The Wall Street Journal published an article on the woes of Topix.net switching to Topix.com. The article highlights the struggles and loss of positions on Search Engines after the switch occurred.
The WSJ article makes many important points. The most important point, and it was not said by the WSJ, is that the Web marketers that they quoted do not know why their sites gain and then lose search positions.
Here are the points as I see them.
Search engines can make businesses thrive.
Search algorithms change and can really hurt those businesses that depend on Google. These two points are not disputed.
Topix.net lost Google search positions when it switched to Topix.com. The loss is due to quirky Google rules. Topix.com did not follow those publicly known quirky rules. They did not align their domains or follow other guidelines, and Google positions fell.
Yes, it is frustrating that online chat boards are how you get natural SEO support from Google. At least there is that support. For years the search engines did not respond to the SEO community. Google started the dialogue. It's far from perfect, but better than dealing with Yahoo through the years. With Google we do know what is important and what is not.
If Marchex runs 200,000 sites like www.bayareahotels.com then they should worry about losing Google search positions. It is a site full of ad links and it is not properly optimized. The interior pages are redundant. The Marchex SEO strategy is exactly what Google is trying to clean out of its top search pages for competitive phrases. The Marchex Chief Strategy Officer should follow his own advice and build strong content.