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This 64 message thread spans 3 pages: 64 ( [1] 2 3 > >     
Should SEO Specialists Follow Google's Guidelines Blindly?
Or rather determine when to follow them, and when to break them.
reseller

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 8:46 am on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi Folks

I have been always in support of following Google's Webmaster Guidelines. However, recently I found myself in doubt whether those guidelines should be followed blindly be SEO specialists, and to some extent webmasters.

Reasons of my doubt is Google's employees comments since the arrive of BigDaddy. And let me say it more clear, I feel that Google doesn't care much about the dropped innocent sites. It doesn't care much about lost pages. It doesn't care much about sites loosing ranking for no logical reasons.

And I see Google's employees don't tell what exactly happening anymore.

Under such situation, Clients are pressing SEO specialists to correct what Google destroyed and "bring much needed justice" back to Google's serps again. Self Justice, you might say.

I'm not blaming Google's employees for working to benefit and protect Google's financial interest. I'm not blaming them for not telling us the truth either. And I'm not blaming them for writing Webmaster Guidelines for protecting Google's interests primely.

I'm just asking, shouldn't SEO specialists do as Google's employees and serve their own business and clients interests?

 

Gimp

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 10:16 am on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Are you implying that SEO types have been serving Google's interests? If they have not been serving their clients' interests in the past and sucking up to google, then something is sorely wrong.

bufferzone

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 10:36 am on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

A lot of SEO’s and webmasters are very focused on Google, what Google does, what Google says. To some extent this is understandable given the fact that Google provide most of our traffic.

I would, however, advice to switch your emphasise more on the traffic it self. Create good quality content that people will want to read and want to come back to. Analyse your internal structure and the way your visitors travel through your site to optimize content and structure so that visitors stay longer, read deeper and read more.

Google’s guidelines are often common sense if you look at them and not that hard to follow, if you focus on creating a web site for the users, rather then a web site for the SE’s. It is my understanding that if you do sensible things that are meant to help your users, you won’t get into troubles with Google, and if you do they are willing to listen.

glengara

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 10:55 am on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

*I feel that Google doesn't care much about the dropped innocent sites.*

While such an animal no doubt exists, I've yet to see one ;-)

For long-term sites I follow strictly to the linkage guidelines taking a broad view on what might constitute a links scheme, for others I might well take a narrower view ;-)

randle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 2:51 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Clients are pressing SEO specialists to correct what Google destroyed and "bring much needed justice" back to Google's serps again.

With all due respect, talk about the tail wagging the dog. Their clients can press these “seo specialists” until their blue in the face, but from my experience Google charts its own path relative to how their algorithm ranks sites. They like, and listen to constructive feed back, but letting the people optimizing sites for money be the new sheriff in town would end up being a little self serving.

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 2:58 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Clients are pressing SEO specialists to correct what Google destroyed.

Wrong business model. You have absolutely no control over what may happen with any of the search engines/directories when dealing with organic results (you know, the free stuff).

Internet Marketers should be pressing clients to diversify their revenue streams online and not rely on the free traffic alone. It is not guaranteed.

Following the guidelines is a choice only you and your client can make. If you are in this for the long term, you'll follow some sort of guidelines so that your client isn't subjected to the whims of an index that is ever-changing.

Interpreting the guidelines is another issue. ;)

<edited> - Changed SEO's to Internet Marketers.

[edited by: pageoneresults at 3:23 pm (utc) on May 30, 2006]

trinorthlighting

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 3:16 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Build your pages for your customers, not google... That is my motto.

phantombookman

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 3:33 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

My brother is asking me to do some black hat on his site because of Google.
He writes the content I put it up for him. He is highly regarded in his professional field and the content is outstanding. Absolutely non-commercial purely for the benefit of others.

Just over a year old so Google cares nothing for the content.

I have kept it clean because it is so good and not worth risking, now he is frustrated.
Conversations go like this:

Why do my articles appear nowhere and I keep seeing things with nothing even on the page?
err, they have more links

How do I get it to rank better?
Get more links
If nobody can see me how will they link?
Some people email sites asking for links
Is that not email spam?

etc etc

I can offer him no reassurance in a white hat way.
His content is fabulous and there is nothing in his area to compare it with.
This all means nothing, certain sites in certain areas are a waste of time if you do everything by the book

Sad but true

fritzbayer

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 3:54 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

reseller

I follow my own rule, which is that the keywords under which my clients are found have to be very relevant and on the topic of their business.

