Monday, February 19, 2007

Pasternack: SEO is brain surgery

  This is in response to Dave Pasternacks assertion that "SEO is not rocket science". Dave has created quite the stir in the SEO community which I don't find as well deserved. See my article "What's wrong with Dave Pasternack".

  I don't think that Dave Pasternack is really saying that much. As Matt Cutts points out, anything is rocket science until its understood. Since the Google search engine isn't open source, it is not fully understood by outsiders and thereby rocket science. However our society mastered rockets 50 years ago; my college calculus teacher has some great stories of what and how they learned. Even nowadays, even my 10 year old nephew can build and launch a model rocket. Rocket science isn't the right word any longer.

  Most web publishers merely submit our content online and just witness what happens in the search results. Blackhats will go the extra mile in an attempt to reprogram the search engine and get it to do something it wouldn't normally do.

So for the Blackhat, SEO is Brain Surgery
  • Programmers = DNA or the brain builders
  • Manipulating that brain to do something it wouldn't normally do requires brain surgery.
Blackhats could probably never qualify as certified brain surgeons. Not to mention that their patient (Google, et al.) is not inviting the operation. So perhaps the scenario is more like being tied down with your skull cracked open by a voodoo witch doctor.

  By the same reasoning, Gray-hats are at least guilty of brainwashing.

Last Note: Pasternack may be a Gray/Black Hat?
  As we pointed in our Dave Pasternack contest page, there are 4 distinct pages on the net that Did-It has published about Dave Pasternack. Why in the world is this? He probably does not understand or posses the capability to safely redirect without loosing Page Rank. Furthermore, his company website has duplicate versions on two domains: and

Three types of SEO, Three SEO Persons

I've been asked a lot about SEO. There is quite a diversity in what this term and practice means. SEO is often considered the art and science of publishing your website, but in fact it has broader extensions. Also, the practice of SEO can be good, bad and outright nasty.

Three types of SEO:
I) Website Principles. This is often this is performed by a web designed. The purpose is to get your web pages constructed in a way that search crawlers can digest. Google has published basic guidelines on this.

II) Information Organization. A good website will contain a lot of valuable information organized in a natural way. The point is to create a simple pathway to expose your sites information. Many, if not most, websites fail here by either being too flat, with 1,000's of choices on one page, or too deep requiring several clicks to get where you want to be.

III) Data Publishing. Going beneath your webpages, most websites have a database. The powerful search engines really want that data and your webpages are mearly the way that you've exposed that information. There are many ways in which the search giants are taking data these days. Learn more at Programming Search Engines. themselves, there are more There are more ways to give information to search engines than you might realize.

The bulk of SEO practice I, basic principles and then they over-publish that with link-exchanges and the like.

Three SEO Players:
I) Web Designer. This is your traditional web designer who knows how to construct your webpages, create site maps and the overall principles to getting a website included by the search engines.

II) Publishers and Social Fiends. These persons find means of creating buzz towards your website. They know that the more inbound links, the better. They probably have several blogs and affiliations by which they will refer links to your site.

III) Information Architect. This is an individual which can look at the data your site has and find multiple ways of parsing it. They will construct an organized tree like structure to navigate your site. They recognize that search engines also apply data structuring techniques and may find ways of publishing raw data through means other than HTML web pages (as is often talked about in this blog).

Three Psychologies of SEO:
I) White Hat. This is a true, and ethical approach. White Hat's won't over-publish or misrepresent their websites or information.

II) Black Hat. A Black technique is one which is not likely to be invited by the search engines. There are many ways to go about this, but they are all considered wrong in the eyes of the search engine and likely the general user audience. In its worst form, this is considered webspam (as coined by Matt Cutts who heads up the webspam team at Google).

III) Gray Hat. Somewhere between the lines. It might be invited in the eyes of the search user, however it is a question, competitive technique. Since there are few official rules of engagement, many black-hats would consider their strategies to be gray.

It is known that Google will ban sites practicing some black-hat techniques. It is also believed that being associated with these sites could reduce your sites value