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    Not entirely on topic, but related: your website has a banner which says

    By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to the use of cookies.

    The EU data protection body recently stated that scrolling does not equal consent, see for instance https://techcrunch.com/2020/05/06/no-cookie-consent-walls-and-no-scrolling-isnt-consent-says-eu-data-protection-body/

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      Then again, he is the type who “cares about SEO”.

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        Wait, what’s wrong with caring about SEO?

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          There was a time were SEO was synonymous with tricking the search engines into featuring your site. The running theme was SEO was a set of dark patterns and practices to boost your ranking without investing in better content.

          For many people SEO still has similar connotations.

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            There was a time …

            Did that change?

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              Did that change?

              Based on my recent efforts at looking into these things from a developer point of view, I would say yes it’s changing.

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              AFAIK, there’s still considered to be “White hat” and “Black hat” SEO. White hat SEO involves stuff like organizing links and URLs well, including keywords appropriate to what you actually do, writing quality content, and per this article, encouraging links to your domain and paying attention to whether they use nofollow. Generally, stuff that doesn’t go against the spirit of what the search engine is trying to do, tries to get more legitimate users who genuinely want your product to find it and learn about it more easily etc.

              Black hat SEO involves stuff like spinning up link farms, spamming links across social media and paying for upvotes, adding a bazillion keywords for everything under the sun unrelated to what you’re doing, etc. Generally trying to trick search engines and visitors into doing things against their purposes.

              It may feel a little dirty at times, but it’s probably tough to get a business going in a crowded market without paying attention to white hat SEO.

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                It may feel a little dirty at times, but it’s probably tough to get a business going in a crowded market without paying attention to white hat SEO.

                This is common issue for healthcare sites. If you have bona fide information that’s reviewed and maintained by experts it competes with sites selling counterfeits, outdated information, conspiracy theories, etc. These sites try every trick they can to scam people. If you don’t invest in SEO you are wasting people’s time with bad information in most cases, but some people can be harmed. In the US this can boil down to a freedom of speech discussion, but if you work internationally you have clearer legal obligations to act.

                Search engines do want to help directly in some cases, but there is still an expectation that the good guys are following what would be considered white hat SEO practices. White hat SEO often has other benefits with accessibility, so I think it’s worth listening.

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                  Yep, this is a bit unfortunately true. IIRC, StackOverflow had to implement SEO practices as, without it, other sites that scraped their content and rehosted it were actually getting higher rankings in Google than SO themselves.

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                Makes sense. I wish more people (developers in particular) would start questioning these connotations. The present-day advice on how to do SEO right is a lot different from what it used to be.

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                  As the parent said, SEO originally meant “hacking” google search rankings but over time, Google eliminated these hacks one by one, saying the whole time that their goal was to deliver search results that were relevant and useful. However, the way they define “relevant and useful” is primarily:

                  1. How closely the page content matches the serarch query
                  2. How many “reputable sources” link to the page
                  3. How long visitors stay on the page (usually directly related to length)
                  4. How many people click on the link

                  So SEO became less about technical trickery and is now more about human trickery. This resulted in the rise of what I call “blogspam”, i.e. blogs that crank out content with affiliate links and ads peppered throughout. This might not be a bad thing per se, except that most of the time I land on blogspam, I am inundated by pop-up dialogs, cookie warnings, ads and miles of empty content designed to make you Just Keep Scrolling or hook you with an auto-play video. Because both of these things keep you on the page longer, which increases their search rankings.

                  This isn’t always quite so bad for tech-related queries, where StackOverflow and its ilk have cornered nearly every result, but try searching for something generic like “hollandaise sauce recipe” or “how to get rid of aphids” or “brakes on a Prius” and you will drown in an unending sea of blogspam.

                  This has been another episode of “What Grinds bityard’s Gears”

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                    1. How closely the page content matches the serarch query

                    Since you put “relevant and useful” in quotes, I’m assuming you feel that a search query matching the page content is not a good signal of whether a search result is good. I’m curious why you think that?

                    Just Keep Scrolling or hook you with an auto-play video. Because both of these things keep you on the page longer, which increases their search rankings.

                    That’s actually not true. Google made a blog post a while ago mentioning that pop-up dialogs (or anything that reduces content accessibility) reduces search rankings.

                    In any case, while I do agree that not all SEO advice is (or has historically been) good, the blanket statement that all SEO advice is bad is also not correct (or fair). Besides, the black-hat SEO advice is slowly becoming more and more pointless as Google gets smarter at figuring things out.

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                      This isn’t always quite so bad for tech-related queries, where StackOverflow and its ilk have cornered nearly every result, but try searching for something generic like “hollandaise sauce recipe” or “how to get rid of aphids” or “brakes on a Prius” and you will drown in an unending sea of blogspam.

                      I feel the pain, but is this less about SEO and more about how certain people have developed business opportunities? SO has largely replaced expertsexchange in search results, but in a way this was one of the founder’s aims that has been mentioned in various places.

                      The StackExchange network of sites has been trying to expand to cover, your example of “how to get rid of aphids”, but it hasn’t yet been successful. There is inertia with getting these sites off the ground and employing people to write quality questions and answers, but this doesn’t align with the community ethos. Arguably, it would be better for the web since you’d get a better experience when you click through search results. I wish there was an easier answer.

                      I don’t see why there couldn’t be a recipe site with the quality user experience you associate with SO. There are however a lot of entrenched interests and competition. People also have a tendency of sharing copyrighted recipes they’ve copied down from friends or family. Incumbents won’t react like expertsexchange to SO.

