A friend in the UK has just shown me the search results he gets from Google when he types in “direct response marketing”.
The second ranked website is a company that sells Viagra and Cialis. (This is a UK company, so it doesn’t show when you do the search from NZ.) These clever marketers have acquired the domain name directresponsemarketing.com and their company is called DRM. No doubt they have got a pile of links coming into the site as well, all suggesting it is about direct response marketing.
There are thousands of websites that are gaming the system like this, through clever search engine optimisation. But Google is fighting back against this kind of nonsense.
Here is a statement last week from Google’s Matt Cutts:
“Normally we don’t pre-announce changes, but there is something we’ve been working in the last few months and hopefully in the coming weeks we hope to release it. The idea is basically to try to level the playing ground a little bit. So all those people who have been doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly doing their SEO – compared to the people who are just making great content and trying to make a fantastic site, we are trying to level the playing field a bit.
We try to make the GoogleBot smarter, try to make our relevance more adaptive, so that if people don’t so SEO we handle that. And we are also looking at the people who abuse it, who put too many keywords on a page, exchange way too many links, or whatever else they are doing to go beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now.”
I have always believed that the way to do SEO is to provide people with content of genuine value. That way, you are contributing the betterment of the Internet – not just filling it up with junk, as so many SEO companies are doing.
I understand there is a demand for getting people’s websites to the top of Google, at any cost, and there is good money to be made by doing this. But with Google getting smarter and smarter, the best long term solution is just to provide genuine valuable content.
There are some basic on-page factors that will tell Google what your web page is about – such as the title tag, heading tags, alt tags etc. These should be done as a matter of course. But I’ve always been against artificial link building. It’s great to hear that Google is doing its utmost to stamp it out.