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Dear Jill Whalen...You Actually ARE A Fool!

...Or, I Really Thought That By 2010 Jill Whalen Would Figure It Out
Back in 2005 when I serendipitously fell into the SEO world, the company at which I worked invited Jill Whalen to come and talk. Since I was literally about 2 days into my role I had no clue who this chick was or what was going on. I really couldn't tell you what she talked about but I DO remember thinking it was neat that a writer also knew search optimization. Never woulda figured her for a whiner.

That was 5 years ago and boy, has the world of search marketing sure changed. Which is okay – it's a dynamic environment, after all. The point is, if you truly call yourself a "Search Marketer" you need to move right along with the times and keep up on new advancements.

I'm not going to say I'm up-to-date on everything; I do know that optimization tactics and paid search marketing have drastically changed since '05: for the better, I might add. It's only ever ANY search engine's objective to return the most relevant results to its users...otherwise said users will ditch search engine A for search engine B.

Whether anyone likes it or not, The Search Engine is Google and while the others (yes, there are others) strive to keep up, Google sets the bar for search engine capabilities. And, do you know what? If you don't like it, then get the hell offline. To be honest, if you don't like rules and regulations, you shouldn't be a marketer at all. It's the same with traditional marketing, people.

Are we, as SEOs, trying to please Google when we take on a website or PPC client? Hell no. We're following protocol – as any marketer does in ANY discipline, such as PR, media planning, etc. – and applying our knowledge to create a marketing campaign which will positively affect ROI.

Enter purported SEOs who bitch about Google's RULES and how they don't WANNA be a marketer beholden to an online conglomerate. Does the whiny tone come through? It should...just like in Jill Whalen's little passive-aggressive rant about how she looks like a fool all because of Google.

She whines and cries about how Google condones link buying, keyword-stuffing, doorway sites and "crappy articles" submitted to bullshit networks full of – you guessed it – other crappy articles. She also claims to have been telling people for a decade that "the way to be found in Google is to have one, great, all-encompassing website." See, and here I thought the more niched the content, the better chance it had of competing.

According to her, Google "single-handedly created the entire link-building and link-buying industries" and that "Link building is the most distasteful, horrible act to have to perform for a website." No one's asking you to do anything you don't want to do here, Jill ('cause no always means no)...if you don't want to acquire credible, relevant, topical links for your clients' websites, then DON'T. If you don't want to create websites around targeted, descriptive, relevant content, don't.

There are a lot of other accusations in her rant, all of which accuse Google of showing only spammy sites in their SERPs. Once more, I don't quite know what she's talking about, but this I do know:

Sounds like someone's pissed off that the websites she creates aren't ranking #1 in Google. Somewhat reminiscent of what people complained about 5 years ago. Might have to move with the times, Jilly-girl, and read up on some advancements. If you're a true SEO, then you KNOW online marketing changes. Just sayin'.

This isn't the first time we've seen her head on a tirade about something which actually isn't true. It seems she likes to take words and ideas and twist them to make people (or search engines) look evil, like she did here.

Also, I'd like to add I truly enjoyed how you bash, bash and beat the dead horse and then, at the end, with a casual addition of a "P.S.S." (no clue what that means, I think she meant it as a post postscript, but I'm only guessing) she adds this little nugget: "(Google) You're still way better than the other search engines!"

So, a search engine which you say returns ONLY spam and makes you look like a fool is way better than anything else you'd use to find content online? Yikes. Define: FOOL.

*Also...did you notice how, even though she HATES link building, by writing something controversial she garnered a link (albeit from my rinky-dink, personal blog)? Yes, I do realize I offered it up; I merely wanted to make a point :)


Dennis said...


Anonymous said...

As a "content provider" who is desperate enough to make her paltry living not "making the doughnuts" but "feeding the internet," I have to agree with Whalen. I admit I never heard of this woman before tonight, when--in the course of making doughnuts to feed the hungry Internet, I came across a hate-site directed at her. Subsequent googling led me to this post. I'm not sure what's wrong about her point of view. Google does kind of suck now, and as one who toils in the bowels of the $15 article creation industry, I can say for damn sure that the foxes are guarding the henhouse in terms of relevancy-spam. Commentspam and in-linking is done; linkfarming's so old it doesn't bear mentioning. Today it's all about content feeders, low-low paid content feeders. Google anything and you get eHow, Associated, etc. PS: I'm also a former advertising exec (former by choice) and I know how this crap works. I would've been first on the client-work-rocks!-bandwagon when I was your age too. If you joined the industry in 2005, you're about 10 years younger than I am and about 10 years less disillusioned. For that, I praise you, but don't dismiss people just because their point of view's a convenient punching bag/rationale.

Anonymous said...

I bought a review for Jill. A complete waste of time. Let me save you 100s of dollars. Regardless of what your site does and is, she will tell you that you don't have enough valuable content and that you don't need to worry about links. This chick is living in 1990. A complete waste of money on anything she does.