Top 10 SEO Toilets of 2012

Posted by on Dec 27, 2012 in SEO | 6 Comments

Another year, another fabled outing for the talking toilets of digital marketing. After the success of last year’s toilets (and subsequent outrage), I felt it only fair to draw up a new list – more suitable to the game changing events we have all witnessed in the last year. Behold! It’s the Top SEO Toilets of 2012!

#10 – Every SEO Needs a Google+ Strategy

Why SEO Needs a Google Plus Strategy

I can only assume that some people in the industry foam at the mouth whenever a new function is added to Google+, such is the craze of blog posts published telling us why this is now game changing. Facebook killer Google+ ain’t; it caters to different needs and markets. Google+ also has a comparatively puny reach in the UK, at just 10% of Facebook. Now reach isn’t everything in social networking, but my assumptions that Google+ largely caters to: digital marketers, some people that love the Google advertising so much they feel they need to give it a go, and people who like to talk to walls. Here’s some of the best (or worst maybe) on the topic:

#9 – What {insert random topic} taught me about SEO

What Being a Toilet taught me about SEO

It’s time to kill this blog post theme just as much as it’s time to kill ‘X is Dead‘ blog posts. Fortunately some great scholars have done it before me, with Barry Adams doing a marvellous job on State of Search. Meanwhile, Richard Falconer took it to dizzying new heights, with a wonderfully comprehensive dissection of the genre. My personal favourite? What Selling Knives Taught Me About SEO. LOLcano.

#8 – Outing Hysteria

SEO Outing Hysteria

Google Penguin quickly turned into the Salem Witch trials, climaxing with the outing of inbound marketing agency iAcquire. This turned into widespread tweeting about how the industry was ‘imploding’ and ‘turning in on itself’ – which kind of mean the same thing. In essence, outing is nothing new. When I worked at an agency in 2008 people were at it all the time. Someone even created an entire blog to out other people in the industry. It existed at:, but it’s not there anymore.

#7 – Bad Infographics

Bad Infographics make bad content

Technically the ‘infographic plague‘ was reported at the end of 2011. But we’ve also seen the bolstering of services such as and (which are both great) during 2012, and it’s never been easy to create an infographic. It’s also never been easier to create a duff one. Grab a load of numbers from a press release, put them at 40px height each and insert a few generic icons. The craze surrounding Pinterest’s rise was particularly fascinating – fact checking was not at a high point.  Check the sources for infographics! Some are simply nonsense.

#6 – Authorship Markup Doesn’t Matter

Author Rank Does Not Suck

Last April I gave a talk called ‘I Believe Authors are the Future‘ at Brighton SEO. I’d done a fair bit of research for it, but was a little taken aback to be quoted as ‘an expert’ on a topic that was so basic. Then came along a few posts opposing what I’d suggested - fair game, always good to get an alternative view – but I think things like this miss the point. My reasons why are clear in Why I Believe Debating Authors is Totally Moot, while A.J Kohn does a great job debating his view in this Google+ thread. Personally, I just think it’s a simple extension of profiling that is easy to implement, while giving you better search visibility.

#5 – A General Common Sense Fail

SEO Idiots

I can’t believe the amount of people who A) Believe that there are SEO services that can guarantee first position and B) Actually be so dumb to pay for said services. Clearly there are plenty, because this Matt Cutts video makes it rather clear! If there is anyone who doesn’t know anything about SEO before getting in a consultant, then please take an hour to flick through this. You will at least know some basic things and know what you are paying for!

#4 – Content Marketing

Content Marketing

Now this one might seem a little strange since this is a content marketing blog/consultancy, but I do find it funny that this buzzword tipped so quickly at the end of 2012. Econsultancy released their comprehensive Content Marketing Survey report and then seemingly every blog post I saw (and wrote) used the word ‘content’ in the headline. Well, I guess content marketing could replace the SEO department after all.

