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!
One of the biggest things that annoys me about SEOs is how so many of them make generalisations. For example, a recent poll conducted by Search Roundtable asked SEOs and webmasters, “do you like blog links?” The poll was sparked off by suggestions by some SEOs that Google had started to de-value links from blogs.
My bug bear with this is that a link, whether from a blog or not, has value based on it’s relevance, not on whether the site it appears on is a blog. In fact, a link from a blog is more likely to be relevant because of the nature of blogging. You’re more likely to get a good quality, contextual link from a blog (or a social site) than a normal information or commercial site.
This is a typical example of how SEO can adversely affect your on line marketing. Those SEOs (not all SEOs!) who generalise like this are often chasing the algorithm all the time, making big changes and doing u-turns because of the latest ‘filter’ or penalty. The result is a compromise between quality and the pursuit of rankings (which may not prove fruitful).
The truth is, if you build a quality site in an ethical and common sense way you hardly even need to think about search engines. Your time will be focused almost entirely on achieving your business goals and meeting those all important targets.