In my Twitterfeed this afternoon, I stumbled upon (yes, pun intended) a Search Engline Land article by Jill Whalen: Is Choosing Search Engines Over Users A Fatal Flaw In SEO? I love the 'question' article title, it's like waving a red cape in front of a Spanish-bred bull: you have to at least click to open and scan.
Immediately I see she's written this article in rebuttal of a @randfish blog post titled Terrible SEO Advice: Focus on Users, Not Engines. Again, a catchy headline since he does touch on that angle, but it's not really what he's actually saying in the post.
In Jill's little back-at-ya attempt at setting the record straight, she spouts off about how Rand's article "could potentially set SEO back at least at decade," in her opinion. Really? Well, Jilly-girl, you might want to actually READ what Rand wrote, instead of just scanning (as so many website users are wont to do), 'cause you didn't even grasp what he said. (Also, might wanna run the ol' document through at least a cursory proofreading process...you ARE a writer, after all.)
Here's what Jill has to say about Mr. Fishkin's advice:
In the article, he apologized to his audience of budding SEOs for having ever told them to do what’s right for their users. In fact, he called putting your users first, “utterly false and tragically misleading.”
If you listen to this advice, your SEO will be fatally flawed from the get-go.
You go, girl. Except...wait...this is what Rand ACTUALLY wrote:
If you've been around the SEO world a while, you've undoubtedly heard the old adage:
"Do what's right for users and engines will reward you with higher rankings"
Along with its peer:
"SEO tactics that focus on engines, rather than users, are manipulative (black/gray hat) and will eventually be discounted or penalized"
In my opinion, both of these statements are utterly false and tragically misleading. In my view, SEO starts with the user (of course), but cannot ignore the incredible importance of search-engine targeted (and specific) tactics.
So let me sum it up for you, Jill: Rand was merely stating that new SEOs deciding to totally adhere to only one of those adages (and therefore utterly ignoring the other) are making a mistake. Your mistake, my dear, was criticizing a much bigger name in the SEO world than you are, without even the proper information.