If there is one thing that gets my goat, is someone commenting on something they seem to know nothing about. And, I hate it when someone spreads supposed SEO knowledge and doesn’t get the big picture of things and why some small modification doesn’t work. And, what’s even worse is attacking an entire industry based on a small incident without educating themselves or performing research about what SEO is all about. Or, if they did, the article certainly doesn’t show it. The fact is, that there are on page optimization factors and off page optimization factors. It’s a mix of both that will get you high rankings on Google. The latest violator of all of the above is this article on PCmag.com written by Mr. John C. Dvorak: here’s the ignorant article.
In this article, the author talks about an incident where someone advised him over IM about using long URLs as links to the pages on his blog to help increase his rankings and gain the attention of Google. Well, this is only partially true. What it comes down to is using actual keywords in the URL, which produces some of the lengthy monsters you see on wordpress blogs that utilize this technique.
What happens is that Google will read the keywords on the URL and if you have some integration of the keywords in the content, then that will add value to the page as well as helping your rankings. He’s also claiming it does nothing. Well, sir – when did you check it? Did you check the page immediately after making the change? Or, did you wait for Google to crawl the page again to see if it had any positive impact on the rankings? It takes time for rankings to increase and if you check them immediately after making the change, you’re not always going to see an increase in such a short amount of time!
Also, just making a single change like that, while it will work well for keywords with little to no competition, it won’t work for keywords with a high market competition and saturation. For this, you need to build links to the page in order to compete with the pages that have a higher rankings already! You’ll hardly stand a chance for the more competitive keyword terms if you don’t get this basic fact!!
The author also claims his page views declined when implementing this practice. Well, yes, they’re going to decline! You need to implement a 301 redirect in order to redirect traffic to the new URL! Otherwise, you’re sending your traffic to an empty page. Also, if you were ranking for keywords that were giving you some immense traffic, and you all of a sudden added different keywords to the URL without considering other optimization factors, you WILL lose your rankings and traffic! That should be common sense! That should have also been explained to you by the person who advised you of this over IM. Google does NOT redirect your traffic for you. That is YOUR responsibility.
He also asks “So why is everyone doing it, and why does everyone think it works?” It’s because people are targeting specific keyword phrases (if they have done things properly), and they have also included on page and off page optimization factors that will help the page rank on Google. Just because someone does something doesn’t mean that it’s going to work for your site. Why would you not ask which keywords they were targeting in the first place, and why would you not even consider the fact that it was a small part of a much larger SEO campaign? I can certainly see and understand your frustration with this. However, taking your anger out on an entire industry when it’s pretty apparent that it’s your own lack of knowledge and understanding of a subject is only going to make you look foolish.
Another unfortunate comment made includes “This brings me to another SEO gambit, this one promoted…” and “…in alliance with the ’semantic web is the future’ dingbats.” It’s not about the semantic web BEING the future. It’s about NOW. The W3C has been in existence for over 10 years. Writing semantically correct HTML and other code is just good coding practice. When code is written correctly according to standards and minimization, you get to the root of what helps higher rankings: the code to text ratio. With standardized coding practices, you will, many times, be able to obtain higher rankings because search engines have to sift through far less code in order to read your content! That’s the charm of the semantic web.
Not only is this article far off base when it comes to correct SEO methodology, it doesn’t even come close. As if my repeating this hasn’t been enough of a bore, I’ll repeat it again: on page optimization and off page optimization are required to gain significantly higher rankings on Google.
With off site optimization, you NEED to build links according to the keywords you wish the page to rank for if you ever hope to get to the top of Google. On page optimization efforts will only go so far, and when they don’t produce the results you want, you NEED off page optimization, or quality inbound links! It’s a combination of those two factors that will get you high rankings for more competitive keyword phrases. NOT just on page factors, and much less, long URLs without 301 redirects!
The fact is that search engine optimization is about promoting the web site/web page: with a mix of both optimization methodologies. You cannot expect to obtain top tier rankings for a specific keyword without good implementations of both. If you obtain higher rankings with some on page optimization, then you have gotten lucky with a keyword that has very little market competition. With higher saturation and competition, you’re going to need to double up on your off site optimization efforts and BUILD THOSE LINKS!!
I feel sorry for those people who are out there that, even though they’re brilliant people and are a lot of fun to read, they just don’t get anything about the big picture of a subject they’re talking about. What’s even worse is they don’t even bother to TRY to get the big picture or talk to a reputable source. They just give up, write articles like the above, and paint a negative picture of an industry that doesn’t even deserve it.