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Why people hate SEO… (and why SMO is bulls$%t)


This video is so cheesy you have to think it’s a fake… but I don’t think it is. (Hat Tip)

The SEO folks got really pissed off at me for saying “SEO is bulls@#t.” last year, but the truth is that 90% of the SEO market is made up of snake oil salesman. These are guys in really bad suits trying to get really naive people to sign long-term contracts. These clients typically make horrible products and don’t deserve traffic–that’s why they’re not getting it organically so they hire the slimebuckets to game the system for them.

Note: There are some whitehat SEO firms out there I know, but frankly the whitehat SEO companies are simply doing solid web design so I don’t consider them SEO at all. SEO is a tainted term and it means “gaming the system” to 90% of us.

Now, if you make great content, keep your page design clean, and stick with it you’re gonna do just fine in the rankings. Don’t smoke the SEO-crack… you’ll just wind up chasing your tail as digg and Google closes the tiny SEO loopholes and put your domain on the black list.

PS – And to the SEO idiots trying to “take over my SeRP” on Google you’re proving my point exactly. Grow up.. the only thing you’re ever going to prove by trying to game my SeRP is that you’re low-class idiots.

PSS – This whole gaming of digg/Netscape/MySpace is being called SMO–social media optimization. That’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard of. Anyone who hires an SMO firm is an idiot. The whole point of social media is TO BE REAL NOT FAKE!!! Just be yourself and participate… that’s all it takes (and note, participation is not just putting in your own links, it’s voting/commenting on/submitting other people’s content too!).

  • http://www.bigoakinc.com/blog/july-comic-for-ranked-hard/ July Comic for Ranked Hard | Big Oak SEO Blog

    [...] have some interest. You can read about him at Wikipedia, of course and you can check out his very opinionated blog as well. Suffice to say Mr. Calacanis doesn’t have a high regard for SEO and that is the crux [...]

  • http://mad-plan.com Mark Leonard

    Jason I could not agree more. Web 2.0 and
    social media optimization is just so easy and it only
    requires a small amount of knowledge. Why people should need
    to hire monkeys is beyond me. Seems the way it is now going
    with the evolution of new search algorithms and web 2.0
    integration, it will be just a case of compose and post and
    job done. What will the future hold.

  • http://emersondirect.wordpress.com/2008/10/06/seo-and-smo-are-conversation-starters/ SEO and SMO are conversation starters. « Direct Marketing Observations

    [...] optimization, Social Networks Last year Jason Calacanis wrote a blog post how he thought that SEO and SMO were bullshit. Now I know in some parts Calacanis is approaching demi-god status and in other parts he’s [...]

  • SEO and SMO are conversation starters. : Internet Mastery Secrets

    [...] year Jason Calacanis wrote a blog post how he thought that SEO and SMO were bullshit. Now I know in some parts Calacanis is approaching demi-god status and in other parts he’s [...]

  • http://rewerkd.net/?p=13 the Diary and Soundtrack of Joshua Garrett » SEO What?

    [...] I still think SEO is WAY overstated. Take a look at this article by Jason Calacanis entitled “Why people hate SEO…and why SEO is bulls$%t” This is a great example video (and yeah it’s real) of how 90% of SEO companies do [...]

  • BrotherFromAnotherMother

    Amen brother! SEO *is* snake oil. Glad to see that there is at least one human with brains left out there.

  • http://www.level343.com m7levels

    lol I like the comments. Glad to hear someone else making them
    , I thought it was just me. Now I can see it’s not an echo in
    my head.
    PS I never
    heard of an SMO Wow. See I even learned something
    PSS Tell me that not you in that Video?

  • http://www.churbuck.com/wordpress/?p=2317 Triage for tough times — The Dour Marketer | Churbuck.com

    [...] SEO: I am not a fan of agency/consultant based SEO and ascribe to the Calacanis heretical view that if you need to perform SEO as an overt tactic then you’re doing something wrong. But SEO [...]

  • http://www.citrusmedia.com Chris

    Wow, that guy is creepy and does convey the impression of a used care salesman.

  • http://daniiswara.net/ dani

    see..I got some points why they really hate a tricky seo

  • http://www.shootingatbubbles.com/index.php/2007/02/let-the-match-begin/ Let the match begin — Shooting at Bubbles

    [...] has issued an interesting challenge to Jason in an effort to prove that not all SEO’s are in Jason’s words “snake oil salesmen”; even though he does try to give some leeway: Note: There are some [...]

  • http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/06/podcast-56/ Podcast #56 – Blog – Stack Overflow

    [...] of my favorite Calacanis posts is Why people hate SEO … and why SMO is bullcrap. 90% of SEO is simple rules for building clean HTML. The other 10% is that SEOs are really just [...]

  • http://www.seo-guru.net/ seo company

    That’s why they hate seo, but they don’t understand that seo is the most powerful weapon in the web and that there are more wonderful things that seo can help achieve than

  • http://viralogy.com/blog/hot-topics/startup-philosophies-loic-le-meur-vs-jason-calacanis/ Startup Philosophies: Loic Le Meur vs Jason Calacanis | Viralogy Blog

    [...] beautiful city that has been polluted and needs to be cleaned up. That is why for awhile he was very outspoken against Search Engine Optimization and created Mahalo to make the internet a better place for humans, not robots, spiders, and [...]

  • http://www.onlineseosolutions.com Mike

    I Agree and Disagree. Much of the SEO done today is gaming,
    but that is not the bottom line. Pure White Hat is a solid
    business model. Business owners need to know how to market
    their website and that is what true White Hat is. Helping
    users of the web find a valuable service that they are looking
    for. True White Hat SEO should actually be called UO for
    user or CO for customer optimization. We should not be
    targeting spiders, but users like Google intended.

