The SEO Squares

SEO Squares

“Yoohoo, I’ll make you famous!” – William H. Bonney, Young Guns II

Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame. We have Andy Warhol to thank for this supposed entitlement to fame, but is fame always justified? We easily could have expanded this “square” to be a rectangle and included dozens of other well known SEO personalities. Why we selected these 8 (can’t really count Brad Smart since he doesn’t actually exist) is something of a mystery even to us here at Big Oak, our SEO company. We started throwing out names of people we had heard of or read about and we choose these on our gut feeling of who would be well known. Picking these folks doesn’t mean they are never wrong or don’t make mistakes, but they have some sway over what many people do when it pertains to search engine optimization.

My comments below are not directed at the folks above, but at the entire SEO industry.

Of course with notoriety there comes responsibility, and that leads to this question: Are SEO personalities good stewards of the power we give to them? Is solid advice coming forth? Do they have the real expertise to show the way? Are they working in the trenches so they have an accurate idea of what the little guy needs to do to get better rankings in the search engines? Or do some live in ivory towers of consultancy, casting down judgment on SEO companies and do-it-yourselfers who don’t have the luxury to write “quality content” and wait/hope for links to come naturally.

Have gurus used their fame to create, what some believe to be, self-absorbed gated communities?  Or is it simply impossible to create a community that pleases everyone?

I have heard many gurus speak and most understand that the SEO game is fairly cutthroat, as many ecommerce businesses rely on rankings for their business’s survival. While that can be a foolhardy stance, some businesses feel their budgets won’t allow for much more and their hopes rest “squarely” on search engine rankings. But a few “SEO gurus” dole out impractical advice and remain consultants to the last, refusing to get their hands dirty and help the client do the work or even give the client real examples to follow.

Finally, let me say that I think all the above SEO Squares are honest and try their best to help their clients. This is not an attack on any of them. I hope they are all good sports with their comic equivalents and know we did not intend to offend. This is more a call to action to all of us in the SEO business to be more empathetic with our clients and try to understand how valuable and trusted our advice is to them. We should all put ourselves in their shoes before deciding what we will say and what we will do. After all, our goal should be to help them grow their businesses, not become detached consultants.

34 Responses to “The SEO Squares”

  1. Eric Ward says:

    Can’t comment. Building links.


  2. Robert says:

    Why does Jill look so mean? or is that disdain?

    Doesn’t do her justice! 😉

  3. Ranked Hard says:

    Robert, it was supposed to be a look of disappointment at the lack of content from a comic.

  4. Eric Ward says:

    Yeah, and BTW mine makes me look like Moe from the Three Stooges. Thanks a lot.

  5. Ranked Hard says:

    Eric, at least you kept your clothes on. 😉

  6. Snorkle Revens says:

    Teenage mutant ninja Boykin…

  7. paisley says:

    this is great, thanks for the giggles.

  8. Melanie Nathan says:

    roflmfao! I wonder what @sugarrae would be saying??! And you missed @oilman too 😉

  9. Nico says:

    …….so where’s Michael Martinez?

  10. johnnyO says:

    no offense, but i think you could have made your point without the comic; I know Rand and he is nothing like that… and your image of Jill just makes her look mean and b*tchy rather than disappointed… plus you left out some seriously heavy hitters… your comic lessens the impact of your message (which I tend to agree with btw), that’s all I mean to say…

  11. Ben McKay says:

    I can’t see Ben McKay there either – very surprised….!

  12. Ranked Hard says:

    Johnny O – The site is about the comic, so making a point with the comic, is the point. Our goal was to make an interesting web comic that focused on SEO. This site was created specifically as a vehicle for the comic. So the comic is the focus, everything else supports the comic. We have plenty of wordy SEO Blogs but few quality SEO comics.

    I will agree with you that Jill looks a litte too annoyed, so we will soften that up and repost the comic. Jill is a very pleasant and nice person. It was not our intent to make her look like an angry person.

