updated: September 27th, 2006 / Ross Johnson / 2 Comments

Google is pushing unnatural web design

There is a lot of debate about SEO these days – not only the way it should be performed, but when and IF it should be performed at all. Web Design purists say that you should have semantic code and quality content, and rankings will come naturally. This model works fine for geeks, techies, and information hubs – however that model doesn’t work with many companies simply looking for visibility through search engines.

How Search Engines should Work

The concept of a search engine is simple:

  • User inputs keyterms for desired information
  • Search Engines scan’s directory, picks out listings
  • Returns most relevent pages
  • Returned pages should be relevent simply by content, not through optimization/manipulation

Google is pushing unnatural Web Design for Rankings

In theory, a web page should be relevent simply based on it’s content. However Matt Cutts through his posting has clearly shown that optimization IS necissary. Google has been open about there highly weighted method of determining relevance… inbound links (ie: simply links pointing to your page from other pages). While previously Google focused more on the number and quality of inbound links, they now have a heavy focus on the anchor text (or text of the link itself).

Linking using keywords instead of the site name is an uncommon and unnatural method

If you look at the most natural way to link, it is either done with anchor text that is the title of the site or is the URL of the site. Very few people for example, would link to myn company with the achor text “Ann Arbor Web Design.” Instead, they would link to it using the ancehor text “3.7 Dsigns.” Keyword rich links will only be achieved through SEO, or by having the keywords in your URL or company name. Neither of which have anything to do with relevancy. Further, they give benefit to those who have keywords in their URL’s. A page that is exactly the same will rank better if it is called Ann-arbor/web-design/Ann-arbor-web-design.html vs /services.html , another unnatural way of designing a web page.

What is in the future of Google?

The sheer force of Google might make web masters have to change the way they create pages to appease Google. However – with Microsoft’s unlimited budget and increasingly relevant results, they should be worried and think of ways to provide relevant results with out having to have a hefty SEO budget.

2 thoughts Google is pushing unnatural web design

  1. Interesting viewpoint, Ross. Unfortunately, Google ‘rules’ the web search world. One way to help overcome this is, at least for now, is to continue linking the same way (on ‘3point7designs’) and then add a title attribute on the anchor tag with ‘better’ SEO terms (title=’web site design company’).

  2. I agree completely Dennis – that is a much more natural and better way to do it. However from what I see there is much less weight given to the title attribute compaired to the actual anchor text.

    Maybe good will change there ways if we start to adapt that habit?


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