Friday, July 18, 2014

Some notes about SEO, quality guidelines, and avoiding bad links

Like many bloggers, I get lots of email trying to sell search optimization services.  My interest is content-and-logic driven and not numbers driven (to the irritation of people who call me), but there are some good discussions about there about search engine placement and holding readers (like how to deal with bounce rates).
Entrepreneur  has an interesting discussion on Google’s quality guidelines (which would apply pretty much to Bing and Yahoo!, too), which can lead to problems if you have a lot of low-quality “back links” to your pages. 
These can happen from obsolete forums, or from ill-conceived practices like entering link exchange schemes, buying link services, guest posts, and creating “unnatural links”, all of which it explains in this article.. The article mentions a valuable HTML coding attribute called “NoFollow” which may help prevent low quality backlinks.  I have to say that I do find some automated links to pieces of my blog posts (perhaps infringing) and articles on specific issues. 
Entrepreneur also does have SEO tips that appear more specific and legitimate than those on most other sites on the topic.  But of course the need for it depends very much on a site’s circumstances.  The whole topic of SEO came to mind this weekend when a Washington DC local gay magazine, the Metro Weekly, wrote about it. (here ) in an article by Robert MacLean.   
One item that I think is noteworthy is the quality of comments that one gets.  I got “good” comments more much often five years ago, before Facebook and Twitter made getting news and interacting with well so easy.  Blogger and Wordpress do offer ways to eliminate spam comments.  But what I often see is comments that are non-specific and flattering, and that seem to come from businesses whose purposes seem rather silly, even if harmless. 

Above there is a discussion about linking among multiple sites that one party owns, and making sure that crosslinking doesn’t violate quality standards or cause search engines to view them as “link farms”.  It's not so much the number of links as the number of sites.  

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