Lee Odden

WordPress.com and SEO Blogs – Love or Hate?

While doing some research for a presentation, I was checking out the WordPress.com site on “types of blogs” looking for creative ways to categorize them. And what did I come upon, but this page which separates blogs types into two overall categories of “popular” and “banned”. Guess where SEO blogs fall? Sigh.

Even our dear WordPress which so many search engine optimization professionals sincerely love and prefer as a blogging platform, is misinformed or at least, subject to making sweeping generalizations. This is the “banned” category:

And here are some examples of blogs that are banned from WordPress.com (all of these fall under the general heading of “spam blogs”, or splogs, and we will be deleted as soon as we find them or they get reported):

  • Scraper blogs: Blogs that take content from other blogs and re-publish it without permission (this is sometimes called scraping). If a blog contains all or mostly stolen and unoriginal content, it’s gone!
  • SEO blogs: Blogs that are written for search engines instead of humans. These blogs are dedicated to trying to fool Google and other search engines into ranking them highly. WordPress.com is not meant for this type of activity.
  • Affiliate marketing blogs: Blogs with the primary purpose of driving traffic to affiliate programs and get-rich-quick schemes (”Make six figures from home!!”, “20 easy steps to top profits!!”, etc). To be clear, examples like people writing original book or movie reviews and linking them to Amazon, or people linking to their own products on Etsy do NOT fall into this category.
  • Warez blogs: Blogs that promote pirated copies of ebooks, software packages, music, movies, games, etc

C’mon WordPress.com, just because some overzealous SEO noobs used (likely experimented and exploited) your free blog hosting service at wordpress.com doesn’t mean all SEO blogs are suspect and shady.

With literally hundreds and hundreds of reviews we’ve done on SEO blogs over the past year, I think I have a fairly good sense about what most SEO bloggers are writing about and the vast majority are on the up and up. I suspect I wouldn’t need to look far to find a sinister “Politics” or “Personal” blog or two or two hundred on the WordPress.com service. That said, I’m not sure whether any of the 500 or so SEO blogs on our BIGLIST are hosted at WordPress.com. Of course not, they were probably banned – LOL.

The warning is, of course, directed towards blogs setup at WordPress.com and not blogs using the downloadable WordPress application. Regardless, WordPress is such a great piece of software, this just seems a bit over the top. So here’s my suggested alternative:

SEO blogs: Blogs that provide tips, news and insights into how web site and blog owners can make it easier for search engines and users to find and interact with their sites resulting in improved traffic levels and repeat visits.

Then they can make a statement against blogs in general that provide mis-information or violate published policies instead of making such a sweeping statement. What do you think? Am I too “glass half full” and idealistic in my characterization of SEO blogs?

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.

Comments

  1. Oh, come on. That’s not what they mean and you know it.

    They’re not trying to ban blogs ABOUT SEO. They’re trying to ban junk blogs whose only purpose is SEO.

    If you want to object to their terminology, fine. But there’s nothing wrong with their policy.

    CAM

  2. Thanks for the comment Curt. If that’s what they meant, it would be great if that’s what the page would say. A “SEO Blog” is “about” SEO just like a “Political Blog” is “about” politics.

    As for a policy against blogs that mislead, violate guidelines, are only for the purpose of “gaming” search engines, etc – I agree with you and WordPress.com.

    Maybe instead of calling them “SEO blogs” they should be called “Search Engine Spam Blogs”. I think that would be more accurate.

  3. Curt is right. It says “blogs that are written for search engines instead of humans.” Clearly your blog and other blogs about SEO are written for humans. They mean SEO blogs in the sense of blogs that exist only to pull ranking.

  4. The page on WordPress is not talking about SEO blogs, it’s talking about search engine spam blogs. Calling them SEO blogs is misleading.

  5. Exactly.

    A lot of people call ‘spam’ SEO, when SEO practitioners wouldn’t. The black-hats I know shower scorn upon the kind of spammy tactics a lot of ignorant people call SEO.

  6. You’re all right. I’ve never actually come across a blog that’s written purely for the search engines, only comment spam.

    However, even I’ve occasionally used the odd keyword a little more often on a page than I would if search engines were not a factor. That hardly qualifies me for being banned (and my blog, which is hosted on wordpress.com, has survived).

  7. I have to agree with Lee, here.

    This to me looks more like a misclassification by WordPress.

    Because these blogs aren’t self-hosted, those that WordPress appear to be referring to are those edging towards MFA (Made For AdSense) type blogs, such as those we see running off Google Blogger.

    On the balance of things, WordPress need to change their classification, or there’s a genuine possibility that the noob SEO’s Lee refers to are the ones most likely to be left wondering just what the hell to do next…

  8. “SEO blogs: Blogs that are written for search engines instead of humans.”

    As many others said, this just shows that Automattic and the WordPress folks don’t really know what SEO really is. I guess that they’re taking the term “SEO” literally: “search engine optimized” blogs, to them, means that it’s not written for humans but for search engines.

