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Putting SEO Under the Microscope

There is not a day that goes by that people recommending search engine optimization (SEO) don’t come up with yet another interesting idea or opinion on a topic in their field. They are all so focused on structures and procedures that they often forget that not every one agrees with their viewpoints and practices – that is, if their technical mumbo-jumbo can be understood.

The following are 5 SEO topics that are frequently discussed and disagreed upon:

1 – The Importance of Content Structure & Keywords

While keywords may add great value from a technical, algorithmic ranking perspective, their presence may not always entice the audience to explore the site they are visiting. The content may seem boring and unappealing, rather than grabbing and fascinating. In that case, the psychological triggers that will tell the reader to continue browsing will be missing, as will the desire to share the information with their friends and family.

SEO experts won’t ever agree on which is more important when it comes to keywords and compelling content. In the end, it will be up to the website owner or manager to decide what is more important to him: search engine rankings or sales.

2 – Pro or Con Reciprocal Link Exchange

A ‘reciprocal link exchange’ is an effective and efficient way of driving traffic to a website and improving the search engine placement of participating websites. At least, that is what some experts believe, while others are fearful and refuse to swap any kind of link that may refer to their business.

Artificially manipulating links may not be the best SEO idea on the market, but there is definitely nothing wrong with link trading programs that exchange links of companies endorsing a relationship, or business related directories.

If you do decide to participate in a link exchange, check the links regularly and report the dead ones to the webmaster so they can either be fixed or removed.

3 – Should the H1 Headline and Title Tag Match – or Not?

Many SEO consultants are skeptical when they notice sites whose H1 header is different from the title tag. One may wonder what the reasoning may be, because this action may confuse and upset the audience. Users click on a certain headline because they are interested in its content, yet when the search result is complete, and the header and title tag do not match, they may find themselves confronted with a completely different message, which may be something they are not interested in. That is very disappointing for the user, even if it may result in a higher ranking.

4 – The Relevance of a Website’s Age

Although many web designers believe that the age and history of a website are pertinent, it is not quite clear if search engines actually do use an ‘age’ or an ‘age of links’ metric to inflate incumbent rankings. Search engines check keywords, pay-per-click, link building and other SEO features and don’t necessarily verify when a website was built. All they care about is how user friendly and SEO strong the site is, which means that a younger, highly efficient site should absolutely be able to compete with more mature competitors.

5 – Reporting a Competitor’s Spam Activities

Spam is a reality and spammers should be reported. At least, that is what a number of SEO specialists would argue. Others may disagree and point out that those who are extremely vocal about competitors’ manipulative tactics to enhance search engine ranking are usually the ones abusing it the most. All they are trying to do is shift the focus away from them.

Anyone reporting spam should not publicly announce their actions because, even if spammers are breaking guidelines, the SEO community is vehement about socially shunning those violating the “code of silence”. As unethical as this blackmail may seem, it should not stop you from warning the search engines about illegal activities and, at the same time, reap some of the benefits associated with this. In the end, you will have to market and protect your site and business.

Here are several arguments in favor of spam reporting:

• Taking out spammers will improve the value of the Internet and help search engines provide more accurate search results.

• Your ranking may improve by eliminating a competitor.

• Removing manipulators will leave more room for your site to achieve better rankings, to boost visibility and to boost your sales.

• You can learn from researching spam activities and tactics. You will learn what is inappropriate, what the engines do/don’t tolerate and what penalties can be expected for which unlawful actions.

• As long as you are clean yourself, reporting spammers can gain you trust with the search engines.
These are a few reasons against it:

• If you are engaged in certain types of spam, or unknowingly benefit from it, you can accidentally hurt your website’s ranking. • It is unethical to blow the whistle on and hurt other SEO specialists. People have been arguing about ethics for centuries and in the end it will be up to each individual to decide what is more important to them and to their website.

About The Author
Shout is one of the fastest growing online marketíng companies in Australasia. Shout specializes in SEO, Search Engine Marketing, website conversions, usability testing and social media marketing. Not only does Shout SEO achieve top search engine rankings for the most competitive keywords, they deal in all things web that help maximize ROI on your website.

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