But nobody seeks us out at parties for our stories or makes Netflix shows set in the world of SEO.
No, instead you have two choices when it comes to SEO.
You’re either the nerdy Poindexter, sitting alone at his computer, muttering about meta descriptions and H1 tags, or worse, a snake oil salesman, promising the world that if you’ll just spend thousands of dollars on some magic formula that never quite seems to be finished, you’ll win the Internet.
The Brave New World of SEO
??I get thousands of visits from search engines,” they’ll claim, “and I don’t know anything about SEO. I just focus on my content.”
Well, here’s the thing: In 2014, quality content is SEO.
Whatever has been the case in the past, right here, right now, quality content is the single most important thing you need to be doing to attract visitors.
Content Trumps SEO?
You can optimize your site architecture, build links, and add all the alt tags you like, but if the content’s not there, neither is the traffic.
Conversely, you can ignore all the other aspects of optimization??you shouldn’t, but you can??and still make out like a bandit if you have the content people are looking for.
Because while you were busy dismissing search engines, the search engines got smart.
There’s an old joke in optimization circles, “How many SEO experts does it take to change a light bulb, lightbulb, light, bulb, lamp, lighting, switch ?á,” which shows us two things:
- Why we’re rightly ignored at parties, and;
- That optimization is commonly perceived to be about trickery, covering all your bases, writing for Google not for people.
The thing is, that’s an old joke, and while it may never have been funny, it’s now not even true.
Google’s Ever Changing Algorithms
If you’ve spent any amount of time on the Internet in the past decade, you may have noticed that search results have improved immeasurably. Can you even remember the last time you searched for something and weren’t able to find it?
You need to thank Google and their Panda algorithm. This was the big gun in the battle to improve the web. By weeding out the junk and rewarding the sites that actually provide quality, Google has taken a carrot and stick approach that, while not yet perfect, has been a huge step towards making the search results better and more relevant.
Because here’s the real truth about search engines. They want to give you traffic as much as you want to get it, as long as you have the right content. That’s their model. You run a flower shop. John wants to buy flowers. Google shows John the way to your site.
You get the business, John gets his flowers and Google gets a satisfied user. Everybody’s happy.
Of course, as an optimizer, I want to tell you it’s your content that helps with SEO for a bunch of reasons:
- Google likes links. How do you get people to link? By providing quality content.
- Google likes social sharing. What do people share? Quality content.
- Google likes pages that have low bounce rates. Why do people stick on a site? You know the answer.
It’s not rocket science, it’s just good content.