Does SEO Work?

Not according to Jonathan Rockway. A post on Hacker News reads, “SEO isn’t good for users or the Internet at large.” Mr. Rockway also writes, “It’s a bug that you could rank highly in Google without.. buying ads, and Google is trying to fix the bug.” There is nothing new here; what is noteworthy is that these comments were written by a Google employee. What does the world’s largest search engine think about SEO? Is it a “bug” awaiting a fix?

Matt Cutts didn’t seem to think so in a recent video message, in which he emphasised thatGoogle does not consider SEO to be spam. He said that it is a “valid way to help people find what they’re looking for via search engines.” After Mr. Rockway’s comments were posted, though, webmasters began to wonder about Google’s official position vs. their real take on SEO. Do they give preference to paid advertisers? They are already mired in controversy for appearing to favor their own products on the SERPs.

Google was quick to counter Rockway’s statements, adding that he’s a “new” employee.  “Google search rankings are completely unrelated to Google’s paid advertising services and other partnerships.” Google says, “many owners of high quality sites can and do get their site listed well in Google’s search results” and, did we mention that this Rockway kid is new?

For his part, Rockway also issued a statement saying he “shouldn’t have mentioned ads here” and that the position of your page should depend only on its content.

Matt Cutts tweeted, “I’d rather have a lot more Googlers communicating and occasionally need to correct an issue than not communicate.”  Well, mission accomplished. There was certainly some communicating going on.  For today, it seems that we have ducked the mythical SEO killer once again.

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