I am old enough to remember vinyl LPs. We would stack 45′s on the top of the cradle and it would automatically drop the single onto the turntable after each one finished. At the time we were in awe of the technology.
At the time word was travelling around the playground – I realise now this was viral marketing – that certain records when played backwards revealed satanic messages. Stuff like, oh I can’t remember, “Satan is not really a bad chap”, and “If you see lucifer at the seaside buy him an ice cream.” It was a long time ago. But you get the idea.
So we would get out the Albums and go through each one checking for evil instruction. We never found any of course, although I was sure on a Jimi Hendrix record there was a “Eat more wheatgerm”, message.
What has this to do with search engine optimisation?
Well, it seems there are some people who scream that seo types are pure evil. A lot of social media users seem to hate people who design web pages optimised to gain decent rankings in the search results pages. These include Digg, Netscape, and Reddit users.
Usage of the phrase “manipulation of the search engines” tends to get thrown around way too easy. It’s not the search engines that are manipulated. It’s our own pages and as far as I am aware I can do what I bloody well like to my own page.
It is not evil to present your web pages in a way that gives you the best possible chance of inclusion into the heady heights of Google search results.
Is going to a job interview in your best suit a manipulation of your prospective employer?
Is making sure you have no spinach in your teeth when going on a date giving you an unfair advantage?
No, you must present your website in the best possible light to elicit search engined to list you for the correct keywords required.
Now obviously if you do something the search engines don’t like there will be furious retribution visited down on your head. But is it evil? No.
Is it wrong to game the search engines? Only if it harms your goals. If you are trying to build a long term business with a website I would advise sticking to the search engines rules.
Someone wiser than me once said, “Rules are for the guidance of the wise and the keeping of fools.”
However, if you are the crash and burn sort, the live short and fast, rock n’ roll, punk seo type then. Then eschew the rules and go for it. But I wouldn’t think you are building for the future.
Of course you could put your black hat profits into white hat web development, but that’s another story.
So, are search engine optimisers evil satanic scumbags trying to infect the web with evil messages?