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The Search Engine Game

October 2nd, 2007

SEO is obviously something that is occupying a lot of people’s minds nowadays. Digg and other community websites are full of posts with the three-letter abbreviation. The challenge is to outsmart the search engine algorithm so that your content (well, ads) will show amongst the first search results. The number of SEO experts out there are legio, but so are the skeptics. Alastair Revell, for instance, thinks that all you need is a good grip of basic web design.

“What I believe is that writing search engine optimised pages is part and parcel of good web design and not a black art to be practised by specialists.”

I agree with Alastair on this. To me, SEO with the sole purpose of climbing as high as possible on the Google ladder, is a lot like cheating. It’s like skipping a cue. The effect is that more legitimate content could be pushed downwards. The problem then, is that if some does it, everyone needs to follow or lose their legitimate rank.

A parallel can be drawn to driving in big cities: in order to prevent cars from behind to pass and take your place, you need to keep a short distance to the car in front. This way of driving use up more fuel than necessary. It requires you to accelerate faster, and break more often than what is optimal. The same is true for SEO. The time you spend on optimizing search engine results is waste in the sense of content quality.

Instead of worrying about duplication or other SEO related problems, your time is better spent on improving content and users’ experience. In my opinion, that is the only way to be a long-term winner in the Search Engine Game.

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  1. October 5th, 2007 at 17:57 | #1

    I think part of the problem is that building high quality web pages is, in fact, quite difficult.

    Anyone can produce a web page, but very few are built to even the most basic standards. There are many things to consider from (X)HTML and CSS compliance, through writing good copy, understanding the demographics of the intended audience, good graphic design, usability issues, legislation (often across jurisdictions), and SEO … (and much more).

    I believe that all of these should be delivered together. I don’t think it helps the buyer to have to visit various “shops” to finish the product.

    Most people wouldn’t consider buying a car by acquiring its components and then assembling them – it seems too much like building the car in the first place!

    So why buy bits of a web site solution from various providers and then try to assemble them?

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