Why your SEO Mindset Isn’t the Right One
The first strategic objective which Google lists on their companies about page in order to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible. And if you stop and think about it, it does make sense. Let’s have a simplified look at Google’s business model.
Their main source of income is the advertising proceeds from advertisements displayed at the right hand website. When a user searches for a car online, different brands are being displayed at the right hand website (sponsored results). Why do advertisers pay for this? Real users search for information and most often use the information to make a decision or take an action. Advertisers can get a clear indication of the user’s intent.
If you break down the stakeholders in this interaction there are:
People who want to consume information or purchase a solution to their problem in the most streamlined fashion.
Requiring – Relevant, up to date search results, information and offers
Providing – An audience for individuals and organizations to reach
Organizations – Wanting to provide their product, service or information to their targeted audience
Requiring – An audience to reach.
Providing – Information, products and services, both free and commercial
Google – The central hub connecting organizations, webmasters and visitors.
A big audience always provide an opportunity to advertisers. Especially if the interests and demographics of a specific audience is known. For these reasons Maserati paid more than $11 million for a 90-second video advertisement.
If visitors use a better competitor, the advertisers will soon follow. If Google displays results which aren’t really relevant, visitors will become disgruntled and move to another competitor (luckily, they are very good at showing the right ads). While theatrically (Hype) and deception may work in the short run, it’s Googles business setting it straight.
Therefore, to achieve longevity in this most interesting online world, aligning your objectives and those of your visitors’ is critical.
The Traditional Approach
In classic Search Engine Optimization, empathize lies often optimizing tags, keywords, keyword density etc. However, in the last few year technology has evolved tremendously. Where as in the past parsing and calculating meta-data about could be extremely costly, in today’s world smarter algorithms and increase processing power costs reduction is tremendous. This is especially true if you consider Google’s every increasing size of data and operation.
In the past webmasters had to include meta-data like tags and phrases to ensure process optimization. There are a few downsides to shift this responsibility to the webmaster.
Moving responsibilities to the external environment (this case, the webmaster in Googles perspective), introduces the risk of fraud. A risk which is most often exploited and to this date still remains an issue. Many hit and run websites have risen. Targeting keywords and trying to game the system. This is not something you should strive to create.
Numerous Google updates (referred to as animal’s names like Panda, Penguin and several exotic bird species too) try to combat this problem to either shift processing of Meta data or adjusting certain factors.
However, by following the user-oriented approach or better yet the philosophy behind this approach you don’t have to worry about any of that. If you are aligning your intentions with those of the search engines you are golden. To add to that, search engines are not your enemy, they are just as interested in connecting you with the visitor as they are with connecting advertisers with users.
One of the reasons that you can’t buy your way to the top organic results (non-paid), is because it damages trust by the visitor. It interfers with the natural process of establishing trust and value. It always clear if a result is an advertisement or not. This case is supported by the addition of the label ‘ads by Google ’ to their AdSense advertisements and introduction of the Adwords Quality Score.
Most traditional optimizations are completely unnecessary in today’s world, but there are some technical adjustments that are worthwhile.
The User-Oriented Approach
The user-oriented approach all revolves – as the name implies- around your visitor. Your time is better spend creating value than to be concerned about traditional topics like keyword, keyword density, header tags, etc. When you do everything you do with the visitor in mind, those (minor) details fall in place by themselves. For example, if you have a pleasant writing style you don’t have to be concerned with repetitive use of specific keywords, nor absence of keywords.
However, most ‘Search Engine Optimizers’ tend to over complicate things with term like ‘Keyword Density’, Panda’s and Penguins (algorithme changes named after Animals). Once you start going down that road, you are optimizing for search engines. Their algorithms changes frequently. You should optimize for the user, since that is Google Goal also. Therefore, some Google updates might be negative for you, some might be positive, but is will be beneficial on the long term.
I strongly belief that the content and value you produce for other people is a reflection of yourself, your dedication and your characteristics. Therefore you will find some aspects that not deal directly with SEO, but with improving yourself to allow you to engage in these SEO best practices.