Two of the sharpest tools in the Search Engine Optimization “SEO” shed talk about the evolution of SEO in an April 2009 interview of Ralph Tegtmeier by Aaron Wall at Aaron’s excellent blog “SEO Book“.
Although I don’t endorse some of the SEO tactics they discuss, it’s important that everybody has a better understanding of what very advanced folks are doing to adapt to the many changes in search over the past several years. Also very interesting is the discussion about SEO morality. I’m not as critical of Google as Ralph is in this interview but I do agree that Google’s dominance has severerly distorted the way the internet would ideally assign rankings to sites. The best example of this in my view is the overzealous use of “NoFollow” tags, which are allowing older, inferior, highly SEOd content to trump fresh, high quality, new content because the incoming links to that content are too often nofollowed, coming in from Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Flickr, and other major sites that are automatically nofollowing links.
Google would say this is necessary to avoid the kind of manipulations that don’t serve users, but I remain skeptical this approach has done more good than harm, and certainly Google’s “very low transparency” working philosophy has stunted the growth of quality content. I know this for a fact because my own decisions in developing content have changed greatly over the years knowing that quality is often not rewarded, and site downrankings are so confusing that it leads one to abandon sites rather than improve them.
Social media gives us a wonderful opportunity to use human input to screen out junk, and I think better use of this by Google would open up newer, better sites that currently fall well under the radar screens.