Originally Posted by xan
My collegues don't believe our business and SEO can ever exist harmoniously side by side.
I believe that ethical SEOs and search engineers can absolutely get along. I think there is a vast amount of knowledge to be shared between the groups that will help to make the Internet a better place overall.
Let me give some examples:
1. Engineers making SEOs understand that keyword density and keyword stuffing are not valuable, and that term weight is a far better measure of a page's connection to a term/phrase.
2. SEOs helping engineers understand good methods to stop blog spam (rather than nofollow), including seperate indexes for blogs, tags that indicate a software type of blog, patterns that show blog spam, etc.
3. Engineers helping SEOs understand why well-written, natural language is optimal for SEO thanks to advanced sentence structure analysis and its use to tag spam pages.
4. SEOs helping engineers to see blatant spamming/scamming techniques including the 301 hijacking, new techniques for cloaking, re-directs, etc.
I don't feel at odds with any search engineer. Whenever I take on a project, I always ask, what can I do to make this site deserving of the top 10 positions in the search engines, then I make the neccessary changes and additions, make the site 'worthy' and useful to searchers, and begin optimization.
In the long term, search engineering will advance enough so that the quality of a site's content is deserving of top ranks, add it to the websites, and promote them for the world (and the search engines) to see and judge.
Many of you know that I optimize for a site (avatarfinancial.com) in the commercial lending industry - a sector rife with corruption, exorbitant sliminess and lots of dishonest people. I work with Avatar because they're honest people, honest businessmen and fairly priced for what they offer. They won't scam people out of their money, they won't lie and say they can fund when they can't, just to get a down payment. They are direct lenders, so they don't add broker fees and can work with anyone (broker or borrower) who comes to them. When someone submits a loan on the site, my boss calls them up right away and if we can't help them, she refers them to a reputable company in the industry who can. It feels good to work for them because I know that searchers who find our site are faring much better than the searchers who get to our competitors. I'm proud to do the work I do, just like the search engineers are proud to provide great results to people searching online. To me, SEOs & engineers are two peas in a happy little Internet pod.
Don't worry, I know there's exceptions and bad eggs, but that's true in every industry. You just have to rely on the fact that over the long run, honest, useful, strong companies will survive and flourish.