Former Google Employee Downplays SEO

Paul Lilly

Ex- Google employee Andre Weyher recently went on record advising that webmasters spend less time worrying about search engine optimization (SEO) and more time developing and curating quality content. According to Weyher, putting too much focus on SEO can be counterproductive, as Google's super secret algorithms are designed to penalize websites that attract search engine crawlers.

In a recent interview, Weyher, who spent two years working for Google's Search Quality Team, advised webmasters to "forget about SEO" altogether and focus on content that "speaks to users," I Need Hits reports .

"Try to work on your website as if SEO wasn't a part of your plan," Weyher said.

Back at the beginning of 2011, Google rolled out a new search algorithm designed to reduce spam in search results, and to penalize so-called content farms, which are sites that kick out large numbers of stories filled with textual content specifically intended to be picked up by Google. The content is always of questionable value to readers, and in some cases is even nonsensical, as it can be generated by bots based on trending keywords.

Another method Google uses entails analyzing the quality of links that point back to your website, which is precisely what its Penguin algorithm does.

"Everyone knew that Penguin would be pointed at links, but I don’t think many people expected the impact to be as large as it turned out to be," Weyher added. "At this stage a webmaster is out of his mind to still rely on techniques that were common practice 8 months ago."

Sound advice, if not confusing. How so? According to I Need Hits , some of Weyher's tips actually contradict what Google itself has been advising webmasters.

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