Bruce Clay Inc. in "Flip Flop" with Mike Grehan playing Jason Calcanis

Okay so now everybody's friend Mike Grehan is with Bruce Clay Inc., the company that Yahoo! intimated was the living definition of "search engine spam" just a few years ago (PubCon, I was there, Tim Mayer showed Bruce Clay as the #1 result for "search engine spam", almost everybody laughed). Writing for my favorite SEO web site Clicksy (heavy sarcasm people) Mr. Grehan is playing Jason C and suggesting SEO is dead.

What's with these guys? They start getting old and suddenly their "marketers" and not search marketers, and SEO is that annoying "pimply headed" geek again? I kid. A little. Actually, not too much. But it's not personal. I'm genuinely concerned.

But, surely, I'll still need an SEO geek to tell me really interesting stuff about search engine crawlers and load balancing and code…and z-z-z-z-z-z-z.

and then

Imagine. I'm directly contacted by the Google crawler, I say yes, and the next day I have twice as many pages indexed. Why would I ever need an SEO geek again?

There is so much seriously naive in there I'm afraid I just don't understand the attraction. Is it a seriously crafted sway article for the Clicksy Fortune NNN marketing department audience? Okay, I see he's saying SEO is different now, and suggesting it's more marketing than evah, but really. Pandering to the "I hate SEO it's soooooo complicated" sentiments is very, very lame. And this comment:

When getting images, A/V presentations, and, yes, your A/V advert played among the search results starts to happen (soon), isn't it a marketer I need? I haven't yet met a pure SEO professional who would know creative if it bit him.

Seriously. I'm guessing you don't know many good SEOs, Mike. Yeah, I know you're buddies with virtualy all of them, right? And still you never met a creative one? Geesh. Maybe... and this is just a guess... you need to spend more conference networking time with people you don't already know, instead of the same old Rockstarz. Seriously. It might brighten your horizon. A wee bit maybe? Here's a tip: most of us "SEOs" don't work alone, especially in the video content arena. In case you didn't know.

Sure SEO nomenclature is clumsy. Ever look at marketing nomenclature? And marketng has years and years of standardization, academic attention, etc. behind it. Client expectations will not go away. Watch as the Universal SERPs get addressed by the good SEO folk. Your client's "issues" won't go away, Mike. They won't. Trust me on that. SEOs will challenge their million dollar "marketing" efforts right in those "SERPs" just as they always have. It's the nature of competition.

For the record, I'm one of those "SEOs" but only because I do some client work. Other than that, I "defy categorization". Universal search? More of the same. Portalization of SERPs, to some extent. What SEO has not been working with video and mages and Google base and local for YEARS already? Who among them is not capable of acting as an expert (on SEO aspects) within a team of marketers looking to dominate Universal Search? Who adds more value... a marketing expert talking head or a qualified SEO consultant?

Jason Calcanis, Dave Pasternack, and now Mike Grehan. Trashing SEO for links and attention? Getting old? Just plain angry, or selling out to paid search profiteers? Tired of managing client expectations in slow-moving, corporate marketing departments under-empowered by their CFOs? Finding you just can't keep up with the real SEO world? Tired of having to hire SEO consultants to wok on your own client accounts?

What is with these guys?


Good SEOs have learned what

Good SEOs have learned what to do with traffic.

No traffic, no clue.

There is something about busting tail for that breakthrough that takes you to the next level. Most "marketers" will never get that taste.

He's Right and Wrong

I don't know how you can argue with him in regards to the web results becoming less relevant. Search for lyrics, movies, TV shows, weather, local businesses, etc and Google has monopolized the results. They're plugging images and videos into their search results, buying services so you won't need to search for them, and slowly picking apart industries that relied on search.

But his definition of an SEO is about 3 years outdated. I don't know of many succesful search marketers playing around with H1 tags all day and clammoring for the next PR update. They've evolved into building quality sites built for users, into utilizing social networking sites, and creating buzz within their industries to garner popularity. They've already made sure that they are high on top the local listings, have pictures flooding the images section, and videos on top YouTube. Good search marketers know where their target audience is looking, and knows how to get in front of it.

