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Don’t be a sheep, think about why good SEO is good for your website
Comments21 Comments  

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from bbille 2546 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Great article. A site that ranks high is only as effective as the content on each page. Too many sites focus on SEO and not on their ultimate purpose, educating and gaining new clients.

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from cre8pc 2546 Days ago #
Votes: 5

"Everything that we teach people to do in SEO has a purpose, and that purpose is not to make the search engines think our site is better than it is. The purpose is to actually make the site better than it is."This statement nails the difference in approaches by SEO’s.  Those assigned (paid) to optimize sites that suck, with no cooperation or interest by the site owner to make it better, resort to needing to manipulate search engines.  This has played a part in giving the industry its bad rep.Those SEO’s who work from the perspective that a hot site helps sell itself, to engines and site visitors, are worth every penny they charge, with many not even taking on clients who aren’t willing to learn how to make their sites better as part of the deal.   

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from JDrankings 2546 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Glad I get to listen to Jill everyday on the whys behind the whats as well as all of the good folks here. I have certainly gained an entirlely new and fresh perspective on why SEO’S do the things they do; not for just making the site rank better in the search engines and all of that, but that there is a true purpose of actually improving the site for your customers. Getting more traffic, sales, etc., is a natural end to having that purpose in mind as opposed to setting out strictly to manipulate search engines without thinking of your visitors first and the overall quality of your site.

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from Lani 2546 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I sometimes think, we over analyze SEO a bit, that it becomes more complex than it really is. I agree that we should know why we do things compared to just doing them out of necessity, we’ve all seen the results with the knowledge we’ve applied. But the reality is, it’s still rather simple to handle the basic SEO necessities. The only real science, is who does it better than who. 

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from ATeeple 2546 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Thanks for the post! It’s a great reminder that rankings are only the first step in creating an effective site. If web users don’t 1) click on your site and 2) stay on your site to the point of purchase or contact (or whatever you want the user to do when they get there), the rankings are not doing much for your business.It seems like too many people view optimization of sites as a popularity contest - how can I get Google and the other search engines to like me? Unfortunately, to get ahead you need a bit of popularity. However, once you get them in the door, how do you keep them? You have a good site.

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from planetc1 2546 Days ago #
Votes: 1

As the French would say... Raison D’Être (rehzon detra) Reason for being. Jills article is a great example of why humans with a purpose are important to successful SEO.

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from MattCutts 2546 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Very well said, Jill.

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from JMorris 2546 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Great post Jill!I think Aaron Wall summed it up best for me when he said... Quote: "If you do everything else correctly, you do not need to put as much effort into SEO." Source: Wall, Aaron. SEO Book.As a designer/developer/SEO on the lower end of the food chain, I constantly have to explain to clients "why" *they* are a major determining factor in their rankings. There is a lot of ignorance out there. Some poeple still think they can slap up a static HTML site, pay a little money for advertising and optimization, and get top rankings.Thank you for bringing this point up. You are absolutely right in that too many people follow blindly without understanding "why".P.S.: I live in West Virginia. ;-)

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from crimsongirl 2546 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Jill is right, of course, and that’s how I would like to develop websites, but the bosses want to systemetize it.  "Put together a checklist!" they keep telling me.  "We have to be able to make this like a factory.  A set process we can do for every site."

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from qwerty 2545 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Here’s your checklist:Study the site.Consider what the site needs.Do those things. 

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from kimber 2545 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"Put together a checklist!" Study the site.Consider what the site needs.Do those things. that’s great stuff! if only i could get my boss to buy into that as well.  "Those assigned (paid) to optimize sites that suck, with no cooperation or interest by the site owner to make it better, resort to needing to manipulate search engines."i find myself in this position a lot. great article jill. i really enjoyed reading about the more simplistic side of seo.  

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from JamesOmdahl 2545 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Great post - after being in the SEO game for a few years I am loving that good SEO is becoming more and more about making a kick-tail website instead of making an "SEOed" website.  If anything, it makes the relationship between in-house SEOs like myself and our copywriters/designers a lot more enjoyable. Big ups to Matt Cutts and team for taking things in that direction...I look forward to the day when the most informative, intuitive and visually stimulating sites are always featured at the top of the SERPs.  

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from lucia 2545 Days ago #
Votes: 1

The one quibble I have is the article suggests that good SEO is writing the way average people write. That’s not entirely so. It’s writing the way people who tend to be specific right.Long before I heard the term "SEO" I compared how much google traffic I got to my friends hits.  I looked at the incoming referrers and I knew why I got hits and they didn’t.   It’s because I wrote like this:"I knit this garter stitch beret using using short rows. The trick to working short rows is... blah, blah...." My friends would write: "Look what I  knit! Isn’t it cute?"The upshot was if I wrote 200 words of text, it contained something knitters might search (beret, short rows, various terms of art in the hobby).  When others write 200 words, it contains practically nothing. Many people just don’t use specific words when the describe things.

