Is SEO Ruining the Internet?


You know it when you see it. You click on a Facebook or blog post link titled something like “10 Best Tricks for Glowing Hair!!”. You think, I want glowing hair. I deserve glowing hair. You click on it and are taken to Internet purgatory. You’re about to discover how bad SEO is ruining the Internet.

I’ve got around three pet peeves that are creating this purgatory.

Content Spinning

This tactic is pure treachery. Google hates it and has promised repercussions. So what is content spinning? It’s a simply way to create “new” content by rephrasing sentences or even entire blog posts in an attempt to trick the search engines.  New content is rewarded in SEO rankings. New content is also difficult to create on a regular basis. Why not just spin what you’ve already got? That can give you tons more social media posts, shares, likes, etc. which all lead to those wonderful backlinks.

In Greg Bright’s book, Play Google’s Game, PageRank is “Google’s opinion of the importance of a page based on the incoming links from other sites”. In other words, Greg sums it up as a vote for the quality of your site. The important distinction is in the link’s origin. Trustworthy and authoritative links can help you – think newsletters, white papers, press releases. Hurtful links are from the spinoffs. Google catches on and will start penalizing you. Why do you think you keep seeing 10 more tricks for glowing hair? Did we suddenly invent a miracle snake oil? The answer is no – we just reordered the 10 methods and changed a few photos.

I love dwell magazine‘s online content. It’s free, the photos are beautiful and it worked great on my phone’s Flipboard app. I quickly caught on that 90 percent of the articles were just a collaboration of five or six other articles – spun in a different way. I really didn’t need to be seeing the same content over and over. I’m sorry, dwell. No hard feelings, I still want a furniture feature some day 🙂

Focus Keywords

Focus keywords slay me. They are a fundamental way for search engines to find your content but I believe they can be overdone. Greg devotes an entire chapter to keywords – properly. Improperly used keywords is called “keyword stuffing”. Using our glowing hair example, the page might look like this:

10 Best Tricks for Glowing Hair

Do you want to know the 10 best tricks for glowing hair? Is your hair not glowing because you don’t know the 10 best tricks for glowing hair? Keep reading to see the 10 best tricks for glowing hair, starting at number 10.

10/10 of the best tricks for glowing hair:

glowing hair, shiny hair

10 Best Tricks for Glowing Hair

You get the point. For every tip about using some new oil or treatment, you get a heading, sentence or image alt tag with the keyword phrase in it. I find this to be especially bad in those links you get at the bottom of an article. You know better, but you still let SEO ruin the internet. Because SEO ruining the internet isn’t a bad thing when you’re trying to find out the 10 best tricks for glowing hair.

OK, I’ll stop now.

I think one of the perpetrators is one of my favorite plugins for WordPress – the Yoast Seo plugin. It works great (I think) but sometimes is too pushy on things, one of which is keyword use in headings and content. I often get a red light in this category because I only use my keywords less than 1% of the recommended amount. Maybe this hurts me, but I don’t try to clog your brain with slogans. I hope you agree.


I don’t know what this is called, but I refer to click-throughs as a blog or article that makes you click or swipe left or right to see the next step towards getting that glowing hair. This click then directs you to another page. What this is doing is keeping you on the site longer while also adding internal backlinks. Your bounce rate goes down and your site stats go up – which are all checked by Google. It’s maddeningly frustrating, especially if you are browsing on a phone and then want to go back to the beginning.

It seems that recipe websites are the worst at this. I love to cook and try new recipes but I sure do hate all of those internal links. Put your top recipes on one page and let me scroll down as the web was intended! I’m not sure if this is “bad” SEO but it does make for a frustrating experience and is against the web credo of “good” content. Also – don’t even get me started on those new popups as soon as you move your mouse outside of the viewing screen and towards the back button. Web readers didn’t like popups in the early 2000s and we don’t like them now. This is doubly frustrating using a mobile device for browsing.

Rant over. Maybe this post was more about ranting and less about what not to do. I think you know, as a web content creator, what is “bad”. Otherwise, voice your web frustrations in the comments section – I’d love to hear them and learn what you are doing to prevent SEO from ruining the internet.

Last thing – check out Greg’s book. You can get it on Amazon or take one of his classes if you’re in the Austin, TX area.

One reply on “Is SEO Ruining the Internet?

  • Greg Bright

    Thanks for the reference Marshall… And you are spot on! Google encourages “good” SEO because they too know that bad SEO will not only ruin the Internet, it will push Google’s customers away. You might be too young to remember the days before Google. (viagra sites showing up when you just wanted a local pizza place) Search was horrible and Google figured out a better way to serve up the results we wanted… They strive to maintain that goal.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *