Through the years I (owner of MurdenEnterprise) have seen numerous debates on whether search engine optimisation is a justified method of marketing. The SEO industry has a bit of a poor reputation for gaming the system into thinking certain sites deserve to the be the first ones we look at. After all I’m sure Google would prefer it if all commercial ventures just used Adwords. Any decent SEO consultant or company will work hard to dispel the myth that it is somehow cheating and I believe they can do this in a number of ways. Firstly I think people need to begin to understand that although SEO appears to be one of those job types with no distinguished rule book or set procedures it does actually play an extremely important role in the world of marketing. One hopes that as time goes on and search engines get smarter, so that the unregulated SEO environment will become stricter and tougher on those who abuse it. To help customers understand the relevance of this work one only needs to look at how often they use a search engine on a daily basis, and with £1 in 4 of marketing budgets spent online it has become big business. The reality is that the most convenient way to search for information or for a good deal is online – who doesn’t do that? At the same time businesses working within a tight budget need marketing strategies that get the most bang for buck. No one likes to watch pointless adverts on television and we skip past the majority of them in magazines and yet with search engines that problem is well, less of a problem. People are in control when they load up a search engine, they are in control of what they want to see and that’s where businesses need to spend their time – in front of actively searching consumers.
So why is it considered shady by some, cheating by others and frowned upon by search engines if its so ideal? Well herein lies the problem; it is all too easy to promote pages and website to page 1 of Google for example even if they’re not directly relevant. This creates an unfair environment for those looking to genuinely promote a product directly relevant to their big keywords against those USING shady methods to promote sites that are vaguely relevant or just complete rip offs altogether. Unfortunately doing it the honest way takes longer and costs more. When promoting a website, we are looking to attract interested consumers or readers and to do that we need to be in all kinds of places, social ones included to create the buzz and backlinks. The difficulty is when we mix that with the urgency of profit making in a capitalist environment then larger companies begin to see that it is not cost effective to use this method. So what do they do? They create spaces online where they can artificially re-create that buzz or social interest and of course link to their clients site, and sadly it works quite well. At least for now.
MurdenEnterprise believe that in order to restore dignity and honesty as well as transparency search engines should work on an algorithm that not only discounts blatant link farms (those that are not clearly marked directories) but gateway pages that contain numerous anchors, but only when the anchors are dense and unrelated. If a page can be indexed and sees anchors that are relevant then that should be okay, just not if the same page discusses 25 different topics containing 60 anchors all within 600 words. This way companies using gateway techniques will be forced to buy more domains, more pages with more content just to represent a link to 1 client – this could begin to seem a little less cost effective.
The end goal would be that there is no easy way to build reputation and authority other than to do what they should be doing anyway, getting out there and proving themselves worthy of the top spot.