Search engine optimization is by and large common sense so paying lots of money for it is a waste of money as I've said in the past.

Search Engine Voodoo is easy:

  1. Make sure your page validates and the content is not hidden by graphics and that the title and page URL are clean and are relevant to to the content
  2. Create compelling content constantly
  3. Link to your compelling and relevant content on your site and other sites
  4. Generate an RSS feed
  5. Send a ping when you update your site and RSS feed

Link farms, hiring firms in Asia, Russia and Eastern Europe to request links don't work and is a waste of time and money.

The best way to get #1-#4 done: blogs.

And this only take an hour a day of focused blogging

From Portals and KM: Search Engine Optimization: Intelligence from The New Yorker:

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I was skimming through that high tech news source, The New Yorker, on Saturday and came across an article that articulated a topic I have been discussing a bit. I had been curious to see my modest blog appear at the top of the pile of 153,000 Google hits on – portals and km. Several people explained that this was because a number of kind readers of this blog had put in links to it in their sites and the presence of these links is one of the most important criteria Google uses to rank its search results. I am glad it is not hits.

According to the New Yorker, “Some American companies have armies of programmers toiling away in Bangalore solely to boost their Google rankings.” The writer goes on to add, “Much of what the “optimizers” do is reasonable, helping companies do a better job of presenting content, using keywords, and building pages to which others will want to link. (These are termed “white hat” tactics.)”

This was reassuring since my daughter, Sarah Ives, revealed to me over lunch on Friday that she developed the search engine optimization strategy for the National Geographic kids web site and my friend, Amanda Watlington, has developed such strategies for the web sites of a number of large firms. I would certainly put both of these people in the “white hat” category.

On the other hand, there are many unnamed companies that wear the black hat in this space. The New Yorker article states that some companies even set up “link farms” - interconnected Web sites that simply link to each other. A company can buy thousands of domain names, set up Web sites, and create thousands of links out of nothing. I am glad they are not going after the portals and km search string.

Google tries to outsmart these companies to keep their rankings honest and there is a constant battle between Google and the black hat optimizers. The Google moves have even gotten names, like hurricanes, and they result in counter moves and counter-counter moves.

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