Thoughts on Search Engine Optimization

There is a particular crowd that is very interested in optimizing their website for search engines, usually using terms like "white hat" or "black hat" to describe their methodology.

I would propose that both methods are fundamentally incorrect. Obviously so-called "black hat" SEO is bad, but in my opinion, trying to optimize a website for the sole reason of listing highly in the search engines is fundamentally flawed. Here’s my reasoning:

Since,

  • Optimizing a webpage using "black hat" methods are a temporary fix and will eventually result in being banned from search indexes – bad idea.
  • Optimizing a webpage for a particular keyword other than the true content of the page is deceptive and therefore a bad idea.
  • Optimizing for a particular keyword that will produce the biggest return on investment runs the risk for the keyword to not be the exact true content of the page – still bad idea.

Therefore,

  • Your content markup (HTML), writing style, and content organization should have one goal – providing the best experience for the end user.
  • Search engines have the stated goal of providing the best content on a particular topic to the end user.
  • In the long run, therefore, your site will perform well in search engines, not because it was search engine optimized, but because it is one of the best sites on the topic.

Another new source of marketing / visitor power is social media marketing. If you have properly optimized your site to deliver your content well, and that content has been optimized, people will want to let their friends know about your great resource.

Put simply, it’s time to stop SEOing our sites and start creating sites worth sharing.