Concerning SEO, Honesty is the Best Policy
In his post on the 15 most important SEO factors in 2011, Nicholas brought up a lot of great points and touched on some key steps you can take to optimize any web page or blog post. He also mentioned the tendency for people to question why Google penalizes or bullies some sites and rewards others for their content and SEO tactics.
Today, we saw some big news in the SEO world, when we learned of Google penalizing Overstock.com for their policy breaking efforts to acquire links from .edu sites. Essentially, Overstock lured university webmasters into placing links to its site by offering discounts to students and faculty of the schools that did so.
While .edu backlinks are great for SEO, luring anyone to place a link for any kind of reward is not, and for their mistake, Overstock suffered. Search terms for which they previously ranked on the first SERP, they are now appearing on the 5th or 6th–a big hit for a web-based company to take.
While the situation is obviously unique, the underlying takeaways are not. The only person who gets rich off a get rich quick book is the author. On the contrary, the only group that will benefit from your SEO schemes will be your competitors.
Chances are if your reading this blog, you understand the basic premises and principles of SEO. And if that’s the case, by all means, please employ them and employ them well. But whether you’re noteworthy industry expert, a self-proclaimed SEO “guru,” or a complete newbie to the world of SEO, the rules below apply:
- Don’t try to game the system– there’s a 99.998% chance that Google is bigger, smarter, richer, and more capable than the people behind your web site. Whether you’re as big as Overstock.com or as small as overtock.com, they will find you and they will penalize you.
- Do use at least the basic SEO principles. OK, so you don’t have time to fully pour your efforts toward SEO. We are all busy, but the fact of the matter is, if you have time to write a blog post, you have time to infuse it with a little SEO love. Re-read Nicholas’ post for some really easy ideas on where and when to use your keywords, for example.
- Above all, if you take nothing else away from this post, remember this: when it comes to SEO, honesty and a little elbow grease is the best policy–no hidden text, no luring for backlinks. Content is still king. Produce strong content for the user that you too will want to read and you’ll come out on top.