The difference between SEO and Spam…

There’s occasionally some confusion and complaints about SEO as being the cause of spam on the internet with irrelevant content being returned in search results because of unethical techniques. The problem is that within any industry you’ll get good, ethical people who work hard at what they do, and bad, unethical people who use tricks to get quick results and run with the cash.

But if you’re still concerned about spammy SEO and you should be optimising what you do, a new video by Google’s Head of Web Spam Team, Matt Cutts should help:

Good SEO takes time, effort and skill to ensure that relevant content and products are correctly returned for relevant search terms. Bad SEO promises to get you to #1 on Google by using every trick in the book.

And I’ll always practise and recommend good, ethical ‘white hat’ SEO practices for one simple reason – they give better, more cost effective and longterm results. By following the best practice recommendations of search engines, you don’t have to worry about getting found out, or getting your spam technique negated by an update, and having everything wiped out or penalised overnight. You’ll also have a solid foundation to build your business on, and as part of the work you’ll be improving the content and results in related areas, such as conversion rates and social media engagement.

And if you ever need advice, feel free to get in touch!

Experiencing a strange Google Reader redirect to Google Docs?

It seems I’m not alone in finding that scrolling through my Google Reader feeds is causing me to get redirected to spreadsheets and documents.

The cause appears to be the blog of Google anti-spam expert and popular blogger Matt Cutts.

His site is currently doing the same redirect – and it appears that when that particular feed loads in Google Reader it has the same effect, because it happens when I view all unread items, for example, but not if I’m just looking at the Google Reader homepage which doesn’t feature his post!

This is obviously just an inconvenient one-off which I’m sure Matt will fix, but more worringly, it does point to a way someone could redirect any site with a decent number of subscribers to any site in this way.  Hopefully it’ll be patched soon to avoid any website redirects causing this problem when it’s actually the RSS feed being supplied.

How to solve the problem:

If you subscribe to Matt’s blog, as soon as Google Reader loads, go straight to the settings page and unsubscribe from his site. That will let Google Reader work as normal. You might want to follow @mattcutts on Twitter to be alerted to re-subscribe when he’s fixed it!

Update: Matt appears to have fixed his redirect problemon the blog itself, but obviously the archived post still screws up Google Reader, and there’s no word on whether it might lead to a change in Google Reader itself…