This school of thought maintains that the actual content on the website is less important than the way it is optimized. Whilst the content should still be good quality, content alone is insufficient to compete in the top SERPs. Instead, webmasters must use other methods to increase their rankings. For simplicity's sake we will call all such methods Non-Content SEO.
With non-content SEO the focus is on understanding the methods and algorithms used to rank web pages. The webmaster must therefore have a very good technical knowledge of how search engines work. For example, knowing exactly how Google's PR is calculated means you can structure your site to give the best possible PR value, which in turn will lead to improved SERP rankings.
This is a much more mathematical approach than content-based SEO. It's like solving an equation - you figure out the way the calculation is made and then provide the correct mix of components in your website to give you the highest score.
The specifics of non-content SEO are beyond the scope of this tutorial. Becoming proficient in this art requires many hours of study and effort. In addition, search engine technology changes constantly and you will need to keep up with the latest developments. This is hard work but it can also be a lot of fun - in fact many people treat it like a game.
To get you started, here are a few non-content SEO techniques:
- Acquiring inbound links from web pages with high PR value.
- Arranging navigation structure and linking methods to maximise PR value in your site.
- Tailoring the anchor text of hyperlinks (the text which you click) to emphasise keywords.
- Paying to list or advertise your site with search engines, portals, etc.
It is often said that non-content SEO is unethical, since the webmaster is forcing pages to the top of the SERPs which would not be there on their own merit. The truth is more complex than this though, and it is not fair to cast all such SEO in the unethical basket. Even the search engines themselves advise some non-content SEO.
Having said that, there is a limit to how far you can ethically use non-content SEO. The following tactics cross this line and are considered to be search engine spamming:
- Misleading optimization, such as purposely optimizing pages for keywords which are not relevant.
- "Keyword stuffing" - filling the page with a ridiculously high percentage of keywords.
- Attempting to gain multiple SERP positions by duplicating content on different pages.
- Creating misleading "doorway" or "cloaked" pages which distort the true content of the website.
There is a fine line between legitimate SEO and SE spamming. Err on the side of caution.
Google Bombing and Other Games
Every now and then you will see an example of pure non-content SEO appear in the news. A common game is known as "Google Bombing", which usually involves a group of people working in unison to create links to a website in order to produce an unusual result. Some well-known examples include "French military victories", "weapons of mass destruction" and "miserable failure".
These examples testify to the power of non-content SEO. It is quite possible to gain top SERP positions with basically no relevant content if you can play the game well enough.
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