Usability-first Search Engine Optimization

PCMag: SEO is killing the Internet.

According to’s John C. Dvorak, SEO is killing the internet.

Is this guy for real?

Or is John’s answer to Andy Rooney: (Whiny voice:) “Have you ever noticed how SEO is killing the Internet?”.

We all know that controversy is a great way to attract readership, but come on, didn’t you already squeeze all the ranty goodness out of SEO in February?

I’m think I’m embarrassed for John Dvorak more than I am disturbed by his ignorance.
John C. Dvorak
Using John’s logic, and after reading his poorly written and badly researched article in, we could surmise that ‘blogging is killing the Internet’, but that would obviously be a ridiculous assumption. The medium isn’t what kills – it’s the careless misinformation transmitted through the medium. That’s the death of a thousand cuts.

The SEO Industry is saturated with snake oil SEO salesmen that are desperately trying to jump on the industry’s bandwagon for one very good reason; there is real value in real SEO – value to site owners, and value to the Internet as a whole. Professional search engine optimization involves a holistic approach to search visibility that encompasses Web usability, accessibility, and Web standards to support compelling content – not unethical trickery.

Are there countless blackhat search engine optimization methods being used to push sites up in the rankings? You betcha. Is the Internet saturated with spammy sites that push Viagra, Acai berry, Shamwows, and instant riches at every turn? I think we know the answer to that one. Does this imply that all reputed SEO firms reach into a bag of spam and cloaking to get their clients on the first page of the search engine results pages? Negative on that Houston.

Most of the time, blackhat SEO is used on throwaway domains, designed for fast money, and then ditched in favor of the next project. This has little to do with SEO formulated for long-term web presence. Is mechanical engineering crap as well because there are so many rip-off mechanics?

Don’t bite the tag that feeds you

Looking at the source code of the page that this ridiculous post is on (as well as other areas of the site), it’s evident that has attempted to implement measures that ensure some level of search visibility themselves. Does John C. Dvorak object to’s efforts of getting his oh-so-important opinion properly indexed on the Internet?

In February 2009 on Dvorak wrote another uninformed SEO rant: SEO Fiascoes: The Trouble with Search Engine Optimization. What he was struggling to explain (unsuccessfully) was that the keyword meta tag is useless because of its history of keyword spam targeting:

“…Tags, stored as such, are the modern equivalent of the metatags once used on crude HTML pages. They don’t work and are a stupid exercise in futility…since the search engines all stopped looking at metatags—and that was the end of that until tags reappeared, for some reason…”

The fact that John refers to the keyword meta tag as “metatags” is another dead giveaway (of many) that he couldn’t possibly have spent less time researching for this sloppy example of journalism at it’s worst. It’s almost comforting to read a couple of his other views on:

  • Open sourced software: …I’m not sure where this is all headed, but it’s kind of like the Open Source movement. It relies on a large and vague group of mavens…
  • Semantic Web: …this one promoted by the “social media is everything” crowd in alliance with the “semantic Web is the future” dingbats…

Here’s a revealing quote:

…I’ve complained about it before but it’s too late to do anything about it except moan more…

Know thyself, John.

About matt

Matthew Edward is the founder of Springboard SEO, a usability-first search engine optimization company in Montreal.