What’s the big deal about SEO? Is it really so complex?

Being in the industry that I am, I come across headlines like “Google changed the algorithm! Quick, buy our software and updates before your website is kicked off the Internet for good!”

These radical scare tactics should not bother anyone, SEO really is not THAT complicated. It is only complicated to those who think the whole system is some kind of scam or trick. Do you really think Google has built its search engine algorithms to only follow archaic rules that are unnatural and only “professional SEO consultants” can put it all together? Google is not interested in “secret techniques”, they are interested in answering peoples’ search queries by providing relevant results, that’s it! If you search for something and find it in the top 10, they succeed, if you find nothing, they fail.

If you search for “blue polka-dot swim trunks”, Google wants to return stores, videos, images, and relevant writing (blogs, forums, etc) on just that. No matter how many SEO “tricks” you think you understand about Google’s “algorithm”, they are only interested in returning the relevant websites, not websites on sales of peanut butter. My point is this, Google will change their algorithm NOT to bump off the Internet valid information, but to STOP returning invalid information, spam sites, master SEO trick sites, etc etc. Google only changes their algorithm to stop tricksters who know too much about SEO for their own good and are constantly trying to get higher ranks in their crummy spam sites.

When you search for something, Google’s sin is to return a top result which has little to nothing to do with your search. A successful SEO shyster is the guy who is getting his bogus websites listed high up for keywords and search phrases that have nothing to do with your search. THIS is why Google changes the algorithms.

Here are the steps to good SEO.

1) What are you writing about? What is the subject matter?

2) What are the keywords for this subject? You want 4 to 8 primary keywords to explain the subject.

3) Do you specifically USE those keywords and discuss the subject matter in light of them?

Here is how this plays out; the good, and the bad way.

1) I’m writing about how to refinish paint on a car.

2) refinish, restore, paint, car, etc

BAD: “The first step in the process is to gather the necessary tools for the job…”

GOOD: ” Restoring the paint of your car requires a handful of specialty tools…”

Notice the opening sentence of the bad entry is “on topic” but the topic itself is assumed rather than explicit. Notice the good sentence immediately starts using the keywords to explain the subject explicitly. This is the essence of good SEO. It means knowing what you’re writing about, knowing the keywords that define it, and using them appropriately in your content. There are certainly some tricks along the way, but this is the start. In fact, “trick” is a bit of a misnomer, there are no “tricks”, rather, there are subtle ways to help Google (and other search engines) understand what your content is about. You don’t have to “trick” Google into thinking your page is about restoring paint on a car, if in fact your page really IS about restoring paint on a car. There is no trick to that. You would only need to “trick” Google if your page were about something else; spam, showing ads, or otherwise isn’t actually about restoring paint at all. THAT requires tricks! And only THOSE people need fear when Google “changes the algorithm”, so they can adjust their tricks.

If your website is about restoring paint on cars, you simply do everything you can to make sure search engines know this is what your page is about. If you don’t use dirty tricks offered by spam experts, you have no worry about changing algorithms. I will explain some of the more subtle SEO ideas in a later post.