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Alls fair in love and SEO

Written by David Harry   
Monday, 10 March 2008 06:44

 Why worrying about shady SEO can be pointless.

This is a little story about how the world is unfair – grow up and get used to it. I am going to explain some realities that many website owners may not be all that thrilled with. I am gonna bitch slap those of you that Search Engine Oportunistdon’t ‘get it’ until you start to drift back to sweet mother earth instead of languishing in the clouds. We’re gonna get one thing straight – there is nothing FAIR about how the world of SEO works.

I was doing some blog wandering and noticed a rant by Matt over at SEO Unique that echoes sentiments I have heard far and wide from bloggers, forums flies and comment junkies alike. What is with those spammy shit sites in Google’s index?

“….. and started my analysis of the site (the next day). The site had keyword stuffing all over the place, their backlinks were so obviously all paid for, the anchor text did not change at all - 100% one phrase and where was this douche ranking? Well 2nd of course (grrr), as many of us bloggers and site owners keep receiving penalties from Google for the occasional “suspicious” link or two - sites that must make hundreds of millions of pounds can get away with it by the looks of it (old news I know)!”

… let’s get a few things straight my fine peeps;


Fact number 1 – there will ALWAYS be websites ranking well that probably shouldn’t be.

I am always hearing people complain about how site X is using ‘black hat’ techniques. I hear cries from the chorus asking, ‘Why oh why doesn’t Google catch these people?’. Sorry Charlie but each level of spam detection adds more processing requirements which ultimately has cost and delivery implications. It is far easier (and cheaper) to merely target the more important areas (can you say link spam perhaps?) and let the public snitch on each other to grab up the rest. User generated content is all the rage right? So Google let’s you the fine netzians do some of the work.

They are not working too hard at programming bots to look for KW stuffing, hidden text and other minor infractions. One of the benefits of a link centric ranking process (PageRank) is that you can simply watch for the link spamming… after all, one needs them to rank ultimately. This funnelling and focus on link spam leaves you, the competition, to address the other tidbits via reporting (paid links, kw stuffing, etc..). Handy huh? Much cheaper ultimately than having the geeks write algos to nail down all the particulars right?


Fact number 2 – the ‘big boys’ will always get special treatment.

Over the years there have been a few brand name big boys that have been caught with their metaphoric pants down – BMW being a prominent one. Yes, every once in a while Google does give the slap down to a real player. Are you equally aware that there are other cases of very well known entities that get the other Google Slap? The slap on the wrist? Yup it happens and instead of a major ban or bad publicity, Googlers merely give them a little tap on the shoulder, a finger wave and a warning. Mind you, it may not be for the reasons one might think.

The devious among us will start to say it is because they are major AdWords partners and the usual call to arms for the ‘Google is evil’ crowd. Ultimately it is the fickle nature of the consumer more than anything. You see when a MAJOR site disappears from the index; people would start to clamber about Google’s lack relevance and shitty results. Your damned if you do, damned if you don’t.


Let the Games begin

Once upon a time I joked that SEO actually stands for Search Engine Opportunist. I have never worn a hat because it messes up my do, though I have studied ALL forms of SEO over the years. This means I have played with people from all walks along the path and seen many things that would make one feel that it’s all not fair. It is fair; I have learned to play this game on many levels and sought to understand search optimization from every angle. I have my own style and when it’s time to strap in and tackle the competition on behalf of a client, I say bring it on! I enjoy the chase and understand the realities that are out there.

In every business there will be limitations, regulations and laws that we live by. In the world of SEO it is no different; there will be those that play strict to the rules, those that bend them and others that blatantly disregard them. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. When it comes time to lace ‘em up – come out fighting, maximize your advantages and plan for the disadvantages. Because in the end, life isn’t fair, you have to play the hand your dealt.

I’ll be seeing ya… til next time – play safe.


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