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Giving Constructive Criticism Constructively

Last week I read an article that blasted Rand for an article he wrote pointing out the differences between expert and novice SEOs. While I agree with everything written in that article, I think the author could, and should, have taken a better approach.

Most of the responses I’ve read from the author’s article was positive or in agreement with the criticism of Rand’s post but with some questioning the author’s motives or tact. I think it should be noted that Rand posted comments in his own blog stating that he has no hard feelings. Disagreements are just disagreements and most of us have disagreed with others more notable than yourselves from time to time. No biggie and Rand has taken the high road, if we are separating high from low.

And while the author wasn’t wrong, at least in my opinion, if I were to make this rebuttal, I would have gone about it a bit differently. In the article the author called out Rand as being ignorant of what truly separates expert and novice SEOs and that Rand simply exposed himself as an elite out of touch with the business. Those are strong words.

I agree with what the author said, but not the way he said it. As I said, we’ve all disagreed at one time or another, but its the approach one takes in that disagreement which–to pull from the author’s own words–separates the men and women from the boys and girls.

I believe that if Rand were a friend, or even an acquaintance, of the author’s, he would not have said things in the same way. The author took an adversarial approach for no apparent reason whatsoever. People like to talk about how the world would be a better place if everybody would just get along… as they go out of their way not to get along. I’ve seen this time and again, even within the SEO community.

I’m sure that the author respects Rand a great deal, but he did not let that respect filter into his response. It’s a shame, really. The authors comments would have been much more constructive had he used language one would use when disagreeing with a friend rather than an adversary. There is a difference between offering constructive criticism and offering constructive criticism constructively. We should all, and especially this author, work toward the latter!

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

2 Responses to Giving Constructive Criticism Constructively

  1. Nathania Johnson says:

    “We should all, and especially this author, work toward the latter!”

    LOL – looks like you’re already on that road! Great post.

  2. Pingback: The Anatomy of a 10-Step, 12-Month Link Baiting Campaign » (EMP) E-Marketing Performance