  • http://www.onlineseosolutions.com SEO Solutions

    I agree with 15 because we work together. The problem with
    SEO today are the Black Hatters messing it up for not only
    SEO companies but for the end users of the internet and
    business owners end up paying for it. It gets more
    difficult to provide a valuable service and acquire well
    deserved visibility when there are so many “cheaters” out
    there disregarding guidelines. True White Hat SEO is
    valuable and it is a shame the name is starting to go bad.
    Lets rally to find a new name for the “White Hat” industry.

  • http://www.jeffgibbard.com/2009/07/22/whats-wrong-with-seo/ What’s wrong with SEO?

    [...] Jason Calacanis clearly hates SEO but that doesn’t carry much weight with me as it is just one person’s opinion. He puts his pants on one leg at a time, or so I’m told.  Furthermore, Mahalo and Weblogs inc have done little to alter how I personally use the internet in anyway.  I would take it much more seriously if Sergey Brin had a blog post on his dislike of SEO.  But I question whether Google cares at all.  In fact, I think Google encourages SEO provided you’re doing it right and not trying to pull one over on them.  Bruce Clay had an interesting post called: Does Google Hate Search Engine Optimization? Bruce makes the case that “…if Google hated SEO, we’d know it. Google isn’t just tolerating SEOs; they’re going out of their way to help them and give them access to more information.”  From my interactions with our SEO firm it seems like that really is the case. [...]

  • http://seo.market-pulsa.com/ Mapuc

    wow, the powerful of backlink builder

  • http://powazek.com/posts/2140 Derek Powazek – links for 2009-10-15

    [...] Why people hate SEO… (and why SMO is bulls$%t) « The Jason Calacanis Weblog Everything old is new again. (tags: seo bullshit video) [...]

  • Nick

    web developers constantly feel threatened by SEOs. It’s their own resentment and insecurities because we make you look bad. Boohoo crybabies.

  • http://shankarsoma.wordpress.com/2009/10/16/10-reasons-people-criticize-seo/ 10 reasons people criticize SEO « shankarsoma; Nothing is faster

    [...] really believe what they say. Take Jason Calacanis, for instance. He’s said some pretty mean things about SEO yet his company, Mahalo, is basically an SEO play. And uses some pretty aggressive [...]

  • http://www.youfoundjake.com/2009/10/18/7-great-seo-bashing-articles/ 7 Great SEO Bashing Articles

    [...] Why people hate SEO… (and why SMO is bulls$%t) Memorable Quote: There are some whitehat SEO firms out there I know, but frankly the whitehat SEO [...]

  • http://www.seoessexcompany.co.uk/10-reasons-people-criticize-seo/ 10 reasons people criticize SEO | SEO Essex Company

    [...] really believe what they say. Take Jason Calacanis, for instance. He’s said some pretty mean things about SEO yet his company, Mahalo, is basically an SEO play. And uses some pretty aggressive [...]

  • http://www.webventuresgroup.com/ Scott

    I honestly believe the main reason people hate SEO is that they are so frustrated. I actually feel for you.

    If you don’t believe you can rank for the good stuff (the big keywords) of course you’ll hate it. Because you’re fighting over the scraps. And the majority of people fighting for the scraps aren’t even going to come up with a result.

    That’s the nature of search. You have an incredible number of people competing for just a few spots. So unless you are among the top few in your industry of course you will get disgruntled especially if you’re paying someone to deliver that result. But you have to realize that you MUST hire the absolute best people because there are just a handful of spots available that count.

    If these SEO haters KNEW beyond the shadow of a doubt that they had the skills or the people to outrank the big boys for the big money terms, would they still be shouting about how evil SEO is?

    …probably not.

  • http://www.extratopseotools.com Nigel

    SEO can be a binder, there are lots of tools out there, some
    good, some bad and some that need putting down:) but like it
    or lump FREE SEO Tools often do the job better than paid ones:)

  • http://arizap.net arz seo web dev

    very nice information..
    but there is no reason for hate seo..
    We Love it very much… (^_^)

  • techpoets

    I hate SEO in that it has largely destroyed Web life from
    an information gathering standpoint. For instance, I would
    like to gather information on Digital Audio Recording
    with my Mac Book. The first several pages of a Google hit now
    consist of various parties who want to sell me something.
    I totally understand the business reasons for SEO–I’m
    a marketing guy. But SEO is hugely responsible for turning
    standard search into a marketing vehicle.

    New Social Media best practices are starting to fix this, but
    SEO has made Google a decidedly inferior tool for learning,
    information gathering, and community development. The
    best companies are getting the hint, but the crappy
    ones will hold out until their core constituencies
    completely ignore them.

English Bulldog

Hello, my name is Jason. Welcome to my blog on the interwebs. You can reach me on twitter @jason and by email at jason@inside.com. My Skype is jasoncalacanis, and my mobile phone is 310-456-4900.

I only pick up numbers I recognize, and in terms of emailing me, the best strategy is to write short, blunt and to the point requests. I can quickly respond to short messages, and many times I simply don't have the time to read five page pitches. In terms of taking meetings, I only do that after reviewing an actual product (not a business plan). So, the best time to ping me is when you have mockups or an alpha site. I don't read business plans, and I've never written one.

Other twitter accounts you can follow: Inside.com, Ticker, This Week in Startups and LAUNCH Festival