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Getting Back to Basics With SEO

By John Metzler

Do a search on Google for 'search engine optimization company' and you'll get about 5 million results. Many of the lower results won't be there next month. The competitiveness of the SEO industry can eat up companies in a heartbeat if they don't stay on top of the most effective methods. The companies that don't survive have usually fallen into the trap of using unethical SEO techniques, such as keyword stuffing, spamming search engines with repeat submissions, doorway pages, and other suspect methods in a desperate attempt to get any edge they can over the competition.

In response to these practices, search engines are constantly updating their algorithms in order to offer the most relevant results possible without giving search engine optimizers ways of spamming their way to the top. Remember the days of stuffing the keyword meta tag with hundreds of high usage words in order to drive tons of traffic to a site? Looking back now, that seems like such a silly waste of time. But as we embarked down this unholy path of linking networks of unrelated web sites together by the hundreds, did we stop to think of how similar a course we were taking? Perhaps some of us did at first, but then justified it by the fact that if search engines hadn't caught on yet, well then it's full steam ahead for this brilliant idea.

However, with this last Google (Feb. 2005) dubbed "Allegra", some interesting trends are beginning to take shape regarding linking strategies. Google has been far stricter with links showing up in a web site's backlink check. Web sites participating in overused link networks are suddenly not experiencing the jumps in ranking they would have previously. PageRank values are dropping for sites with a lot of unrelated outgoing links. Sites that have paid for incoming links on unrelated sites are dropping in ranking. What does all this tell us? Well, that possibly one search engine has finally caught on to the keyword stuffing of the 21st century we like to call Link Popularity Development.

I chose to title this article SEO Basics because so many of us pass up the simple strategies for more time consuming and risky measures. Being engrossed in something day in and day out can cloud one's perspective and sometimes we all need a good refresher. So let's go way back and attempt to figure out what the purpose of the World Wide Web was. In general, it was created to offer people access to information. Search engine optimization companies have the power to change what information people all over the world see. Are we doing Web users justice by creating false "votes" for a web site's link popularity? Of course not. I can guarantee you that this method has seen its day and is on its way out.

With that being said about linking, what then of content? For some time now search engines and optimizers alike have been saying to write your content for the visitor, not the search engine robot. That is still the smartest method when it comes to doing business online. Although effective, a search engine optimization campaign is not the be-all and end-all of promoting your web site and you have to realize that regardless of how people find your web site, if they don't like reading what you have to say you won't do any business.

The more good quality content the better. The more links that can direct targeted visitors to your site the better. Finding exposure through quality directory listings is great. Now let's stop all these foolish games we all know the search engines will eventually pick up on.

An expert at organic SEO, John Metzler has held executive positions in SEO firms since 2001. He offers ethical search engine optimization services at

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Other SEO articles:

:: Why Optimize Your Site for Search Engines?
:: Google's New SEO Rules
:: What Constitutes a Complete and Effective SEO Campaign?
:: Keeping Your Website Content Relevant
:: Getting Back To SEO Basics
:: Google PageRank: Not Worth The Worry


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> 8 Link Popularity Methods Ranked for SEO

> Google Webmaster Guidelines You May Be Overlooking

> Predicting Search Engine Algorithm Changes

> How Web Design Can Affect Search Engine Rankings



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