Thursday, March 16, 2006

SEO works, but it shouldn't

It all started about two or three months ago. I got into an email conversation with the webmaster of a website doing a very similar site to the Random Pub Finder. He claimed to be getting about three times as many hits as we were. After looking at his site, I thought the site (to my eyes at least) was no better than ours (and I'm not talking about Beer In The Evening which is clearly better) so I couldn't work out why this was. After talking to a couple of SEO gurus I started making a few changes to the site and over the last couple of weeks or so, we've started to increase our hits. In fact, we are now getting about the same number of hits as he was claiming to get. Now this may not be entirely due to my changes, the search engine algorithms may have changed along with a whole host of other things. But if it is down to the SEO changes, then the search engines have a lot of work to do to optimise their search algorithms. For instance, why should putting the title of the page in a h1 tag make a difference? Surely the search engines should be clever enough to realise any old tag (a div for instance) with the correct style applied will look just the same. Why should h1 be considered as special? So search engines still have a lot to learn. People who put content on the web shouldn't need to know the special magic they need to apply to their pages to get attention. Until SEO gurus are no longer required, search engines will not have perfected their art...

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