Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 08, 2016, 02:16:15 PM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Last post Author Topic: Has SEO ruined the web?  (Read 13787 times)

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Has SEO ruined the web?
« on: December 30, 2009, 01:44:58 PM »
I can't say I'm an expert on internet history other than having used it extensively over the past 15 years, but it's my opinion that SEO has almost ruined the internet.  Now, it may not just be SEO, but I'm using that word to represent all the things related to artificially promoting things so that they show up in web searches.  There's so much out there that is crap, and finding what you really need to find is next to impossible.  If I sound incoherent, it's because I am not the expert in the details of what has happened.

I was speaking to a friend of mine.  He wrote a couple of websites for the sole purpose to rank high in search engines using SEO.  He wrote about online education.  He knows nothing about online education, but he wrote articles about it, just to have some content.  The articles contain advice.  But they were written strategically using the right words and strategies to rank high in search engines.  The point is, the articles are useless.  This is everywhere in the internet.  Software download sites, review sites, blogs,...90% of them are beyond useless, they are often nonsensical.

It's almost the search engine has lost it's true value: to be able to find information.  Since there is so much crap when you search for something, and because the crap may very well be ranked high, that's all you will see.  The good stuff will be either lost in the mix, and often not there at all.  The only way to find good stuff is by word of mouth: someone like here on DC sending you the link of where to go.  So, the fundamental characteristic of the "search" engine has lost it's value.

I mean, I can't find anything anymore that is good and reliable without asking someone where to find it.  For example, recently I was searching for good weather software and the top country songs in 2009.  Using just the search engines, the results were frustratingly poor.  No good, intelligent, reliable matches.  Just things infested with ads and fake SEO articles that seem to be obviously written for the sole purpose of click revenue.  For the weather software, I had to rely on our forums here to find the answer.  And that's great, but the sad thing is that the search engines were a catastrophic failure.

It seems the only good I get from search engines is to find a match when I've already figured out 90% of what I need to know.  For example, let's say I want weather software, and I've heard Weather Watcher was good.  Well, I type "weather watcher" in the search just to find the exact address.  Well, all the search engine did was tell me the exact address i was looking for, I did most of the figuring out myself.  Now, if I searched from scratch for weather software, I would never in hours of searching come across the site for the program Meteo Fusion, which I ended up liking.  This is true for just about any search.

But, if I really think about it, that's the way the world works.  Eventually, word of mouth is the most reliable source of information, even before internet days.  If you were shopping for something, you could go to a mall and try to see what's good and what's not.  but it's better if someone tells you of a great store, that you would never find on your own because it's in the middle of a street somewhere.  So, that part is normal and not so surprising.  however, the internet has potential to be so much more, yet it is so not.  Thankfully, there are sites like Wikipedia, which have managed to remain very good all this time.  it's almost more useful than the search engines.

So, that's what I've been thinking about.  I feel like the true nature of the search engine is just about gone.  You can't search for anything and trust the results.  And it's not even close.  I'd be ok if you could trust even as little as 30% of the results you get.  But if you do a cold search for something, with no help from anyone else, you won't come close.

Dormouse

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,044
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2009, 02:01:30 PM »
it may not just be SEO, but I'm using that word to represent all the things related to artificially promoting things so that they show up in web searches.

It's just normal human behaviour I'm afraid. People trying to take advantage of the situation to increase their personal profit, even if it is to someone else's disadvantage. That it what some advertising is all about too. If it fouls net search up completely, then people will stop using it and everyone will lose. Just using Google as an example, their problem is to deliver Searches that find what people are looking for, while still pulling in the advertising dollars. They know that there is only a certain number of ad related stuff people will find acceptable and try to stay within that limit and do their best to get rid of all the artificial SEO stuff as much as they can (after all, they make no money at all from this distortion). Targetting search results and ads on the basis of search histories is one idea of fine tuning this - giving people ads they might be interested in with the search results they want and still giving advertisers value (ie the ads going to people who might be interested in them) - but it does raise all the privacy issues that irritate a number of very vocal protestors.

Apart from different strategies like that, it will be a continual fight between the black masters of SEO and the Search Engines trying to stop them distorting their results.


superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2009, 03:54:39 PM »
The privacy issues are the least of my concern for now (that is, for the sake of this topic).  That's a whole other animal.  But I would argue that even google will not give you any important results for any given search that is started from scratch.  i guess my question is, is this result inevitable?  I think the answer is yes.  Like you say, it's just normal human behavior.  Can it be fixed or controlled?  Probably not, without ruining the freedom of the web that we love and are used to.

