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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

If It's Hard, Do It

SEO techniques typically linger long after their "good til" dates. 2008 should be no exception, but if you're paying attention it's time to move onto the stuff that works.

This useful review of techniques that Google clamped down on this year included:

  • Ho-hum reciprocal linking schemes. I link to you because you link to me. The authors of the article said "time to get one-way links". What!? Are you crazy? Do you know how hard that is in this day and age? Well, there are a couple of ways to achieve this. Do something cool enough that people really want their friends to know about it. Or, send someone a brown envelope full of cash for a link. Google can't track this (yet). Don't overpay.
  • Ye Olde Directories. So-called "directories" that are only in business so lazy business owners can "get links" so "Google ranks them better" have been on the way out for some time. Little wonder; there is no editorial discretion and as directories they are useless to 99.9% of the population. In fact, I bet Googlers (manually looking for trouble) see a JoeAnt link as a red flag for further investigation. So what now? When Ye Olde Directories are gone, something may have to take their place, so it seems we're in a bit of a warped phase of widespread soft-spamming of Wikipedia, Digg, Reddit, and - as long as it's a trusted circle of some sort - you name it. Gray is getting grayer. How Google chooses to weight all the many potential quality and "not-spam" signals out there is anyone's guess, but you can guess this much: Google can't possibly have perfect answers to combat ever-increasing levels of opportunism in the pursuit of visibility. What I personally see as legitimate in this ethical and practical quagmire? See above, under "Do something cool enough..."
  • Bye-bye to 10 Blue Links, Hello Universal. I get the concept, but are we being oversold by a reinvented crop of Universal Gurus eager to create a new SEO sub-specialization for themselves? I'd love to see some empirical data about how the gradual decline of the "10 Blue Links" concept is actually affecting companies' search referral traffic, regardless of whether they profess to "get it" or not.
(hat tip Search Engine Roundtable)

One thing that won't change: search marketing professionals will be selling you something this year. With the authors of that article, I hope folks will at least be buying relatively current services, not futile make-work projects.

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