Posted October 9, 2006 9:00 am by with 5 comments

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Make It For Person, Not The Search Engine.

By Josh Garner.

What does ‘SEO’ mean? Search Engine Optimization…Duh. No no. What does it mean? It means ‘to optimize a site for the search engines.’ I guess that’s pretty close, but going with that thought alone can actually land you in a bit of trouble.

We often talk on SEO and what the search are looking for, how they are acting, how to optimize a site, etc. But we often neglect a very important idea. Simply optimizing a site for the search engines isn’t really the best idea. If we do that and that alone, then we won’t likely find success in our business endeavor. We would then neglect our customer’s needs and/or any help that we might provide to the online community.

Optimizing a site for the sole benefit of the search engines could result in spam or content that sounds to repetitive, because we are trying to make sure our keywords are on the homepage a certain number of times to achieve ‘density.’ We may end up getting tons of links to and from areas that are less than acceptable because we keep thinking that ‘Link Popularity’ means ‘get as many as we can.’ We may end up in jail because every time we walk into Albertson’s we keep hearing ‘It’s your store.’ So, what should we be doing?

Yes, SEO means ‘to optimize a site for the search engines,’ but we should be thinking of it as ‘optimizing a site, so as to show the search engines what the site is about and how it can help the online community/consumer.’ If you have relevant copy on your site, you will likely be using your desired search terms sufficiently anyway. And with the ever growing use of LSI,
the search engines will pick your site out. If you have relevant and helpful text on your site, you will get quality inbound links from other sites simply on merit. If you just remember that it’s just a jingle, your hands won’t become idle and attempt the theft of your favorite candy bar.

In closing, we shouldn’t be making and optimizing sites for the search engines. Do it for your visitors. So what if Google doesn’t give you the best ranking. Given proper content and quality, you will get the visitors. Yes, optimize the site for the crawlers. Make sure we aren’t doing anything black hat. Correct the errors. Clean up the code. Make proper use of header tags and meta title. But do this for your visitors, not the search engines. The search engines will love you for it.

[The above article is a submission for Marketing Pilgrim’s Search Engine Marketing Scholarship Contest. Each Monday in October, entries will be published and the most popular article of the week will qualify for the $5,000 grand prize. If you’d like to submit an entry, please view the contest entry-requirements and guidelines.]

  • SEO is like making a pyramid with 3 matches : these 3 matches must be present, and well balanced.

    The 1st match is content, the 2cd one is structure and markup, and the 3rd is link popularity / trust.

    This is my personal analogy to explain the SEO job 😉

  • Anonymous

    I couldn’t agree more. Any time I have done personal work or websites for other people I have always had the site owners interest in mind. If you build it right and make it the way it should be finding it online will come. Sites shouldn’t be made for the search engines but for the people who own it and visit.

  • I like the matches metephor. My father always said there are three things to consider when prviding service. Fast. Cheap. Quality. The customer can have any 2, but not all three. But thanks for the comments. Much appreciated.

  • Anonymous

    I must admit I really like this article and have to agree. I have worked on many sites that I have used “Keyword Density” to try to improve the search engine position, only to find that this REALLY DOESN’T WORK! I have found that optimizing a site for what my customer’s customers are looking for returns far greater results. Awesome article, glad other have noticed this as well.

  • Anonymous

    I agree. Having a truly effective website with quality information and getting 10 customers who will purchase products and services is much better than having a high-density but repetitive site that gets a 100 click thrus and 1 customer committment.