Talking About Search Engine Spam
Now, im dreadfully bored with the whole thing about hats and ethics, and have resolved not to get into it (we'll see how long that lasts..) this year but it's a damn good article and well worth a read - though you do have to be a paid ($100) member to get to it. Nestled in the middle is this little exchange between Danny and Yahoo's Tim Mayer, i think you'll like it...
Tim Mayer of Yahoo Talks About Search Spamming
I have added some notes in bold to let you know who is saying what :)
If you're being entirely organic and going after "viagra," it's like taking a sword to a gunfight. You just aren't going to rank.
Did I hear right? Was that Yahoo saying spam is OK depending on the industry? No. When I followed up with Tim, he emailed me:
Yahoo does not think that spamming is OK. We are aware that spam (or over optimization) is prevalent in highly competitive categories and realize that many webmasters in these high reward categories are willing to take more risks and use spamming techniques even though they know the search engines may label their sites as spam.
I think one of the key things I brought up in the session was when I talked about where the line was between optimization and over optimization (spam). I said this may vary by industry as in very non-competitive industries, where very little optimization takes place, the line will be very conservative and there will be little room for aggressive optimization techniques. In a very competitive industry like 'texas holdem poker' where optimization is the norm, heavier optimization may be tolerated.
I would also like your readers to know we are focused on providing great results to our users and we spend a lot of time and effort neutralizing spam techniques.
Overall, I wouldn't take the comment that everyone should go out an spam or get into "aggressive optimization techniques" yet. Certainly not if you're in non-competitive industry, otherwise you'll face what we can call the "sore thumb" problem -- that of standing out like one. Sore thumb optimization, STO, is to be avoided!
I love the quote about taking a sword to a gun fight, thanks for that Tim heh.. It's a damn good point though, there really are categories where almost anything goes and much goes without consequence on both Yahoo and Google - and having a whole ton of blog backlinks and a 5 word hyphenated url etc in squirrel taxidermy really does leave you standing with a big fat target on your back :-)
Horses for courses of course.