I would not be offtopic or close to the topic, because it does not help my clients to be found under far fetched keywords. I know this from experience.

I use any methods to achieve good positions even if it is against the seo guidelines of google, because following rules just for the sake of it is very pointless.

However, I can understand that they exist. It's because many people abuse them to bring up sites under keywords which are not relevant just to feed their adsense or whatever source of revenue it might be.

And if you built up a site from scratch, then you should have no problem following them anyway.

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 3:54 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

This all means nothing, certain sites in certain areas are a waste of time if you do everything by the book.

Which book are you referring to? There are many. The book of SEO? The book of Internet Marketing? The book of HTML? The book of CSS? The book of Email Marketing? Etc.

Does the site have a Yahoo! Directory listing? Does it have an ODP listing?

How do I get it to rank better?
Get more links.

Hmmm. I might have said get a few quality links.

If nobody can see me how will they link?
Some people email sites asking for links
Is that not email spam?

The year is 2006. The number of results returned for any given query is usually on the high side, particularly with Google. Link development is another topic in itself and we do have a dedicated forum here for that one. ;)

I can offer him no reassurance in a white hat way.

There are no hats in this industry. Just different books. ;)

His content is fabulous and there is nothing in his area to compare it with.

We see that sentiment day in and day out here at WebmasterWorld. We all feel our content is fabulous and nothing compares. Problem is, so do thousands and millions of others. Your brother may just have to extend himself and look for places where he can promote his content. Join a forum. Yahoo! Groups. Anything community related where the information your brother writes about is shared.

This all means nothing, certain sites in certain areas are a waste of time if you do everything by the book.

I'll agree with you on that statement. If it's short term stuff you're looking to do, then most industries are going to be a waste of your time (without a paid venue e.g. PPC, PFI, etc.). A new site coming online today can expect at least a 3-6-9-12 month delay before seeing organic results (sustainable) from Google.

I hate to say it because it is such a cliche, but diversification is key for today's Internet Marketer. Maybe your brother needs to start a Blog? Maybe he can contact friends who would be interested in his material and have them help promote it? There are just so many different ways to diversify one's methods of obtaining visibility for a website.

chrisv1963

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 4:04 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

"His content is fabulous and there is nothing in his area to compare it with."

If the content is good and if you do basic white hat SEO, Google will find it and you will get the visitors you deserve. You must however have the patience to wait up to 6 months before getting good rankings.
If you start with black hat SEO you will get banned sooner or later and get zero vistors through Google.

I have a "pure white hat SEO" website with lots of good unique content and get an average of 49.000 visitors per day.
No cheating, simply a website made for the visitors.

phantombookman

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 4:27 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Pageone
We see that sentiment day in and day out here at WebmasterWorld. We all feel our content is fabulous and nothing compares.

I knew what the content quote sounded like and I nearly didn't use it. It goes alongside
I've been banned from adsense for no reason etc

I have loads of sites myself so I know the SP.
The reason I said this is because it is actually true. He is highly regarded in his area, won awards etc. People even come to work for him unpaid for the learning experience.

He does not expect to be all over Google like a rash but cannot understand why a page with 3 lines of text is number one and his page that is over a year old is nowhere.

The site is out of the sandbox etc, I know all the usual stuff.
What is interesting is not discussing this amongst ourselves but explaining to people that know nothing of this what is actually happening.

Only then do you realise how ridiculous the situation is

phantombookman

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 4:32 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

If the content is good and if you do basic white hat SEO, Google will find it and you will get the visitors you deserve

That is no longer true as it stands today.
Google will, of course, find it, that is not the issue. It is what they do with it.

Having a site already established is easy living, I virtually own the niche I play in. I have sites that can do no wrong.
Age, links and page rank rule, simple as that.
Content is way down the list

texasville

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 4:45 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>>>Content is way down the list <<<<

The most dead-on statement in this thread. It is ALL links. Links are all that matters.


pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 4:53 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>>>Content is way down the list <<<<
The most dead-on statement in this thread. It is ALL links. Links are all that matters.

Cart before the horse?

