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Calm Down, SEO People

So I was listening to the radio, and on comes this odd song by Busta Rhymes and Eminem called “Calm Down.” I can’t claim to remember much of it — it was long, and Busta was doing his Busta thing with the rapping so fast you can only pick out every second or third phrase — but I do remember thinking, “that’s good advice for us SEO types.”

If that seems like an odd thought, perhaps it’s because you weren’t in my head at the time. What I was thinking about was the Duplicate Content Debacle. When Google announced that it was treating duplicate content differently than original content, the SEO world flipped its collective lid. We started advising everyone to not copy anything (or even use source material, in some instances.) We turned CopyPress from an academic tool to an SEO necessity overnight. And in the end…well, we were kind of wrong.

It turned out that, in the end, posting duplicate content wasn’t going to tank your site’s ratings, as explained on Ardivjauhari. All it means is that the one page that the duplicate content was on will not rank for the same keywords as the original. Lots of spastic flailing, not a lot of meat on them bones.

And it’s not at all the first (or last) time that a Total SEO Freakout has happened, either. We have an extraordinary tendency to take what Google tells us, turn the volume up to 11, blast it out of every speaker we can find, and then ignore the lyrics. Like when Google told us that guest blogging was going to be considered spammy.

Suddenly, like quite literally overnight, people that had put significant effort into creating a plan for guest blogging that was detailed and solid and quintessentially good were being told to scrap it and put everything up on their own website, period. And yet, that’s a really crappy strategy for getting eyes on your content — and without eyes, how can you hope to become an authority?

Again, the truth is slightly different than what everyone heard when the volume was turned up too high. Everyone heard “STOP GUEST BLOGGING,” but what actually happened was that Google penalized a bunch of guest-blogging sites, like MyGuestBlog. They also penalized sites that had one guest blog on each of dozens of smaller sites. But what they didn’t do — and can’t do and won’t ever do — is penalize you for having a decent business relationship with a few authoritative sites in your industry and posting guest blog posts semi-regularly to those sites.

The upshot here is that someday soon, Google is going to change something else. They may decide it’s finally time to penalize deliberate LSI abuse, or alter their algorithm so that autoblogs don’t register as having new content whenever they repost something more than four months old…who knows? But when it happens, you can be sure that the SEO community is going to turn it up to 11 — when really, you know what should be turned up to 11? Busta Rhymes. Calm down, brotha. Chill, man. Chill.

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