There has been a few comments back on our post, from back in March, containing the quote from Ed Bott, who stated that “Any IT professional who is still allowing IE6 to be used in a corporate setting is guilty of malpractice“. One person, who we will not name, offered the comment that IE6 is the basis for a whole developer community, so recommending it’s discontinuance was irresponsible and unprofessional. Besides, the commentator sneeringly pointed out that “hundreds of people had used that expression in web commentary.
Ignoring the obvious response to the “whole developer community” thing, of course we immediately did a quick Google search on the expression, and sure enough there are good number of matches (408 exact matches at time of writing). Does this mean that a large number of people had come to the same conclusion and used the same expression spontaneously, or was there some blatant manipulation of the search ranking by unscrupulous Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts.
This also poses an interesting observation about the way the search engines, like Google, rank pages. If you search for the phrase Any IT professional who is still allowing IE6 to be used in a corporate setting is guilty of malpractice, the original page from Ed Bott appears fourth, and then does not appear again until page two; that is eighteenth in the results set.
At time of testing, the top three results, beating the original post, are as follows:
- LessThanDot (a phpBB powered Bulletin board)
- Integrity Technology Group (a Joomla powered site)
- A Twitter link (with the exact quote verbatim)
This is interesting, and shows just how important your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be. The Bulletin board beat the Joomla entry by having repetition of the phrase “Any IT professional who is still allowing IE6 to be used in a corporate setting is guilty of malpractice” twice in the body, plus a partial reference in the title.
The Tweet came an honorable third by repeating the exact quote, and due to the limited number of characters available had the highest match to “noise” ratio.
Could it be that “IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice” proposition, repeated often enough, could get you a top position regardless of the content of the surrounding article?
By the way to avoid this post jumping immediately to the top of Google simply by repeating the full phrase ad nauseum, we have deliberately shortened it to IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice. However human readers will be able to substitute the full expression unconsciously, and so allow us to sleep at night! The expression we have distilled down to is concise, accurate and meets the requirement for this exercise.
If you want to see for yourself, try the links below to search for the full expression:
As an intellectual exercise, we have dutifully entitled this posting IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice, and at the time of posting Google returns no results for the exact phrase “IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice”. Over the next few weeks we will keep searching for the expression and see how many web sites pick it up. Any that do repeat it in their content will become the subject of extra scrutiny to see if they are brilliant SEO expert who we need to model, or cheap rip-off sites to be added to our SEO blacklist.
IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice
If you are interested in playing the game, and contributing in some small way to the sum of human knowledge, click here to search Google for the exact expression IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice. Let us know what you think.