My philosophy on SEO is simple. When I search for something on Google, I want to find the content that is the best and most relevant to my search term, not the content whose creator was able to buy up the most links.

Google uses links as votes to gauge the popularity of a page or website. Those links that grow organically from other webmasters commenting about our material are the links that hold to the purest sense of that system of votes. Those links that are purchased, exchanged or in any other way manipulated are doing nothing more than diluting the purity of the results.

If your content is awesome, it will be linked by those who stand in awe and I will then find it when I search at Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

If it’s not amazing and I’m finding it when I search, it’s only because you’ve poisoned the system.

I’m quite impressed with most of the Google updates because each time it seems that they’re working to help move the algorithm toward a means of fostering this purist ideal.

Those sites that are awesome and are building organic, one way links get promoted. Those sites that are secretly working to pollute the system will get demoted.

Nicholas Cardot

About Nicholas Cardot

It's my personal quest to enable every person that I can to unlock that dormant potential concerning their online influence. Also, I'm a geek.


  • I completely agree. I’ve been using Google’s Personal Blocklist button on sites with content that’s obviously not worthy of the search terms I entered. Do you think this button will catch on and start to have a real impact on Google results?

  • Jason Acidre says:

    Same as my own view and principle in search engine optimization.

    It’s not about the links, it’s about the authentic popularity of the content, when people give citations to the page because they have found real value from it, then that is “the link”.

    • Exactly. Those are the only links that I recommend going after and if you’re unable to get those links then it’s time to change the type of content your producing because that’s the issue.

  • Thomas McGee says:

    Very good points. I hear all the time of SEO “tricks” one can implement when in the end, it makes no difference if the content a searcher finds, isn’t worth their time.

    What continues to amaze me is the time and effort that’s wasted by individuals and even companies every day attempting to cheat the system. If all that time an effort was placed into actually creating compelling content, who knows, Google rankings may even end up higher than the former methods. Not to mention their would be much more content worth searching for! Thanks for the article, it’s a timely and useful read.

    • Thanks, Thomas. I agree. I think some folks take it for granted when Matt Cutts makes off the cuff remarks about webmasters needing to focus on creating great content, but in the end the best SEO revolves around the best content. Bottom line.

  • Hi Nicholas

    Eventually the scammers and black hatters out there are getting exposed. With all the effort it takes them, they should be putting their talents to better use!

    Google are much smarter than them and I’m glad they are recognising more and more those who are honest and doing things the right way.

    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Patricia, it’s really nice seeing how Google is catching up with this black-hat scoundrels. I’m pleased with these updates and I look forward to the way the web continues to be shaped by these types of adjustments.

  • Brad says:

    Preach on brother for the truth will set your site free and those who choose to defraud and hoodwink the mighty Google will get shot down with a mighty fist to GeoCityville.

  • Bill Bennett says:

    Agree, agree, agree.

    One thing that really upsets me is I rarely use Google when I want to buy something. I’m a journalist and I often use it to cross-reference information.

    Sometimes I type a phrase and have to plough through umpteen pages of online stores and spam sites before finding real information.

    • That’s very true, Bill. It’s annoying that these stores get listed first for no other reason than the fact that because they are producing revenue and have the most to spend on paid links. Like you, I want the purest results, not the most wealthy ones.

  • I agree with you, but in light of what you say, isn’t +1 going to help all this? If people are given a way to select the most useful link in their result pages, useful content will emerge once more over crafted one. I guess it’s also why they released +1 in these terms for now.

  • Sachin says:

    Nice post as usual Nicholas.

    There’s one important thing though. The angle from which you tackle the question is the purist one, i.e. the person who is trained to use a search engine efficiently. This is not the case for everybody. An example is the Facebook login issue. Your everyday search engine user doesn’t seem to be as demanding as the purist would be.

    When this problem crept up, Google engineers themselves had to tweak Google’s results to set Facebook as first result in the SERPs. This questions Google’s own integrity.

    In the case of online business, you can have the best and most legitimate product/content page but what happens when all the black hat SEOers have already stashed their pages on the first results? Isn’t it a case where minimal SEO has to be done?

    IMHO, social results are what will be changing and influencing all this. Fresh and peer shared content (“those who stand in awe” as you put them in the post) is what will give credit. I’ve been advocating the influence of social media on search results for years now and it seems that the wind is turning. Google has been providing “freshness” filters for some time now and Google plus one will be another step in social results.

    • But modifying it manually to make Facebook appear on the first results of a search query about Facebook only adds to what I believe. My point isn’t that we should trust an algorithm to the purest sense but that we should have the most relevant results to the purest sense and sometimes machines will make a mistake and human intervention will be necessary.

      My point is that I simply want to see the most relevant results and I like to see them improving and getting closer and closer to that end.

