Is SEO a scam? Is it just a buzzword used to try getting money out of us? Well, the problem is not SEO, the problem is more with self-proclaimed gurus who will tell you that by following their advice (and paying the right amount) your web site will rank high on Google, you will get lots of traffic.
Don’t get me wrong: I am not claiming to be a SEO expert and I never will be. I’ve never even done any real effort to optimize my blog for SEO. I was told I have a pretty good ranking. But this blog has been online since July 29th 2003 - and from what I understood, old and stable sites may be well ranked. But lets be realistic, if you search for PHP or HTML, my blog won’t even be on Google’s first page. Right now, my full name won’t even show this blog as the first result. I don’t mind. I don’t even really mind if nobody reads this.
But companies trying to make money on the Internet mind. And they are willing to spend money to get high on Google. No pun intended. And it’s hard for them to see the difference between the charlatans and the real gurus.
I received a email this morning from Bertrand Betsch asking me if I wanted to participate in their link exchange program (note that I used a rel=”nofollow” on the previous link). They also informed me that link exchange programs helped with better positioning of a site in search engines. I usually don’t bother to answer such mails. And I won’t answer this one either.
Why not you ask? Well, first, if you wish to link to my blog or any other web site I manage, you don’t have to ask me permission. Just link to the site. I’m not responsible for your content, only for mine. And if I want to link to your site, I will. If you object, send me a mail and I’ll remove the link. Ah, yeah, I took advantage of this paragraph to add links to lots of places. You never know
Another thing I learned about SEO, is that it is a good thing to have valid (X)HTML. Basically avoid useless tags. And trying to have semantic HTML is also a good thing. The web site mentioned above has neither. The H1 tag doesn’t even have text in it.
This is the basic elements I take into account when I do a web site. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot more to SEO than valid and semantic HTML. If you want more information, point your browser to seomoz.org. It is a web site that was recommended to me by Anne-Marie Castonguay who is a true SEO and SEM expert.
And don’t take it from me. Read what the real experts have to say and check out Google’s SEO tips. So no, SEO is not a scam, but don’t believe everything you read!