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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
Watchmaker steadies his delicate hand / I want you / For barbeque parties on blood red sands
— Peter Gabriel, And Through the Wire
March 18, 2005
Search Engine Optimization

This article, recently in Wired News, has an interesting take on the topic of search engine optimization:

Wired News: Search Rank Easy to Manipulate

I’ve made some reasonably provocative statements about search engine optimization in the past (all of which I would stand by today) and this article does little to change them. It does, however, provide a counterpoint and a compelling argument for why I am both right, and wrong.

Google’s page rank is perhaps the worst kept secret and most unknown feature of that most popular of search engines. It’s based on a fairly simple premise: if your page contains good, and popular, content people will link to it. Follow this to its logical conclusion, and you decide that pages with more links should be ranked higher in search results.

So far so good, until you factor in the fact that links can be bought and sold pretty readily. Amazon is basically doing this with its affiliate program: paying you to link to their site.

The best example is an ongoing gag: Google the words miserable failure and it’s likely — unless they’ve changed the algorithm again — that you’ll get George Bush’s resume.

I like that last one. but the subtext there makes a point: this worked for a while, and then it stopped. I suspect that the Google boys have just given up on locking it out, so it’ll stay now. But at one point, they tweaked things so that this changed.

With a sufficient budget, you can buy your way to the top in Google. This is absolutely true.

It’s equally true that Google can change the page rank rules so that your top listing is gone in a heartbeat.

This shouldn’t prevent you from enlisting search engine optimization as a marketing strategy, but it reiterates a point I’ve been making consistently: paying for search engine optimization is not the same as paying for adwords, and your marketing budget should be adjusted accordingly.

Search engine optimization is not a one time buy: it’s an ongoing strategy. Results need to be reviewed regularly, and strategies adjusted accordingly.

Posted by skooter at 11:07 AM This entry is filed under Technology.

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