The Search Light Newsletter
The Search Light Newsletter
  Guiding your site to the top of the search engines... 30 Aug 2002 - Vol 2 Issue #9  

In this issue...

Rising Above the SEO Reputation

Lycos to Launch PPC Program

Ah-Ha & InfoSpace Launch Paid Inclusion

Sponsorship Notice

Overture Gets Greedy

Yahoo Substituting Google Content

AOL Reveals Partnership With WorldCom

Rising Above the SEO Reputation

By Kalena Jordan of Web Rank

How many times have you seen an article referring to SEO (search engine optimization) as a "Black Art" or "underhanded", "manipulative", "sleazy", "deceptive", " sneaky" etc. I could go on but you get my drift. The thing is, our industry has a pitiful reputation which is being reinforced on a daily basis by the media and word of mouth.
This realization hit me between the eyes recently when I read a comment in a search engine forum from an SEO who claimed he used his ethical SEO methods as a Unique Selling Point. Look what we've been reduced to - differentiating ourselves from the masses because we DON'T break the rules. What other industry could boast such a thing? Apart from the used car industry, I can't really think of any.

So where did this nasty reputation come from and why has it been allowed to propagate? Well, it's mainly care of the hundreds of cowboys out there who decide one day they are online marketing experts, announce themselves as SEO's and set up a backyard biz, deciding (naively) that the fastest way to achieve high rankings is to break the rules, "crack" the search engine algorithms and undermine the search indexes by generating pages and pages of search engine spam. They do this by creating doorway pages designed for search engine spiders rather than humans, complete with hidden text, hidden links, cloaking and lots of other "tricks" they come across as they surf the Internet.
Problem is these self-proclaimed experts don't bother to do their research and learn that such spamming techniques have long been ineffective. Nearly all the search engines these days have sophisticated methods of detecting and removing spam within days of receiving submissions. Penalties for spamming the search engines differ from engine to engine, but can range from being "red flagged" and put on a watch list, to being hit with a ranking penalty, to having your site permanently banned from their index (in severe cases). The type of scumbag SEO's that would play Russian Roulette with their client's web sites in this fashion are well-deserving of scorn. It can take months for search engines to lift such penalties, if they decide to at all.

While ineffective, such search engine spamming techniques have defined the reputation of the search engine optimization industry to date. In turn, this reputation is eroding business for so-called "ethical" SEO's - a term I use loosely to describe SEO's that don't try to undermine the search engine indexes when optimizing web sites. Actually, I'm not really comfortable with the term "ethics" to describe SEO. Until the industry establishes and accepts a standardized Code of Practice, we are just measuring others by our own personal standards and a set of arbitrary rules. But the SEO's I'm talking about strive to keep search results as relevant as possible by revising the visible site content and following the guidelines set down by the search engines in the optimization process. Some SEO's call this White Magic SEO - a tongue in cheek response to the Black Magic jibes I guess.
Not surprisingly, search engines have been reduced to lumping all SEO's into the "untrustworthy" basket. On their Webmaster Do's and Don'ts page, Google state: "Be very careful about allowing an individual consultant or company to 'optimize' your web site. Chances are they will engage in some of our "Don'ts" and end up hurting your site". Chances are? Sounds a bit all presumptuous if you ask me.


   Greetings Readers!

Quite a lot has happened in the search industry over the past month. Keeping a daily blog reveals just how often this industry is shifting. It also makes putting this newsletter together a breeze :-)
This issue includes important announcements made by many of the major search engines this month including Lycos, AOL, Yahoo and Overture.

Now don't go hitting the delete key just yet - this month's feature article is well worth a read. It looks at the bad reputation the SEO industry suffers from, how it developed and the difficulty of rising above it.
That's it from me, but remember to visit our daily Search Engine News Blog for the latest industry news and goss.
Till next time - wishing you high rankings...

  • Lycos to Launch PPC Program
   Earlier this month, Lycos announced they will be launching a new keyword-based advertising program at the end of August. Called InSite AdBuyer, the new program will allow advertisers to create text-based ad panels (likely to be similar to Google AdWords) for display on Lycos Search and HotBot.

Full Story...

  • Ah-Ha & InfoSpace Launch Paid Inclusion
  •    The PR Manager of InfoSpace sent me a heads-up this month about a new Paid Inclusion program being launched between and InfoSpace.

    Full Story...

  • Sponsorship Notice
  •    Would you prefer a web design team that actually listens to what YOU want? One that understands that a small budget doesn't mean you should sacrifice quality? Hot Pyjama Productions Ltd is that team. We pride ourselves on building sites that not only look good, but meet your marketing goals. We tailor our solutions to meet your needs and we won't leave you guessing about the cost.

    Hot Pyjama Productions: Creatively Working Towards a Sustainable Future.

    Graphic Design, Web Development, Print Production & Photography

  • Overture Gets Greedy
  •    An email from Overture to advertisers has sent some shock waves around the SEO community this month. Not content to disappoint us with their sneaky Auto- Bidding tool, now Overture calmly announce that their Match Driver tool will ensure your listings will appear for search terms you haven't even bid on!

    Full Story...

  • Yahoo Substituting Google Content
  •   Yahoo has apparently begun to replace their Web Page Matches, traditionally fed by Google results, with their own Directory results. If you conduct a search on Yahoo for "optimization services" and look at the Web Page Matches, you'll see that some results are using the site titles and descriptions from Google but many others are using site titles and descriptions taken from Yahoo's own Directory.

    Full Story...

  • AOL Reveals Partnership With WorldCom
  •   As a result of an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), AOL Time Warner have revealed that they were a business partner of WorldCom, the company that was found guilty of $6 billion in accounting fraud and recently filed the world's biggest bankruptcy suit.

    Full Story (and more search engine news)

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