Unskilled and Unaware of It: Why Some Spread Bad SEO Advice

The internet contains information from many knowledgeable, experienced people. But anyone can post anything on the internet. This makes it vulnerable to hosting large amounts of inaccurate information as well. It could be a coincidence, but it seems there has been a wave of incorrect information being shared on Twitter about SEO lately.

Types of People Sharing Incorrect Information

There are two types of people on Twitter sharing incorrect information:

Wannabes – SEOs lacking knowledge and experience.
In any industry there are wannabes. To clarify, wannabes are people who believe they know everything and refuse to admit they could be wrong and / or consider other opinions. There are also people who are just getting started who have much to learn. But they are able to admit their mistakes and learn from others. A newbie is different than a wannabe.

Non-SEOs – Individuals who are not SEOs but feel that they know everything about SEO.
They may be intelligent in certain aspects of their life but fall short in correctly estimating themselves. It’s highly unlikely that someone who does not work in the SEO field would know much about SEO. This is true of any job. If you have never worked or currently do not work in a specific role, it’s hard for you to know everything about that job.

Twitter Conversation #1

Here is one of the recent Twitter conversations that took place between Danny Sullivan and a developer (not an SEO). Danny made an innocent comment on Twitter and a developer decided to reply.

Arguments The Debunk Cport1’s Absurd Claims

Honestly, I’m not going to even recap the whole conversation because some of the comments were so absurd that it’s shocking. My interpretation was, the developer stuck to his guns saying that SEO does not exist and there are no benefits to SEO. However, case study after case study provides proof that SEO indeed does work! There’s a plethora of factual data and reports that are able to prove that SEO is very effective. There are so many out there, I’m not going to even link to one. Just do a Google search.

In addition, there are billion dollar corporations that invest in SEO because it’s necessary to succeed online, such as Amazon and Google.

Amazon SEO Job Opening

Google SEO Job Opening

Twitter Conversation #2

This is the other Twitter conversation. Bill Slawski tweeted about old, outdated tags: noodp and noydir. An “SEO” decided to reply to his tweet. It appears SearchSleuth998 has removed their Tweets from this conversation but you can see one of their comments below.

Arguments The Debunk SearchSleuth998’s Absurd Claims

  1. Not a Ranking Factor – noodp and noydir tags have to do with meta descriptions. Meta descriptions are not even a direct ranking factor.
  2. Being Listed – First, you’d need to be listed on DMOZ and the Yahoo Directory. Many businesses were never even listed there, especially during the last few years. If your business was not listed on these sites, then there is absolutely no need to implement noodp and noydir tags since Google can’t pull in meta descriptions from those sites.
  3. They Don’t Exist Anymore – Since DMOZ and the Yahoo Directory have shut down, there is no data that Google can pull in.
  4. Use Your CMSIn the past (when they worked), noodp and noydir tags would stop Google from pulling in data from DMOZ and the Yahoo Directory in order to create meta descriptions for your website in SERPs. You can control your meta descriptions by using your CMS.
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Reasons People Are Know-It-Alls

So why would someone share information that is inaccurate and then when corrected, refuse to admit they may be wrong? Obviously, at times we all think that we are right. But some opinions and ideas that people stick to, seem to defy all logic. These are some of the reasons why people may argue a topic to death.

  • They find it exciting and fun.
    “There are some people who, for a variety of reasons, become enlivened by an argument. It is often the best way for them to feel connected to others, perhaps because it provides a sense of energy and connection without being too close.”
  • An underlying insecurity.
    Sometimes people feel like they are not good enough. We all struggle with these types of feelings at times. However, some take this too far and feel like they have to know everything and have to fight off suggestions that might make it look like they’re not intelligent or knowledgable.
  • A genuine sense of superiority and grandiosity.
    Have you heard of the Dunn-Krueger Effect? The idea is that in certain cases, people who are very bad at something think they are actually pretty darn good. In order to assess your own expertise at something, you need to have a certain amount of expertise already. If you don’t have that, you may end up being blissfully unaware of your incompetence.”People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it.”

Comments From Real SEOs

Whatever the reason, this inaccurate information has caused many in the SEO industry to speak out on Twitter. Here are some examples.

We reached out to Cyrus Shepard for comment and he was kind enough to reply. He had this to share:

“The amount of misinformation online about SEO is, frankly, terrifying. Part of this is inevitable. Google gives out very limited information on its ranking algorithm, and so marketers fill in the gaps the best they can. Inevitably, much of this information is wrong, and even some of the information from Google can be misleading.

Even SEO “celebrities” aren’t immune, and neither am I. The best defense is to follow people you trust, ask for evidence, and experiment for yourself.”


It’s ok to have your own opinions and share advice. Let’s all just try to be humble and be willing to admit we may not have all the facts. Oh, and stop ripping people off.

About Dani Owens

Dani Owens, the owner of Pigzilla, has been in the digital marketing field since 2011. Her resources have been mentioned and shared by local SEO experts such as Eric Ward, Darren Shaw, Phil Rozek, Marie Haynes, David Mihm and Local U. From small, independent Mom-and-Pop shops, to enterprises with thousands of locations, Dani Owens has years of experience strategizing and implementing reliable local SEO tactics that lead to increased organic traffic and conversions.