We don’t often comment on industry type issues, primarily because they’re often boring, but we’re going to make an exception here because this is really surprising. Most people who know WordPress and are interested in SEO will have heard of Yoast, which is run by a Dutch WordPress consultant. The company was recently hired by well respected financial blogger Susan Webber, who owns Naked Capitalism.
Now anyone who knows Susan’s style will know that she is acerbically intellectually rigorous in everything she does. Her reporting during the financial meltdown was exemplary, and she still runs one of the most authoritative go-to financial services websites in the world.
So it’s really surprising that having been asked to do an SEO survey of her site, Joost de Valk, the head of Yoast, should deliver something which was apparently just a little shoddy, and then to compound matters, defend the report with such disdain for customer service that anyone would think he didn’t care about his reputation.
It’s clear from the one of their conversations subsequent to the delivery of what Susan terms a shoddy report which was definitely not worth the $1100 she paid for it.
“The “review” Yoast gave our site was full of cut and paste boilerplate, and worse: chock full of flat out incorrect statements about our site and our business. Many of the recommendations weren’t merely useless; some would have damaged the site’s functioning or our business had we been foolish enough to implement them.”
To say that is strong is an understatement, and one would expect *any* company accused of that kind of stuff, let alone one operating in the muddy waters of Search Engine Optimization (aka SEO) to take it seriously, and not just brush the comments off because the customer apparently doesn’t understand these matters (as his replies imply).
This is basic business practice 101, and Joost clearly lost the plot. Well I suspect that decision may come back to haunt him, and indeed the whole SEO ‘industry‘, since the whole SEO shebang has been under heavy scrutiny for a while now, following the clear shift in emphasis Google has been making on the traditional tools of the game (like backlinks etc).
Very interesting indeed.