Search Engine Optimization January 17th, 2013
SEO has always been a somewhat controversial subject area and one that has never been free of controversy and disagreement. Of course part of this disagreement stems from the simple fact that SEO is done online which in turn means that people are most likely to discuss it on forums and on comment sections where mankind has never been known to be at its most agreeable. The other problem with SEO is that there’s no single authority on the matter and no real ‘right or wrong’ answer. Of course Google are probably the best people out there for telling us how to get to the top of their SERPs but they never do explicitly explain their algorithms. If they told us the algorithms they used outright then it would be incredibly easy to play the system, meaning that the whole process is purposefully shrouded in a cloak of secrecy.
Add to this the fact that those algorithms are constantly changing, that new technologies are constantly being introduced and that lots of the information still out there is outdated and you have a recipe for disagreements. Here are some of the most common…
One of the most common disagreements you’ll come across in the SEO world is whether or not Google is a bad guy. Google’s motto has always been ‘don’t be evil’, but when a sudden algorithm change destroys many businesses that claimed to be innocent it’s no wonder that some factions are turning against Google.
On the other hand though of course it’s also Google’s prerogative to do what they want with their algorithms, and it’s thanks to them that many of us have a job in the first place. Furthermore their algorithm changes and de-indexing behaviours might be destructive in some ways, but most of us would agree that most searches currently yield less spam suggesting they’ve done a good job.
Some of the conspiracy theorists who have taken a stance against Google believe that the whole reason that Google makes these sweeping changes is to ‘kill’ SEO by making it unreliable and thereby drive more customers to their AdWords service as the only reliable way to get on their SERPs and stay there. Thus a lot of people think that SEO is already dead or isn’t effective, but then again there are still plenty of success stories out there that suggest otherwise. My take is that SEO as it once was is dead, but that if you listen to Google and update your strategies you can still be very successful with it. And many businesses seem to agree too as the industry is hardly struggling.
Many people a fretting a lot about negative SEO, but if you read elsewhere it seems others are of the view that it’s not the be-all-and-end-all that some say it is. Google has admitted that a dodgy looking links profile will be bad for your overall ranking (and even provided a disavow tool), but surely some low quality links would actually be part of a natural links profile? This can be seen as just a small part of a wider disagreement over whether SEO should mean running around cleaning up stats and being very technical, or whether you should focus more on writing the content and the rest take care of itself.
So what are you going to do?