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Jill Whalen writes, "Anyway, Google, just let me know when you find an algorithm that really does reward the good stuff and not the bad. In the meantime, I'll keep telling people to make their websites be the best that they can be for their users so that there might be a few less horrible websites showing up at the top of your search results.But when they ask me whether my way works better than spamming you, I'll have to tell them the truth."
Comments8 Comments  


Avatar Moderator
from Jill 2796 Days ago #
Votes: 2

So what does everyone at Sphinn think? There are a ton of comments on the original letter to Google, but perhaps we can have a separate discussion here.

I found it interesting that on Twitter @MattCutts told me to feel free to send him some examples and they would dig into them. But my response was how would that solve the larger problem? Everyone sees the spammy stuff winning every day and most of those people don't have a direct line to Matt. So while he can take care of things on a one-to-one basis, I don't see that as being much help.

As long as Google puts so much stock in anchor text and domain names the "problem" (if there is one) will continue to exist.

Is it even possible these days to do SEO "naturally" by having a great site and marketing it professionally?

from AndyBeard 2796 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Doing SEO naturally does work but lets do a little SEO audit as a demonstration.

Alexa suggests that gets a fair amount of traffic for the keyword [meta description]

The landing page is a 6 year old article that points to an updated article from 2007 which is still a little out of date or even a little inaccurate.

As an example in the updated article you have

"Google does not (at this time) seem to give any weighting to pages when the keyword queried is used only in the Meta description tag and nowhere else. I say "at this time" because I know in the past I have seen them show pages that have the keyword only in the Meta description, and I wouldn't be surprised if this is something they turn on and off at various times."

A SEO is going to look first of all at whether that page actually converts and if it doesn't take appropriate action either to make it convert better, or to rank for something else.

It the page meets whatever goal you set, it would also be best to introduce a second page that is a definitive version and push that up the SERPs for a secondary listing.

You may even look at ways to improve the quality/integrity of the first article.

The current second page isn't really either the definitive article on the topic, or specifically optimized for the term.

Most of these blog networks for links come about because people are quite happy to use other people's content, but then give them no links, or very poor links. But anchor text doesn't equate to domain authority.

Google does have a balance that keeps lots of spam out or gaining a massive foothold - quality scores.

Site owners ultimately decide what they want to rank for and receive traffic for - as a poor example a computer magazne site is ranking on my ego search in the UK and the content mainly snippets of a few articles I have commented on - not my comments but a snippet of the blog articles including a few from Matt's blog.

I can think of much more relevant things that site owner should try to rank for, much better content to include on those pages, and much more appropriate pages to rank, but ultimately they have decided to use their domain authority to rank for junk.

That can have detrimental effects. Their choice.

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 2796 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Yeah, I've felt the same way, did a long piece on it at SEL:

"When poor links like this can produce top rankings, it gets harder and harder to convince people that they should focus on content, that content wins out. I still believe that, by the way. If you’re in it for the long-term, a focus on content is right, in my opinion. But you can see why so many get tempted by the short term gains. They can work."

from AndyBeard 2795 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Danny we had a discussion on that post as well.

If you want to rank for [Search Engine] you can.

Both SEW & SEG rank higher than you currently for that term. SEJ is just behind you.

Just 2 small kindergarten SEO techniques will probably do it.

1. Improve your title tag so it is more focused

2. First link

However ranking for that term on the first page could have a negative effect on other rankings. #justsayin

No link spam required

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 2795 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Yep, saw your comments Andy. Maybe I'll play with that, but I pretty much disagree. The title tag is pretty focused already. First link, there's a good user reason for our first link to be "Home." And for "search engine" in the singular, we have huge amounts of anchor text pointing at us with those words -- huge, and from respected sourced -- but we can't crack that?

Add to this that other terms, you can easily see that gathering up a bunch of links through blog footers, client references etc. makes a difference -- that this is what has helped rank some of those sites, not the overall quality of their content.

That's the core issue to me. Google says do content, and yet you can find things succeeding not because of content but just through gaining links in any old way, which undercuts Google's overall message.

Avatar Moderator
from Jill 2795 Days ago #
Votes: 0

That's the core issue to me. Google says do content, and yet you can find things succeeding not because of content but just through gaining links in any old way, which undercuts Google's overall message.

Which was one of my main beefs in my letter to them. They really are hypocritical that way :)

from AndyBeard 2794 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Lets work on this title

Search Engine Land: Must Read News About Search Marketing & Search Engines

Search Engine Land: Online Marketing & Search News You Can Trust

I would even be tempted to drop that second search

Search Engine Land: Online Marketing News You Can Trust

Then lets fix the header

The linked graphic header with alt text of "Home"

A text link somewhere in the header maybe top right in the header container and visible with anchor text "Search Engine & Online Marketing News" - it could also be a linked tag line

Then you can have whatever you like in the nav bar, including another "home" link.

If you want to get smart then the first link should be controllable on every page so you can vary the anchor text based on the page topic and your ranking goals.

Every day I see sites that get the Google hammer - they are not impervious

At the same time every day I see people claiming SEO is just link spam.

from Doc2626 2794 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I don't think you're saying anything that many others haven't felt. The only difference is, you said it publicly. Maybe that's a good thing.

I doubt that the folks around the conference table at the 'Plex are unaware of the hypocrisy. They just have conflicting goals, and have made their choice, yet are unsure of how to defuse the conflict (or unwilling).

I also doubt that we're going to see the craphat methods ceasing to yield at least short-term results, any time soon. It's just one of those things we have to live with, 'til the next thorn in our collective side takes over our attention.

@ Danny - I'd have to say that you're not ranking for "search engine" because you're not going after it. Just having it in the title isn't sufficient, IMO, particularly now, with increasing semantic techniques being employed.

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