ITFC, playing in a crappy Punk band and skateboarding his life long ambition is still to grow up to be a Ghostbuster.

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