Search engine optimization – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In an effort to understand exactly what these SEO blighters (ahem) do, I thought I’d Wikipedia. Turns out my hunches were correct:

An SEO technique is considered white hat if it conforms to the search engines’ guidelines and involves no deception. As the search engine guidelines are not written as a series of rules or commandments, this is an important distinction to note. White hat SEO is not just about following guidelines, but is about ensuring that the content a search engine indexes and subsequently ranks is the same content a user will see.

White hat advice is generally summed up as creating content for users, not for search engines, and then making that content easily accessible to the spiders, rather than attempting to game the algorithm.

Note that “gaming the algorithm”, there, can be interpreted subjectively; While the aficionados on here “contribute” sites to the SU engine, the sites are all recursive and – in at least one case listed below – submitted only because it was required for a contest entry. The reviews these Stumblers leave for each other tend towards the one-line, yearbook-entry style of “great submissions and good SEO links!” and in some cases are even showcases for the reviewer’s own name. While it technically avoids the above qualification of “black hat”, this behaviour is little more than Link Farming, which is simply spamming with a different name. Small wonder that “reputation-management” has been used – irony-free – on one Blighter’s page.

Given the sudden tsunami of this malodorous trend, my impression is that it’s a digital Ponzi scheme: It must be benefiting someone, but I can’t figure out how any of the suckers – sorry, SEO experts – cash in. And because there’s no money being lost (with the axiomatic exception of time), it won’t be legally shut down.

All that remains for the good people of SU, then, is to wait out the crapstorm and hope the Blighters realise what one of their own** is telling them:

It is considered wise business practice for website operators to liberate themselves from dependence on search engine traffic. A top ranked SEO blog **name snipped to stop the insanity has reported, “Search marketers, in a twist of irony, receive a very small share of their traffic from search engines.”

When – not if – they eventually close up shop, I can put them in contact with a handful of Amway veteran friends. They can gather and exchange the “it’s not that it doesn’t work, it’s that…” stories I’ve been hearing for years. The rest of us, meanwhile, will be out working towards actual achievements, such as my collection of modest-income generating websites, none of which I’m listing here.

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