Struggling in the search-engines placement

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Wired has a story on how search results are "clogged" by blogs. The title itself induces that blogs do harm to the search placement race that is so important for companies.

Commercial websites believe scoring high placements in search-engine results is so crucial for generating traffic that many are willing to pay top dollar to sponsor keywords or hire "positioning" consultants to secure a good ranking.

Then there are bloggers. With no deliberate effort, many dedicated weblog publishers are finding their blogs rank high on search results for topics that, oftentimes, they claim to know practically nothing about.

Bloggers attribute prominent placement to the frequency with which they publish new material and the fact that other sites often link to their blogs. These are two factors most search engines take into account when determining rankings.

I find this story delightfully ironic. Rephrased, it simply means that search engines are doing their job, i.e. finding out content that:

  • is fresh (Google looks at the rate a page is modified and seems to module the rate at which it indexes a site accordingly)
  • is reachable (stable URLs are important)
  • gets attention (gets linked to)

and giving it prominence so that their users find content relevant to their queries.

Let's add that search engines would logically favor pages that written to the XHTML/CSS web standards, where the ratio semantic content/code is far higher than HTML pages designed with tables. Webloggers have another advantage over companies here, as the prominent weblogging software offer XHTML/CSS templates while the vast majority of companies are still using bloated web pages.

If you needed proof that your money is better spent on your website content rather than on search engine ranking services, here you are. But good content is like common sense, it's a valuable resource that you cannot just buy.