SEOmoz Decision Making Flowchart

by Ben Cook on December 30, 2009

SEOmoz caused a stir this week by publishing a “study” that allegedly showed NoFollow tags were still effective in sculpting the flow of PageRank.

This of course flies in the face of what Matt Cutts has said on the issue, and the data in the study doesn’t seem to actually be all that solid. But hey, why let that get in the way of a good link bait post, right?

Now, those of you who know me or have been around the SEO industry for a while probably know that I have a history of disagreeing with Rand and the SEOmoz crew. But contrary to what I’m sure some commentors will say, I don’t hate Rand & I don’t go out of my way looking for reasons to criticize SEOmoz. In fact, I’ve spoken with Rand several times and those interactions have been nothing but friendly.

Then again, I like Matt Cutts too, but that doesn’t mean I have to stop thinking Google is a monolithic monopoly that must be stopped before they turn us all into the Borg.

I digress.

While reading through the long string of comments on the aforementioned SEOmoz post, I noticed the tell-tale pattern of behavior emerging. SEOmoz creates controversy, they clarify and apologize, all the while enjoying the traffic and links that come from a good piece of linkbait.

This pattern has been discussed before by myself and several others in the SEO community, but until today, I never realized it was actually a part of a written plan! I mean you can imagine my surprise when I stumbled across SEOmoz’s official decision making flowchart for their blog. (Note: No of course this isn’t ACTUALLY an official SEOmoz document. It’s called satire you twits!)

Naturally this is too monumental of a discovery for me to keep to myself so I’ve attached the flow chart below. Enjoy!

Oh, and by the way, I fully plan on following this flow chart should I begin to receive criticism for this post :D

SEOmoz Decision Making Flowchart

As a fellow link-whore, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say feel free to republish the chart as long as you provide a link back to the source. Cheers!

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Terry Van Horne December 30, 2009 at 2:08 pm

@skitzzo, lol IMO, “the man with the yellow shoes” does research of convenience. Testing in 2010 is BS with 200+ factors nothing moves the rankings enough to be definitive. SE algos are an iceberg and all we get is a glimpse of what’s above the water (you’re on the Titanic if the captain wears yellow shoes). Your flowchart is brilliant I can see the sheeple lining up to be just like the “man in the yellow shoes”.
#JusSayin

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jeff selig December 30, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Just one more reason I did not renew my membership to SEOmoz.

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Michael Martin December 30, 2009 at 2:46 pm

You outed the industry workflow for most linkbait posts with the only real difference is most dont apologize and aww shucks it.

,Michael Martin

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Skitzzo December 30, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Michael, lol that’s probably true.

However, some would call not apologizing & aww shucksing it (or to use the new term Rebecca & Lisa just coined on twitter, being a fartyr) actually standing behind the content you put out there.

Sure if you’re controversial people might not always like you (I’m trying to amass the most repeated follows & unfollows on Twitter second only to Sugarrae of course) but you can’t have it both ways like SEOmoz tries to do. You can’t be the constant good guy, and still do the stuff they do.

Just admit you’re like the rest of us and be yourselves! :)

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Rebecca Kelley December 30, 2009 at 3:53 pm

I’m one of your followers/unfollowers/followers! Yaay!

Scott Willoughby December 30, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Wow, this is very well organized! I’d say we may have to refer to it in the future, but hopefully we’ve learned valuable lessons and will be able to do better, schucks guys :P

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Skitzzo December 30, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Lol Scott, I’ll send you guys a copy of it if you ever lose the ones you have distributed throughout the office.

Do let me know if it’s updated any time soon though :D

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Olivier Amar December 31, 2009 at 9:22 am

Can I print it on a t-shirt and wear it to the next SMX conference I go to? ;-)

Kurt December 30, 2009 at 3:00 pm

I originally thumbed the post up, before they let loose of all the data. Evidently, they had originally approached Darren Slatten (aka World’s Greatest SEO) to do the study.

