“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.” Charles MacKay
Tulips and SEO
In the seventeenth century in Holland, tulip speculation was rife with people behaving irrationally. Tulipmania was caused as people ‘jumped on the bandwagon’ when they saw the price of Tulips rising. Demand for future Tulip crops rose at an astronomical rate as the future supply couldn’t keep up with the demand. The problem however was that the demand was based on speculation and so, once people began to default on their payments, the bubble literally burst and left many people in dire financial circumstances.
A similar boom-to-bust occurred around the year 2000 when, after huge amounts of easy capital were literally thrown at tech companies, the realisation was made that many of the companies were way overvalued. Investors in these tech companies were poring money into companies that they didn’t understand nor could ever realise the value that was afforded to them. Deborah Spar, the Harvard Business School professor, sums up this tech frenzy well: ‘There are prophets who scream of a brave new world and travelling salesmen hawking IPOs instead of snake oil’. This event was called the Dot-com Bubble or Dot-com Crash.
Beware the ‘Snake Oil salesman’
Of course the term ‘Snake Oil salesman’ derives from the eighteenth century where dubious claims were made about medicinal products by travelling salesmen. This expression has been expanded to include a wider however no less sinister type of person; ‘the expression is also applied metaphorically to any product with exaggerated marketing but questionable and/or unverifiable quality or benefit’ as noted in Wikipedia.
So what is all this writing about tulips, tech speculation and snake-oil salesmen doing in a Website about WordPress and SEO? Unfortunately the relevance of hype, speculation and unrealistic expectations appears to be gaining a renewed foothold in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) world!
Fools Gold SEO – A warning about ‘get rich quick’ SEO
Fools Gold is rock (iron pyrite) that looks deceptively similar to gold however has no significant market value. Fools Gold as an expression represents ‘any apparent treasure trove that turns out to be worthless’. There appears to be a renewed push by snake oil SEO salesmen promising the world if their formula is followed. The hard-sell tactics and quite incredible stories of wealth peddled by many of these seriously dodgy SEO ‘experts’ going around is fools gold; it looks rewarding but is worthless (and costs a lot).
I’ve seen much of the content of these (so called) SEO seminars and from years of experience I can tell you that their tactics are outdated at best and absolute junk most of the time (an attendee at one of these recent fools-gold SEO seminars advised that the audience had been told to always keep content to a maximum of 400 words as good SEO …. HUH?).
Good and Bad SEO
These false-promise so called SEO sessions are both good and bad for SEO consultants; on the one hand people come to believe from the fake promises that SEO is a quick and simple solution (SEO is an ongoing, sustained and deliberate set of activities) but on the other hand, once people realise they have been scammed, they are more likely to employ the services of quality SEO consultants.
Just like Tulipmania and the tech company speculation of 2000, the days of quick and easy riches from the Internet are way gone. The expression ‘if something looks too good to be true then it probably isn’t true’ holds fast in these get rich quick SEO courses and advice.