Thursday, February 26, 2009

Why Geeks Suck at Organic SEO

Or, Why Google Loves Links

I have a t-shirt that has #!/usr/bin/perl on the front, and a bunch of obfuscated perl code on the back. If you were to type that code into a file, and submit it to a perl interpreter, it would print: "The three chief virtues of a programmer are: Laziness, Impatience and Hubris". Now I'm as much of a fan of automation and a willingness to boil reluctant oceans as the next person, but such virtues don't apply to everything.

Success with organic SEO depends on two things: (1) Good long-tail content; and (2) Good inbound links. People say other things matter, but they're wrong.

Geeks excel at the first task: generating long-tail content. That's because content generation scales. You can create a technology platform that makes it relatively easy to published edited articles; you can integrate databases with templates to create endless variations on subtly different keyword combinations. If you're a fan of generating textual crap you can scrape RSS feeds, use a rewriting script to munge the text and publish limitless text with the push of a button.

But, Geeks don't excel at building good inbound links: acquiring inbound links doesn't scale, and hubris is rarely your friend. It requires repetitive work that isn't easy to automate, such as making phone calls and developing relationships.

This, of course, makes the quality and quantity of inbound links an ideal criteria to keep the world's most effusive content generators from spamming Google's index. Look at how Google reacts to link acquisition strategies that do scale: link-buying (removing pagerank of participating sites, requesting that people report purchased links), links in comments / forum posts / wikis (devaluing IBL, promoting the nofollow tag) not to mention older link-building techniques such as massive link farms.

Geeks suck at organic SEO because Google has to make organic SEO depend on something Geeks suck at. Or, said differently, if Geeks were great at building good organic inbound links, Google would have to put its algorithmic weight behind factors that Geeks suck at.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Charles & Hudson: Best Home Improvement Blog

I just thought I'd give props to my favorite home improvement blog: Timothy Dahl's Charles and Hudson. As you know if you read my blog regularly, I work in the home improvement industry, and Timothy's blog is the best I've found.

He has a long history in writing about home improvement issues, and you can expect to read posts that cover tools (here's my favorite), DIY news and new products. If you use a RSS reader, you subscribe to his RSS feed here.