Tag Archives: Ethical Web

I have nothing to be worried about

Tamar Weinberg of Search Roundtable today asked, “do search penalty discussions worry you?” Well, Tamar, I’d have to having something to worry about in order to be worried.

The way I see it, unless you’ve been employing optimisation techniques aimed specifically at improving rankings, there’s nothing to worry about. In fact, no web master/marketer/business owner should be employing techniques other than those which improve the quality of one’s web site for the benefit of the target audience.

Tamar brings up the subject of which hat SEOs wear. Some would say I’m whiter than white for my views on optimisation. I say I’m neither black nor white hat* but simply ethical in doing business on line, just as I’m ethical in conducting business off line.

* If you have to lump me in either camp, I guess you’d go with white, but I’m not just white hat – I’m more like the white wizard!

How SEO will eventually die off

I really enjoyed reading Ian Lurie’s take on the death of SEO. He gives us a few ideas as to how SEO will finally meet it’s demise. (Note I’m not questioning whether SEO will die or not!)

I’m going to give you my own take on each of the three theories;

The Slow Meltdown

While it is true that many companies are taking SEO in-house, most SMBs just don’t have the resources to do the same. SEO is a very labour-intensive excercise and smaller enterprises will have to get outside help.

Additionally, even though many larger organisations are moving to in-house SEOs, more and more full service marketing agencies are including SEO in their service offering. Larger businesses are taking advantage of this and are likely to continue doing so for a while yet.

The Sudden Extinction

Ian makes the good point that plenty of industries have survived economic downturn, so why not SEO? In fact, my view is that SEO (or rather, on line marketing) could well be the marketing method of choice in a depression thanks to the ease of measuring performance against other forms of marketing. Not to mention the much better returns that can be gained from the internet.

A Tough Adolescence

I have to agree with Ian on this one, I think he’s got it pretty spot on. On line marketing in general is still very young. SEO is just a small part of that and will eventually be sidelined in favour of a more rounded approach to internet marketing. Businesses are getting wiser to the cowboys and marketing consultants are beginning to embrace and understand the power of the internet.

I believe only the best SEO consultants will remain in a few years, and even they will have to smarten up their approach a little. They’ll become one part of the on line marketing machine, instead of being at the forefront of an entire sub-industry.

The Future

I’m excited. I’ve seen the industry evolve so much over the last few years and it’s only going to get better. My vision of the ethical web is coming closer.

Yahoo is encouraging unethical practices in web development

A big part of my ethical web philosophy is that site owners should build their sites with the visitors best interests at the forefront.

For years it has been shown that surfers use the address bar to get their bearings and so clean, simple URLs are a must.

Search engines have always had difficulty with long, complicated, dynamic URLs and have encouraged site owners to keep them to an absolute minimum. With the technology available now it is entirely feasible to completely rid any site of these ugly URLs, improving the usability and search engine effectiveness.

So, in my mind, it’s irresponsible of Yahoo to provide web masters with an excuse to NOT clean up their URLs. This is what they did with ‘Dynamic URL Rewriting’.

They gave web masters a way to tell Yahoo to ignore certain query string parameters in their URLs. This is very useful for webmasters – especially where their sites use session IDs and the like.

However, it helps them to be lazy. To disregard the need for clean, usable URLs and opt for the ‘easy option’ which translates to a lower quality of user experience.

In the case of session IDs, Yahoo should be making their algorithm clever enough to cope with such a common feature of the web, if not more so. Google certainly doesn’t provide such a feature, but that in no way puts Yahoo ahead. In fact, it puts them behind because Google already understands and accepts that sites use parameters, some of which are common and have no bearing on page content so they ignore them automatically.

So come on, Yahoo, stop encouraging bad behaviour and smarten yourselves up!

Yahoo! Search Blog: Be Dynamic, Be Confident — Yahoo! Search Supports You.

Yahoo SHOULD be promoting friendly URLs, not creating bodges like this.