Tom Coates on search engine optimisation. Summary: they don’t work; smart search engines realise you’re trying to game them, and will ignore or penalise your site as a result. The correct answer is to provide interesting/good/linkworthy textual information, and keep superfluous eye candy at a sensible level. I agree with his essay, FWIW.
Personally, I reckon Google deserve a lot of credit for turning the web around, from a flashy, Flash-laden animated DHTML blinky-blink medium, back into one where text is king. Once it got recognized that Google used titles, h1 tags, and other semantic markup as key metadata, and that the gimmicky stuff is unindexable, the never-ending slide into flashy blinky-blink land was halted. Phew!
Aside: Labour MP Tom Watson has a weblog?! Wow. He’d get my vote straight away, no matter what his policies were — that’s transparency ;)
Interesting — so does Liberal Democrats MP Richard Allen. This is really amazing. He even links to SpamAssassin as part of a discussion on the All-Party Internet Group‘s spam summit to be held on July 1st!
It’s worth noting that his comment here notes that the APIG concept seems to be leaning towards prosecution of spamvertised products; advertise via spam (sent by you or by a ‘spam outsourcing’ company), and you’re liable. A very sensible approach, as long as they can avoid the danger of malicious spammers spamvertising a product without that company’s permission — a la what happens regularly to SpamCop and SpamHaus.