Some of us aren't trying to scam Google, we're just trying to do our job to the best of our ability - we take pride in a well-structured user-focused page (and this means correct use of the above tags etc) and to be penalised for this is ridiculous. Keyword stuffing is one thing, correct use of page elements should be promoted not penalised.
Wait a minute -- how did we jump from "formulaic, SEO-by-the-numbers not being as effective these days" over to sites being penalized for using correct markeup? I don't think anybody is claiming you shouldn't use correct markup, or that there's some kind danger in having a title element and header that clearly reflect the content of the page, or anything like that.
Has anyone claimed that and I just missed it? (Because if they did, they're wrong.)
See, "being less effective" is not the same
as "being penalized." And just because something isn't as effective as it used to be for accomplishing one
task, that doesn't mean it should be abandoned. Especially if it is
still valuable for other reasons.
There are many compelling reasons to use page elements as they were designed to be used, and to include relevant keywords in appropriate places. I don't think anybody is suggesting we should stop doing that.
But using markup correctly is something that's easily attainable by almost everyone. Simply using correct markup is not -- should not be
-- sufficient to get a page ranked #1. Top rankings are supposed to go to extraordinary pages, those that go above and beyond to offer amazing content, exemplary ease of use, outstanding accessibility and the like. Pages that are owned by people who understand marketing and have learned how to get their work noticed by others.
Formulaic SEO is as likely to produce pages that over time will hold the top spot in the rankings as a paint-by-numbers kit is to produce museum-quality art. You wouldn't demand a set of rules to follow to create a great sculpture or to write The Great American Novel. We all sort of know instinctively, while there may be general guidelines that might be helpful, in art there are no rules that you must invariably follow and none that you can never, ever break.
Edited by torka, 07 August 2012 - 11:16 AM.