So I'm lost on what the article shows. That SEO tactics from 2004 are no longer that important? This article would have been impressive if it was dated June 11, 2005. Otherwise, it's just a bunch of crap most of us knew, and a bunch of other crap trying to look professional and speak down to search marketers.

I think a lot of people got

I think a lot of people got pushed out of "being SEO's" as soon as the new CMS's started doing all their work for them. I'm not pointing any fingers. I'm just saying.

Mike's emphasising a point

Mike's emphasising a point Danny Sullivan centered some of his SES presentations on a few years ago. The difference is, Mike is pushing on the reality being now.

Not so sure why that's a bad thing?

Maybe SEO's are just too hyper-sensitive, and that's why people like Jason C can play them so constantly?

SEOs are his target, not his audience

Mr. Grehan seems to have a very limited definition of SEO. He seems to see it as something static rather than dynamic, adapting as search and SEs change. Given his experience and knowledge I find this a strange perspective.

He also reiterates his perenial forecast of marketing now coming into search. And replacing the need for SEO. I have thought of SEO as a supporting subset of SEM for years. SEM is not new, it is not 'coming of age', it is a mature part of any good internet business plan. And SEO is neither an obsolete nor unnecessary component of SEM. We know that marketing is coming...because it's here already.

I have and will continue to read his commentary with interest but this column's viewpoint begs the question of who furnished his rose coloured goggles?

Or perhaps he simply wants to eliminate potential competition from clients' consideration? I say old man, SEO is so old hat, you need a real web marketing expert...


Grehan speaks of webmaster console telling him all he needs to know to rank. Ridiculous and dangerous.

I don't know, my first response was to check to see if Mike was drinking the Kool-Aid... But then, it struck me like a thunderbolt...

I think it's a GREAT IDEA, for my competitors.

Hi DaveN and yes I do pharma

Hi DaveN and yes I do pharma SEO but not the buy viagra sort ;-)

Re-read Grehan's article and drop out the snarky anti-SEO comments. What is left is bereft of impact. Clearly the article was empty until it bit SEO. Why write an empty article? (I know, that's a clicksy issue..)

No doubt Grehan is on top of his stuff and pleasing his clients. Never doubted that. Had no reason to even wonder. I assume Bruce Clay Inc. is frugal. But although my neighbor loves his Toyota Prius he doesn't go out of his way trash talk my '66 Pontiac Gran Turismo Omologato. He's wiser.

I think it's still all about rank, but what to rank for changes and depends on a lot more than Google. Sure that changed the game for the rank-reporters, but how is that news for performance-based optimization?

Grehan speaks of webmaster console telling him all he needs to know to rank. Ridiculous and dangerous.

Well, I did read it

and while I've always agreed with Mike on the marketing angle, and while I can only endorse Dave's statement that he's very switched on and always gives you good food for thought if only you'll listen, I think it's really boiling down to a class thing: Mike has always played in an upscale league where, let's face it, SEO simply means a lot of other things than it does further down the totem pole.

As in: CMS that can give you the creeps, corporate identity issues that are very likely to give you the creeps, corporate "ethics" considerations that will most definitely give you the creeps, unbelievable amounts of money changing hands plus an overall atmosphere of "relaxed oneupmanship" tied to buddy-networking of a caliber that makes Diggers and Slashdotters combined look like a boatload of kindergarten brats on crack by comparison.

There just ain't no "ONE AND ONLY SEO", as every experienced search engine optimizer knows full well. It all depends on the environment you're working in, just like links may equally work this way or the other, given the proper circumstances.

And while I'm no so sure that Mike's entirely in the picture in terms of what's really going on e.g. on the truly dark side of the SEO moon (think big time black hatters here, much less so the bottom feeding masses), he certainly knows his peer-governed environment from scratch - which happens to include an incredible number of SE insiders.

So - ignore at your own risk.

(And no: I don't agree that "SEO is dead", either - not before we've determined what "SEO" is supposed to imply - or not imply - here in the first place.)

