Compelite Limited

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Need For Search Engine Optimisation Standards

In recent times much has been said about the introduction of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) standards being established in the industry.

On the surface this sounds very viable, and offers advantages for both the clients and the service providers, which I will cover below:

Clients can be sure of the service they receive:

In Search Engine Optimisation today many clients are unsure of the level of service they receive. They do not know what SEO is exactly, and have doubts about it due to having heard negative things in the past about websites being banned from the search engines due to search engine spamming, and over the top prices being charged for a service with no guarantee.

With Search Engine Optimisation standards in place, clients will know exactly what level of service they should receive, what needs to be done on their website, and what the expectations are in terms of website visibility.

Providers can be sure of giving a service that is parallel to competitors:

Currently, SEO providers are constantly battling with competitors to get the best performance possible out of their client’s websites. This increases prices in the industry and also encourages “black-hat” SEO’s (those who try to SPAM their way to the top of search results) to become more devious and secretive in their tactics for wooing customers.

With Search Engine Optimisation standards in place, providers would be able to focus more of their efforts on improving their client’s websites, and less on questionable marketing tactics. This would keep costs down and regulate the industry.

But what about the search engines?

While it can be clearly seen why implementing Search Engine Optimisation standards would be beneficial for both the client and the provider, there is also the perspective of the search engine companies to consider.

Search Engines are still evolving their techniques of indexing pages on the World Wide Web (WWW). Therefore the automatic equations used to rank websites (algorithms) are constantly changing (in some cases on a weekly basis) to provide a better user experience when one types their keyword phrase into search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Live.

This introduces a major complication into the idea of establishing a SEO standard. Because search engines are always improving and changing their methods, so too must the SEO Firms, in order to give their clients a better service. Further more, search engines are notorious for keeping their website ranking algorithms as closely guarded secrets, requiring SEO professionals to discover the new ‘rules’ of the game through educated guesses and painstaking trial and error.

Looking at this issue from the client and service provider perspective it can easily be argued that search engines should in fact introduce standards, or specific guidelines on how websites should be built and maintained in order to rank highly in search engine rankings, and should also commit to updating the guidelines whenever a new algorithm change comes into existence.

However, since search engines are in competition with one another to provide users with the best results for search keywords, they have a very legitimate business case for keeping their methodology confidential. In addition to this, making the algorithms public could also have the undesired effect of allowing “black hat” SEO’s to become more adept at manipulating search results, boosting their rankings through spamming or tricking search engines into believing that their website is more important than it actually is.

Seen from this perspective, it seems very unlikely that any type of meaningful SEO standards can be established in the foreseeable future. Until standards emerge, a business’s best protection will come from choosing their SEO provider wisely.
Compelite has been providing professional SEO services to our clients for over 5 years, and would be happy to meet with you to discuss how our experience and expertise can achieve positive, predictable and measurable results for your website visibility. For more information, please contact our SEO Services Manager Michael Pieper at 2524 3303 or via email to