A lot of articles on SEO make me cringe, because they tend to have the attitude that Google (and it’s always Google) owes them traffic because they jumped through all the right hoops, and how dare they ever change what those hoops are!

It’s refreshing to see an article by someone who recognizes that Google’s job is not to give websites high rankings, but to show readers what they’re searching for. Their algorithm is a way of measuring how closely you match that goal, not the goal itself.

Doing your SEO solely by targeting today’s algorithms is like only studying what you know is going to be on a test: it might work for this test, but it won’t help as much on the next one…or when you get out into the real world.

People aren’t looking for backlinks and keyword density. People are looking for content. In the end, no matter how tricked out your SEO is, it’s compelling content that keeps people coming back.

Well, WordPress.org has its PageRank back (now that the junk articles are gone), and is once again the first search result for its own name. Matt, still on vacation, tracked down an Internet connection in Italy and posted a preliminary response to the “villagers with torches and pitchforks”. Waxy.org has also posted a follow-up, including a statement from Hot Nacho (who produced the articles).

Update: And here’s the official response.

It’s always something. Apparently WordPress.org has been dabbling in black-hat SEO, hosting thousands of keyword-based articles on their high–page-ranked site and placing hidden links to them on their home page. Way to go, guys. This makes the paranoia over remote images almost look reasonable. What’s next, putting ads in the next default template?

The free/open source software world is based primarily on trust. Based on comments I’ve read over the last couple of days, WordPress has lost a lot of it. They’ve even been (mostly) dropped from Google. A sensible precaution while things are sorted out, but it unfortunately means the first top-level listing on a Google search for “wordpress” is wordpress.com, which looks like a cybersquatter. Not exactly an improvement.

In a support thread Matt answered last week, he referred to it as an “experiment.” He’s on vacation right now, but someone has taken it upon themselves to remove the bogus articles from the site.

My thoughts: Continue reading