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Did Seobook give up?

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by bartosimpsonio, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. bartosimpsonio

    bartosimpsonio Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Been a while since I visited Seobook.com....now their home page has this :

    what you get
    When you SEO
    [​IMG]
    Totally Arbitrary selective ex-post-facto enforcement of guidelines!
    LendUp's doorway pages still rank
    Monopolistic bundling.
    Justification for duplicity.
    Scrape-n-displace.
    Endless fearmongering.
    Wild algorithmic swings.
    Soul-crushing uncertainty.
    Responsive AMP Plus HTTPS ... arbitrary complexity to increase the chunk size of competition & defund SEO.
    Ad-heavy search results driving organic listings below the fold.
    "what you want to do, is sort of break their spirits." - Matt Cutts





    Also they're no longer accepting new members.

    And that last quote by Matt Cutts kinda hurt.

    Is Seobook claiming SEO is dead? Did they give up?
     
  2. validseo

    validseo Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I guess if your Kung Fu sucks then that is what you have to say about Kung Fu. (Not you personally, but SEOBook) and other than "AMP Plus HTTPS" the other claims are choices... I succeed without most of that crap so I would argue those things don't define SEO.
     
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  3. bartosimpsonio

    bartosimpsonio Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    So they gave up because they suck?
     
  4. validseo

    validseo Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Don't know, but their comments sound like quitter speak.
     
  5. bartosimpsonio

    bartosimpsonio Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    That's exactly right but why? Also I asked around what folks used to get for U$ 300 / month and nobody replied....

    What do members there get for U$ 300 a month membership?
     
  6. aaronwall

    aaronwall Newbie

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    Not only is our site not accepting new paid memberships, but about a year ago I literally canceled all active paid subscriptions & refunded any unused portions for those who had longer duration subscriptions.

    People change, markets change.

    SEO was for a significant period of time a meritocracy. In some corners it still is, but if you are a company of say 2 or 3 people & you tire of being on the conference scene it is very hard to rise above the industry noise and have anything unique to say after you wrote thousands of blog posts for a decade plus.

    If you have dozens of employees an individual or two can scale back & have it not kill the business. But if you are a business of a couple people and you are burned out, then the business dies.

    Our site relied on an extreme degree of passion to offset a lack of resources. Once the passion faded so too did the site.

    Another issue is that I put tons of effort on making our community work well from within the site (having made over 30,000 forum posts in addition to the thousands of blog posts, monthly newsletters, feature guides, etc.) but the flip side of this is ... this line of thinking & approach only works if one or more of the following is true
    a.) the market you are in is growing
    b.) the market you are in is not yet saturated
    c.) you get a lot of word of mouth marketing

    Numerous subscribers of our site explicitly informed me that they viewed the site as too important of a competitive advantage to want to share it. That is sort of business model death. Further, when I first got on Facebook forever ago I said add to about anyone who asked to friend or such. And so whenever I logged in suddenly there would be a bunch of messages from people in say Bangalore. And so I would quickly log out.

    So if I am not particularly active on the conference scene, I blog less frequently, I write more dense stuff that most people consider too complex or too off message, I don't scale up hiring other employees, and I spend most the "social" time behind a paywall & don't spend much time on other sites ... the business model is ultimately broken.

    One other expansion on this concept is if you sell access to a tool / software program then you can share whatever tips or information or guides you want publicly to promote it & it does nothing to harm the value of your tool offering. But if your actual product/service/etc. is selling knowledge, then you are limited in what aspects of it you can give away while still having retained enough to keep your members better informed than the broader market & have enough that you can justify charging for it.

    That said, the stuff I wrote on the homepage I also believe to be true. It wasn't just that I felt the business model of the particular site had died, but I believe SEO is at this point a negative sum market.

    A broad recession is needed to clear away a lot of stuff & leave lots of new openings in markets...just like Google grew out of the dot com boom crash & Facebook grew out of the global financial crisis recession

    I am not saying I am a promoter of AMP or I think all sites need to use HTTPS.

    Rather those are the sorts of messages Google is trying to convey.

    And, at this point, it should be flagrantly obvious that they are willing to sacrifice relevancy to drive business objectives.

    Anyone remember when Google+ or Google Checkout were baked into AdWords?

    That's one way to drastically oversimplify a collection of complex thought processes.

