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April 28, 2005

Danny defends SEM/O

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Today’s Searchday article is an awesome look by Danny at the popular perception of SEO (worthless shady criminals in a nutshell) and why it’s just wrong.

The whole article is worth a read but I wanted to highlight one section in particular.

SEO doesn’t mean that you build a site to “trick” search engines. It doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice good design. It does mean that you consider some basic tips that even the search engines themselves will tell you to do, such covered in Shari Thurow’s recent SEM and Site Usability article or some of the examples below:

  • Relevant content in HTML text that can be read by search engines. An all-image or Flash page is like showing a picture to a blind person. Search engines can’t see the words in your images.
  • Relevant and unique HTML title tags on each page. Even in today’s link-obsessed world, I still have people telling me that fixing their page title problem brought in better traffic.
  • Removing barriers to indexing. Sites constructed in frames, using dynamic delivery systems, session IDs and other issues can in some cases prevent search engines from reading their content. What you can’t read, you can’t show to others.

Pay close attention to that first quoted sentence. SEO is not about being deceptive. It’s not about cheating or misleading anyone, customer or search engine. As an SEO you have a dual burden. You must be ethical; never doing anything that will harm or mislead your client even if they want you to. You must also conduct yourself above reproach; never attempt to deceive the search engine. Don’t misrepresent your pages. Don’t attempt to inflate your popularity.
Don’t be worthless.

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