Apparently, I have no friends. I know this, because no one is linking to my blog. Now, you might be inclined to point out that no one could possibly be linking to my blog as of yet, since before today my blog didn’t actually exist… but that would make you guilty of using reason and attempting to make sense, using facts to your advantage, if you will. Behavior such as this just will not do.
See, the way I discovered that the lack of anyone linking to me must mean that I am a friendless loser was through the genius of Aaron Pratt on his blog post, “Getting to know who your friends are via incoming links”. According to Mr. Pratt, the only reason anyone would link to an obviously “C-list blogger” is if they were friends with them. Content is of course irrelevant, because as we all know, in order to be interesting, you must first become popular. Then, and only then, are those of the “above-C-list” blogging, “in-crowd”, allowed to link to you. Anything other than that proscribed series of events is, of course, a dead giveaway that there is a conspiracy afoot.
To add a little background, apparently this particular theory of linking, the one where you must conform to the valid Amigo-Strict 1.0 schema, came about during a disagreement between A. Pratt and a friend of mine – one of the co-owners and co-founders of one of my favorite message boards, seorefugee.com – who goes by the nick of skitzzo.
At this point I must make something very, very clear. My first name is not now, has never been, and (I am fairly confident) will never be, Brian. Neither is my friends’, for that matter. Also, just for the record, my last name is not Cook (skitzzos last name does in fact happen to be this, however). The reason that I needed to make that clear should become obvious before I am done.
It started when Aaron made a post on his blog, wherein he made a claim about the effects of having spammy sites link to you, and how that can directly result in the loss of your rankings in Google (I should point out here that the original blog post was in fact deleted, that I did not get a chance to read it myself directly, and that I am garnering the fact that Aaron did indeed make this claim from the ensuing discussion that has arose from it, both on his part and in the responses of others). In the world of SEO, as it stands today, there are in fact many claims made that are based on assumptions, casual observations, incomplete testing, and out and out rumor. This is ok, it is the nature of the beast. There are a lot of things we must do that rely on incomplete information when it comes to optimizing our websites for the search engines. The only time this actually becomes a problem is when individuals start stating their guesswork in the form of authoritative fact. Now, again, I do not know exactly how Aaron worded his original post, but it was in such a way that my friend skitzzo decided to use it as an example to kick off his new column, “Exposing SEO Myths: Inbound Links Hurt”. On the SEO Refugee blog, skitzzo discussed
“I’m fed up with pompous SEOs spouting off at the mouth and getting offended when someone dares to question or correct them.” – skitzzo
how not only did Google itself make the claim that there was “almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking” (this is not an endorsement of blindly trusting Google, btw), but also that various tests had been performed to back this claim up. True, skitzzos post would probably not win any humanitarian awards for diplomacy, but it was factual.
This sparked a small flurry of comments on both blogs, discussion on the forums, and a couple of follow-up posts by Mr. Pratt. It is in these follow-ups that he made statements that bring his entire reasoning infrastructure into question.
The first is where Aaron insinuates that skitzzo and his father are in fact the same person. Nothing whatsoever in the way of backing up this claim, mind you,
“Brian Cook – If you continue to comment as multiple people and threaten others I will be reporting you to law enforcement. This is not normal behavior so please take your insanity elsewhere. Thank you.” – Aaron Pratt
just something that seems to make sense somehow in his own head. He follows this up with the assertion that skitzzo was calling bullshit on Aaron’s claims as an attempt to gain credibility, rather than just because he happened to be disagreeing with him. In a followup post, he makes the brilliant evaluation that the people at SEL were linking to skitzzos’ post because they were eager to kick Aaron in the balls when he was down. He also makes a rather mysterious reference to my bestest buddy DazzlinDonna’s linking habits, although he doesn’t actually say what her link means in the greater scheme of things. Tossed in amongst all of this is the latest blogthropological study on how linking to a post equals a power struggle or some sort of coup.
Enlightening, to say the least. 😀