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The Value of No in SEO

The following article is written by Tom Key, a freelance SEO expert based in Kent:

Search Engine Optimisation, commonly referred to as SEO, has changed a lot in recent years.The techniques used to achieve good rankings for particular words & phrases in the search engine results pages have evolved fairly rapidly within a short space of time.

Around 18 months ago there was post upon post on message boards around the world calling Google every name under the sun, blaming them for destroying their websites performance. The launch of major algorithm changes such as Panda and Penguin (1.0 and 2.0) have meant that Google have looked to sort out the mess that they initially created and in my view they should be applauded for taking such dramatic action – it would be so easy to sit back and let things continue as they were.

People used to bend over backwards to get an inbound link to their website – it didn’t matter if the linking website was about an unrelated subject matter, riddled with spammy links or strewn with typos.

Despite much unhappiness at the time, things have somewhat changed in recent years and I (like many other SEO’s out there that follow a white hat approach to online development) think it is for the better.

Google, as the leading search engine, had created a false economy that black hate SEO’s were able to manipulate for their own devices. Google looked to set this right by reducing the importance on quantity and instead placing it on QUALITY.

It is now not the number of links you have to your website, it is the quality of the sites that are linking into you and how relevant they are to your subject matter. It doesn’t matter that you have hundreds of news articles going live every day if they feature only 100 words of garbled nonsensical rubbish – 1 well crafted article, written for people and not robots is considered a lot more powerful.

With the rise to prevalence of authorship, Google have made a massive statement in trying to change search for the better, providing searchers with the most appropriate information from the sources in the know. They have looked to remove the impact of poor quality link building tactics and content manipulation so that “search” across the board is improved.

This change in SEO culture has existed for some time now but despite a lot of recognition and a fair bit of fan fare, there are still a lot of lazy SEOs out there that are looking for short cuts and a fast buck.

I must get approached every week by agencies or freelancers who are promising me links from websites with PageRank over 3 or offering to sell me links for $40 a pop. Someone obviously didn’t get the memo that things have changed!

So please if you are new to SEO and want some advice, my biggest tip in SEO is this: Don’t ever do anything that you wouldn’t be happy to show someone else.

The reason? If you are slightly embarrassed to show off your new inbound links or don’t think your new page which has been stuffed to the seams with keywords does the job, then it suggests you know deep down that this isn’t the way to go.

Trust your instinct. SEO is moving away from trick tactics and much more focus is placed on providing quality, genuine content that actually offers some value to those looking for it.

If you want to avoid the wrath of the search engines, it can therefore be a lot more beneficial to choose the harder option of saying “No” over the easy option of black hat SEO methodology.”
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