Are You A Bill Clinton Webmaster?
By David Leonhardt, Fri Dec 9th
Are You A Bill Clinton Webmaster? Post-Florida Google Pulls Backthe Fig Leaf By David Leonhardt
One of the most frequent questions I get asked about my ebook,Don't Get Banned BY The Search Engines, is whether I amended itto include post-Florida Google. "Florida" is the code name thatsearch engine optimizer wizards gave to a November, 2003,shakeup at Google that left many webmasters covering themselvesup with makeshift fig leaves while dangling upside down abovethe proverbial crocodile moat.
I am tempted to explain that, "No, I did not amend it, becausenothing has really changed." But just try telling the world thatBill Clinton did not have "sex" with Monica Lewinski. Yeah,right. So I take the lazy way out and I just say, "Yes."
But the guilt has been creeping up on me, grasping at my skin,gnawing away at my bones, chewing on my heart, mauling myconscience, and spitting out my toenails one by one. So this isconfession time. Don't Get Banned By The Search Engine has notbeen amended to include post-Florida Google.
Is this because I am peddling stale goods? Am I leading peopleastray? Do I have a clue what's going on? "No", "I hope so", and"Maybe".
In fact, nothing really has changed at Google, and webmasterswho have been following Google's guidelines can just keep doingwhat they have always been doing, just as Presidents who followpublic decency guidelines can keep doing what they are doing(until we vote them out of office for other reasons, of course).
"But I followed the guidelines, and I still took bullets inseveral vital organs," I hear many webmasters say. In fact, veryfew webmasters have been following Google's guidelines. Mosthave been following the Clinton what-can-I-get-away-with figleaf guidelines.
Remember that Bill Clinton never had "sex" with Monica Lewinski.Technically. Honest, he did nothing wrong. He followed the rulesby not having "sex" with Monica Lewinski. In fact, he was seenin public not having sex with Monica Lewinski on severaloccasions.
And webmasters follow the rules by not linking to "link farms"or "overoptimizing". Sure, they will link to sites that havenothing to do with their site's topic, but not to a "link farm".And they will "exchange links", but surely that does not violateGoogle's" uniquely democratic nature of the web" principle. Aslong as you are not actually caught publicly stuffing the ballotbox, how could Google possibly suggest that you are doing so?
So here are my post-Florida rules:
You only link to relevant sites, because that's what you knowGoogle and your visitors want. Keep doing that.
You don't exchange links, because that would be stuffingGoogle's ballot
box – and that is NOT something Google wants.Keep not doing that.
Your link does not appear on many useless "links" pages, whereit has to share PageRank with dozens of other web sites. Keepnot doing that.
You accept links only from relevant web pages, because you knowthat's the only meaningful traffic ... and that's what Googlewants. Keep doing that.
Your links look different on different web pages around theInternet, because that's how a democratic process would createyour links. Keep doing that.
You keep adding relevant content to your web site, becausethat's what you know Google and your visitors want. Keep doingthat.
See? No change. And if there is a change, it simply means thatyou were not following Google's guidelines in the past. Oh sure,technically you might have been following Google's guidelines,but technically Bill Clinton didn't have sex with MonikaLewinski. Another round of fig leaves, anyone?
Google implemented "stemming" along with the Florida update, ormore likely a few weeks earlier. Since your inbound links arevaried and often unique, you probably already are takingadvantage of stemming, so it won't bother you. And since youwrite meaningful copy for your visitors, you probably alreadyhave all the stemming you need right in your copy. You are readyto really excel in Post-Florida Google.
Google is also implementing a "communities" factor. Since yourinbound links all come from relevant web pages, you are alreadypart of the community. You are already well placed to succeed inPost-Florida Google, right?
Google has implemented "penalties" for some typicallyoveroptimized terms. Actually, I think penalties is probably thewrong word, but that is what most SEOs are using. Since youwrite quality content, meaningful headers, and don't cut andpaste the same phrase over and over in every possible place, youare ready to conquer Mount Google.
In other words, if you were following Google's guidelines, notthe Bill Clinton fig leaf guidelines, just keep doing what youare doing. For the rest of you, isn't it time you dropped thefig leaf and wrapped yourself up in something a little moresubstantial that will weather the high winds of Google's nextbig storm?
And, "No." I did not amend Don't Get Banned By The SearchEngines to include post-Florida Google – because I never advisedpeople to follow the Bill Clinton fig leaf guidelines in theoriginal edition.
About the author:David Leonhardt is a freelance writer, and an online and offlinepublicity specialist. Contact him at:mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website athttp://www.thehappyguy.com . For a copy of Don't Get Banned ByThe Search Engines: http://www.thehappyguy.com/SEO.html . For acopy of Get In The News:http://thehappyguy.com/publicity-self-promotion-report.html .