Basic Website Savviness

Andy Beal takes issue with an article that puts SEO in a not-so-positive light. I’m neutral on the first part of the article, but the business owner interviewed goes on to say

…business owners need to be aware of what their internet staff are doing, because programmers are constantly learning new methods, new techniques and tips from each other and from the web. “They would not give a second thought to using this new but perhaps untested and dubious technique on your live website just to hone freshly acquired skills or to appear to be a bit more professional in their own minds.”

That’s an important point and I agree in spirit. I don’t agree that everyone is adding features and the latest tricks just as a resume-building activity, but I have heard in person, from feedback to Google, and in forums that site owners have employed someone who has taken unnecessary risks with their sites, only to find out after a removal from search engine results.

Overall, I think that the number of people working on websites who are willing to make risky changes is a small fraction. And, at the end of the day, one has to put a large amount of trust in those working for him or her. However, business owners can consider a few things with respect to their website to mitigate these risks.

Knowing the spirit of the quality guidelines of search engines, learning what techniques they frown upon, doing a thing or two to keep tabs on their site, and knowing where to get help, are all potentially worthwhile. It then becomes straightforward to touch base with staff on changes, or bring that knowledge to new proposals, to ask how well the work meshes with search engine guidelines. If the web designers, programmers, or SEOs they work with know that the site owner has a basic savviness, those doing the work might be less likely to employ risky techniques on a whim.

This entry was posted in Google. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Basic Website Savviness

  1. Sebastian says:

    I agree that the number of SEOs putting their client’s sites at risk is small. I consider clueless Web designers way more dangerous ;)

    At the moment there’s not much help but a lot of noise available at the Google Webmaster Group:

  2. Adam Senour says:

    Both you and Sebastian touched on my major thought on the whole issue…it’s not SEOs knowingly putting clients’ sites at risk…it’s ignorant SEOs, and in many cases SEO/webmaster hybrids, unwittingly putting client sites in danger. It’s a daily occurrence to see posts in webmaster forums about “Link exchange with PR4 site” or “Why isn’t my site ranked? I put 1000 words in my meta description tag!” or the mythical -30/-950 penalties or the “Is there a major Google update? My site doesn’t rank anymore.”

    The thing with that article is that there’s absolutely nothing in it for an ethical SEO to take umbrage with. The article was nothing more than a Russian website owner expressing his thoughts. It’s more of an op-ed piece than it is an article. So what? It’s not that big a deal.

  3. I agree with Adam. SEO’s does not risk a client site if he/she is knowledgeable. As said above its the section comprising of ignorant Web Designers or SEO who doesnot have clue as to what Search Engine Friendly Design is?

  4. Brian says:

    My focus in this post was on the business owner, not the SEO or the Web Designer. :) I don’t see a lot of posts on search blogs or forums where neither of the conversing parties are not an SEO or SEM and wanted to throw in my 2c :)

  5. DaveN says:

    Brian thats all well and good, but if you sat down with the Amstrad group , Alan Sugar won’t have a clue what the hell his programmers, marketing or external consultants where doing.. your advice works well for websavvy owners, but then again they all ready new that I guess.. due to them been websavvy


  6. I am a business owner and take an active role in reviewing what our in house designers are doing. Notice I did not say our in house SEOs because we I have never hired anyone specifically for the task of SEO. We are a small office in Western Kentucky with a staff of 9 people. I speak with each one daily and review how we are assembling pages for clients, current best practices, css, design trends, etc. I am working to encourage my staff to embrace the online community and contribute at various blogs when the opportunity presents itself and at the same time monitor the time online and make sure they are productive and taking care of our customer as well.

    We did have one employee that was a bit of a maverick and almost got us in trouble with duplicate content (supplemental hell) due to an oversight and not paying attention to detail. He is no longer with us.

    We had an employee that had a daily get rich scheme he wanted to pass by the staff and would get huffy when we rolled our eyes. He started spamming our website on questionable websites saying he was trying to improve our PR by increasing the number of links to our site. He is no longer with us. Funny thing is, that when given the opportunity to go on his own and expand on any number of his get rich quick schemes, whose business model do you think he is trying to copy? Ours.

    We rank well for our selected terms and we do it through diligence, community, involvement, and paying attention to details. We read the experts blogs, throw out what we believe to be bull crap, and pay attention to the baser fundamentals. It has worked for us so far, and I as the owner of this business intent to keep it that way.

  7. Don’t think for a minute that there are not a ton of the “get rich quick” types out there whose MO reads, “I’ll get my client’s site(s) to rank as high as possible in the least amount of time possible using various ahem… tactics. We’ll both reap the larger rewards short-term. If the site(s) get penalized, or worse, I’ve ensured myself another couple months of work trying to get them back to the level they previously were.”

    Sad, but true.

  8. Doug Heil says:

    Hi Brian, While I agree with the idea that site owners should be aware of what is going on with their sites, … many simply are not and do not even know how to learn how to be aware. They are either too busy and just allow their webmaster to do everything, or they don’t know the actual consequences of being caught for se spam… meaning that they don’t know until it’s them in those shoes.

    DaveN is correct in that someone websavvy would be well….. websavvy, and they already know about Brian’s blog and Matt’s blog.

    Jeff; Yes. You are websavvy as you are “in here” right now, so you obviously know how to be aware. :)

    Other site owners might want to be more aware, but they fail to find the right places to learn about such things, or they found the wrong places, and they have no idea who Matt and Brian are.

  9. Doug Heil says:

    oops. I just noticed I bumped up a July thread.

    Well heck; the thread was new to me. :D

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>