Polluting the River

It feels cliche, 20 years on, to say the Internet changed us all. Certainly, we take so much of it for granted because, for those of us affluent enough, it's always available. And within the search industry, engines work tirelessly to control the purity of their indexes. After all, without an audience, a search engine fails. So the most accurate results to your search an engine can deliver, the more eyeballs it gathers, the more indispensable it becomes, and the more money it makes. Many claim this is the benefit of a free capitalist government, but whatever you believe, the life blood of a search engine is the accuracy of its' results. This is why Google makes headlines with large algorithm updates like the Panda and Penguin updates last year. But I'm not here to talk about the engine's indexes, I want to talk about those folks out there working their damndest to pollute the purity of search indexes for personal gain.

Recently, Ikusa has been working with some clients who have come to us exasperated with the work they've received as previous SEO vendors. And in all of these cases, the work involved "SEO Copywriting". What this copywriting involved was 2-3 sentences with a link or two to the client's website. Then, iterations of these would be populated across dozens or hundreds of small individual blogs. This was an attempt to gain more inbound links...a key element of a company's ranking in the engines. Link building, as a process, is an effort by someone to get more people to link to your site. The engines see this as a vote of relevancy for the target page, and so for many years people have made a living off link building in this manner and it became a game of who spent the most money to write the most links. That is, until Google got fed up.

Because in reality, this process of artificially inflating links via short, powerless articles on blogs makes it unfair to many companies in the marketplace. The search engine wants to provide the best result, not the most well-paid for one. This is why the engines never reveal how to rank well. They keep their algorithm secret so as to protect the index purity. But greedy folks, such as the aforementioned SEO vendors, want the easy route. They want quick rankings and they don't care whether their site is truly the relevant result or not. So Google penalized many sites last year who were abusing this tactic, and many companies both went out of business and/or found their previously high traffic now at an all-time low.

How to prevent this? Simple! Protect the index purity by leveraging natural link growth. Don't pay for 200 articles, write one a week (like I'm doing right now) and post it somewhere with a link back to your site. Dont have a vendor who doesn't know your business write short blurbs about your market, give some staff the opportunity to talk about their work, why your product is so great, and even just be a brand journalist and post work party pics on a blog. Write long informative articles that educate. Write what interests you. Because the key to growth in the engines is if people start sharing what you write. People send your article to a friend who is needing some information; people retweet your recent post, they quote you on Quora or crack jokes on Reddit. The key is to be talked about and the best person to talk about you is you.

So be interesting. Be a geek about your product or service. Write like crazy and add value to the internet. Give some cool info away for free (if you are reading this, did you notice what I gave away above?). Don''t pollute the "river" of SEO.

And if I''m really really lucky, you'll share this.

Sean's picture
About the Author

Lives and breathes the web. Obsessed with improving the web through better search and brand representation online. Disgusted by black hat SEO, poor SEO vendors, and any unfairness online.

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