It seems that everyone who knows what Search Engine Optimization is has a different opinion as to how effective and, therefore, how important it really is. In this article I am going to add my opinion to the ongoing discussion about Search Engine Optimization, commonly abbreviated to SEO.
So, what is SEO? In the unlikely event that you have never heard of optimizing your website, blog post or article for the likes of Google and Yahoo! put simply it is using keywords and phrases in the title body and underlying HTML of your content that you feel people using a search engine will use to locate your content. It is an ongoing process of ensuring that your website is highly visible to search engines. It is an ongoing process because search engines are constantly changing the ‘rules’.
I am not a great proponent of SEO. That is not to say that I don’t do all I can to make sure that my website, articles and blog posts are easy to find. I use a plugin on my WordPress blog to help make a post visible and I do try to use appropriate keywords in my title and content. The one thing that I try to do over and above any SEO consideration is to provide good content.
I write for my readers, not for any search engine. I strongly believe that if I write so that my content is valuable and addresses the needs of my readers then the keywords and other components of SEO will come quite naturally, as I write. If I spend time considering how a search engine will look at my content then the quality of my content will suffer. After all, content is king!
For a moment, think about things from the search engine’s point of view. Ask yourself, “What are they trying to do?” Put simply, they are trying to provide their users the best and most relevant answers to their queries… nothing more, nothing less. The reason they seem to ‘change the rules’ as often as they do has nothing to do with trying to make it difficult for a website owner or article writer. Rather, it is about providing their users with the best experience possible.
Spending significant amounts of time optimizing your content for the benefit of Google, Yahoo! or whatever search engine you might care to name seems to be time wasted, in my opinion. You are better to spend that time creating great content at let the search engines do what they do best. For me, traffic generated from the natural results of a search is bay far the smallest portion of the traffic I am able to generate. Other methods of attracting visitors provide much better results and that is where I have always put in the most effort. More to the point, these methods are where I will continue to put in the most effort.