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I want to clarify a few things from yesterday’s post and give a few more thoughts about my philosophy of SEO. I think that some of my points were misunderstood and I perhaps I could have worded them differently.

1) I do not discount the need for planning keyword density, well-designed meta-tags, and similar on-site tactics. You should make sure all of those things are done right. However, I believe that in the scheme of things, the weighting that search engines put on these elements is decreasing rapidly, and will continue to do so for the forseeable future. That is why I would be wary of an SEO consultant that focused on these items and tried to make you believe that their rewriting of your metatags is likely to make a big difference in your rankings.

2) Inbound links are important. However, my philosophy is very simple. Instead of coming up with strategies to trade for links, buy links, etc., you should focus on offering something that will make people want to link to you. I may be wrong, but I am guessing that search engines will soon be able to discern between sites that have artificially generated links and sites that naturally generate links on their own.

3) I do not claim that it is illegitimate to try to build sites with gimmicks and tricks that will rank well in today’s search engine world. If it helps your cashflow, go for it. However, I would be wary about doing that kind of strategy with sites that you really want to be there long-term.

4) In the past, you could quickly throw up microsites and easily get rankings. That is changing rapidly. I believe that you will have better success by limiting the sites in your portfolio so that you are not spreading your SEO resources too thin. In the future, I expect that the resources needed to get good rankings will continue to grow and this belief will become even more true.

5) The time needed to implement a solid SEO strategy is growing. You might need to plan on years before recouping your investment in many industries. As mentioned before, if you can use crash and burn tactics on throw-away sites to get quick cashflow, go for it.

  • http://www.tupac-amaru.com Luke

    Some good points there, however step 2 is always a hard one:

    2) Inbound links are important. However, my philosophy is very simple. Instead of coming up with strategies to trade for links, buy links, etc., you should focus on offering something that will make people want to link to you. I may be wrong, but I am guessing that search engines will soon be able to discern between sites that have artificially generated links and sites that naturally generate links on their own.

    From personal experience, this all depends on the topc and niche of your website. Link bait works great on sites which cover news, tips etc. Things people always want to get the latests info on. It’s hard to gain some of these links with general informative websites, unless you are ranking well already.

  • http://www.selbourne.com Web Design

    Yes…have read Matt Cutts blog where they are cutting down on sites that purchase links. They also are against reciprocal linking.

    For point one about keywords, you can find a great tool in SpyFu.

  • http://andybeard.eu/ Andy Beard

    Sometimes it is easier to get links to a microsite, and then sacrifice the link juice to your primary site.

    There are multiple ways to do things that are effective, both now and in the future.

    As an example Marketing Pilgrim gains a fair amount of links to content, so even older content isn’t going to dissipate in the SERPs as quickly as a less linked site.
    However if you struggle to get links, it is important that you structure your site site than older content, especially money pages don’t get buried quite as deeply.
    A sitemap is a start, but siloing based on categories gives more focus on the older content.

    WordPress plugins such as Custom Query String are not in widespread use even in the SEO community, which is why I recently adopted it.

  • http://www.seminc.com Adam Maywald

    While I agree with most of what you said, some of the comments in items 1 and 2 are debatable.

    In item 1, I do think that changing meta tags can have a significant change – if we’re talking about Title tags. Description and keyword tags (especially keyword tag) not so much, but for conversions and click-thru’s, description tag does play a role.

    In item 2, I have to disagree. I don’t think the search engines will be able to discern a bought link, if done correctly. It would be nearly impossible if, within the copy, there was a link to another site that was of the same genre. To put filters in place for such “bought link purchasing” would definitely dampen their quality of search results on a macro level.

  • http://www.techmentat.com Kris Keimig

    Greg, loved the post yesterday and this one is top notch as well. Only point (out of the two posts) that I would disagree with is point 4 (microsites); while I agree that you should keep your site profile thin, I think a point can be made for brand vs. microsite development. i.e. if you want to verticalize your content and/or target a particular traffic segment and speak to them in a different tone (than your primary domain/brand).

  • http://www.seomoz.org randfish

    Keyword density? I thought we had dispelled that myth by 2005… Maybe you just meant keyword usage?

  • http://www.webmaster-money.org Webmaster Money

    For the point #2 it is called link bait and people like John Chow knows how it works.

  • http://symbiancorner.blogspot.com William

    You can get traffic in two way – via links or via search results. Inbound links important for both ways. But content and keywords important only for first way. People doesn’t see what behind a link before they click on it.

  • http://www.linksbuilding.net/blog/index.php asso

    Good step by step article , Well there is not easy succes, succes is not ever simple.

  • http://www.themadhat.com Aaron Chronister

    “Incompetent or crooked. How many? I would guess well over 90%”

    Where does that number come from? I’m sure you’ve met a large number of part-time and amateur SEO types, but out of those how many are professionals actually getting work? I’d say the majority of professionals offering their services aren’t incompetent or crooked.

  • http://www.vitabase.com Greg Howlett

    Aaron, I said I GUESS well over 90% (I have done no research study). I have been online for a long time. We have interviewed, researched and hired SEO types by the hundreds. I stand by my statement, and if you are in the market for SEO services, let the buyer beware.

  • http://www.relocationhk.com/ 搬屋

    succes is need good strategies.