SEO gone overboard

The hunt for getting a good search engine ranking affects more and more companies. A higher ranking equals more visitors equals (most likely) more customers. More customers, in turn, equals more money, which is what business is about.

But sometimes, the hunt hurts the quality of a web site.

Recently, I was told by a SEO company (through my client’s marketing department) that any anchor links in the code was bad for SEO. While I naturally understand that empty links (e.g. <a href="#">Link text</a>) isn’t a good thing, I seriously can’t fathom why a valid anchor link <a href="help/#contact">Contact us</a> would be bad.

I strongly feel that this is just BS, but I have no real proof why anchor links aren’t bad. To me, it’s just common sense that no serious search engine would punish web sites who strive for better accessibility and for giving the end user the best experience possible.

But let’s, for the sake of argument, say that this is true. Imagine that you would indeed get two notches up in the search engine ranking ladder if you got rid of all your anchor links. Your competitor, who doesn’t blindly listen to (bad) SEO companies, would be just below you in the list with their anchor links intact. The difference is that your end users would maybe visit your web site first, get annoyed by poor usability that doesn’t live up to its search engine ranking, instead go to your competitor’s web site which cares about its users, and do business with them.

With this, I appeal to you to not only stare blindly at a search engine ranking. It is important, no doubt about that, but in my opinion, you should never forsake the usability of your web site for it.

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PS. If anyone has any hard facts showing that anchor links aren’t bad in any way, please let me know! DS.

Posted in Developing,Google,HTML5/HTML/XHTML |

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