A recent Forbes.com article posed the question: "SEO and Other Web Marketing Techniques: Tools or Tricks?" The article, written by Roger Kay, who "covers endpoints and how they relate to the cloud," begins by differentiating Google (over Facebook and Twitter) as the premier Internet platform: "Because," to quote Kay's surprisingly sophomoric writing, "no other company ties together everything on the Internet the way Google does."
our misgivings with the quality of the writing itself, Kay's article
inspires an intriguing discussion on the value of Google and how
"charlatans" have gamed the platform to increase PageRank. For a
definition of PageRank, Kay (showing a first-class knowledge on the
subject) links to Wikipedia.
course, Wikipedia offers a concise and studious definition of PageRank.
However, if you're going to write about PageRank and its relation to
web marketing techniques, like SEO, you might seek a more nuanced
definition. We attempted to offer our own definition of PageRank in a
prior post: "The Difference Between Website Ranking and Website Optimization."
that post, we also quoted Wikipedia to illustrate a seemingly elusive
component of PageRank: "Google has not disclosed the specific method for
determining a Toolbar
PageRank value, which is to be considered only a rough indication of the
value of a website."
Kay seems to have missed this last, crucial caveat: PageRank is "only
a rough indication of the value of a website." And by misunderstanding
the term itself, Kay's article commences with a faulty premise.
when speaking about the so-called "charlatans," Kay seems to imply the
whole goal of "gaming the system" is to increase PageRank. Specifically,
in terms of SEO, he describes a keyword stuffing scenario we have
condemned again and again here on the Organic SEO Blog:
"The idea is that certain words and phrases on a Web page will raise its
ranking. Stuff your page with them, and your visibility on the
Internet will rise."
High-qualty SEO is not about
stuffing your page with keywords. High quality SEO is about the
appropriate use of keywords. This is not some form of trickery; it's a
fundamental marketing principle: speak in your customer's language.
defining keywords for a site, a website owner necessarily refines
his/her vision. The simplest way to achieve this vision is to ask, "How
would someone find me on Google?"
SEO specialists use keywords for this purpose: so that customers can more easily discover the exact product or service they are looking for. We wrote about this, too, in a prior post: "How SEO Can You Clarify Your Business Offering."
Now, thankfully Kay does not limit his opinion of SEO to keyword stuffing:
course, there’s more to it than that. Aside from the cat-and-mouse
game played between Google and the SEO mavens, there’s the dynamic
aspect of it. Fresh content does better than stale content, and so the
SEO devotee needs to keep changing what’s on the page."
is right: the SEO specialist does need to continue changing "what's on a
page." But he does not adequately explain why, exactly, this is gaming
In fact, fresh content is a core principle of
high-quality SEO. Relevance is key!We believe the Internet is a better
place, and yes more "dynamic," when websites strive to offer new,
relevant information as often as possible. After all, one of the most
popular sites on the web is The New York Times. Of course, not
all website are storied news publications--but why shouldn't a website
refresh often to better meet the dynamic needs of its potential
After seemingly dismissing SEO without understanding it, Kay finishes his article by praising "Inbound marketing":
"So, what does inbound marketing even mean? It’s closely related to
viral marketing, the idea that a really good idea takes off by itself as
people pass it along to one another, eventually spreading it
everywhere...inbound will only work if the product is good. Effectively, the
Internet is a fantastic channel to give an idea a chance to make it in
the wild, but the virus only spreads if the content justifies the buzz."
a sense, this is the central theme of The Organic SEO Blog: no SEO
campaign will work without a sufficiently "good" platform. We advocate
well-written content and dynamic changes--the type of inventive
information that will create a buzz and attract users. As we wrote in a
recent post, "A Crucial SEO Question: Quality or Quantity":
"The Internet is best served when website owners pay
attention to the quality of writing. Happily, this is not merely our
opinion: it's Google's opinion, too. Google favors well-written,
informative content. And despite the example of Bleacher Report, good
writing is still the best way for most websites to attract attention."
This is what Kay seems to miss about SEO--and perhaps what he misses about his own writing: quality trumps all.
This is not trickery. It's hard work. But as our sponsor, Stepmans PC writes in "SEO is not the Enemy":
do not fight the algorithm, and do not attempt to trick the system in
any way. If you perform optimization correctly–organically—your website
will be richly rewarded."