It's just shocking to me to sit back and realize that I will hardly ever find a reliable result whenever I go to search for something on the web.  It's shocking because that was the basic strength of google when it became popular.  Now that I think about it, even before google, it was the same.  The reason why google became so big is because their search results were so much more effective than the other ones.  The same was true back then, if you searched for something, you would end up with a ton of nonsense, porn, etc.

i don't think the ads offer anything good as far as finding results.  I understand that it must be done, and I have no problem with the business of it.  But I doubt that ads ever offer the thing that you are looking for.  At least from my experiences.

To continue with my example previously, of my friend writing online education articles.  The whole time I was reading it and thinking, "Geez, man.  You don't know squat about online education!  What the hell is this crap?"  but there it was:  several articles about online education.  The whole thing kind of made me sick a little, because I suddenly remembered all the searches I've done that led me to these nonsense sites that send you in circles with the information and lack any fundamental knowledge or information.

I noticed today when searching for the top country music songs of 2009, there were many, many sites that had a top 10 or 20 list...and they were all the same list and same commentaries, but totally different presentations and different websites.  because people make these websites, that suck the information out of one mediocre source and it gets spread to all these different SEO geared sites.  So this article is now "popular" even though it contains no real information.

By the way, and this is off topic slightly, but in another thread, mouser and tranglos talk about simple cms systems that will allow content to be created on a website without a blog configuration OR the unnecessarily complicated systems like Joomla or Drupal.  I'm really hoping that happens.  Just for my sake, so I can easily push my own good content to a website without having to force wordpress to do what I want.  I like Wordpress a lot, but only because it's the best option for what is out there currently.  Not because it is anywhere near the best way to do what I want.

JavaJones

  • Review 2.0 Designer
  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,717
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2009, 04:53:27 PM »
I certainly share your concerns, though I have ironically been on the other side of things, wanting to try to promote a legitimate business and having to do clearly rather stupid things (from a baseline content standpoint) to try to improve rankings. We never wrote fraudulent articles, thank god, but we've added content or changed wording in ways we wouldn't necessarily have done otherwise. The thing is *some* of these things make sense, using synonyms which reference your product, service, or fundamental purpose to catch as many relevant searches as possible for example. But ideally even that would not necessarily be required. In a perfect world a search engine would find the most relevant content for a particular person's search all the time.

So the question is, how do we get there? Well I see two ultimate solutions, long-term. Either 1: Computers and algorithms get smarter and more human-like, so they can at least make better guesses as to what someone really wants (and even find likely spam and rate it down), or 2: Someone manages to leverage the collective power of actual people rating and reviewing actual content and search results, and turns it into meaningful advice for search accuracy. I think the latter is where things are leaning right now, and given the success of the aforementioned Wikipedia and virtually all things "crowd sourced", I think that makes sense. After all, nobody knows better than somebody what they specifically wanted when they searched, and if they find it they should say so, and if they don't they should say that too. It's harnessing that to meaningfully inform search, not just on a person-by-person basis, but globally, that is the trick. How do you take one person's opinion and extract the deeper intention and meaning behind it, then combine it usefully with other people's opinions? You can't just average it...

Anyway I feel like that's where Google is starting to go with its whole personal search system, and it just might work if they can figure out how to aggregate and analyze it effectively. If anyone can do it I reckon they can.

- Oshyan

zridling

  • Friend of the Site
  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 3,292
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2009, 03:16:48 AM »
Ironically, I think this was the attraction to my little "Great Software List" that lasted almost a decade. No ads, no agenda, I was just championing good software based on a few principles. But you'd be amazed -- AMAZED -- at the things some companies would do to convince me to add their software to the list. As for SEO pollution, the basic problem as you stated is that it drowns out "actual" results; that is, intended results. Just like news, if you can't find it, then maybe you'll give up and just pay for it.