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from g1smd 2545 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Copy-writing is an art form all of its own.  Many people totally overlook it.

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from David 2545 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Great article Jill - this is why I don’t work for dim witted "SEO Companies" that are really Web Designers ripping their customers off - I’ve been doing search for a decade now - I morphed from design into SEO (or whatever it was called then) and have met some really nut jobs burning Mr and Mrs Innocent.Barstewards   

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from neyne 2541 Days ago #
Votes: 1

ahm. I have a few questions about that harmonica cleaning site:  What happens when there are 3 searches a month for [harmonica cleaners in Hicksville, West Virginia] ? And two of those are Uncle Joe’s daughters showing off their daddy’s site? What will uncle Joe do with this website that brings him a customer once every 6 months, assumed that he built the website to bring in more customers? My guess is that Uncle Joe will try to rank for [harmonica cleaners West Virginia]. Or just  [harmonica cleaners].   How many harmonica cleaners are there in West Virginia? 3?  Two of them have employed SEO services that submitted them to directories, published press releases and acquired links from relevant, authority pages. One of them used some spammy techniques, purchased high PR links and did some of the forum-signature-blog-comment-myspace garbage linking techniques Google punishes severely. He is ranking at #1 on Google, two others at #2 and #3. Let’s not forget the all-around winner for all search phrases on Google – Wikipedia page about harmonicas – and we have the good old Uncle Joe ranking on first page, but below the fold, which would shrink his inflow of customers from his brand new organic website to 1 every 8 months. If we add this article on Sphinn (high authority website) which uses the phrase [harmonica cleaners] in its text a few times, has an incoming links from Matt Cutts’ blog, ergo has some leverage over dear uncle Joe’s Frontpage made site, the number of customers goes even lower than that. And what if Uncle Joe’s site was built by his cousin, in exchange for cleaning his harmonica, who has just finished top of the class in his Flash course? Or just loves frames, but hasn’t heard of < noframes >? Or has built the site in HTML but thought to add some links to his buddy down there in Texas that has this site for playing cards online? All of those suggestion mentioned in the article are really great for phrases like [harmonica cleaners in Hicksville, West Virginia], but the chances are that they already know about Uncle Joe and would go to him anyway. What happens when you have 10 webmasters that read Jill’s advice and build great, nice sites with their names in the Title? I really respect the time that you have been in the market and you have probably done good for a lot of mom and pop websites, but Jill, you shouldn’t make conclusions about all of the SEOs according to your experience because you sound a bit naïve. Dozens of businesses that compete for competitive phrases, have done just what you are suggesting them – optimized their site without taking into consideration what is their prospective audience searching and, more importantly, what their competition in the top 10 at Google for those phrases is doing. None of those businesses that I have encountered have made a single sale through their search engine rankings until they hired an SEO that is looking beyond “why did Google decide that title is important”. It has and it doesn’t matter if there is a logical reason behind it or there isn’t. For all I care, one of the Matt’s cats walked on his keyboard. This is the algo and this is the competition and if you want to rank above them, you must do a bit more than being a great harmonica cleaner and have common sense. And if you are ranking just with those two, I am betting that there is not enough traffic coming from your locations.  

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from billse 2541 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I think this school of thought IS the future of SEO.  Plain and simple - it’s so much more in alignment with the SE’s and users; the battle lines will shrink.  Great article Jill!

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from tamecrow 2540 Days ago #
Votes: 1

"Everything that we teach people to do in SEO has a purpose, and that purpose is not to make the search engines think our site is better than it is. The purpose is to actually make the site better than it is." Oh, thank GOD for this comment! Too many people think SEO is about ’tricking’ search engines into ranking your site higher. That’s bull. True SEO is about building and improving a site in order for its quality and relevance to be increased for both search engines and users. Only then will your increased traffic turn into increased sales. Kudos :)

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from flipjumpflip 2540 Days ago #
Votes: -1

oh please...all you SEO experts patting yourself on the back cut it out. Many of us have dozens and dozens of tasks associated with our job. Among them may be increasing traffic to the site or improving the site’s experience. It ALWAYS good to ask WHY about anything you’re told to do... but many times you simply don’t have the time. Don’t tell me Google’s recipe for SEO is the best way to arrange my site. I disagree in many cases with Google’s ideas but if I don’t fall into line I get dropped in the rankings. So, I’m a good boy and do what I’m told. I can ask WHY all day long but it doesn’t matter when Google sets the rules. This is not a complaint...Google does what it needs to do. It’s a brilliant engine but please don’t get all high and mighty and tell me I should think for myself before I implement any SEO changes. I have got lots to do...and if I need to build some links so I can get more traffic and all of the associated benefits then so be it. I’m doing it and moving on to the next task. We all don’t live in the 2 dimensional world of SEO.

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from Gamermk 2539 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Content is King. Sphunn.

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from Frank 2538 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I’m confused. Should I be doing something with the last word on my pages? This is the first I’ve of heard of such changes...

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