About SEO

I don’t know much about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), other than what I read at Wikipedia. But I was thinking about it some earlier today when visiting Ziggs in connection with my current Web 2.0 Wars series (I have written through Round 9, but only published through Round 4).

seoevilMostly I know that I get spam pretty regularly from companies who tell me that for money they can move my page to the top of the search engine rankings. I always wonder for what keyword(s)? Could I pay some money and be the top site for break dancing? What about mockingbirds, or maybe break dancing mockingbirds? If so, should I or is using SEO sort of like those jackasses who go to the front of the line at lane merges- an unfair shortcut that clogs progess for the rest of us?

Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe someone can educate me on this. Without thinking much about it, I have generally felt that it was an unfair shortcut, but maybe I’m missing the boat on this. I have also felt that SEO may be yet another situation where the prospect of a dollar gets in the way of fairness and good sense.

Anyway, a while ago, I came across this post from Matt Cutts, who seems to be someone of importance at Google. It’s hard to tell since his blog has nothing even remotely resembling an “About” link. But I digress. Matt is confirming that Google has put some outfit called Traffic Power in the penalty box by removing it and certain domains promoted by it from Google’s index. Matt says some of its SEO techniques violated Google’s guidelines.

Again, I know virtually nothing about this entire business, but it seems to me that there is great potential for abuse when it comes to selling higher search engine rankings. It also seems to me that if the goal is to be at the top of the search engine rankings, you’re approaching the issue backwards. It should be important that the search engines find the most relevant information, not the other way around.

I can understand how improved design, css and meta descriptions could result in a better search engine ranking, but isn’t that really about web design as opposed to the “better credit in 30 days” vibe that I get when I read about SEO?

Someone please explain to me what legitimate SEO is and why it’s not an unfair shortcut.