<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Ignite Your Site: July 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Should every website be SEO'd (search engine optimized)?

Just recently I was reading a post on SEOMoz, "Naivete & Misconceptions Still Prevalent Attitudes Towards SEO", and I commented about whether every website should really be optimized for the search engines. It may sound like an odd question coming from a company that helps companies optimize and build optimized websites, but it's one that we feel is important.

Are there websites that just shouldn't be optimized?
I think the answer for this is very simple - YES. Let me explain that a little. When it comes to business websites, for the most part they should be built well and optimized to gain the most exposure possible. However, what about the "business" websites that are really just fronts for other things.

One of the best examples I can think of would be affiliate marketing websites. Now I realize this is a large industry, but are these sites really helping anyone? An affiliate website by its nature is really just a middle man. Sure, it can be lucrative for the person(s) running it, but does it provide value to the website searcher? I would venture to guess that most if not all don't provide anymore value then if the visitor was brought to the source from the start.

So do white hat SEO's have an obligation to stop optimizing these sites?
I think we do. If we are calling ourselves White Hat SEO's and truly believe that the content that should be at the top of the search engines should be relevant and quality, then affiliate sites should be dropped to the bottom of the list. Other than creating some income for the middle man, I don't see how these types of sites provide value to people searching the web.

I believe that part of the reason the SEO industry has a bad reputation in the eyes of many is because we seem to be OK with optimizing any website. Just like lawyers have a bad wrap for defending even the most lowly people, SEO's are often too eager to get a project rather than stand by their principals.

Don't the search engines have a part in this also?
Now, it may seem like I'm being overly harsh on SEO's, and I know that there are many SEO's who do have very high standards and don't take these projects. For those that stand by their principles I commend you. For those that don't really care, I think the search engines should start playing a larger role in keeping these types of sites from ranking well. The search engines seem to be smart enough now to determine if a site is an affiliate marketer or not, so why are they still allowing them to rank well (sometimes better then the source)?

Remember: What you do speaks much louder then what you say.

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