Posted March 26, 2007 2:29 pm by with 10 comments

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Neil Patel has provided an update on his challenge to show Jason Calacanis that SEO is not “snake oil” and can in fact help a site increase its search engine traffic.

Here’s the latest from Neil…

Currently SEO changes are still being made and around 10% of them have been made so far which has resulted in 7,449 search engine visitors between March 14th and March 19th. This proves that there was a 21.14% increase in search traffic…When everything is done I estimate a 50% or so increase in search traffic.

Neil’s ability to improve Calacanis’ search traffic was never really in question, the key is to now get Calacanis to go back on his scathing comments.

Nice work Neil!

  • I don’t think he will because most SEO’s are snake oil salesmen. I have been looking for a job as an SEO and nobody wants an experienced high end SEO. Everybody wants an entry-level low wage employee that will work for nothing for the experience. There are many SEO firms out there that all they do is get as many clients as they can and run an assembly line.

    This is what the do:
    1. do a little PPC
    2. submit to free directories
    3. submit to a few paid directories
    4. give them a link from their own directory
    5. Put a few new articles that they pay some person not living in the US very little to write. Number of articles depends on what level of “seo package” they pick
    6. Make sure that all pages have meta tags. Title, description, keyword. They also add a lot of the useless ones like index,follow, and revisit tags.
    7. Submit a press release to prweb
    8. produce a lot of pretty reports

    They don’t always bother to do all these things. Most clients will see the traffic from the small ppc buy or that they rank for some obscure term and be happy.

    It is very rare for a company to want to pay what it costs to rank for a good term that brings traffic. I like the quote that Greg Boser likes to say, “The term ‘long tail’ was invented by SEO’s that suck”

  • Maybe you’re applying to all the wrong places. 🙂

  • I’m not saying there are not good firms out there. I’m just saying they are in the minority.

  • Ogletree, networking at the conferences really helps. I have my own firm, but have still be offered some decent paying jobs.

  • I have a question that I haven’t heard asked:

    Is Neil Patel really the SEO be-all/end-all that we, as a community, want being the one to prove or disprove the bulls**t/snake-oil debate?

    I don’t know much about the guy, except for listening to his podcast and ‘casts he participates on… but he sounds like he’s mainly a digger and social media guy. (Maybe that’s why Calacanis agreed to work with him?)

    There are plenty of SEOs that have been around longer who I’d have chosen to have represent SEOs vs. Jason’s opinions. Neil Patel, frankly, wouldn’t have even been on my list.

    I’ve got nothing against Neil, and I figure he understands what he talks about, but I just figured I’d throw this out there and see if anyone else is thinking the same thing.

  • ExpsureTim, I totally agree with you. There are many more SEOs that are better qualified at going against Jason. I believe others are trying to make their stance against him, but in their own ways.

  • Very good, Neil. Thanks for the reply.

    I wonder if maybe a social or Wiki-style approach might have been more suitable to this dilemma? In fact, that’s probably something more inline with your own practice (as I vaguely know it).

    For example, we could ALL tell Jason about the top things that does wrong… a panel could tabulate those opinions and create a top 25-50 list.

    I know that I’ve looked at Jason’s blog enough to be able to pick a top 25 problems list by myself, and I could name those off the top of my head randomly… but those suggestions might be different than your’s or other’s top suggestions.

    – Then again, imagine the link juice such a Wiki-based site would get? (If you build it, give me credit for the idea?)

  • Neil’s definitely “all that and a bag of chips” and I have every confidence in his abilities.

    He was smart enough to be the first person to make the challenge to Calacanis, proving that:

    a. he believes in his own abilities enough to take on such a public challenge, knowing that, if he failed, he’d carry the burden of the whole industry.
    b. he knows a thing or two about great PR!

    I don’t question Neil’s talents, but I do question whether this will get Calacanis to change his mind. After all, he has said that 90% of SEOs are bogus. Even if Neil does great work, it might only reconfirm to Calacanis that only 10% of SEOs are any good.

  • I don’t question his abilities, or if that’s how it came across at least I didn’t mean to. I’m sure he’s very good at SEO as are a thousand other people I haven’t met.

    Obviously as a community we didn’t have a choice for who would be our representative in this, so I just wonder about putting all our chips into just one “bag of chips.”

    Not that proving anything to Jason really settles the question, but I think it’d be more likely to have an effect with a wisdom-of-crowds approach. And Jason himself would probably appreciate the UGC effort much more too.

  • When we don’t know about a subject and we’ve some success, what most of the people do? They say it’s a bad thing, they say it’s not true, they say that don’t result. Calacanis denotates a very big lack of knowledge and humility. When we don’t know about a subject the best thing to do is learn or shut up!