Thank you Google and Bing for validating my SEO viewpoint

SEO VoodooFor several years now, I’ve rebelled against SEO Voodoo.

What I mean by SEO Voodoo is the process of hyper-focusing on optimizing your website to the detriment of building a good website.  Folks get so caught up in the SEO hype—keywords, link building and so on that they forget that good content will cause people to naturally link to your website and will include the keywords that apply to your material.

Instead,  I’ve promoted the concept that a well-designed website with well-crafted, informative content is a far better investment than spending time and money on voodoo search engine optimization.  At times, I’ve had clients look at me as if I had two heads. Sadly, in some cases they’ve gone out and hired someone else to do the voodoo.

That’s not to say that I dismiss SEO concepts.  I employ practical SEO principles as I build and maintain  websites. I believe in classic html SEO practices like creating relevant unique page titles, using heading tags to highlight topics of the website,  and I believe in cross-promoting your business and website online with social media sites and e-mail marketing.  As a practice I create 301 redirects if I redesign a site and the urls change.

But I’ve never bought  into the practices of “guaranteed” SEO tactics — you know — things like cramming keywords into your content, artificially creating links and some of the other crazy ideas the SEO specialists recommend to my clients.

Some SEO tactics, like keyword cramming, are kind of like a guy stuffing a sock in his pants. It might entice some visitors, but they’re disappointed when they get there.

I guess I figured the search engines were smarter than that or maybe I just figured it was more important to create a website that focused on your user’s experience.  You know, spend time to create useful content that might actually sell your product or service?

It seems, Google and Bing might agree with me. Last week, Matt Cutts from Google and Duane Forrester from Bing had a conversation at SXSW about SEO.  You can listen to to their conversation here.  Among some of their points (paraphrased):

  • over-optimization is a problem that can reduce the relevancy of search results and Google is trying to solve the problem
  • if you’re not engaged socially, you’re missing the boat
  • algorithms are not static—many variables affect search results
  • search engines try to do what’s best for their constituents – the searchers
  • spend less  time on building artificial links and more time on creating news or content that other sources will pick up
  • instead of trying to beat your competitors at the SEO game, offer more compelling content than your competitors
  • don’t buy links, instead:
    1. work on social media
    2. on becoming an authority in your industry
    3. if someone is doing an article on you, ask for a link

So take the advise of some of the search engine pros and focus on creating good content for your website; it may serve you better than SEO voodoo.

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