|To SEO or not to SEO? |
So I've been reading a lot lately about web development, and with regard to SEO, I keep hearing that if you want to be successful, you need to do some SEOing. On the other hand, I read plenty of stuff with regard to SEO saying, basically, don't do XYZ SEO technique because you'll get penalized for it, or don't do XYZ because it doesn't work anymore.
Basically, I get the feeling that search engines are working around the clock to make quality sites rise to the top and filter out those which try to take advantage of search engines to rise to the top, i.e., SEO.
So what to do? Is SEO even with bothering with? It sort of seems like it's inevitable that Google will figure out ways to filter out any things done intentionally to influence search engine rankings/results. So is it better to just write naturally and make a website without regard to SEO, trusting that eventually Google will reward those who don't try to take advantage of the system?
Real SEO = quality, authority, relevance, and clarity of message.
And keep in mind that Google is just the flavor of the week.
Just stick to the guidelines set by Google and the other search engines, don't do anything silly and you can't really go wrong.
|And keep in mind that Google is just the flavor of the week. |
LOL! And has been for the last five years or more ;)
To quite some extent I'd agree with jtara, but a site could meet all those criteria and still be poorly SEO'd.
A lot of people use the label "SEO" to refer to activities which would more properly be called search engine manipulation. In my mind that's quite different from optimization. True optimization will always help your cause. Manipulation will come and go.
Good SEO would start by polishing the site itself, cleaning out errors and picking up on missed opportunities. It's amazing how many people work hard to cultivate links for a site that hasn't got the basics in good order. I recently received an aggressive series of "let's trade links" emails from someone, and when I checked out their site, their home page had <TITLE>Untitled Document</TITLE>. Hellooooooo....?
Another error I've come across a few times recently is businesses that post their physical store address in the form of a graphic, not text. It looks great for humans, but if you'd like your business to show up in searches for "mudville widgets" it would help if spiders could read the name of your town.
Savvy attention to issues like that will always stand you in good stead. Recommended reading: Google's guidelines for webmasters.
You will want to think about seo a little. But mainly you'll want to build and manage a good site with good content. SEO is making sure your (real, legit, good) content is found by the search engines.
So, don't use images for text, use titles (as the examples above said) but also check that you use some keywords in your text. Last week I found a site that did cleaning, but all they said on their site was 'we're a professional company with motivated and friendly workers who would like to show what they can do for you. We have certificates and take care of our employees.'
But they forgot to mention all keywords...
So a definate yes to seo, but do it right (;
|Another error I've come across a few times recently is businesses that post their physical store address in the form of a graphic |
Reminds me of a friend of mine who runs a limo business. He had a graphic artist design a website for him. He couldn't understand why he had such a low ranking in search engines, and the "description" in the search engines was blank.
Turns out the ENTIRE SITE was done in graphics!
The only reason it was listed in search engines at all is because it did have meta tags.
A less extreme offense that is quite common is using graphics for titles or section headings. If you do this (BUT DON'T!), at least use ALT text.
|Just stick to the guidelines set by Google and the other search engines, don't do anything silly and you can't really go wrong. |
But, if you are in a competetive niche you will also rank a bazillion positions lower than the people using every possible underhand technique to get your money.
eg Build a website for the financial widget sector promoting, for example, online widget quotes. This site has minimal SEO and some real nice articles about the widget. It will never rank above the 1000's of doorway pages, cloaked pages, redirects, scumware installers and every other black hat technique needed to win your custom away from everyone else in the sector.
I have white hat sites that do well in mildly competetive sectors and other white hat sites that are so far down the index it's unreal. These sites are continually outranked by competitors that openly employ black hat techniques.
Can you beat them?
Only if you join them ;oP
|I have white hat sites that do well in mildly competetive sectors and other white hat sites that are so far down the index it's unreal. These sites are continually outranked by competitors that openly employ black hat techniques. |
But do the top sites employ these techniques?
Occasionally, I do see this in the very top sites, but only VERY occasionally. Big corporate sites do often walk a fine line (but BMW got slapped) but I doubt you will find open, obvious black-hat techniques in, say, the top 5 listings.
I think you have to decide if you are ever going to be a top site, or are content to run somewhere in the middle of the pack.
I contend that if you employ black-hat techniques, you ruin your chances of EVER being a top site.
|I contend that if you employ black-hat techniques, you ruin your chances of EVER being a top site. |
Can you qualify that Jtara?
|I contend that if you employ black-hat techniques, you ruin your chances of EVER being a top site |
Sorry, not true.
I've been designing sites in a particular industry for about two years now, and I can tell you that more times than not, the black-hat sites outrank the white-hat sites. I've submitted about a dozen sites to Google SPAM... Google just doesn't care. Unless it's the third Tuesday of the month, and they all ate greek salads for lunch... THEN they decide to become the SE Police.
Sure, it's possible that you could be caught for underhanded tactics, and your site penalized... but my experience with Google tells me that, even when a voilating site is stuck right under their noses, the odds are that site will not be penalized, or will be penalized for the one search term you nominated. Like Google doesn't realize that a 10,000 word block of SEO text MIGHT just have an effect on more than one search term.
By the way, that 10,000 word block was a real-life example, and it worked. Only within the past month did Google pay attention to my 4th and 5th attempts to report it as SPAM. If anyone thinks keyword stuffing is "out", or that 10,000 words would be too much saturation for Google not to notice, you're more than welcome to PM me and I will show you the site.
|Google just doesn't care. Unless it's the third Tuesday of the month, and they all ate greek salads for lunch... THEN they decide to become the SE Police. |
Sad but true.
Google are caught between a rock and a hard place with this. The fact remains that if they banned all the abusers they would see a significant reduction in their Adsense income.
As a search user, the most useful feature Google could implement would be an option to omit:
- parked domains
- MFA sites
- price comparison sites
And they will never in a million years do it.
Somebody will, though, and that is when Google will be history.
Heck, I would PAY for a search engine that does this.
Perhaps somebody will do a mashup site that will filter Google's results. Or a stand-alone program to install on your PC.
There's really no interest on the part of search engine companies today to truly serve the needs of end users.
Do no evil? NOTHING but evil!
|don't do XYZ because it doesn't work anymore. |
The basic point there is that "SEO" is never finished. If XYZ stops working, replace your XYZ techniques with UVW.
|Basically, I get the feeling that search engines are working around the clock to make quality sites rise to the top and filter out those which try to take advantage of search engines to rise to the top, i.e., SEO. |
And to the extent that's true, SEOs are "working around the clock" to take advantage of what they can find will now help sites "rise to the top."
Of course you could just decide that it's all not worth the effort, build a site that you're happy with, accept what comes in rankings, and ride out the effects of any ranking changes that the various search engines make in the future.
The bottom line is that no one else can decide what approach in marketing your site is best for you without knowing your goals, budget, and priorities. And really neither can you.