Search Engine Optimization and Gresham's Law

Today’s Word from A.W.A.D. was Gresham’s law. This states, “Bad money drives good money out of circulation”. It’s been around quite a time since Gresham was a financial adviser to Queen Elizabeth I. Gresham was also the founder of the Royal Exchange in London. As usual, Wikipedia gives some great information about this law.

It appears that the law applies to situations outside the financial world as well: for example, bad politicians drive out good ones. So Roy Hattersley was quoting the law as it applies to UK politics in an article in the UK Guardian early in March.

Thinking further, it clearly seems to have been in operation in the Search Engine Optimization field over the past year or two. The existence and the success of so-called ‘black hat’ SEO’s tarnished and devalued the whole field and it is proving difficult to rise above that. There you are – Gresham’s law in full operation.

Thankfully people are now realizing that merely getting high rankings with search engines has little economic value in itself. What really counts is getting conversions – in other words making the sales. That may well be a field where Gresham’s law is less likely to apply.

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