17 Nov 2005

SEO is a game of Chess and Sandbox Rant.

Greatings from Vegas.

 SEO is like a Game of Chess

Jim’s definition of SEO:
SEO is the art of using techniques whereby one does things to, or around, a website to try to increase it’s rankings in the search engines.

By definition, anyone who even knows the term SEO, is an SEO. Even the simplest arts of SEO of performing keyword research, or even "knowingly" adding keywords to even your TITLE tag, implies that you are trying to "SEO" your site for the search engines.

For several years "SEOing the search engines" was done mostly via on page factors with a focus on meta tags and keyword density. Then Google and PageRank came along, and now we’re dealing with something at a higher level (Google Today, and what Yahoo is closing in on, and MSN is working on).

The SEO games you can play can be varied based on your knowledge and resources of SEO. The more you learn, the more your game starts turning into a game of "SEO Chess".

Content is still King….and that just the way it should be….but in the SEO Chess of today, the Queen is your Linking techniques, and so is the Castle, Horse, Bishop, and Pawns.  The more resources you have, the more pieces in the game you have, and the more knowledge you have, the better you tend to make your moves.

What you’re up against is the top 10. In order to displace any of these top 10 opponents, you’ve got to look at the pieces they have (Content and Links), and look at the resources you have (for pieces to your chess set), and have the knowledge and ability to move your pieces to try to win.

I’ve had a few people tell me about their great content on brand new site, and I’d like to say, "Tell that to Google".  The sandbox is a bitch, and a reality. Having a new site with only content is like playing SEO Chess with only a King.  (Oh but hey,did I tell you that in Google’s game of chess, you can only play with pawns until your Time is up (out of the sandbox).

I had a guy tonight tell me that the sandbox is only 4 months long. Then he tells me that his SEO says she can get his new site out of the sandbox in a few months. He then misunderstood Matt, for he told me that Matt said that "the sandbox doesn’t exist." (I spoke of links over time and gave a very white hat, (Matt, you’d be proud) explanation of creating the best site in the world and doing good things (free content, articles, tools, yada yada) and writing great related sites and contacting related sites owners letting them know about this great resource 😉 as being his only "chance" of getting out of the sandbox anytime under a year, and even then, his chances were slim.  (I know of other SEO methods (to get of of the sandbox), but don’t normally do those on client sites (as they tend to be "shadier")).

So I ask my readers.
Let the truth be told. Have YOU ever had a site get out of the sandbox early for a 2 word Really competitive phrase? What did you do? and the big question – how long do you Really think the sandbox is?

Comments

  1. Bruno November 17, 2005 at 2:49 PM

    Phrase: polyphonic ringtone
    Time: 9 months
    What did you do?: Nothing.

  2. Andy Hagans November 18, 2005 at 4:08 PM

    Yes I have.

    It’s about aquiring TRUSTED LINKS — nothing more.

    It isn’t a fixed length of time — the sandbox lasts however long it takes your site to get trusted links.

  3. Jim November 21, 2005 at 11:52 PM

    Andy, ya, that’s half B.S.
    Tell that to SEOMoz (who with 13K all natural trusted backlinks and a year laters was still in the sandbox) ….trusted links my ass…. I’ve seen sites with trusted links sit in the sandbox for over a year…..wish is was as easy as “trusted” links….

  4. Bjorn Solstad November 23, 2005 at 12:23 PM

    Jim,

    I think you have gotten to the bottom line in your article. And you are right in asking if anyone has a clear answer to your question. Most so called “SEO’s” are so full of bullshit that they don’t even know the thruth when it hits them in their face – repeatedly! Many of the “authorities” out there are only looking to get business, and could care less about actually understanding what is going on.

    The most important thing I have learned in my time struggling with the “top 10” is to shut my mouth – and try to understand the patterns in front of my eyes.

    One of the big philosofers once said: “The more I learn, the more I realize how little I understand”. I think he was right.

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