Bamse

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 410
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2009, 04:17:34 AM »
Force Google to behave, GoogleMonkeyR http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/9310 autoload as many columns as there is room for. More crap but also more usuable hits. And make avanced search page default. Can complain about that too but a whole different setup and experience than what majority use and what encourage spamming/"copywriting"-theft/keyword-mania/aggressive SEO. Top 10, Top 20, Top 30 lists are dead. Possible Google match of your personal profile vs hits improve situaton a bit but check out 2-300 hits and not just top whatever. All evil is focused on just that as are Google keyword tools and every SEO tool you can buy ;)

Paul Keith

  • Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 1,982
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Has SEO ruined the web for you because you relied on it?
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2009, 08:04:49 AM »
It's not a double blind test but I did a delicious search typing "weather freeware" and Weather Watcher is third with the 1st 2 options being Netvibes and NASA World Wind: http://worldwind.arc.nasa.gov/java/

Hardly fluff compared to Google's results.

The internet is always self-correcting. Every seemingly miracle pill is at the same time it's bane.

SEO changed the game and people took advantage, now there's more semantic web-based concepts and once again people are taking advantage. Thus we have newer casual discovery styles in social network discovery as opposed to crowd sourcing which was supposed to solve the problems with SEO which was supposed to solve the problems with Yahoo's search engine methodology.

Taking this into mind, the pattern is always that society ruins the Web but society doesn't feel like it has a responsibility to fix it so the newer technology comes and is then again ruined by society.

(By society, I don't mean just the mass influx of people online or the white hat/grey hat/black hat hacker community + game theorist scammers but ultimately human behaviour interacting with human behaviour at the speed and size we have with the internet.)

That's why I think the question should be changed into:

"Has SEO ruined the web for you because you relied on it?"

It is rude...even disinformative to redirect one's phrasing of the question but the sad reality is that this isn't a new phenomenon.

For so long the cliche of technology changing humanity and humanity changing along with technology is so ingrained that when it corrupts and no longer fits our idealistic perception we used to have, it always make sensationalists out of everyone.

Maybe it sounds over-reaching coming from a tech newbie like me to expand a basic premise as "Are Initial Search Engine Results still useful nowadays?" into a grand salt doll but ultimately I also think there's a low chance someone will post a reply with this perspective (or at least this is my assumption) so why not say this?

After all, it seems over-reaching but as important it is to reply with the quality of SEO impacting modern search results in mind, it is just as important to state the obvious: asking cold (most of the time) won't get you anywhere either.

If it was really good enough, there wouldn't have been enough need for a search engine and Forum Software would have beaten out Search Engine in the grand scheme of things.

That's why IMO the impact of technology on us people is always important even if no one wants to hear it. (especially from a newbie such as me on the topic.)

It's not just the obviousness that every technology will be degraded by society. It's not just the obviousness that technology (especially social related technology) becomes more gameable and is eventually superseded by a new technological concept ... or at least a new adaptation of the old concept... it is most important to bring up the issue of expecting help in the internet.

Selective thinking will always make us say, it's easier to say this technology seems crappier after another form of technology (no matter how old) helped us but what if it doesn't for another person? What then? Has forums ruined the web?; Has Yahoo Answers ruined the web?; Have Wikis ruined the web?

...and if the answer is yes: What then?

With low expectations (due to knowing this premise) we could at least be indifferent enough to not be emotionally scarred by the situation.

...but as the more the internet becomes an everyday part of our lives, the more difficult it is to have low expectations especially with long-time internet users, tech experts and people in the know pumping up the value of JFGI (NSFW) and RTFM and politically correct ways to deny help ...redefining technology won't ever speed the solution enough as to avoid this future scenario from looping itself unless we also prepare ourselves for the way the internet likes to help us (but not help us enough) ...but there's rarely enough social demand to raise this awareness, at least not compared to the next new and improved technology in the cloud and how it will help us improve our lives.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2009, 08:17:20 AM by Paul Keith »

Innuendo

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 2,255
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2009, 04:11:51 PM »
SEO hasn't ruined the web, but it's pretty much ruined using search engines. It's been painfully obvious the last few weeks. Search results just aren't what you want/need them to be anymore.

Once upon a time you could fire up your favorite search engine, enter a program name, and the program's web site would be in the first two or three results. Now you're lucky if it's listed in the first three pages of results.

This is the same situation that allowed Google to swoop in and take Yahoo!'s crown as king of the search engines. All we need is the right genius to come along with a way to cut through the SEO BS and we'll have a new go-to search engine.

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2009, 04:18:06 PM »
SEO hasn't ruined the web, but it's pretty much ruined using search engines. It's been painfully obvious the last few weeks. Search results just aren't what you want/need them to be anymore.