Without the content, how do you acquire quality inbound links?

drako

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 5:00 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have to agree with Phantombookman here.
It is very frustrating to see a "3 line" homepage at the top while your own 30 pages website with just good content and "basic" SEO is at position 100 for years. Maybe people here at WebmasterWorld are able to understand why, or at least do have a clue what is going on, but people outside the Search Engine World absolutely don't understand how this can be possible. I don't think "black hat" solutions are the right answer but I do think it is understandable that someone, one day, gets tired of playing by "The Book" and changes his way of thinking about all of this. I know at least one of those people and believe me, his sites are doing better than ever and he's getting away with it for more than 2 years now. One of these days, i'm afraid, I will have no more arguments to make him think different ever again. Me, just lost 40 pages out of my 90 pages website, having no idea what I've done wrong, and him, getting more and more visitors doing things that Google, believe me, absolutely does not approve...

ken_b

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 5:27 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

It is very frustrating to see a "3 line" homepage at the top while your own 30 pages website with just good content and "basic" SEO is at position 100 for years.

I'm sure that is frustrating. But it's often that "basic seo" that's the culprit. One mans "basic seo" is another mans recipe for a ranking disaster.

simonmc

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 5:38 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

The dissaster is relying on Google or any other search engine only to provide your visitors.

The problem is that as online businesses, this is exactly what we rely on.

Sure it's a bad business model and has loads of risks. But lets face it, that's life on the internet.

If you can diversify, do it. If you can find your visitors from elsewhere then do it. If you can influence people to use other search engines than google then do it.

If after all that you still do not have a viable business then it's time to pack up shop. The free ride at google is over. It really is.

The only hope for a level playing field in the future is if google loses a massive amount of it's following. Thats not really likely at this moment.

The dust has settled again in the favour of google, as it always has before. Our sites mean nothing to them we need to accept that fact and just move on.

If you follow Googles guidelines blindly then you are surely blind.

chrisv1963

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 5:56 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

"Without the content, how do you acquire quality inbound links?"

Very good point!
Good content = Free one-way links = Good rankings ...
The best advice I can give out of my own experience is to work on the content on a daily basis.

Shurik

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 6:12 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Without the content, how do you acquire quality inbound links?

You simply buy them. All top sites in my niche pay for the links one way or the other. Some hire offshore SEO companies that send out email link requests like mad. Others buy placement on online news sites and pay for press releases. Paid directory inclusion is yet another way of getting quality IBLs. Normally if you have the budget to buy links you have the budget to develop good content, hence the illusion that content matters. But it does not.

calumniate

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 6:16 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

phantom,

although you may be adding quality articles to your sites, it is difficult for that alone to attract inbound links.

another strategy for you is to submit those same articles to article directories and other sites, with your company info at the bottom. Post the articles on your website too, but having the articles elsewhere will really help.

Also, think about writing press releases about your company etc, and submitting to the newswires. A well-written article there can give you a nice spike.

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 7:09 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Another strategy for you is to submit those same articles to article directories and other sites.

Possible dup content issues to contend with when submitting to article directories.

If you really want exposure for those articles, take a look at the audience you are appealing to. Then find those sites where the audience is most likely to visit in large numbers. Offer to write articles for that site that are not dups but original content. You can always summarize those articles and then have the expanded versions on your site.

Some of the suggestions so far have been coming under fire lately particularly from Google. The whole links craze is short lived. You may do well initially but once that spider reindexes a few times and the patterns are detected, the value may not be what it was originally. Think short term vs. long term.

It's a slow process I know, but doing it right the first time around does have it's rewards in the long term.

chrisv1963

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 8:06 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

"You simply buy them. All top sites in my niche pay for the links one way or the other. Some hire offshore SEO companies that send out email link requests like mad. Others buy placement on online news sites and pay for press releases. Paid directory inclusion is yet another way of getting quality IBLs. Normally if you have the budget to buy links you have the budget to develop good content, hence the illusion that content matters. But it does not."

I don't send out link requests. I don't buy links. I don't pay for press releases and I don't pay for advertising.
The only thing I pay for is the work of my content writers.
I put all my energy in the content of the website and after several months the reward was several page one positions in the SERPS, including for a 4-letter word with +350.000.000 results on Google.
My conclusion: Good content and frequent updates is a key to success. Of course the links to your website will follow automatically and have impact on the rankings.

calumniate

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 8:27 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

good points pageone.. dup content is definitely something to think about - thnks

calumniate

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 8:43 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

That leads me to the question, when submitting press releases to the media, how many newswires would you think would be optimal in submitting to? Just one?

I'm thinking that just because of the volume of links, it's better to submit to multiple newswires, but with respect to duplicate content I'm not so sure.

