SEO is DOA. Or is it?
When people in the internet marketing industry utter the word, “SEO”, they often mean different things. I will attempt to break this down into two facets and lay out the reasoning behind why one facet is obsolete, while the other is as important today as it ever has been.
SEO, which is short for “Search Engine Optimization”, often means the act of trying to out-guess the search engines (specifically Google and the lesser-used Bing) and get web sites that don’t necessarily belong on the first page of the search engine results on the first page. Often, “SEO Pros” will claim that they can get your web site ranked #1 for a given search term. (It’s easy – if you let them choose the keyword.)
In this attempt, people go through various machinations and artificial link-building rituals and procedures. The idea is that if you find some “loophole” in Google’s algorithm that you can game the system such that you get ranked higher than you normally would. Obvious and over-used tactics include building multiple profiles in social media and other “web 2.0” properties and linking back to the “money site” from them, building backlinks from 3rd-party blogs, and writing press releases “optimized for SEO” and then distributing them over dozens if not hundreds of PR outlets.
It’s crazy, expensive, stupid, and mostly ineffective. This form of “SEO” is almost completely worthless. Don’t do it.
However, if you think in the following terms, SEO is completely relevant, effective, and smart.
Don’t think in terms of gaming the system. Think, rather, in terms of setting up your site so that you make it super-easy not only for the search engines to find, index, and rank it, but also make to easy for real live people to find your content, share it with others, and interact with you about it.
When you start thinking in these terms, SEO takes on a completely different meaning. You are, in fact, optimizing your site for the search engines, which speaks to the truer meaning of the words than making your site look better than it really is.
So, here’s a simple prescription for performing sound SEO for your site:
- Write excellent content
- Share it with others
- Make it easy to share
- Interact with your audience
Those are broad concepts. You have a lot of flexibility in applying them. For example, “share it with others” may mean emailing influential bloggers in your niche and asking them to review a post on your site, it could mean advertising in a newsletter, or it may mean mentioning a specific post on social media like Facebook and Twitter. It could mean all of the above.
Go for it – leverage the vast resources that are currently available and get your top quality out there in the “blogosphere”.
The “art” of gaming the search engines is over. That definition of SEO is obsolete. Instead, SEO means making your site awesome.