Once upon a time you could fire up your favorite search engine, enter a program name, and the program's web site would be in the first two or three results. Now you're lucky if it's listed in the first three pages of results.

This is the same situation that allowed Google to swoop in and take Yahoo!'s crown as king of the search engines. All we need is the right genius to come along with a way to cut through the SEO BS and we'll have a new go-to search engine.
Yes, you very accurately described the point I was trying to make.  People made a max exodus to Google years ago because it's search was so effective compared to the mess that Yahoo was.  But Google is quickly getting worse and worse.

I wonder what would make a search engine more effective?  How could a search engine ignore all the SEO crap?  I'm thinking that maybe something can happen similar to Wikipedia.  How is it that Wikipedia doesn't get cluttered with crap and nonsense, even though all the pages are open to anyone?  It's regulated by the users, and there are no ads.  It's amazing that it works, but it does.  Can that philosophy be applied to a search engine?

Paul Keith

  • Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 1,982
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2009, 04:43:30 PM »
How is it that Wikipedia doesn't get cluttered with crap and nonsense, even though all the pages are open to anyone?  It's regulated by the users, and there are no ads.  It's amazing that it works, but it does.  Can that philosophy be applied to a search engine?

Wikipedia is cluttered with crap and nonsense. It's called edit wars.

Look up DMOZ.

Example URL taken from dmozsucks forum:

http://www.dmozsucks...s/viewtopic.php?t=27

http://www.dmozsucks.../viewtopic.php?t=700

Innuendo

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 2,255
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2010, 12:23:39 PM »
But Google is quickly getting worse and worse.

Google is indeed getting worse. They are also becoming more persistent about trying to inject themselves into everything everyone does on the internet as well. This plays into my hands as I am trying to divorce myself from Google as much as possible.

They still have the best search engine, though, so a few Firefox extensions that block, obfuscate, and bamboozle Google's tracking methods are being employed aggressively over here.

Quote
I wonder what would make a search engine more effective?  How could a search engine ignore all the SEO crap?

It has everything to do with the search engine algorithms. People asked the same thing before Google. Search engines were crap and everyone was up in arms as to whether it was possible to fix. Google came in with an optimized search algorithm that tamed the offending parties.

There have been attempts to do this to Google before, but they were always quick to counter with a new search engine algorithm that would further filter out the poo. Now they are either having trouble countering this new wave of attacks or they don't care. It is just a matter of time before someone finds a way to beat this new breed of search engine spam. I don't know if it will be Google or someone new, but whoever pulls it off will be the search engine king for some time to come.

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2010, 07:03:18 PM »
How is it that Wikipedia doesn't get cluttered with crap and nonsense, even though all the pages are open to anyone?  It's regulated by the users, and there are no ads.  It's amazing that it works, but it does.  Can that philosophy be applied to a search engine?

Wikipedia is cluttered with crap and nonsense. It's called edit wars.

Look up DMOZ.

Example URL taken from dmozsucks forum:

http://www.dmozsucks...s/viewtopic.php?t=27

http://www.dmozsucks.../viewtopic.php?t=700
I'm not saying Wikipedia is perfect.  But overall, it is amazingly successful at providing the information you need to war.  If I am looking for something on Wikipedia, 9 times out of 10, I find exactly what I want.  It's the other way around for google.

Bamse

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 410
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2010, 10:31:39 PM »
Don't forget Search Wiki as another way to move away from evil default http://www.google.co...en&answer=115764 Provided by Google and requiring an account. So there is also "personalized search" filtering besides the regional one I think always is active. Also why you can say SEO is dead!, even the good type. You cannot "promise" top x position anymore or there are more than one Google. New left sidebar is also there to help doing better searches. Perhaps because Google realized only few know shortcuts or use advanced search page. They show sign of being aware of problems with old default and old habits.

Of course Google can do more but those new initiatives show that end result is up to you. You can not just punch in broad keywords and expect greatness. Google would be useless if they did not have the info you need. They probably do so find it  8) They get bigger and bigger, not worse and worse.