#3 – Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing Toilet

If you’ve been a reader of this blog over the past year, you’ll know I’ve given inbound marketing a bit of a ‘treatment’. I must admit, when I first read Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah’s useful book, I thought the term was good for describing and grouping a lot of digital marketing disciplines that didn’t require media spend. However, the big problem around the term is the general haughtiness (derived from Seth Godin’s constant hammering of all things advertising) about how it is somehow ‘better’ than outbound and more effective. The reality is, it’s completely dependent on context. My dad doesn’t read blogs. He does travel a bit now he’s retired. That Thompson holiday deals advert might not be so useless after all.

#2 – Paul Boag’s Smashing Magazine Article

Paul Boag's Smashing Magazine article on SEORespect to Paul Boag, he’s clearly a great web designer with a huge following. However, his Smashing Magazine post: SEO the Inconvenient Truth illustrates the dangers of criticising things when you don’t really know what you’re talking about. Rereading it for this post, I was amazed that such an out of date perception of SEO still existed, and it was quite clear he didn’t know what most respected SEO agencies actually do. Of course, there was a significant backlash – the comments alone are fairly heavy going – but there were some particularly enriching perspectives and rebuttals from the SEO side:

#1 – The Acronym SEO

SEO Acronym

Oh dear. Cue the rabid, foaming comments and a light smattering of death wishes by email. Well, due to three of the top ten toilets being largely about nomenclature I decided it was necessary to include the acronym of SEO at top spot. I go to conferences and people talk about ‘being an SEO’ and I just think, WTF does ‘being an SEO’ mean? That you optimise sites for search engines? Then a list of speakers will explain that you need to optimise for users first, then search engines, then there’ll probably be some talks on analytics, PR tactics for link building, user experience… all things which aren’t really SEO. So I think we’ve reached a state of confusion where SEO people don’t really know what to call themselves. Inbound marketers? (Popular in the States) Content Marketers? (Do many search agencies employ trained journalists?) I don’t know. Wouldn’t plain old marketing (perhaps with a digital suffix for another year) suffice?

Thanks for reading

May your toilets be scrubbed sparkling clean in 2013!

I don't know who I am anymore Doggy

  • Ralph du Plessis

    I’ll put my hands up and admit I love Google+ and I badly WANT it to be bigger in the UK, but as you correctly point out, #priorities. It’s no Facebook killer, but here’s how I want to use it as part of an SEO strategy… I have a client who despite over 2 years of trying to get a simple request like being able to add images to the blog, will not budge. The blog is an essential piece of the SEO strategy because they will not let us touch the site in any visual way i.e. no touchy my commercial content to make it less commercial and more editorially focused. In this age of engaging content being so important, posting to a blog with no images is like using ugly people to model your fashion line. So to get around this situation, we are going to start using Google+ as the main blogging platform because then we can include images and there are the added benefits of authorship etc. We will therefore post shorter posts on the blog which reference the more visually engaging post on G+.

    Anyway… this is not the solution for all clients, this is a pretty unique case, but I’d love to here your thoughts on how you might approach this scenario.

    • JamesCarson

      Thanks for the comment Ralph. Sounds like a difficult client! I have a bit of beef using social networks as main blogging platform – largely because a lot of the brand equity / link juice is lost, and you’re segmenting yourself to the audience type of the network.

      I definitely see value in G+ – it’s rel features alone make a presence a necessity, but a ‘strategy’ is what I’m not so sure about. Social Media strategies cost resource… and I wouldn’t prioritise this one just for its SEO benefits.

  • Jackie Hole

    Talking Toilets are dead… nice post Mr Carson :D – I will Google + it to death once I’ve finished writing my article about what Christmas drinking taught me about PPC affiliate strategy – Merry New Year Peeps!

    • JamesCarson

      Why thank you Jackie – and yes, that would be an excellent topic to share on that must have social network.

  • Simon Wharton

    Really good read which adds some clarity to issues I’ve been mulling over for a while. Are we an seo agency? It seems we aren’t though seo is part of the offering. I guess we are that digital agency of which you speak.

  • Spook SEO

    Some Seo agencies don’t know who they are. They don’t even asked theirselves who are they in the long run.