Thumbs up if you got here from a search engine! The debate about the usefulness of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has been going on for a while, there are the positive aspects of it and the downsides. Professionals have been offering clients a service for this and charging lots of money, who doesn’t want to be number one on Google, Yahoo, Bing and the other search engines? I have been nagged by this question and the usefulness of SEO, some people claim that they know the algorithm Google uses for site ranking and they can assure you number one.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results
Now enough of background stories let us analyse the SEO aspects with a clear mind. I have nothing against SEO what I have an issue with is the tactics employed. Sometime ago when search engines were a bit more foolish, they would use popularity to rank a website so for instance there was this shop that would sell low quality products and clients would complain over and over on the shops’s website. This meant that the shop was popular and he would get a high rank for that and boast about it.
The other aspect used was that the more other sites link back to you the more “votes” you have and you will rank highly. Though this was generally a correct criteria but look at what it brought, spam spammers spammed and all sorts of useless links flowing all over the web in a bid to get as many backlinks and get ranked highly.
Another tactic was meta data in the markup of the webpages, the main culprit was the keywords meta, some websites can place over 6o phrases on that one tag believing that the Search engine would rank them highly for each of these words. This has just brought headache to developers especially if the client knows a bit of this criteria used to “boost” ranking. Some webmasters have more keywords than page content this just resulted to search engines -at least some like Google- dropping the meta tag due to abuse. I think generally your keywords should be the least possible around 2 to 4 are ok just touch on the main subject of your webpage.
Now there are some tactics I am ok with, these include:
- Directory Structured Links – where hierarchy of links is grouped in subjects or categories, the root of each new link has an overview and the rest of the links follow giving a clear impression of the weight of the content in relation to the site. This is of course with the use of clean URLs.
- Clean page outlines – where the mark-up outline gives the relevance of the topics similar to printed newspapers h1 the main title, h2 subtitles, h3 section titles. Such that the outline from h1 to the p tags provides a clear page description.
Now with that said let me asses the outcomes of SEO.
If the Search Engine Algorithm went berserk and now ranked websites simply based on how much SEO has been done on the site we would have the most useless Search Engines ever. Simply because when you search for instace for Search Engines and you have one website with so much text and links about Search Engines it would appear ranked above Bing and Google. Again if you were looking for say Social Media Apps you would find the forums on Social Media and news about Social media ranked above Facebook and Twitter. You simply would have stupid and unreliable searches as they would be algorithmic and easily manipulated.
My Take on SEO.
Simply put we do not need to give a false impression of ourselves to the search engines to get highly ranked we should allow the Search engine to place us at the rightful place in the chain and as we develop and get more content we can automatically go up the rank. This would be painful for businesses but why play unfairly after all you can focus on improving in quality first then visibility second.
Content Based SEO and Reputation Based ranking
This is not what many SEO service providers advocate for, some go to the extent of creating and providing software to automatically submit your links to multiple sites very fast for you to get highly ranked. This by all means is an unscrupulous means to get highly ranked.
The idea in “Content based SEO” is that the flesh (content) of your website is what determines your ranking, that way rich content goes on top regardless of back-links and meta tags and poor content goes all the way down regardless of how many meta-tags or back-links they have. In this case spammers efforts would be useless as they would not accomplish anything by posting their links on your site with the hope of generating traffic on the other hand they will break their sites reputation which would also drive them further down the page ranking.
I have nothing against other types of SEO but I believe we all want great searches and rich content. The priorities used by Search Engines would simply have to start with content, the richer the better. Next would be the reputation of the website the more reputable the better after this then the general mark-up formats and other factors can be assessed.
First build rich and Unique content then maintain a high reputation.
The Content Based SEO will cause web creators to create unique content for which to get the best ranking and then maintain a high reputation to stay relevant. We all want traffic and maximum hits but we need to be unique and creative and above all honest with ourselves.
Search engines like Google maintain a record of your sites reputation and use it for your ranking this is not new and I also think that they have revised the algorithm for back-links or “votes” to detect spam back-links.
I receive so much robot generated spam and if we had been honest we would not have SEO as a set of tactics to get highly ranked above more content richer sites . We can improve visibility honestly and to quote from Google:
Design your website for the users not for the Search Engine
Thank you for reading this next time you hear of SEO please think along these lines we want to have a useful web rich in content and creativity not a bunch of poor robot sites with nothing new to offer.