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What criteria should we be applying when deciding whether questions are off-topic? Is there any sort of rough consensus on this?

Cf. two prior meta.SO discussions: 1. why are seo questions shut down as not programming related?; and 2. Is SEO a sysadmin or developer issue?

(sorry, 1 rep, can't post 2 hyperlinks, high reputation users please edit)

Postscript — Since I'm looking more for a consensus, rather than answers, I've changed this to a community wiki.

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that one, that one, and that one. but not that one. –  quack quixote Dec 10 '09 at 8:25
    
Since I'm looking more for a consensus, rather than answers, I've changed this to a community wiki. –  Charles Stewart Dec 10 '09 at 8:57

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Well, there is SEO, and there is SEO.

One type of SEO is about good engineering practices to make the page more accessible and discoverable, which includes proper use of meta tags, good URL rewriting and stuff like that - these are fine.

And then there is the type of SEO that basically asks "How can I cheat Google's Page Rank?".

Of course, there is also a grey area of "How can I make my site display direct links to the Download or About section on Google?".

Really, I think the common-sense approach should apply here: If the question is about genuinely improving the site (which in almost all cases has Accessibility and Functionality improvements as a side effect), then I'm all for it, but if it's just for "ranking higher" (legitimate or not), then I'd vote against it.

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Where would a question about proper meta tags be fine? –  innaM Dec 10 '09 at 8:56
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On SO, the criterion might be: is there an obvious, non-trivial programming issue connected to the SEO question. A black-hat SEO question that threw up a really fascinating data structure would be OK then, I guess. –  Charles Stewart Dec 10 '09 at 14:37

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