Many thanks,

Russell

arubicus

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 9:16 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

"I don't send out link requests. I don't buy links. I don't pay for press releases and I don't pay for advertising.
The only thing I pay for is the work of my content writers.
I put all my energy in the content of the website and after several months the reward was several page one positions in the SERPS, including for a 4-letter word with +350.000.000 results on Google.
My conclusion: Good content and frequent updates is a key to success. Of course the links to your website will follow automatically and have impact on the rankings. "

How did you promote your site initially to gain exposure in the first place?

"Good content = Free one-way links = Good rankings"

Not always as absolute as this. Yes you need some sort of content/service in the first place. That is no doubt but the VALUE of content is give only by those who are able to read and place value upon what is said. Hence you need to produce traffic FIRST to the content for value to be determined thus links and what not. That means advertising, search engines, links, etc.

Let's say I have a cure for cancer. I write about it and save it on my hard drive. Unless that content is DISTRIBUTED and is read by others the value of that content in NONE. So content alone cannot do it. Links can be swayed but long term links are a must. But alone they cannot do it if there is not value on the other end. EACH is equally important.

Good content does not mean it is valuable. You can have 100 sites with good content that says the same thing on a subject to where value is equal. But if you can say the same thing but add extra value to the subject you stand a better chance to stand out from the crowd and amass links. But goes back to you needing readers in the first place to determine the value of your content.

What I am saying is good content yes is more apt to getting linked to but you must DISTRIBUTE the content in some way so that humans can place the value upon the it. This is why I really don't think this is an automatic thing as you state. At least not at first. Normally you will have to take part in distributing the content until you create a distribution BASE. Then you will see that "automatic linking" but yet this is still based on the effort you put into in the beginning.

So rewrite your formula:

Presentation of valuable buzzworthy content + promotional methods + brand image + creating a large dedicated visitor distribution base (repeat visitors, email lists, etc.) = Greater potential for free one-way links and good rankings.

Not as easy as it sound anymore!

[edited by: arubicus at 9:21 pm (utc) on May 30, 2006]

reseller

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 9:17 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

IMO, we can look at the subject of this thread from two different angles; the first angle belongs to webmasters and the second where SEO specialists and SEO firms are operating under.

Webmasters might still consider Google Webmaster Guidelines as the limits within which they are supposed to manage and optimize their sites. Here we are also talking about money generating sites of different kinds too.

While in the case of SEO specialists and SEO firms we are talking about contracts of sizes like $50.000 , $100.000 etc..
We are also talking here about SEO firms of 20, 30, 50 etc.. employees.

Talking to friends within the SEO industry (if I may use the term) I hear new kind of developments and actions have been taken recently.

For example, a SEO firm has hired software engineers to join its "analysis" Team. Another firm has developed and testing new generation of "information Pages". A SEO Specialist friend is establishing alliance within the sector etc..

I.e it seems the good old days of "Regular" SEOs have gone. Instead we shall witness very sophisticated SEO industry.

Because of huge revenues involved, I guess part of such industry shall rather determine when to follow Google's Guidelines, and when to break them ;-)

I guess from now on, Google engineers aren't going to deal with only webmasters, but they might also find themselves dealing with software engineers of SEO firms too. Very interesting developements indeed!

ken_b

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 9:46 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

I went to Google and looked, sure enough they call these things guidelines, not rules, not laws, not absolute anythings, just plain old guidelines.

colin_h



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 10:51 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi Reseller,

2 years ago I was paid 1 years salary to push Google as far as I could for a finance company. Guess what ... they're still in the top ten for pretty much all of the industry keywords that I built for. If Google can't catch them then what are we worried about ... it's a free game for us ... jump in and fill your boots.

Google is weak, kick it while its down.

reseller

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34552 posted 7:36 am on May 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

colin_h

"Hi Reseller,

2 years ago I was paid 1 years salary to push Google as far as I could for a finance company. Guess what ... they're still in the top ten for pretty much all of the industry keywords that I built for. If Google can't catch them then what are we worried about ... it's a free game for us ... jump in and fill your boots. "

Hi Colin

Thanks for an honest feedback.

Several friends have told me something similar to what you mentioned.

And thats leave us with an important question. Are webmasters, SEO specialists and SEO firms going to be selective in future when it comes to Google Guidelines?

Another question is. Can Google Search Quality Team handle such situation?

This 64 message thread spans 3 pages: 64 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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