On Snake Oil and Experts
Through pirate techniques and guerrilla SEO we can change how search engines present answers to common queries about our language. By driving traffic to the proper documentation, we can change search rankings and ensure that people interested in JS are connected with the proper educational resources. First target for promotejs, unseat w3schools.com for standard new JS developer queries with proper MDN documentation.
It is up to the experienced developers to point out the proper documentation for the inexperienced.
Of course the first group to get excited by this, and properly so, where the developers who followed developers that were in attendance of JSConf.EU. Unfortunately by the time we had reached the afterparty the other side of the conversation had arrived. The so-called SEO Experts who, without full context, go off and explain how this is stupid and will not work. Awesome, there is nothing like hitting the hornets nest of a bunch of people that doubt everything. So lets put some facts around this discussion before we start selling FUD in metric tons ;) (note, when the JSConf EU video is released, that joke will make a lot more sense).
1. It has already worked
The goal of PromoteJS is first and foremost to better the documentation visibility and by the sheer viral nature of PromoteJS with a backplane of Twitter and Facebook, it wasn’t long before most of the development community knew a couple things.
- There are proper documentation elements out there like the Mozilla Developer Network and such
- A lot of people believe in better visibility
2. Haters gonna hate
This is no more certain than the backlash against PromoteJS where as best I can see a total of 2 blog posts were generated by “experts”. Posts which mind you are providing highly organic back links to both PromoteJS AND the MDN site, links without the rel=”nofollow” or rel=”noindex” attributes. So let me start by saying thank you! Most of what I have read in these articles skips the main thrust of the #promotejs and that is getting people to link to proper documentation, to start discussing it, and to build better community awareness about the problem. In essence, the gist of their arguments are similar to mine - link in your articles it has greater weight than any single link or button ever will. That was a core fundamental of the educational component of the talk, #promotejs is just a way of getting people talking about it.
3. I repeat, it is working!
We built a site to track our progress within the google page ranking across all key terms called Are We First Yet. The site stopped working on March 1, 2011 due to API changes that google made (deprecated the API we were using). What it does show us is that from launch to March 1, we took almost all terms and got them two the first two page results - most above the fold on the first page. We can do even better and we are doing better. I actually wrote this article 3 days after launch, we all the SEO experts were clammering about how this is a flawed or failed effort and how its essentially going to do more damage than good. I ask you now, 5 months later, where are these “experts” with the big bowls of claim chowder? I can promise you this they aren’t on the first page of a common Google search, like umm… Learn JS which went from position 54 to link 3 or JS which went from 254 to link 68.
The thing I love most about SEO is that expertise is complete BS. Google changes their algorithm regularly in order to actually teardown the SEO experts and ensure that community determined proper content is placed above otherwise content. The goal of PromoteJS is, agreeably not to create a link farm, but to get us, JS developers, to start linking and start fixing the problems within our community. To take a stand and do instead of sitting and complaining.