This is why we can’t have nice things

The Internet has been abuzz about SEO/Google Master Matt Cutts’ recent post about the fall of guest blogging for SEO. A few years ago, this was a go-to tactic for helping improve search engine rankings – albeit much more effective if done in an organic, relevant way.

Part of Matt’s post really jumped out at me, not just as it pertains to SEO, but how it relates to digital as a whole:

Ultimately, this is why we can’t have nice things in the SEO space: a trend starts out as authentic. Then more and more people pile on until only the barest trace of legitimate behavior remains. We’ve reached the point in the downward spiral where people are hawking “guest post outsourcing” and writing articles about “how to automate guest blogging.”

(Emphasis mine.) This can be seen across the web, from brands trying to jump on to the buzz around cultural events (to varying degrees of cringeworthiness) to influencer outreach efforts that aren’t targeted or strategic. These trends start off with the best of intentions – creating relevant content, rewarding advocates – but often end up feeling contrived and coming across as spammy. Why else would pages like Condescending Corporate Brand Page be so popular? Brands started with good content, attempting to engage users and somehow ended up patronizing multiple choice “quizzes.”

This is why we can’t have nice things, Internet. We start to look for the easy way, instead of the most effective one.