Recently I had a little debate with a moderator on a security forum. Talking about blocking stuff, even cookies. He was naturally paranoid. So cool to block all ads and stuff. Then crappy site become great! Anyway, their site/forum show Google ads which are targeted "security" "malware" and such keywords. Also means quite a few of them leads to malware!, definitely not recommended products. My point was they have no moral, policy or concern of users and are in bed with the same forces they supposedly fight. I said it nicer though. If even aware of this Google connection (they block own content) is a pill to swallow in order to get revenue. Did not go down well but Google Ads (sister to searching) is one of those things you do not discuss  8) is like electricity you use, water you drink. No questions asked. Power of Google sticks a lot deeper than black hat SEO idiots and how close Google are to weeding them out. More about what benefits who like so many other things. "How to monetize?" is not just interesting for the bad guys.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2010, 10:35:42 PM by Bamse »

Paul Keith

  • Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 1,982
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2010, 11:17:07 AM »
I'm not saying Wikipedia is perfect.  But overall, it is amazingly successful at providing the information you need to war.  If I am looking for something on Wikipedia, 9 times out of 10, I find exactly what I want.  It's the other way around for google.

Nor was I.

To quote Innuendo's post:

Quote
People asked the same thing before Google. Search engines were crap and everyone was up in arms as to whether it was possible to fix. Google came in with an optimized search algorithm that tamed the offending parties.

There have been attempts to do this to Google before, but they were always quick to counter with a new search engine algorithm that would further filter out the poo. Now they are either having trouble countering this new wave of attacks or they don't care. It is just a matter of time before someone finds a way to beat this new breed of search engine spam. I don't know if it will be Google or someone new, but whoever pulls it off will be the search engine king for some time to come.

In terms of youth, Wikipedia is alot younger than Google and has a lot less responsibility.

It's the same for Google.

I'm oversimplifying, both because I don't really know the actual history and because it's more convenient to use an analogy, but before the explosion of blogs and other walled garden repositories, Google got away with SEO's model because it had less responsibility.

Search engines had to still provide relevant results but it didn't need to have wikipedia, it didn't need to be a dedicated people profile searcher, it didn't need to have separate sections for separate media.

Not because it shouldn't and it didn't want to but in terms of expectations, it didn't have to be THAT good. Even today, no one wants search engines to be the cause of having their life humilating net experiences be discovered because a search engine was too intrusive in indexing (...and yet they don't want a bad custom search engine because it provides less results)

That sort of expectations is what bred SEO.

...and for a while, it was a mutual benefit until more people were dissatisfied by the effect.

I can't predict nor describe the day Wikipedia becomes the same to you but I think there's some truth in saying that you're giving Wikipedia a pass right now because you have less expectations from it because you're still getting what you desire from it.

Maybe I'm wrong but it's common enough for most people to have confirmation bias.

In most cases, Wikipedia gets a pass because it hides behind the label of an encyclopedia instead of a general repository and so it seems like an example of a better encyclopedia. (as opposed to Encarta and others being a more flawed encyclopedia)

Eventually that will change as expectations for Wikipedia become much higher and you see people get even better at gaming at it and admin corruption becomes more exposed. (i.e. the old EssJay issue for example)

It might seem like I'm adding all these "too long; didn't read" reasons to weasel word you as a naive person who thinks Wikipedia is perfect but that's really the opposite of my opinion. I just don't know how to better communicate my point.

My intention is not so much listing some examples of Wikipedia's flaw to show you that it's not perfect but more in the sense of showing you that: just as Pre-Google Yahoo had flaws and current Google has flaws, Wikipedia has flaws and even though it works now, if you don't put the pros and cons in context, you'll end up mispredicting/misperceiving the solution on how to improve Google. (Again, I apologize if this comes off like I'm thinking you're stupid by stating a point that could be interpreted as being Capt. Obvious but this is not really my intention. I'm not saying you're wrong either or you didn't know of these issues before. I just think these things need to be brought up so that the idea of Wikipedia being a possible solution to Google can be much better represented and the answer to your topic, much better defined.)




superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2010, 12:57:11 PM »
Man, I just did a couple of more searches just now (not as an experiment, I was actually searching for something).  Maybe 10% were somewhat useful.  And I think I'm beginning to recognize which one's are SEO optimized, just by the layout and the way they are written.  Such crap.  Utter garbage.  What's sad is that there probably is someone out there who really has something good and interesting to say, but it's lost in all the crap.  Similar to my own website, I'm sure barely anyone reaches my software reviews, and I bet they are loads more helpful than whatever they find searching the web for.  Oh well, such is life.  I guess the one thing I am eternally grateful for in all this hoopla is the ability to go on forums and ask for help or advice on things.  So, it's still word of mouth to find the best websites, but at least the "mouths" from all over the world are accessible.