The Wizard of Moz balked at his price, and let Mr. Dover do it instead. Now, it seems that the study has raised more questions than it answered, mainly in terms of the study’s significance, and whether it has any or not.

SEOMoz has been less useful (at least in the “free” section) this year, than in any time I can recollect. Plus, all their aces are elsewhere (Jane and Rebecca come to mind).

All that to say this: Incredibly funny flowchart, and I miss the old ‘Moz.

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Jen Lopez December 30, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Change is good for everyone! It’s easy to criticize others, but remember we’re all just humans making our way in this crazy world.

And @skitzzo this flowchart assumes that there is a brainstorm for every blog post. ;-) Sometimes the ideas are born through immaculate conception.

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Rebecca Kelley December 30, 2009 at 3:56 pm

“Plus, all their aces are elsewhere (Jane and Rebecca come to mind).”

I think you misspelled “asses.” ;P I keed, I keed!

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Jen Lopez December 30, 2009 at 4:26 pm

lmao. Glad you said that Rebecca and not me :P <3 you :)

Kurt December 30, 2009 at 5:59 pm

@Jen,

I understand change is good…and I am happy that Jane and Rebecca were able to grow, and move on to things that fit their personal goals a little better.

You have to understand the context of where I am coming from… When I first joined the community, the 0atmeal himself would answer questions about tools.

Jane and Rebecca would snark and constructively criticize their way through YouMoz posts. While taking VC has increased the power of the tool suite, it has also changed the Moz culture somewhat.

It feels as if the VC folks are driving, rather than the community. While they have every right to their pound of flesh, the soul of the community at large seems to have been sacrificed as an offering.

Sorry for all the nostalgia…and sappy junk…I just miss Jane, Rebecca, and the ‘Moz I used to know.

SEO Mofo December 30, 2009 at 6:53 pm

To clarify:

I wrote the PRO Guide to PageRank Optimization about 2 years ago, before Google had said they crawl JavaScript and wipe their ass with the rel=”nofollow” attribute. Danny emailed me and asked if I’d be interested in updating the guide, which I agreed to do for $1K. Danny wrote back:

“I just wanted to let you know that we don’t need your help right now. The scope of the project changed considerably (we now need correlation data in addition to a testing platform) and we found someone who is able to do the whole project for a good price.”

I don’t like when people bullshit me (which I think might have come through in my comment: http://bit.ly/74jIHW). I don’t resent Danny or Rand–hell, in my mind, updating the PR guide for a grand would have been a favor to them–but I’m certainly not going to let something like this slide.

I’m just glad they didn’t try to associate that post with my PR Guide.

BTW…I love the flowchart, Skitzzo. Nice work. =)

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Gab Goldenberg December 30, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Methinks a lot of this criticism is fueled by subconscious jealousy of the attention. If you and all the other naysayers are such hotshot critical thinkers, why not run your own tests and disprove it, or run a test on more significant subjects?

p.s. Link to me. :D

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Donovan Roddy December 30, 2009 at 7:59 pm

Skitz your RSS feed doesn’t work if it’s selected from the browser (Safari/Mac).

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Skitzzo December 30, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Hmm thanks for the heads up, I’ll look into it.

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Earlpearl December 30, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Very little sphinn action currently, but this creative piece is getting them.

Well done. Very funny!!

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aimClear December 31, 2009 at 7:58 am

What was most interesting about this post, is the lack of data to support (or debunk) anyone’s perspective on whether noFollow is a useful technical maneuver or not. We DO think the author draws lovely and organized colored boxes & arrows and should be commended as such. :) Happy New Year everyone.

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Chotrul January 5, 2010 at 4:19 am

This is actually really funny … in the way that things that are very close to the ( uncomfortable) truth are funny …. painful!

(Editor’s Note: Don’t keyword stuff your name.)

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seoz87 January 12, 2010 at 10:37 pm

lolz! thats the thing they are hired for :P
after all a company who heavily relies on its community for making money by pitching them there tools and some stupid stuff like moz rank thingy :P , it can actually have a strategy like this

and yesh i am jealous :P hell of it

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