The SEO Cycle: A Contrographic

by Jarrod Wright
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Whether you've been in the industry for a while or if you're still just starting out, you've been there.

We've all at least once dipped our fingers into the shadier side of SEO. It's hard not to. Only very recently has Google started to finally crack down seriously on web spam in the SERPs, and even now there's still a ton of crap affiliate sites outranking brands. Sure, Google's heading in the right direction, but we're still not there yet.

That's why I thought this contrographic was an absolute perfect way to describe what's happened to SEOs at least once in their lives. It's also a great resource to show beginners, because I can guarantee they've at least thought about the shadier side of things.

So here's the first infographic to appear on Point Blank SEO!

SEO Infographic

The SEO Cycle - 650 width

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The SEO Cycle - 800 width

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Agree? Disagree? Keep the conversation going on your blog by embedding it (the code's above!). If you do, make sure you credit Jarod at Subtlenetwork.com, the creator, as well as this post (the embed code does this already, so copy & paste and you're good to go!).

Since Jarod & I realized that some of the images used in this graphic might make great visual aids by themselves (is that panda/penguin image not awesome?!), he also made them available as stand alones. The embed codes below take care of the attribution (each image is 350px wide). If you choose to host them yourself, remember to give proper attribution!


So, what do you think? Have you fell victim to this process (I have multiple times...)? I'd love to hear your thoughts below :)

Thanks for reading! Make sure you follow me on Twitter & checkout the course.

This post was written by...

Jarrod Wright – who has written 1 posts on Point Blank SEO.

Jarrod is the owner of Subtle Network Design & Marketing located in Clearwater, FL. With a solid background in print and digital design, his recent focus has been almost exclusively on internet marketing. Find him on Twitter.

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  1. Dan Cutler says:

    Haha… this is a pretty reasonable assessment of how the pendulum swings for “an SEO”.
    How to fix it? IMO:

    Don’t cost Google money while you’re making money off Google (for example waste their resources crawling and indexing webspam that’s of no use to searchers) – parasites get eradicated. If you do, don’t cry when you get stepped on and point to the other guy who got away with it. You don’t know his secret sauce either, which leads me to my greater point…

    Stop thinking like *you* have all the answers, or need to! The whole Black Hat vs White Hat SEO thingy is kind of embarrassing and industry people waste *hours* playing Philosoraptor around the subject, then when they’re finally certain they have it ALL figured out (lol) Google releases an update, they get trounced and bleat about it.

    This is why the Agile cycle is so attractive to me, it’s not about grand schemes (because the world might change a hell of a lot before those big plans come to fruition) it’s about short-term increments that over time add up to that grand scheme – based in, and backed by, data every step of the way. You don’t need to plot out everything first. All you need is where you want to wind up and what to do next. It really eliminates a lot of the “but I thought I was supposed to ____” complaints.

    So don’t worry about what SEO is, or isn’t, or etc. Look at your data and figure out which number needs to go up. Then look at more data and figure out how to do it :)

    PS last thing, don’t forget that a lot of SEO thought leaders make their money by being thought leaders. They’re not selling SEO services to clients so much as they’re selling the SEO industry to junior industry members. Their registers ring through making people buy into their methodologies. Some are straight up scamsters and some seek to provide genuine value. But all of them have skin in the game of defining what SEO “is” and pretty well all of the time that definition is one that leads you towards their product, service, or system.

    Great post man!

  2. Jennifer says:

    Excellent graphic Jarrod! Definitely every SEO doesn’t always tow a straight line and as it becomes increasingly difficult to get clients to rank for highly competitive short tail keywords, the more SEO’s will try out some greyish techniques. I have been evaluating backlinks of websites ranking on the first page for head terms for many years, and it’s interesting to see that even the folks at SEOmoz and company don’t always follow what they preach.

    • Do as I say not as I do. I too love looking at link profiles. Most of the really big names don’t work with clients or if they do the clients aren’t anything like those the “average” SEO would work with. It’s real easy to remain philosophically pure when your working with fortune 500 companies who already have a mountain of link equity. Raising their traffic by 5% is considered a huge success. When your clients are less established and your charged with tripling their traffic, your options become a little more creative. I personally don’t believe that any real SEO in the trenches is completely white hat.

      This is the test i use….

      Let’s say you email a VERY authoritative and relevant blog in your clients niche pitching a guest post. If the blog replies that they charge a smallish review fee on all guest posts. Do you…
      a) Say “no way, I only want links that are completely free”.
      b) Look at the clients budget and pull the trigger if you think its worth it.

      If your answer is “b” (and, in my opinion it should be) then your on some section of the grey spectrum. I don’t pretend to know where the line is or where it should be. I expect that it is different for each person. I do know that if you stray too far in either direction, your bound for an ass kicking of some type.

  3. Brook says:

    I realized last month that my nerdy link building staff was no longer enough. They are great guys but this wouldn’t but it anymore. So I gritted my teeth, pulled from my savings and hired a badass PR. The type that sets up events, calls TV stations and doesn’t take no for an answer. Why? Because I have a couple of great writers and I realized that the only way to dominate is get our clients onto huge news/magazine/educational websites.

    This has proven to be cheaper than having 10 link builders going for a month. One article from a National Newspaper with a link back got a page 1 result in 10 days (on a new website). Now we are working on dozens of others.

    I think us nerds need to come out of the idea that real people don’t exist anymore. You would be amazed what one call to an online magazine editor can do for you. If you do it with enough energy.

    Let’s see how we do after the next Penguin Update/Refresh – gulp!

    Your first illustration (Mr Angel) could

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