    Rand seems like a good guy. I have had a few online discussions with him. The staff at SEOmoz told us to make fun of them and so we thought Rand had a pretty boy image and that is why we did that. He is out in the SEO front lines, much like a poster boy for the industry. No offense meant and we all hope he has a wonderful honeymoon. The very fact that he has mentioned getting married to complete strangers should give some weight that Rand likes promoting himself, right? Ranked Fishkin getting married Google results. 😉

    Finally, this comic only had room for 9 squares so obviously people were going to be left off. Please keep sending in names. I just read an article by Michael Martinez and was very impressed. He is what is right with SEO.

  13. randfish says:

    I’m totally fine with being parodied. No offense taken 🙂 Nice work on the comic!

  14. Will Fleiss says:

    As someone who just recently began straddling the line between being an agency SEO and an SEO for a startup that needs traffic the point about consulting from afar versus actually showing and helping to do is an excellent one. Great post!

  15. Ranked Hard says:

    New image uploaded. Jill Whalen is not “mad” anymore. She is pleasantly perplexed.

    Rand, Thanks for being a good sport. You really are breathtaking to behold. 😉

  16. Will says:

    “Rand, Thanks for being a good sport. You really are breathtaking to behold. ;-)”

    Hhaa, I think the comments from the “Ranked Hard entity” might be getting a little too weird.

  17. Jon says:

    Too many negative comments here. This is hilarious! Great work guys.

    Its a comic. Its not supposed to be accurate and objective. Its supposed to be funny. I think you have actually done a nice job of exaggerating certain charactistics here. Just would have recommended a little of Jim’s hair peaking out… but great stuff here.

    Everybodys too damn worked up. Lighten up people.

  18. aidan says:

    Why did you change Jills face???

  19. Ralph says:

    Brilliant article about the SEO stardom culture. 😉

  20. KT West says:

    What a great comic idea. I wish I had thought of it first! Great link bait!

  21. Sam says:

    What about Barry Schwartz, Ann Smarty, Michael Gray? What about Bruce Clay?

  22. Will says:

    @Sam, unfortunately, we didn’t have enough room for many deserving people. Should we make an SEO Squares II? It would be like Dream Team II and include the people who could have been on the ’92 dream team but weren’t. The Dominique Wilkins, Shaquille O’Neals etc.

  23. SEO Rabbit says:

    I am definitely visiting this whenever you draw something. Jim Boykin rules 🙂

  24. Sofhal Jamil says:

    hahaha. Nice works, dude!!!

  25. SEO Joel says:

    LOL that is classic. I am just getting deep in to the SEO industry and these names are starting to stick.

  26. Atul K says:

    I am impressed with danny and mat talk….ha ha.

  27. Ranked Hard says:

    “I think you have actually done a nice job of exaggerating certain charactistics here. Just would have recommended a little of Jim’s hair peaking out”

    @Jon, we made an editorial decision about that. Having seen Jim in a ninja suit in person, he never allows his hair to peak out.

  28. Pure Green says:

    This is funny. You have earned a repeat visitor today. Incredible creativity. I’ll be back. 😀

  29. Anon says:

    HAHA! very funny.

  30. I have never seen this before, and it is awesome. Who cares if they missed other people? The point of the story is to be careful about the advice you give and take. Step out of your square and take a look at yourself. Nice job guys.

  31. I agree with Eric. This comic is very well done and the message isn’t about who is in the squares, it is about SEO advice.

    Great job!!

  32. Always10 - Top 10 List says:

    LOL… I like the “One sec, I’m talking to THE Matt Cutts” LOL. Sullivan is that the meaning of the mean? I should create a top 10 list comic SEO squares. thanks for inspiring me. let me bookmark it!

  33. Michael Lucy says:

    How have I missed this one for two years .. We are linking back to this for our weekly Friday Humor blog, which our series this week was on SEO .. Thanks for the great content, and hope to send a ton of traffic your way 🙂