    Another perspective though ... is there anyone who started before I did who blogs as frequently as I did for as long as I did? I mean I guess there are a few BUT most of those would be people who usually shill for Google.

    Or that of a burned out person. :)

    Also one of my friends who I also consider a mentor walked away from the game a few years before I did.

    There is a concept called selection bias.

    The people who were spending thousands per year to participate on an exclusive forum were likely not spending much time on free forums. And the people spending lots of time on free forums likely felt paid forums didn't make much sense. At the core the main part of our membership site was the user forums, but we also had a monthly newsletter & wrote guides on various topics.

    The site began as a blog because I could see blogs got a disproportionate share of link equity back in 2003. It sold an ebook on how to do SEO & kept that model until SEO grew complex enough to where writing a single linear guide made little sense because it would take too long for most people to want to read it all. I then broke the book down into topical guides which were hosted on our training subdomain & then updated them + added new sections on algorithms like panda or penguin or such. We also offered some tools, but ultimately since we had such a small company I thought trying to compete with other companies with dozens or hundreds of employees was going to be a losing proposition. Most of the value of our site was the forum. But all forums or communities have some level of attrition & ultimately I didn't spend enough time/money/effort to offset churn & feeling somewhat burned out I didn't want to double down on effort at the expense of my health or keep running the site if it kept growing less active...so I thought it made sense to simply shut it down & spend more time reading & doing other things I enjoy like video games & such.

    I am kind of glad to be out of SEO as I perhaps did it for too long & let it become too much of my identity. I'd like to do something more artistic or creative but probably need to take at least another year or two off to reset my mind.
     
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  7. bartosimpsonio

    bartosimpsonio Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Hey @aaronwall, welcome aboard. I haven't read your whole reply yet but I will when I settle down. Just wanted to welcome you and say IMO you've set yourself apart from the bullshiteers throughout the years. It was probably around 10 years ago(?) when I read seobook.pdf...time flies. Greatest purchase I made in SEO literature. I made a bundle of money from the kick I got out of it. I was unmotivated and almost quit this biz in 2007. Your story and your honesty were as valuable as the technical info in there. Also your blog was the only one trying to warn folks about Google swallowing up the whole SEO niche. And they did, well almost all of it. Unfortunately only a minority listened, but you weren't copying and pasting the official Google blog like the other gurus were and still are.

    Fun fact : you quoted a post of mine from here years ago, I don't remember what it was, but you said something to the extent that we were aware of some BS that was being spread elsewhere.

    Even if you quit SEO I hope you stick with us. Will catch up with this thread soon. Thanks for dropping by.
     
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  8. SERPTurbo

    SERPTurbo Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Great to see Aaron Wall himself on BHW :) You've done more SEO than 80% of this forum altogether, so whether you quit or no, SEOBook is a legend.
     
  9. validseo

    validseo Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I was just trying to bait a response. I've got no beef. Everybody does what they need to do. 9 out of 10 ventures fail in their first year. You had a pretty good run. Glad to hear your side. The worst is when industry people just vanish quietly.

    Good luck in your next venture. I'll bet you could raise a decent chunk of capital selling SEO book.
     
  10. redrays

    redrays Regular Member

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    I had access to the SEOBook forum years back (post penguin) and was wondering what became of it. Even back then it was kinda clear you were getting burned out. I still read everything you publish, and it's some of the best seo content published anywhere. I'll miss it when you stop writing completely, but I hope you're able to move onto something more enjoyable :)

    As for whether or not Aaron's "kung fu" sucks, I'm aware of multiple sites that he owns / has owned in the past in very lucrative niches. I would be willing to bet a lot of money that he's made more doing seo than almost anyone who's ever posted on this forum.
     
  11. Banditoseo

    Banditoseo Regular Member

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    I'm assuming @aaronwall is here for one post and then off again, but, if not, thanks for stopping by -- and for the years of SEOBook. From my perspective, you were the most prominent and searing critic of Google's bullshit. While the masses were feeding us the same "build great content!" and "go viral!" bullshit, you were pointing out how Google was scraping results, creating its own doorway pages, and applying arbitrary factors. It was an eye-opener for me.

    And here we are, in 2017, and a couple days ago there was a discussion here about the finer points of keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing! It's done more for me than the organic links I've received from major media. I've gone past SEO burnout and back again, it's almost existential at this point.