PC Mag writer John Dvorak has written another bit of anti-SEO linkbait in which he claims that SEO “is killing the Internet if it hasn’t already”.

But what’s that I see on PC Mag category pages? Surely they’re not selling links for SEO reasons are they? Let’s investigate.

John Dvorak’s argument

  1. What SEO is: “tricking Google or Bing or Yahoo into ranking your particular Web site higher than the competition.”
  2. The problem SEO causes: “the horrid results of certain searches ruin the enduser experience. Try and find the best cell phone deal on the Internet. Do it by using a search engine. Every hit is some commercial site trying to sell you something.”
  3. Why he’s angry: “The results hardly ever link to a PC Magazine comparative review or any objective analysis. Just faux reviews and fake objectivity leading you to some product for sale.”

So what’s PC Mag doing then …?

I’m not going to dissect his article. Let’s concentrate on one point. It’s true that SEOers of a certain nature try to influence the results by buying links using the anchor text that they want to do well for (so if you want to do well for cheap digital cameras, you pay other sites to link to you using the term “cheap digital cameras”).

This isn’t illegal or anything. People can do this if they want. But it’s against Google’s terms of service unless nofollow is used on the links. And people who rant about SEO shouldn’t do it …

So what is this I see on some of PC Mag’s pages?

PC Mag desktop computer links

PC Mag printer links

These are keyword rich links with no nofollow on them. Have the sites they link to paid for them? Who knows. It doesn’t look good, though, does it Mr Dvorak?

One final thing …

One of his complaints was that PC Mag weren’t appearing in the results. As SharkSEO pointed out on Twitter, this might be because PC Mag doesn’t really cover cheap cell phone deals as its own on-site search shows.