Paul Keith

  • Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 1,982
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2010, 01:17:08 PM »
On the contrary, word of mouth is just as unreliable.

Just ask here how many use argument mappers for example or how many people mention Compendium, Pigeonhole, Notezilla, Ubernote, Zoho, etc. etc. etc. and you're bound to get different results based on different forums.

Hardly anyone here talks about GrandView but it seems like the current hot topic in OutlinerSoftware.com right now.

Similarly, if you were merely looking up entries in Lifehacker, you might get the skewed impression that the Iphone is the ultimate app.

Go to DIYPlanner and the stuff they talk about regarding paper planners makes it seem like paper does a Superman on software productivity software in every aspect.

It's not a sure-fire advice but you might want to consider creating a Twitter account and linking it to your website if beating SEO is that important.

I know it seems like the cliche blogosphere advice/recent social media fad to give but I'm saying it less because it's the "in" thing but more because IMO SEO is being supplemented by Twitter results more and more these days and if your content is really up there, you're bound to be noticed more from your Twitter results regardless if you have a good or bad search ranking.

Edit: This service was recently posted in makeuseof.com although I haven't tried it: http://www.makeuseof...e-articles-you-want/
« Last Edit: January 04, 2010, 01:39:46 PM by Paul Keith »

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2010, 10:02:47 AM »
The past couple of weeks, I've been learning a lot of new things.  About 99% of whatever I found on Google is trash.  Google is trashed, as far as the search engine goes.  you will not really find anything good without really really trying hard.  I've been learning about flowcharts, business processes, etc. and everything that I found independently using Google was worthless for the most part.

Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,220
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2010, 09:08:33 PM »
I've been doing SEO for years, and even did blackhat SEO before it was known as blackhat. (I've not bothered doing any blackhat SEO for a very long time now.) I've had top results for keywords that are more competitive than the top porn keywords (many of which aren't really appropriate to print here :P ), so I know my stuff pretty well.

And yes. SEO in a lot of ways has ruined things. There are a huge number of sites out there that mirror (scrape) content in order to get into search engines. They are largely useless as it's generally better to get that content from the original site. e.g. There are several sites that scrape MSDN content and forums.

It creates noise that is simply daunting to get through.

SEO has done a lot of good though. It has taught people basic common sense like URLs make more sense to humans when they look like Wordpress URLs than they do with CNET URLs.

http://microsoft2apple.com/2010/05/14/about-a-new-twitter-app-and-choices/

http://download.cnet.com/ALZip/3000-2250_4-10326198.html?tag=mncol

It's easier to see if you want to visit a site when the URL tells you things about it.

Another thing about good SEO is that if you do it right, you end up following the HTML spec better and using things properly instead of hacking things together sloppily. It forces you to write properly formatted and structured hypertext documents. This in turn results in higher quality web pages both in terms of the actual content and in terms of rendering speeds. (Hacked up crap will render slower.)

So it's kind of one of those things where you take the good with the bad. e.g. Can anyone name a government that isn't corrupt? It's still highly unlikely that no government at all would be preferable. You get order and organization at the expense of hypocrisy, theft, embezzlement, graft, and "legitimized crime".

I'm sure we could come up with a lot of similar examples, and perhaps even one or two that aren't completely cynical. :P

Nevertheless, it is still very frustrating when you constantly get sidetracked by all the spam in the search results. It's virtually impossible to get relevant results for things like car parts as it's a highly profitable area for spammers.

However, keep in mind that Amazon, Buy.com, eBay, Ask.com, and a large number of other major online retailers are some of the biggest spammers out there. They are particularly bad at spamming Google ads, and Google is complicit in it as they have a decent name/reputation, and they hand money over to Google. Google will only put up with abuse from large customers. Small customers get axed. This further exacerbates the problem of spam as it forces up the price of ads (artificially) with Google even forcing up the prices purposefully to levels that are 10~50x more than the keyword is worth (except for their large spammer customers like Ask.com and eBay). So what you end up with is the only route to go is to rely on heavy SEO that is likely to result in low quality crap.

e.g. Take some keyword that can only bring in $0.25 in revenue per click. If you want to bid on it, you may very well need to bid $5.00 OR MORE per click, even if nobody at all is bidding on it. Those kinds of keywords can only be used for arbitrage by Google large (abusive) customers, like eBay. What (small) idiot would bid there? The only recourse is aggressive SEO.