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                  SEO is like ads on the internet; in theory it’s a good thing, helps people to find relevant content, helps companies to make more profits. But in reality, it’s just a pissing contest who exploits the user most. If a company made some money by using some shady SEO tricks, then we’ll do it 2x more intensively, so we’ll earn some money too. Who cares that the search engine results will be less accurate?

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                    To be honest, try looking up the modern SEO recommendations (black hat SEO is becoming more and more pointless as Google gets smarter at figuring things out). You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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                The funny part is that the only cookie used on this site (that I can see) is the cookie that stores the fact that the user accepted the use of cookies :D

                Also, the law never forced the display of the “cookie wall” for purely-technical cookies (eg: login and such), but only those aimed at tracking.

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                I’d honestly go “Stop blogging on Medium”, full stop.

                It’s a terrible site, which got non-tractable when they added their infamous “Let’s make this official! Link with facebook/whateversocialwebshit”.

                Even if an article got linked here and the title looked somewhat interesting, I would be considerably less likely to click just because Medium is associated with unpleasant feelings.

                There are plenty of options for hosting static content.

                This includes DIY. It’s not even hard. I suggest httpd(8).

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                  A while ago someone suggested to make “medium” a valid reason for downvoting articles here, and the more medium links I see on the front page, the more I suppose that proposal. ;)

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                    I already have a meta proposal ongoing (emulation tag), but if someone created one to blacklist Medium links in the system, or to introduce a flagging method for sites like Medium, I would support it.

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                      Do you mean this proposal from a year ago? (This more recent story is relevant too.) I detest Medium, myself, but I don’t think censoring content on the basis of platform is at all a good idea. Just use the archive (“cached”) link. Or, “hide” works too, if you’re feeling especially tolerance-deficient that day.

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                        Giving people control over what is displayed on their screen is the opposite of censorship.

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                          Gosh, I must be really confused. What is the purpose of downvoting, then?

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                            To provide even more information for the site to decide what to display, and for people to decide what to click on. What confusion could there be?

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                              for the site to decide what to display

                              Like, on my screen, not yours? Who exactly is “the site”? Yeah, there appears to be some confusion.

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                                well downvotes affect the site for everyone if that’s what you’re asking

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                              The proposal is about adding tags so they can be filtered out on a personal basis.

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                                Thanks for clearing that up; I would actually support that proposal. I would not support what @dmbaturin was suggesting, which is a Medium-specific downvote explanation.

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                          One of the reasons I am about to migrate my blog (https://notamonadtutorial.com/) to another platform is that I want Lobster’s users to keep reading it. I did not have time yet to do it. I hope to do it next month.

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                        The paywall is the most egregious to me, and I think it will ultimately be Medium’s demise.

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                          Equally, if you don’t want to set up a static site for some reason, write.as is a great option over Medium.

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                            if you really want to share your thought with the world, medium is the worst platform to do that

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                              One blog post is at least a couple of hours of work and could be valued in hundreds.

                              looks at list of first drafts that each have 10+ hours of work in them

                              I don’t get how people can write a blog post in a couple of hours. Like I know it’s normal and everybody does it, I just… don’t get it. It doesn’t connect with my brain somehow.

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                                I’m with you. My posts take several days minimum.

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                                  Quality over quantity. Yes, I dig that.

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                                    Not sure how that discussion makes sense when no-one is specifying the size of the blog post. I write blog posts in less than 30 min but they are short.

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                                      In my case the size of the post is only very loosely correlated with the time taken to write it. In fact much my time writing is editing it down to be smaller. Only rarely am I trying to edit it to be longer.

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                                I recommend taking a look at ActivityPub federated blogging platforms such as Plume and Write.as.

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                                  What’s the benefit of AP-supporting platforms vs a regular old site? Is it mainly so that people can follow your posts from e.g. mastodon?

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                                    Yeah, it basically allows people using any platform that supports it, and to communicate with each other across different platforms. So, you get better discoverability overall. I tend to use Mastodon as my main feed akin to RSS nowadays.

                                    AP also makes it easier for new service to bootstrap. For example, Pixelfed didn’t have the ability to follow people from different instances initially, but it was possible to follow different Pixelfed instanced via Mastodon. So, existing functionality in one part of the network helped boostrap another.

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                                  When I opened the site at first I thought it was written on Medium. It copies the style pretty closely: has “social” media links at the top right, has an estimated minutes it takes to read the article. Even a big irrelevant picture at the top. I am not sure if that is somehow ironic or not…

                                  Besides that, in my opinion, the article itself has valid points I enjoyed reading it and learned about nofollow.

                                  But there is a counter argument to be made about costs:

                                  If you write a blog post a couple of times a month you offer ~1000$ worth of work to Medium for free.

                                  True, but compared to what? Publishing a post on your own website actually costs you money. Out of these two: 1) medium gets 1000$ for free and in return you get exposure, followers, and free hosting; 2) you pay ~10$ per month to host your stuff and get less exposure; isn’t the first option a win-win, at least for some people?

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                                    If Medium was making $1,000 from every one of their bloggers there’s no way they’d have to resort to shady dark-pattern faux-wall clicks to raise more revenue.

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                                      Yup that is true, I would guess the average they make on an article might be below 5$ (their subscription cost).

                                      So of course they don’t get $1,000 as value is not based on how many hours you have spent on producing it, which was how the posted article arrived at this figure. But I am saying even if they did - those $1,000 are not taken from you. Specially if the alternative is that you have to pay for putting your own article online using your own website.

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                                    I am on board with not blogging on Medium, but how about stop caring about SEO? And stop making text appear under my cursor, obscuring the text, when I move the cursor away from the text in a vain attempt to make it readable? This website seems to make one minor improvement over Medium (removing “nofollow” links), while amplifying everything else that sucks about Medium even beyond the original offense.