22 April 2010

SEO Unethical Techniques

The way I learn best is for someone to pose a question. For example, "Diane, have you heard of SEO article writing?" To which my answer would be, "No, but now I'm curious.." Look out rabbit hole, here I come.

So, I did do some research, but not a whole lot. I sort of stopped myself when I ran into some information that was pretty disturbing to me about SEO article writing. First off, in case you didn't know, SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. What it means basically is preparing your website to be the most richly matched in content with search engine queries made by users surfing the world wide web.

How is this done? Well, for example, a site would use meta tags in their html documents, like so:

I chose that one because it is quite long for a reason (I took out some keywords because it was soooo long). The site itself is a website for an aquarium in New England and I found it quite easily by just using Google to search for "aquarium". It was the first one to come up in my list of results. Of course, I don't live in New England, nowhere close even. So maybe I should redo my search to include Florida? There, much better results!

But look at the long list of keywords in that meta tag! I did another search using Google and combined the words "webcam", "tickets" and "England", all keywords in the above meta tag. Not at all expecting to get an aquarium hit right? But, I did.

Maybe I heard that somewhere someone was selling webcam tickets to entertaining footage of the Royal Family Dinner Party with Barack Obama! New England Aquarium came up 5th on my list of results. Several results and pages away from the forefront was a link entitled "London web cams links". Jeez, do you think that might have more to do with what I was expecting to find as a result?

So we have moved away from keywords now, not so important... Now the people who want traffic have to work just a little harder for it. Thus, the need for SEO article writing. What they do here is instead of just slapping some keywords in a meta tag, they use the keywords in a written article that gets published in an article directory and with a link back to their site.

I've read so many how tos and to dos about this that made me cringe, simply because I love to write myself, but I love to write about things that are comprehensive and I don't write just for the sake of writing something. I have to be really focused on what it is I want to accommplish with my written words. That means quality content to somebody, I hope!

I did read on this one site that you "just string the words together to where they make sense". This really, really bothers me. It's like instructing a three year old to "just put the yellow square block into the yellow square hole, dear...see not so hard huh?"

Then what really kills me is that they will rewrite the same article, same keywords, but with slight changes to make it a different article...over and over again. Then they re-publish these articles. This is laziness - pure, evil laziness!!

Stop, people!! Stop treating the web like a checkout lane by filling it with these publications that are comparable to trash magazines and their headlines that have little to nothing to do with the real content. Integrity pays, not gimmicks. Well, aside from the "as seen on TV" products I keep buying for my husband each Christmas. I love those things, but I don't think he does.

Getting back to SEO article writing (there ARE ethical techniques in SEO article writing, but that's not what I'm writing about). What disturbed me the most is that these people that are involved in article writing and "rewriting" in order to gain traffic for their websites seem to forget about integrity and pride in their products or content of their sites. Nevermind that a large percentage of their customers probably won't go back because they were "tricked" into visiting to begin with and have found very poorly written, even painful to read content.

I hope that people who practice this type of unethical approach to marketing would find better ways to get word out to their potential customers, but quality costs. You can pay as little as $1.25 per hour for article writing/rewriting. Some ads seeking writers will even list that you "don't have to have real good English" or "noobs welcome". Scary, isn't it?

So, when their credibility becomes famously negative, they won't have to worry about getting traffic hits anymore, they will be blacklisted I think is the term. Thank goodness there are smarter people in place that anticipate these unethical techniques, so kudos for policing the trash!

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