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I think everyone would agree, it was excellent at the time.
With all the changes with the G-algo since 2002 and the current introduction of BD, i ask:
Is the advice within Brett's article still the standard or simply a romantic reflcetion of what some consider the Goolge glory years?
And many more people are on broadband (the 80% dial-up number is not true now) -- but "lean and mean" pages are still strong performers and the file size advice is good. To do it well, you shold definitely work on your html and css chops.
The overall approach and philosophy is really solid today, just as it was in 2002.
Today, Google algo is more capable of recognizing a site with good content (by using semantic analysis, identification of copies, user behavior metrics, etc); in 2002, if you had enough PageRank, getting good positions was easy, even with poor content.
If you have something worth putting on the Web, and all you ever do is internalize the concepts in that post, you should do fine for yourself.
I would love to see BT update it, however, at some point.
But overall it works. The reason is pretty simple: almost nobody can create new content every day that's worthwhile. Lots of automated stuff, but new content? That's hard. I think Brett was laughing a little to himself when he wrote that, deceptively simple words for something that few can do. I have yet to get a client to understand that this is the key to long term growth and long lasting success. Takes too much ongoing work, no tricks can replace it, although seos try, all those automated junk content scripts... Oh well.
Lean and mean pages absolutely work, I prefer to put it the opposite way: why is having a bloated page good? Who does it help? WebmasterWorld is the best example of this that I can think of, although there are a few other sites out there that get it too. Oddly enough, most of them have PR 8 or 9. That's not a coincidence.