    I’m with you, Lee – the title used in conjunction with that description is misleading.

  9. Thanks Tamar, Wayne, Anthony and Julie.

    Is it possible I’m a bit sensitive about the “misclassification”? You bet!

    Many people including myself have invested vast sums of resources, time and energy into creating and delivering high impact consulting services that make millions for clients, make it easier for consumers to find information and at the same time make search engines work better by making content search engine friendly – all in the name of SEO.

    I’ve sent Automattic and email to see if they’ll change the reference. Anyone else open to doing that? support at wordpress dot com

  10. {sigh}

    No wonder everyone thinks SEOs are kooks.

    This post sucks. That’s it. Nothing else to say.

    You are welcome to call me immature, shallow …whatever, box in which you think I fit, but the post sucks.

    You must be running out of top 10 lists.

    Lame.

  11. christian, everyone is entitled to their opinion. You have yours and I have mine, which includes no link for you. 🙂

  12. I think this just goes to show that some people really don’t understand what SEO is. Optimizing a page isn’t the same as “fooling” google.

    I agree it is just semantics but for someone just getting into blogging or SEO this sends a negative message.

    Jacob

  13. There definitely needs to be some clarification there 🙂 But then again anyone who knows even a pinch of SEO would never use a domain.wordpress.com blog. No way to 301 it after you get bored of the project 🙂

  14. Am I wrong, or are there a lot of stupid people out there. Having good SEO may make you a penny a click, but if your site is not made for people then people are not going to buy product.

  15. Pro Splogger says:

    Hey, wordpress.com is the best place to have a few splogs. Google indexes content from wordpress.com in less than an hour, and you can update your splogs with a convenient XML-RPC interface.

    Just don’t get caught!

  16. Richard, you are of course, talking about a chicken before the egg scenario. SEO makes indexing easier and more accurate for the engines, which makes the most relevant content to be presented to users in the search results. Without traffic to a web site there’s not chance of anyone buying anything. ie, SEO delivers people to the door of the store, but it doesn’t necessarily make them buy.

  17. Pro Splogger, you know that’s evil, right?

  18. Lee preaches, “christian, everyone is entitled to their opinion. You have yours and I have mine, which includes no link for you. ”

    ———–

    wha ha ha ha… you so clever.

    Lee, do you really think I am interested in a link from you. First of all, this entire thread ended up in gmail’s spam folder for whatever that’s worth. I happened to see it and come back to see what others had to say about your post.

    Feel free to de-link me at any time. Surprisingly, I will still sleep well at night, and my clients will continue rolling with a winner.

    The funny thing about you talking heads is that to those of us in the trenches, working SEO and Internet Marketing every single day, you are very transparent. — SEO bloggers remind me of the old saying, “those that CAN, do …those that CAN’T, teach”

    I suppose there is a use for the talking head blogging crew. You know that young-buck marketing guy that just got hired who needs some quick buzzwords for his upcoming conference attendance? …yep, that’s your audience.

    Carry on brutha’ …while the talking heads come and go, those of us that have been knee deep in the technical swamp choose a better badge of honor – true knowledge.

  19. I agree with Lee. It’s wrong to say that all SEO Blogs are guilty of fooling or cheating the search engines result. The way they categorize blogs really need to change.

  20. Bye bye christian

  21. It’s sad that we get lumped into the banned area, but it’s not like they don’t have good reason. We are straight arrow white hat SEO, but we have to live with this stuff. There is so much bunk offered as SEO that isn’t.

    We have been recruiting web designers for subcontractor work for our SEO biz. The last two candidates sites offer SEO services, yet they haven’t preformed the basics on there own website!

    Since we can not change the industry as a whole, we strive to be the best we can be, and call it good. I think it’s called leading by example.

  22. WordPress.com used to ban more spammy blogs which people used for SEO to steal content and put their own links.

  23. WwW.Aharrouy.Info says:

    Thank You Very Much Sir ….

  24. One should focus on Human Related Blogs rather than Search Engine related blog, in longer span Search Engine Specific blog not help.

  25. Looks like they need to learn what’s the difference between seo blogs and spblogs. Hope they learn from your post.

    SticKer

  26. Suzanne Langley says:

    I have called in on this location on many an instance now but this post is the 1st one that I have ever commented on.

    Congratulations on such a first-rate critique and site. I have found it to be very helpful and educational – I only wish that there were more blogs online like this one.

    I never disappear from this blog without learning anything, from time to time I may feel a tiny bit saddened that I may not agree with a blog article or comeback that has been made. But hey! that is existence and if every one decided to agree on the same thing what a boring old world we would exist in.

    Please maintain your admirable work.

    Having said all of this, and if I’m kindly allowed to continue with my entries I will come again to post on your blog site soon

    Cheers, have a great day and thank you.

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