If you came across this site, you probably already know what is meant by the acronym SEO and the term search engine optimization.
If you came here because you were looking at the search engine placement of one of our sites, you're probably trying to calculate the "scheme" we use for placement, either to duplicate it or to file a spam report with a search engine.
So we're here to tell you that we do reverse SEO, and explain to you just what that is and how you can do it, too.
First off, we're likely to surprise you by telling you that although some of our web sites do fairly well in search results, we never - and we mean never, ever, ever -- try to rank in search engine results. We absolutely do not spend one moment of our workday planning and implementing ways to place in any search results of any search engine.
We know, you think we're lying. And we know that some SEOs are so narrowly focused on search engine optimization that when they come across web sites that place well, they instantly try to uncover the "set of tricks" used to get good placement.
Well, if you're one of them, we'll save you some time and just come out with what type of search engine optimization we do, okay?
Wanna know what it is? We don't do it! At all.
Do we make sites technically correct? Sure we do. Do we make them for the search engines? Of course not. Why would we? They're not our target market. I've never come across a search engine spider that booked a flight on one of our sites!
Why do we operate differently than most businesses on the web? Simple. Because we started writing and designing for businesses long before web (anybody remember magazines? or newspapers?) and have always focused on what the readers (this decade, online, they're called website visitors) want to read. It's really that simple.
Most of the SEOs we've come across believe that if a site places well in search results, there must be a scheme. We think that's because SEOs who imagine schemes on every site have no experience outside of search engines with promoting businesses; and without the knowledge, training, or experience promoting businesses in traditional methods before the web, they mistakenly believe the goal of every website is to place well in the engines.
We also suspect they don't have and don't understand alternative traffic sources such as direct navigation.
Our company has been reported by at least one inexperienced webmaster for "spamming" search engines when we don't even submit our sites to search engines.
If one of our sites places well in a search engine, it's because the search engine put our site there without any impetus from us.
Our best guess (since we are not and have no interest in becoming search engine engineers) as to why some of our sites have decent placement in the search engines is that our primary goal on each website we publish is also listed as the top principles and guidelines of the search engines, too.
Google's #1 principle for quality guidelines on getting a website indexed and ranked: "Make pages for users, not for search engines." ( source )
Yahoo!'s #1 description of the type of sites they want to rank well in their results: "Original and unique content of genuine value" ( source )
So there you have it. No need to copy one of our websites and try to duplicate its placement. If you design websites, just give your visitors what your visitors want, and you'll do fine. They're the ones you're trying to satisfy, after all.
Well, wait a minute, you're not done finding out how some of our sites place well, right? Okay, we hear your next question...
You wanna know about those links on our sites that go to other sites of ours, right?
Geesh, we've been reported for "running link farms to promote page rank" more times than a drunk on a bender pees.
Guess what? We don't even know what the page rank is for any of our sites. We never cared about one engine's marketing term ("page rank") that snowballed out of a press release.
And we've been designing sites and providing links to related sites for our visitors years before "page rank" became the buzzword for one search engine's placement algorithm.
So if we're not trying to "inflate a site's page rank" why the links from our sites to other sites we own?
Hey, that's really simple, too.
Just like we designed before web, we were earlier than others to purchase domain names in some niche markets.
For example, if we designed a city's information site and noticed that a very large percentage of our visitors were looking for coupons in that city, we registered the domain that contained the city name plus "coupons.com".
Oh, you wanna know why we didn't just put everything on one site?
We'll use coupon site above as an example... First of all, in the web's earlier days, all web coupons were in pdf format and very few people had high-speed connections, so our main concern was to not bog down our city information site with request for coupons.
Secondly, hosting and Internet backbone connections weren't nearly as stable as they are today. We realized that if we tried to serve all of a city's information from only one site, and the connection or hosting server went down, then all the information we provide would be unavailable at the same time. So we consider putting related, yet distinct information on separate sites and servers as just good sense.
Now do you think if we know a high percentage of our website visitors are looking for coupons, and we have a coupon site that will give them what they want, that we're not going to put a link to our coupon site, just because our company owns both sites?
What if we saw our website visitors were also looking for other information that was related to the area yet didn't quite fit into what we wanted our city information site to be?
If the domains were available, anyone who wouldn't register them isn't someone we'll ever understand. To us, that's like saying there's affordable, oceanfront property available but you're not going to buy it because you already have one piece of property.
Wait another minute! You're still wondering about those links...
Why do we only link to official sites like city websites, chambers of commerce, and sites we own or control?
Again, really, really simple answer.
Early on, one guy we "knew" from the web emailed us and asked us to link to him because he was providing web hosting (we were hosting only a few customers at the time).
Since we had many customers ask us where to host their sites, we put up a link to his web hosting service from our web design site. Again, we were giving our visitors what they wanted, or so we thought...
Well, unbelievably, a few months later we get a call from our local chamber of commerce saying they're pulling our site's listing because it links to porn!
We immediately checked what we thought was a hosting service and, sure enough, that site owner had changed his hosting site to a porn site.
Furious at not being contacted by the site owner when he decided to peel away his hosting service to expose something else, we immediately pulled the link and contacted that website owner with a few less-than-sugary remarks.
That was our first, and our last, link to a website where we didn't know and trust the website owner implicitly. We take our business and our visitors' needs very seriously and we will never be put in that position again.
So, in a nutshell, that early experience is why we only link to sites we control, or to sites we believe will never change the context or quality of their site's content.
So no link schemes; no attempts at page rank inflation.
Just the opposite of what most people think: so we call our method of optimization reverse SEO.