Mike Grehan's article btw

read it before posting anymore :)

Jason Calcanis even gets

Jason Calcanis even gets publicity when he doesn't do anything.

Mike Grehan playing Jason Calcanis

Fuck me you on Drugs John ;)

I just don't see it that way the SEO game changes each and every month, take me I have built a MV spilt testing platform that's something I wouldn't have even thought about a year ago, it's not just getting top rankings anymore it's understanding that the users have moved the goal posts as well as the Search Engines, Mike is very switched on and forward thinking and always give me food for thought.



Jason Calcanis, Dave Pasternack, and now Mike Grehan

Not really "now" Mike Grehan. As a marketer looking at an overview of the industry he's been saying this for quite awhile. From SEW back in March 2005:

Classic SEO (as it could be referred to)is child's play. Absolutely anyone can do it. It's just about getting a few HTML tags in order and getting linked. It's not even about a computer language, just a mark-up code. And PPC is not more difficult in its application. Common sense prevails. Neither of these skills relies on MENSA membership or a university degree.

He's always stressed a comprehensive marketing approach, rejiggering and adapting real world marketing techniques to the web. I think he tends to go way, way overboard as to the insignificance of SEO in 'Net marketing, but hey, sometimes you have to exaggerate to get you message across.

some ones been at the Jazz cigarettes

"I hate SEO it's soooooo complicated"

Yeh mate its called hard work and building a site for a world wide 100% up time is not the same as getting your 13 yrd old nephew to install Linux on an old pc (look at the problems Zoomer had good job that Robert Socobel got the out of that hole)

"I haven't yet met a pure SEO professional who would know creative if it bit him"

Hello :-) FX Waves

To quote Farther Jack "ARSE!"

I recon I have a good eye for design I’me very visually oriented (comes with being dyslexic) cant draw for toffee (but half the big name art directors at the big name ad agencies cant either)

OK I’me not in the league of the Honda Impossible Dream add

But I could come up with better ideas for a home page than that hohum bruce clay site

Well, it used to be quite true

that most SEOs were propellerheads and geeks who wouldn't have known the simplest of marketing techniques if you had hit them with it right between their EPROM burners.

But hey, that was ages ago, palaeozoic if you like - these days, those that have actually caught on, and they're plenty, will out-market most professional agencies and big money corporate marketing departments for breakfast.

marketing accountability...

is all the rage now, marketing depts fired, budgets slashed. Why? because companies are smart enough to want results now from their marketing people, metrics, hard data on return on spend.

wonder whose example prompted that sea change?

It'll just be great

to see them feature the beaches of Anguilla for "offshore finance" in future, with some reeeeely funny YouBoob Treasury videos encouraging everyone to stay at home and pay their taxes nicely or else. Not to forget Wikipedia articles on loan sharks and the latest Consumer Protection reports on HIY scams and the Better Business Bureau's latest blacklist. And for good measure, sprinkle liberally with a few shots of Britney Spears breast feeding on the Caymans...

Everything video and multimedia, yeah. As for marketers being so "creative", just take a gander at all those awfully produced crappy Get Rich Now! videos made by tons of people who couldn't for the life of them get one sentence right in writing (sure, you can OUTSOURCE that, cantcha!) - without, unfortunately, realizing that they can't present or speak from scratch either, whatever it is they're currently trying to pimp...

And of course, "it's what people expect and want, want, want", right? As if every many and his dog hadn't claimed the very same thing across the board throughout the whole bloody dotcom bubble.

Ok, ok, off now to code that new black hat super duper tool that will instantly generate tons of highly optimized spam videos, then...

Winkers ;)

I started as an SEO as it was an outlet for my creativity and buccaneering spirit.....


I haven't yet met a pure SEO

I haven't yet met a pure SEO professional who would know creative if it bit him

That is writing for the sake of writing, but not writing for accuracy. SEOs are SEOs BECAUSE they are creative... they think creatively, find holes in stuff, create what the market wants, get people talking about them, etc etc etc

That Jason Guy had a lot of

That Jason Guy had a lot of link bait banked before he launched mahelo.

Probably just following the example.