A Word About SEO Optimization

SEO Optimization

Is it Snake Oil?

SEO Optimization is one of those buzz-words that sets off alarm bells. The internet is full of snake-oil salesmen who want to sell you some package that supposedly creates outstanding results. SEO is one of the arenas where the snake oil lives.

In the past, marketing people have tried to reverse-engineer Google’s search algorithms, and how the results are ranked. What factors go into pushing a given website higher, and what factors penalize your site? Every few years, a new magic formula turns up for gaming the system. Meta tags, keyword stuffing, and link farms were all short-term solutions to push your website higher in the rankings.

The thing is, Google searches are done by people, and people want to read content that is intended to be read by people. Google is getting better and better at producing those results. Nobody wants to read a keyword-stuffed article, and nobody wants to read a list of links going to random websites that have nothing to do with the topic searched.

Google is trying to produce results relevant to the user by filtering out the gamed sites, and the duplicate content. The latter is why subscription services are not helpful. What works today is what Google has always been striving for–unique and high quality content that is intended to inform or entertain the human reader.

Does that mean SEO isn’t important? Of course not. The idea now, however, is to capture the long tail of the low frequency keywords by updating content regularly and optimizing the articles on keywords that make sense. There is still skill involved in incorporating desired keywords into an article, and still have it read as though it were written for people and not for Google spiders. It isn’t always easy. In my opinion, it’s better to avoid SEO optimization completely than to incorporate poor SEO optimization.

To a certain extent, an article posted without consideration to SEO will have a positive impact as long as it is quality content that is unique to your site or sites. Done poorly, you can unintentionally incorporate red flags for Google that can hurt your rankings.

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