<< by Catherine Potts on February 18th, 2009
Over at Interleado Peter Cullen takes issue with John Dvorak (PC Magazine) article ‘SEO Fiascoes: The Trouble with Search Engine Optimization‘ regarding “long, human-readable URLs.” (As a side note, Dvorak has a bit of link bait, doesn’t he? Hmmm and oh my, as SEOs, didn’t we fall for it!) Back to the topic at hand: Dvorak says SEO is basically snake oil.
The unproven nonsense spewed by so-called “SEO experts” simply doesn’t work. And worse, it’s screwing up the elegance of the Web.
He also says that he was given bad advice to make his URLs to his own blog, long and he has determined it was this bad advice that made his numbers drop off. It’s not that he didn’t fully research anything. It’s that all SEOs are hacks. Right? And we’re screwing up the “elegance of the web?” OK, let’s be clear, it’s the spammers who are doing that. It’s the spammers that make it so we can’t all just have nice links into our sites and get awesome visibility. SEO is the practice of finding the best way around what the spammers have ruined for the rest of us.
Here is what Dvorak did:
Turned this: http://www.dvorak.org/blog/?p=3100
Into this: http://www.dvorak.org/blog/2005/10/20/hollywood-unions-want-cut-of-itunes-pie/
Now this isn’t something I normally deal with so I found it interesting to look into further. Obviously, it’s quite alarming when a your site loses a ton of traffic. Cullen addresses what the problem really was more likely to be. Dvorak didn’t manage his 301 redirect. Kaitlyn Smeland covered this just last month in her article for Search Mojo: ‘The Power of 301 Redirects in SEO (and Politics)’:
Often in a redesign, when page content/design changes, so does the file name which appears in the URL. This is a problem for SEO, because search engines use the URL as an identifier for your page. If a bot crawls your site after a URL has changed, it won’t find the page that it expected to find and it won’t recognize your new page as a replacement. The solution is to leave a kind of change-of-address card for the search engines- the permanent 301 redirect.