• http://www.search-usability.com/ Shari Thurow

    Hi Ian-

    Brilliant article headline! Even more brilliant content on search engine spin doctoring. Even white hats don’t always agree with search engine spin doctoring or the crawl team’s or Webmaster Central’s guidelines and advice.

    I’d add duplicate content filtering to the list. I think there is vast room for improvement in that area.

    I support the search engines in many, many ways. I don’t always agree with many of their decisions. We SEOs are not that stupid…and I love that you wrote this as a reminder to Google and others that we are not search engine patsies — we are not blind, and we are not stupid.

    Kudos Ian!

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com George Michie

    Kudos, Ian. Chief Marketing Curmudgeon…dang, I wish that was my title!

  • http://ninebyblue.com/ Vanessa Fox

    Well, as a former search engine representative, I want to clarify “lie” #1: “Write great content and the links/traffic/rankings will follow”. I said that a lot (and still say it a lot), but I never have said it in the context that if you write good content, links and rankings will just magically come to you. Obviously, you have to raise awareness of that great content so people know it exists and will in turn link to it. The Google Webmaster Central blog, Matt Cutts (in his Twitter account and blog), and all the reps at conferences have talked at length about ways to raise awareness.

    So, I think it’s a bit indigenous to present that statement as something search engine reps say as an end all be all.

    And Shari, I wrote the initial version of nearly all of the content on Webmaster Central and I can tell you absolutely without a doubt that I wrote it with zero spin and all of the guidelines and advice were based on what actually is effective based on how Google’s crawling, indexing, and ranking worked at the time. And my assumption is that’s still the case.

    It’s disheartening to read you imply that we spent all of that time and energy putting together Webmaster Central and the supporting tools, going to conferences, answering questions in discussion forums, and more with the assumption that SEOs are stupid and blind. Google doesn’t need a reminder that content owners aren’t search engine patsies. They would never for a second think that. If they did, they’d never invest so many resources in making so much information available.

    Sure, search engine reps can only provide so many details about how the algorithms work, but honestly, they don’t have to provide *any* information. And yet they provide substantial details on not only the overall process but on site-specific issues and continually take time to answer questions in their spare time.

  • http://www.irisemedia.com irisemedia

    Content is still king. Besides networking with other businesses and cross-linking, there are other ways to tweak your pages and blog posts to maximize the potential amount of ROI of your website, laid out here: http://www.irisemedia.com/blog/2010/07/16/blog-strategies-how-to-make-the-most-out-of-blog-writing.html

  • http://www.ncsearchengineacademy.com Michael Marshall

    Ian,

    I’m glad you have taken the time to correct the “If you build it, they will come” mentality many people of have about writing good content. That needs to be done.

    Vanessa,

    I’m glad you’ve jumped in to comment with a Google’s insider perspective. I teach courses on search engine technology at the U.S. Patent Office and so have a bit of a feel for how difficult the task is for search engines technically. They definitely have to keep many things close to the vest and I have always had an appreciation for the fact that they tell us anything at all.

    I also understand from a business perspective that they would indeed have a vested interest in providing useful information, because the more they encourage people to create quality content and raise awareness about it by acquiring quality and authoritative links, the better the search engine will be able to provide results to searchers. Without that, they can’t get the eyeballs they need to make money off of paid search.

    But they also have to protect the quality of the SERPs by implementing procedures to combat spammers, etc.

    It is a difficult line to walk indeed, an unavoidable love-hate relationship. All of this is most likely obvious but it really does need to be kept in mind when assumptions are made about the motives on either side.