Paul Lima wrote a rebuttal to my post (and sent it to me via email, what's wrong with posting it on your blog, Paul?) entitled Hit Me! by Paul Lima in Backbone magazine is wrong and misguided and I post it here with Paul's permission (it's unaltered except for the fact that I have added PAUL and ROLAND to clearly indicate who wrote what and I also numbered Paul's points).

My Challenge to Paul

I'll respond to Paul's specific points later, here's a challenge for Paul: pick any two word phrase. Paul will write about it on his SEO optimized static 1999 style site at PaulLima.com. I will write about it on my cheap and cheerful blog that automatically produces RSS at rolandtanglao.com. After two months, see who has the higher Google rank for that phrase. I bet a dinner at my favourite Indonesian Restaurant here in Vancouver, Pondok Indonesia, (or a dinner at Paul's favourite hole in the wall restaurant in Toronto) that my blog will rank higher in Google than Paul's static 1999-style site for that phrase. Is that a deal :-) Paul?

My Rebuttal to Paul's Rebuttal

  • Paul's Point #1 - Dynamic pages are still not fully indexed by Google. Any page with an ampersand or question mark still appears to Google as a dynamic page.
  • Paul's Point #2 - Yes, you got me on the meta tag issue for the home page. But people will land on your individual pages not the home page through a search and as you can see through this Google search for creating compelling content constantly, what Google displays is correct and I bet in most circumstances is more correct than meta tags. As for SEO, one of my major points is that SEO is done out of the box automatically by Web 2.0 sites. If you use a Web 2.0 system such as a blog system like Blogware or a dynamic community CMS and blog system like Bryght, then the system will take care of all the SEO stuff; all you have to do is create compelling content constantly (which is what you always have to do Web 2.0 or not).
  • Paul's Point #3 - This is false. You do NOT have to register with Google to be indexed. Most of the many blogs that I update have not been registered with Google, yet all are indexed by Google. Why? Because of RSS! You only have to register if you have static 1999 style site without RSS.
  • Paul's Point #4 - We'll have to agree to disagree on this one. Google doesn't use meta tags other than the title tag (here's one of many posts on the net saying that meta tags are ignored). Most of my blogs don't have any meta tags other than title. Description and keywords are ignored for example.
  • Paul's Point #5, 10 - In 2004, RSS is automatically generated so you don't have to be technical to use it or generate it. All you have to do is use a blog system or a any system that automatically generates RSS. There is no need to manually generate RSS and RSS is not hard or rocket science. And if you have a static 1999-style site, and don't want to take the time to make it dynamic with RSS e.g. www.mydomain.com, then just add a blog with an RSS feed e.g. blog.mydomain.com that points to articles on the static site. It's cheap, easy and effective!
  • Paul's Point #6 and #7 - Manually (via email) requesting people to link to your top level site is a waste of time. This is what most link exchanges are. Most of the link exchange requests I get are for top level links. If you have cool stuff on your site, I will find it and link to the exact page, not your home page. If you have written some really cool stuff and it's in your RSS feed (which it will be automatically if you use a Web 2.0 system), people will find out about it through Google, PubSub and Feedster and link to you. No need to ask them. Links to other sites DO help your rank. Usually when I link to a blog post (positive or negative), bloggers will notice the link and link (someday, not necessarily right away) back to my site.
  • Paul's Point #8 - Agreed, Paul's article doesn't mention that SEO firms hire dodgy firms to create link farms and ask for bogus link exchange emails. My statement was based on the number of bogus link exchange emails I get from dodgy places in the Philippines and elsewhere and the fact that I have been in meetings with SEO firms that have said they do hire firms to request bogus link exchanges as part of their SEO "strategy".
  • Paul's Point #9 - No your article does not state that businesses need to "create compelling content constantly" on their websites. It offers the false magic bullet of SEO and search engine submission.
  • Paul's Point #11 - No it's not more work to link to everybody relevant. If you actually blogged on a regular basis and used tools like FeedDemon, PubSub and Feedster, you would see that blogging takes no more time than answering email. And that it's an essential part of Web marketing. Don't believe me? Read my Lazy Person's Guide to being a NewsMaster Part 3:How to be a NewsMaster
  • Paul's Point #12 and 13 - Spending $500 on SEO or any sum on SEO is a waste of money. Spend $0 on SEO and instead follow my How to be a Newsmaster guide and you will be better off in Google rank over the long run and get more business in the long run.
  • Paul's Point #14 -No. I mean don't trust an SEO to optimize your site or somebody else to write your copy. Use a Web 2.0 site which is SEO out of the box and the same craft and care you take with your non internet marketing should be used for your Internet marketing. No need to hire a consulting firm to write for you. As I said in my rant, PR is dead, "...let's get people who are passionate about your corporation to write about your company. People who believe and who can tread the delicate line between public and private, and the myriad of laws and regulations and write in an informal, natural and conversational voice. People who can tell your company's stories. Most often, this will be full time employees. This will be BOTH your C level executives AND other employees."
  • Paul's Point #15 - The Brochure site is dead (I predict that within five years, most companies will have an RSS feed and a dynamic site instead of just having a brochure site as they do today. Darren and Jeremy and a host of "blog consultants" are betting their careers on this. Aside: the term "blog consultant" makes me smile. I wouldn't have thought this would have occured way back in 1999 when I started blogging!) RSS is not bleeding edge in 2004. It was in 2001 or 2002 but not in 2004. Stories about RSS appear regularly in all the major newspapers and the New York Times and the BBC offer RSS feeds as well as the millions of blogs with RSS feeds. RSS is really for everybody in 2004! And yes, the web is a 365 day conference. Luckily with PubSub and Feedster on the watch for you, you don't have to work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to be part of this conference because these tools let you find out who's at this conference and what they are saying about you without having to worry about missing something!

