Undeniably, showing up on the first page of Google results for your most vital keywords creates opportunities for your organization. Getting there the right way can make the difference between creating opportunities for a week or opportunities for a lifetime.

“Great content, well-structured and proactively submitted” is the only sustainable strategy for managing your site’s relationship to the search engine world. 

  • Great Content: Great content provides value for the site visitor. It begins with copywriting but it encompasses all elements of the user experience. Great content must be relevant (from the perspective of the visitor) and timely.
  • Well-Structured: Structure, in the sense of web page indexing, means using best practices in the underlying page source code to make it easy for search engines to read. Well-structured pages are also more usable for visitors using assistive devices to visit your site (screen-reading software for the visually impaired, for example).
  • Proactively Submitted: We use the tools and instructions provided by Google, Yahoo and Bing to submit every public page of the sites we manage to the search engines for indexing. We use them proactively but only within the policies and recommended practices of the individual search engines. 

Practitioners of “Search Engine Optimization”, called “Index Spammers” by Google, use deceptive techniques in an attempt to manipulate search engines into showing pages higher in the search rankings than they deserve. This can work for short stretches (long enough to take your money and run, for example), but increases the risk of having your site permanently banned from the search engine’s index.

SEO guys pretend they can outwit a building full of PhD’s at Google. And the SEO crowd may occasionally find a temporary edge, but at the point where you show up in Google’s 10-Q form

Index spammers could harm the integrity of our web search results, which could damage our reputation and cause our users to be dissatisfied with our products and services.

… you’re on notice.

In the end, however, 96% of Google’s revenue ($6,100,000,000 last quarter) is based on their ability to provide reliable, useful search results for their users. Some portion of the $300,000,000 they spend each quarter on research and development is dedicated to increasing the relevance of their search results. They’re not going to let spammers and snake-oil salesmen sully their product. And they will punish all who try.

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16 September 2010