  • Steven says:

    The latest updates to Google’s Panda Algorithm are going to really help the system. I highly agree with you on that. However it is quite unfortunate for those Affiliate Marketers who relied primarily on SEO for their organic traffic.

  • ah hong says:

    Yes, Google is focusing on links that grow organically rather than those made through purchased or exchanged. Keep in mind that quality content will attracts link naturally.

    As for the user experience feedback via +1 button, I feel something is being lack out here as most user who search via Google didn’t login with their account.

    Looks like they need to rely on Facebook Like signal instead, but I doubt they would 🙂

  • doug_eike says:

    Google’s journey toward finding quality, original content and eliminating the scrapers from top search results is extremely important. Bloggers who work hard to create excellent content depend on fairness in the system. There’s just not enough time in the day to create good content and play Internet games at the same time. Thanks for your article.

  • Agreed. Per Patricia’s comment, some of these black hat schemes are being exposed. I know I’ve read of Google tweaking their algorithm and going after folks like JC Penney, other brands for rigging the results.

    Now I do need to work on SEO and keyword rich content, but I’m not worried about buying links or such crap. It’s work for natural, organic links and I think folks need to put in that time: get out there to get their amazing content found by making it more findable. Hope that makes sense. FWIW.

  • Wesley Wise says:

    I’ve noticed this every time I search for something. But how do they demote the sites poisoning the system?

  • Emily says:

    I’m not embarrassed to say I only know about 25% of what every one is saying, but can I also say I agree with your post?

    I wouldn’t know how to not be a purist! I just hope that when I write a post that it resonates with people.

    I’ve been blogging for two years and when I read this, I still feel like a novice, although I see when I talk to people (non-bloggers) about all of this, none of them know what I am talking about!

  • Great points.

    I like how you said if it puts people in awe, very good way of explaining it.

    That’s really the truth. Considering psychology, most people will do anything because something made them feel really really good.

    If an article I read is incredibly awesome and somehow extremely beneficial, I’m certainly going to link to it where it fits.

    You’re right man, you’re either poisoning the system, or creating stuff people actually like.

    I guess that pretty much says that the people that have to poison the system, have crappy content ;[

    They’ll get with it. Or not. Either way, Uniqueness And Value are King.

  • Kavya Hari says:

    Initially, content should be most important part in the blog post 🙂

  • anthonynlee says:

    here here. precisely right. create awesome content, and the rest takes care of itself.
    i am amazed and impressed at how many different ways people can express the phrase “content is king”.
    just like anthony robbins says though, repetition is the mother of learning. people hear something and perhaps they don’t understand the message the way it is being conveyed, so good ideas evolve into other ways of stating it.
    thank you for contributing to that. 🙂

  • mark says:

    I couldn’t agree more Nick. It seems like many people have tried to take the easy way out when building their sites, but it is just misleading.

    When I do a search, it is still common for me to find results that are irrelevant or just not useful.

    The latest big Google update seems to have been a good one for everyone. For searchers, there is less garbage, and for website owners, the ‘playing field’ has been leveled a bit.

    Have a great day!

  • Kavya Hari says:

    Awesome post Nicholas, See you again 🙂

  • Brian says:

    Other than providing good content, and maybe word of mouth, PR, writing articles for other blogs, what other concepts are best at SEO techniques that would be considered black hat?

    Although I have had several websites in the past that got some massive visitors, honestly, I wasn’t quite sure what part was the largest contributer.

    I guess I find that spending $ on advertising and providing good content, eventually, others will find your site useful and blog about it and spread the word. Is that it really?

    • I heard another commenter say something to the effect that if you write great content then your readers will build your inbound links for you and I completely believe that is the greatest SEO tool in the world.

  • Weakiz says:

    Yahoo, or Bing are not really important in SEO i think.
    They are just beginners compared to Google

  • Weakiz says:

    The real question is how many visitors from google to compare?

  • Weakiz says:

    It’s strange because Google have 71.59% of search engine market place.

  • Weakiz says:

    People who don’t use the power of Google are not the first aim. For me the goal is simply the best, other search engines are just ridiculous.

  • Weakiz says:

    At first Genius are always taken for fools.

  • Stacey Cavanagh says:

    Absolutely – Panda went a long way to helping here at first. We are now certainly seeing websites creating unique and original new content on a regular basis being rewarded in the search engine rankings.

    The algorithm will never be perfect and there will always be someone somewhere manipulating it. I guess we can just hope it becomes as difficult as possible for that to happen.

  • […] Nicholas’ blog, Site Sketch 101 is an artistic approach to online business.  The blog is based upon these 3 self-defined concepts: amazing content, brilliant design, and commanding influence. You be the judge. I’d say he’s doing pretty well. Some of his blog posts include Excuse Me, Friend, Your Jealousy is Showing, The Great Divide & The Real Value of Free, and A Purist’s Take on Search Engine Optimization. […]

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