“SEO” No! Write Instead

I swear I’m going to scream if I hear to one more person describing search engine optimization as something complex and mystical. It’s not — it’s actually pretty simple. I’ll prove it. Here’s all you need to know, all on one double-sided sheet of paper.

If you can understand and implement what’s on that cheat sheet you’ve already won 90% of the battle. If that sheet confuses you then you probably didn’t build your website to begin with but the person who did will help you.

You’re probably thinking, “90% is great, but what about the last 10%?” First, understand that perfection should never be the goal of a task — if you solved that last 10% then you’ve likely wasted a ton of time and effort. Work beyond the basics and the return on effort diminishes very quickly so approach perfection carefully.

Some of the things I see suggested that really get my goat include rewriting content and titles to “optimize the site for keywords” and keyword stuffing. Those tasks do very little to help your site rise in rankings. They may have worked in 1998 but modern search engines just don’t work that way.

If you still insist on going further then I’d suggest looking to something that will be helpful in other ways but as a side effect confer some SEO benefits. I’d suggest that you write great content. People will want to read it and talk about, and link to it. As a result that will help your site’s ranking by increasing it’s Popularity.

Popularity is a measure used by search engines to determine the quality of content. A search engine determines Popularity by creating a map of what other sites link to it. Your Popularity increases when other sites link to you. The more links, and particularly links from sites that have a high Popularity rating themselves, the higher Popularity your site will achieve.

So, instead of spending $300/month on SEO hokum, hire a writer. One who will write provocative content — stuff that people want to read and share. I know that that is easy to say and difficult to execute, however there are no gimmicks, no expensive tools and no consultants required and your customers will actually appreciate it.

It’s hard to get noticed and organic search is an important resource to get traffic but focusing on gaming a search engine will lead to failure. Instead of thinking your clever enough to outsmart a company full of PhDs who are busy supporting the integrity of a multi-billion dollar business, focus on things that will work while conferring other benefits as well.


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