Just about every client I work with wants to be at the top of the Google search results when someone searches for something in their industry – who wouldn’t?

And for better or worse, the buzz phrase of “SEO” – search engine optimization – has gone mainstream. People who aren’t at all interested or technically inclined as far as what happens behind the scenes on the web are aware of SEO. They know to ask about it when they’re building a website and they also get calls from SEO companies that try and get businesses to pay them to boost their ranking in search results.

This isn’t a bad thing. It’s a good idea to make sure your website is tuned to inform Google about your content. You want to make sure it’s not being hidden behind obscure headings, technically hard to decipher HTML code or a bunch of images that tell Google nothing.

We Are the 90%

But all the SEO tricks and tips you do to your site should make up about 10% of your overall marketing strategy for your website – the other 90% is the hard work of developing great, interesting and engaging content.

But SEO tricks are easy to market, easy to sell so it seems like a quick fix to help boost your website’s ranking and get more customers – and most website owners don’t have the time or resources to go back and figure out if it actually worked. And so the SEO companies continue to make a quick buck without having to do a lot of work.

Inconvenient Truths

Which brings me to this quote from an article by Paul Boag on Smashing Magazine, The Inconvenient Truth About SEO:

The SEO company can use every trick in the book to get you better rankings, but over the long term they will lose, because Google is constantly changing how it rates websites so it can provide more accurate results.

Remember, you shouldn?t be optimizing for ranking in search engines, you should be optimizing for users.

The black hat SEO marketers have gotten out ahead of the truth and try and spread misinformation about how easy it is to rank higher on Google searches. It’s the same way people view losing weight and getting healthy – despite the obvious truth that it takes hard work by being disciplined, eating smart and exercising – there’ got to be an easier and quicker way!

There is so much good stuff that Paul packs into the article that I’d really recommend going and reading it all yourself. I’m tempted to make it required reading in my contract before I take on a client for website work I feel it’s that important a lesson to learn. Particularly the last third where he talks about the organization change required and offers long-term and short-term solutions.

Not All SEO Work Is Bad!

Right? I know. That’s why I said in the third paragraph that it isn’t all bad. Just as not all tips or tools used in the health industry are bad. But there’s a whole lot of garbage you have to sift through to get to the good stuff unfortunately.

SEO should be part of the whole package of designing, building, launching and then maintaining a website. Not an afterthought. Not an outsourced blog you leave to a generic copywriting company.

Posted by Chris Enns

Hi! I'm the guy behind Lemon Productions. I love to help people use technology and the web to create, promote, and build neat stuff. And especially if it involves podcasting or video.

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