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You are absolutely right, I must have been delusional. How could I have ever thought any other way but like that? Please accept my sincere apologies for inconveniencing you and all the others, especially newcomers to SEO, with sharing my opinions. I sure wouldn't want any of them to think that there could ever possibly be any other more ethical way to long term sustained positioning of meaningful keyphrases than the ones you support. Don't listen to me folks, don't hang on every word I write; I'm right out to lunch that's for friggin' sure.

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I fully appreciate your sarcasm.

But seriously, I'm suggesting that doing a little more than basic on-page optimization isn't inethical.

I have a diffence of opinion as to what is ethical SEO. I don't see that I was any more stubborn than you.

Many of the other arguments are about the facts (as to what actually works).

The reversion to a sarcastic 'don't listen to me' looks like attempted martyrdom and isn't really neccessary. I'm sorry, but that's where I lose interest.

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I'm tired of this too. I've posted two questions to Matt Cutts yesterday and today. He has answered my questions before and I'm hoping he'll do the same.

These latest videos do not help calm the SEO chaos, they intensify it. Seems like everything they are doing lately is contrary to the way it is supposed to be.

I am engaged in three or four debates simultaneously across three fronts and I am growing weary of being taken out of context. I try to express my position simply and am bombarded with counter-strikes from link strategists mostly. I understand their desperation to seek solice in their manipulative ways. I am telling them that there is a better road beyond the unstable, undignified PR begging. This may appear to be expert ethical SEO, but it is not.

My sarcasm is an expression of futility, not of weakness. It is knowing that I can never beat the majorities running around calling themselves Internet marketing services who only talent is in the effectiveness of their begging others for links, precious technique of theirs.

"Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links." Google

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The point is, you are only half right. Yes, create a website exactly the way you say. But that is only half the job. When Google explicitly states you should get links, not to do so is like a top sprinter running barefoot.

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I'd never suggest getting a link (especially buying one) solely for PageRank. I actually never mentioned PageRank.

Getting links is important for the growth of your site. It is for attracting people, and for a search engine benefit. That SE benefit is not solely PageRank.

Your quote to Google says to avoid link exchanges with 'bad neighborhoods' - specifically not to link to them. Any link to you from anywhere is either beneficial or not beneficial, never harmful. (No, I don't have proof of this, but it is reasonable and I sincerely doubt you have proof to the contrary.)

The benefit of random link exchanges is miniscule. Well-placed links, though, can be invaluable and that's what everyone should be doing. Perfectly ethical, too.

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The benefit of random link exchanges is miniscule. Well-placed links, though, can be invaluable and that's what everyone should be doing. Perfectly ethical, too.

I sometimes forget who is arguing what. I get an email with the comment and try to figure out what argument that is in.

I think you position is essentially quite close to mine. My argument is against the link startegies deployed to inflate content importance. Any search engine strategists that includes a campaign to solicit, buy, exchange or extort links for the purposes of artificially enhancing the importance of the content is not an ethical search engine optimizer. Do they win in the SERPs, they make for challenging competitors but their status easily capitulates when a well-crafted challenger is on their ass. Just falls apart sometimes, hardly any resistance. An ethical SEO must use the limits of his innovative talents in order to compete against the mountains of the inflated mediocre, but can still win. It takes a little longer sometimes. There aren't any real short-cuts. Not only does the ethical SEO win but he stays the winner more easily. He doesn't need to seek external empowerent, he adds a little more content once in a while. Ethical SEOs have their dignity in tact too. There is no begging, there is no deception, there is unhealthy dependance on anything else but his own content, there is no time at all spent seeking any support.

An ethical SEO knows the power of content, no need to manipulat anything, a mere paragraph can be a weapon that topples empires.

I'm getting tired of repeated myself. I basically answered this same type of question a minute ago at A.I.S.E. I am posted it here to help me keep my focus on where I am in each debate. If it seems I am trying to deflect the argument elsewhere, that may well be the case.

(Stacey)
It is plain and simple Fred is link building unethical?

/..plain and simple is good../

(Fred)
In the manner in which is the trendy way to boost content importance artificially, sure its unethical.

Don't get me wrong here, links can be very good. Search engines include in their ranking factors, the relationship between linked content, the semantic relationship. They should reward web content that is supported with its linked associated content, when it is merited. It needs to be a natural occurence. The search engines know the difference. Congruency between linked content, this is a difficult thing to achieve mechanically or randomely. This has nothing to do with volume of links or unstable indicators such as PR.

The link strategist uses PR targets to determine a good place to solicit, buy, exchange or extort a link, a search engine optimizer makes sure the content is worthy to be linked. The link strategist uses targeted keyphrase themes to determine a good place to solicit, buy, exchange or extort a link, a search engine optimzer makes sure the content is worthy to be linked. The link startegist will go to whatever means to solicit, buy, exchange or extort links in the volumes and types it deems needed in order to win a competitive keyphrase race, a search engine optimizer makes sure the content is worthy to be linked.

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A search engine optimiser also knows that sites with similar subject matter should link to each other and seeks to make it happen. A search engine optimiser doesn't stick his head in the sand and ignore facts because of some type of ethics he's invented for himself. He just does his job.

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A search engine optimiser also knows that sites with similar subject matter should link to each other and ...

... seeks to make that happen internally rather than depend on unstable external forces. This is so that he can have more control of a search engine strategy and its performance.

A search engine optimiser doesn't stick his head in the sand and ignore facts because of some type of ethics he's invented for himself. He just does his job.

Invention is a mandatory requirement. In today's SERP conditions, that's the only way a fair players can win. A search engine optimizer must sift through all the facts, analyze SERP performances closely and invent his own unique positioning plan each time; based on everything he can find including the weaknesses discovered among the top challengers according to each keyphrase niche market condition. An expert and ethical SEO can always squabble amongst the top players. I personally send email to opponent SEOs I discover to be playing fairly and strongly encourage them in their efforts and give them my professional admirations. These are the types to learn from. These are the real SEO Masters that I meet, they know the real craft; they play by the rules. This, this is the art of SEO.

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On-site factors like keyword density etc. only make 40% of your site ranking. 60% of the ranking is determined by off-site factors (inbound links). Send me a PM if you need help with link building.

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On-site factors like keyword density etc. only make 40% of your site ranking. 60% of the ranking is determined by off-site factors (inbound links). Send me a PM if you need help with link building.

I'd love to know where you got those figures as I know no search engine as ever published them.

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That's drawn from our experience from working on more than 1,500 sites so far. We maintain about 1,000 at the moment.
The percentages are the average throughout the main search engines (G/Y/M). Google is more like 80:20, Yahoo 60:40 and MSN 40:60 (the first number being relevance of inbound links).

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I'd love to know how you quantify that. Is it through an actual formula? Or is it more of a "feeling" for lack of a better word?

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For now you can call it 'pretty good feeling' ;-)
But we are actually working on a tool that should provide this information while it is performing other stuff (bulk ranking checker for 1,000+ domains, using proxy server farm).

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