The problem isn't just SEO; it is also advertising and how Google allows abuse by very large customers.

I'm not sure that there really is a solution, as the main job of a spammer is to keep ahead of the curve in order to remain profitable. And when you cut off legitimate avenues for revenue, well, spam is a good bet. The fault doesn't lie entirely with the spammers there. There are others out there that bear responsibility for creating the situation where spam = survival.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

mitzevo

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 462
  • Control is power
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2010, 09:21:19 PM »
Quote
I was speaking to a friend of mine.  He wrote a couple of websites for the sole purpose to rank high in search engines using SEO.  He wrote about online education.  He knows nothing about online education, but he wrote articles about it, just to have some content.  The articles contain advice.  But they were written strategically using the right words and strategies to rank high in search engines.  The point is, the articles are useless.  This is everywhere in the internet.  Software download sites, review sites, blogs,...90% of them are beyond useless, they are often nonsensical.

Nice use of your new word ;)
The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present.

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2010, 11:45:16 PM »
Quote
I was speaking to a friend of mine.  He wrote a couple of websites for the sole purpose to rank high in search engines using SEO.  He wrote about online education.  He knows nothing about online education, but he wrote articles about it, just to have some content.  The articles contain advice.  But they were written strategically using the right words and strategies to rank high in search engines.  The point is, the articles are useless.  This is everywhere in the internet.  Software download sites, review sites, blogs,...90% of them are beyond useless, they are often nonsensical.

Nice use of your new word ;)
HA!!  Too funny.  if you had asked me, I would have told you I never used the word before in my life, until the website.  Nice one!

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,296
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2010, 07:37:46 AM »
Okay, so noting this mine field, what advice would be offered to one trying to get a website positioned correctly for the topic its content is relevant to?

(Bear with me, I know this is only vaguely on topic)

I ask because I'm currently in the process of redoing the company website which we've never really tried drawing attention to...because it's hidious. The new site which will (hopefully be non-hidious) feature online shopping while showcasing the company (yada yada yada) will need to be created with the SEO madness in mind.

So... any advice on what I should/should not do/be doing?

Paul Keith

  • Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 1,982
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2010, 07:57:07 AM »
Well there's this: http://www.marketsamurai.com/ but they also host lots of interesting things in their blog. (Sometimes free. I tried a free program made by another person that was promoted in their blog but I forgot the name and I didn't use it much.)

I don't think it's a minefield as much as necessity but I don't even have my own domain to verify the outcome.

From what I gather though, it's mostly backlinks and linkpages and being on the popular social networking pages although I think being on youtube and having a series of videos with lots of views edges out everything else except maybe Wikipedia if you can find a way to be notable and not be seen as spam.

Edit: I also heard this search engine mentioned but I don't know how reliable it is nowadays.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2010, 08:12:52 AM by Paul Keith »

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2010, 10:28:19 AM »
Google is just one more sad example of how there has never been a system so respected, useful, or worthwhile that somebody didn't eventually show up and start gaming it for their own advantage.

It's even sadder when the people who created the system start doing it themselves.

And many do. :-\
« Last Edit: June 03, 2010, 10:32:44 AM by 40hz »

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2010, 02:20:12 PM »
Google is just one more sad example of how there has never been a system so respected, useful, or worthwhile that somebody didn't eventually show up and start gaming it for their own advantage.

It's even sadder when the people who created the system start doing it themselves.

And many do. :-\
Yes.  Sometimes, i take a step back and just nod because you have to expect it.  Not only expect it, but understand that that is just human nature.  heck, I shouldn't even be mad about it.  The end result is frustrating for me as a user, but I guess I don't have a beef with reasons behind it.  I'm not above saying that I probably would do the same thing if I were in their shoes.  Who knows?

rgdot

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 1,880
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Has SEO ruined the web?
« Reply #24 on: June 03, 2010, 03:49:59 PM »
The answer to the thread title is yes, a good example to illustrate it is something I was doing just yesterday.
I was searching for an online stream of a soccer game not available on TV (putting aside the illegalities of streaming) google search results gave me pages and pages of "team x vs team y June 2 2010". I will let you all guess how many of those pages actually had the stream for the game.