Thursday, February 11, 2010

SEO News - Newspapers jump on the blackhat bandwagon

I've noticed recently that newspapers are popping up intermittently for searches related to SEO. It started with an article in a UK newspaper. News and UK sites often appear in Irish searches - more so in Yahoo! where UK sites (with Domain names/ccTLD's) often outrank Irish sites even in "Pages from Ireland" only searches.

I noticed the first article appearing late in 2009. The newspaper (I think it was the Guardian) lamented that its journalists had somehow sacrificed their writing in favour of adopting SEO techniques. Rather, that they were trying to use popular search words and other "SEO" techniques to get more traffic - as traffic was thought to be the equivalent of readership. Which its not really. Readership is a subset of traffc, as we really know.

Today I balk at the snippet above - the Belfast Telegraph have created a post with words quite unrelated to their article. It could have been called "Blackhat online Marketing Techniques" - but instead they went for big hitter search phrases.

I quite agree with the debate around spam and online marketing. Its getting very big. We get hundreds of requests every month from (mostly) Asian based link-building sweatshops with assembly line style link bulding in 0 authority link farms. These shops turn out tens of thousands of rubbish back links. If you're a blogger or a website owner, this is probably where you're getting all those junk e-mails and rubbish posts on your blog. One dodgy Irish SEO even extolled their virtues recently on the Irish Web Master Forum, but thankfully the rest of the Irish web industry wasn't impressed.

Sound good - tens of thousands of inward links to your site? Don't be fooled - a page with 100 outbound links on a "farm" of 100,000 pages with millions more isn't going to impress users or Google. People who buy these links are probably guilty of adding to the growing web of spam building up. More on this in the next post.