Paul's Rebuttal

PAUL:I have a blog, www.paullima.ca. Not sure I'm going to keep it beyond my free media trial. Just not a blogging kind of guy. I am impressed at how high your blog entry ranks when one searches for Paul Lima -- that's why I wanted my reply in your blog. Thanks for the blog offer. As I mentioned, I don't think I'll be blogging for long. I write full time, and blogging on my coffee break is not my idea of fun! I'll look at the other technologies you mentioned and get back to you if I have any questions. I can't write what I want for backbone. I have to receive an assignment.

PAUL:Here is my reply to your blog post (entry?):

******

PAUL: 1. Can't cover everything in an article. No room for "Make sure your website has clean urls. No funny ampersands, question marks..." And Google can now spider such URLs, so it's not really an issue.

ROLAND:The rest of search engine optimisation is a waste of time and money. Such as meta tags and search engine registration.

PAUL 2.:Go to Google. Google Paul Lima. What shows up? My description meta-tag tag! I want to control how Google displays my site description. And if the rest is a waste, what is the rest of your post about -- SEO techniques!

PAUL 3. :If you have no links to your site, you have to register, or Google will NEVER find you.

ROLAND:Everybody knows that because of spoofing that search engines ignore meta tags.

PAUL 4. :No they don't. Google compares your site content to your metatags and compares the content of sites that link to you to your content and metatags.

ROLAND:And if your site has an RSS feed and sends pings, the search engines will find it automatically and faster than a normal site even without registration.

PAUL 5.:Too technical for * most * of the backbone audience. Most do not have RSS feeds.

ROLAND:Link exchanges are a waste of time.

PAUL 6.:Not according to Google. Would I spend great gobs of time begging for links to my site? No. But quality links sure as heck help.

ROLAND:Similarly, if you find cool stuff on other people's sites, there's no need to ask permission, just link to it!

PAUL 7.:Did I say to ask for permission? Also, links to other sites do not help your rank.

ROLAND:And having your SEO firm pay people in the Philippines, Poland and elsewhere to ask people to link to your site is irrelevant because links from sites with no content or content that is obviously there to just to increase search engine rankings are a scam that search engines are increasingly ignoring

PAUL 8.:Agreed. Where in the article does it say otherwise?

ROLAND:Create Compelling Content Constantly (TM) on your website about your keywords and your company

PAUL 9.:And the article does not say that?

ROLAND:Have an RSS feed that's updated every time you update your site.

PAUL 10.:Sure. If you are a small business that knows what it is, cares and can do it.

ROLAND:That means: link to your competitors. Link to your allies. Link to your enemies. Link to bloggers who write about related stuff. Leave comments on other people's blogs when they talk about your company or industry.

PAUL 11:Gee, you are advocating far more link work than I am advocating, yet you wrote:

ROLAND:Link exchanges are a waste of time.
ROLAND:I can hear the gnashing of teeth already. I can understand the appeal of SEO firms. Pay once (or a periodic fee) and let somebody else take care of "that web thing" so "we can concentrate on our core business". And blogs are just diaries aren't they? Wrong!

PAUL 12.:My teeth are not gnashing. If you are a small business and SEO is not your core competency, hire a legit SEO firm to do some of what I suggested and some of what you suggested. Cost? Under $500. Avoid the fraud artists and charlatans. If you are not a writer, hire a copywriter to write your meta tags (are you saying you don't want a title tag on your pages?) and to work your keywords into your content -- all while you are taking care of business.

ROLAND:Again SEO and letting somebody else take care of your website content may have worked in 1999, but that doesn't work in 2004.

PAUL 13.:See above.

ROLAND:Would you trust somebody else to represent you at conferences and industry meetings?

PAUL 14.:Um... you mean my sales staff? The same as I'd trust an SEO knowledgeable IT staff member or third party consultant to optimize my site, if I didn't have time or know-how.

ROLAND:The web in 2004 is a 365 day a year 24 hour industry conference and meeting place

PAUL 15.:No. Not for everybody. For some it is no more than an electronic brochure. But is it evolving? Sure. Only we can't all be at the bleeding edge at the same time, or the edge would not be bleeding.