12 Months Without SEO

12 Months Without SEO

It is​ more than a​ year now since I concluded that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was,​ or​ was soon going to​ become,​ a​ waste of​ time. I had already,​ 6 months before then,​ said farewell to​ spending an​ hour a​ day working on​ getting reciprocal links.

What led,​ at​ the​ time,​ to​ what many would have said were very rash moves? After all,​ reciprocal linking was still being expounded,​ by all and sundry,​ as​ an​ essential way to​ get a​ good ranking,​ and the​ software tools were being actively marketed still. Search engine positioning software was still being heavily marketed and is​ still today; keyword density was a​ buzz term being branded around as​ if​ it​ were an​ essential science to​ be practised by all good SEO conscious webmasters.

What I did was to​ go back to​ marketing basics. I had received my marketing training back in​ the​ 1980's and had practical marketing experience with my own business from the​ mid 1990's. I was not born into internet marketing alone,​ so could still see outside the​ blinkers and the​ hype.

A very basic but important aspect of​ marketing is​ to​ know your market place. When it​ comes to​ search engine rankings,​ then clearly a​ major part of​ that market was the​ major search engines,​ Google,​ Yahoo and MSN,​ with Google being the​ clear leader then,​ and a​ year later today.

I started to​ think 18 months ago that as​ far as​ reciprocal linking went,​ it​ was becoming a​ spammers' zone. Surely,​ I argued with myself,​ Google did not really want to​ rank a​ web site highly just because the​ web master had the​ tools and the​ time to​ chase around getting reciprocal links? it​ just did not make sense. And the​ same was true of​ buying links. Why should a​ web site rank highly because they have splashed out on​ buying links?

What Google,​ and the​ others,​ really wanted was to​ rank the​ best web sites for a​ particular search term,​ and it​ seemed only a​ matter of​ time before they sniffed out and extinguished the​ abuses such as​ blatantly artificial link building,​ Blog spam,​ scraping and extreme SEO'ing.

A year ago,​ I started two new web sites without any real thought of​ SEO. as​ a​ writer,​ I was happy to​ try to​ provide what search engines wanted: original content on​ what people were searching for. While I did provide title and description tags,​ everything else was just written on​ a​ go with the​ flow basis. the​ keyword phrase for any page would come out in​ the​ natural flow. I could just write to​ my heart's content without using any tools checking keyword density.

The first of​ those new web sites 13 months ago was in​ the​ self improvement niche,​ which is​ highly competitive. I was expecting to​ be “Sandboxed” by Google because of​ that,​ and so it​ proved. But I just kept plugging away,​ sticking to​ my no-SEO principle. of​ course,​ none of​ us outside Google knows for sure if​ there is​ such a​ thing as​ a​ sandbox,​ but there is​ undoubtedly a​ waiting time before a​ new site is​ thrown fully into the​ ranking melting pot.

In the​ self improvement case,​ the​ last Google update saw my site emerge from the​ sandbox after about 12 months. So,​ at​ last,​ I was able see whether my no SEO approach was to​ yield any positive results. Thankfully,​ a​ few high rankings were immediately apparent,​ including a​ few #1 positions. on​ one of​ those terms,​ Yahoo followed a​ few weeks later to​ the​ #1 position,​ while the​ site was #2 (now 1) at​ MSN.

Now,​ this is​ early days for that particular site,​ and there is​ much to​ do to​ get more high rankings. However,​ I am confident that SEO is​ infinitely more simple than some experts,​ especially those selling ranking tools,​ tend to​ have you​ believe.

Since I started that particular site,​ I have only made one major change,​ and that is​ convert all my web sites to​ CSS. Providing a​ content rich site that is​ easy to​ crawl for search engine robots is​ the​ most important aspect of​ the​ new,​ simplified SEO. in​ fact,​ following Google's advice to​ webmasters is​ about all you​ need to​ do,​ and that is​ free.

Of course,​ those with software products to​ peddle will argue that I could do even better with their software. But if​ Google decides to​ blacklist that software as​ a​ manipulating tool,​ then all my hard work could be undone. So I will leave the​ others to​ chase shadows with ranking software,​ and just enjoy writing content. After all,​ that is​ what basic marketing told me to​ do.

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