The Dark Arts

I just finished writing my previous post, and decided to try and find something I'd written to a client in the past about their SEO. With minor edits to conceal the guilty, here's an extract from an email to a web development client of mine last year:

The obvious questions are:

a) Would you achieve those rankings
without paying $400 a month? EG If we had a decent site, with decent
relevant copy and content, you should be up there anyway.
b) How much $ sales can be ascribed to the SEO
campaign – eg how many sales have you achieved from click thrus from
the search engines? That presumes the buyer behaviour is that they
might know about companies offering your product, they Google some words,
up comes your site, so they click thru, and then buy.

2. I'm not entirely happy with the SEO work
on your web pages. By my reading it contravenes Google's guidelines. It
includes hidden text, hidden links that are solely present just for
search engines. These are tactics expressly banned by Google. See

If you weren't aware of the hidden stuff. try going to your site,
then click View > Source. You'll see all the HTML code, scroll down,
there's a bunch of stuff that, using some trickery, is not visible to
your customers, but is visible to the automated search engine spiders.

It might work, but the problem is if Google (in particular) catches
you. You'll be dropped from their index then need to fight to get
reviewed and reinstated.

This is why I have a problem with SEO
like this one. It's interfering with the natural order. Sites appear in
Google in the order that Google's algorithms has determined based on
relevance and popularity. So if you have a good site, with great
content, that people want to visit, you'll deservedly rank well. SEO like this relies on tricks and manipulations to circumvent the natural order.

Good site optimization should be about creating a great site, not messing with mother nature.

1 thought on “The Dark Arts

  1. Thanks to everything I learned from you, I’ve gotten pretty good SEO results from doing one thing: updating my website five times a week. If you type puppets into google (or any term related to puppetry), my site comes up usually within the first page of results; if you type in ‘how to make a marionette’ it always comes up in the top three results on the first page.
    🙂 Like you say, no need to spend the dough if you have good content. My whole ‘Learn Online’ page is simply SEO to drive people to my online shop.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s