People who believe that SEO is the devil's work have a point. Such proclaimers can stand side by side with those who say lawyers are bad, non-christian music is demonic and TV rots the brain. Sure, outlawing lawyers may make the world a better place, Miley Cyrus is corrupting our adulthood and you clearly must have had an overdose of PBS in order to enjoy Glee.

But let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. Lawyers do a lot of good, Bon Jovi is still releasing good albums and shows like Lost and Battlestar Galactica make TV one of the singular enjoyments of life. To lump all SEO into the "evil" category is to completely disregard the benefit SEO brings to the web.
Princess Bride: Marriage is what brings us together today.
One of the first points of irritation about SEOs is about the "optimized" content they produce. I've heard complaint after complaint from people that don't like what SEOs do to website content in order to achieve search engine rankings. Unfortunately, there are enough examples of poorly crafted SEO content out there that these naysayers can make their case.

But that's not good SEO anymore than Glee is good Television.

Good SEO content does more than just help a site get rankings. It lets visitors know their search was successful, provides them the information they need, and leads them through the conversion process to achieve leads and sales (or whatever else is a conversion to you.)

Text plus SEO equals Sales

You know your search is successful when...

Princess Bride: Do you want me to send you back where you were? Unemployed! In Greenland!The value of good SEO'd content is that it is designed to speaks the searcher's language: keywords. While we generally talk in concepts, search doesn't work the same way. We think and act in terms of keywords that get us to the information we want. When a search doesn't provide us with the results we expect we think about new ways (new keywords) to find that information.

When a searcher arrives on a page and sees the same keywords they used on Google they know that you have content related to what they are looking for. And how do you suppose they see those very same keywords? That's right: SEO.

It takes Good SEO to know what keywords visitors are using and how to work them into the copy. Ok, it takes a good SEO copywriter for that, but the copywriter and the SEO have to work together to make sure the right information lands on the page; the information that the searcher wants.

Visitors think, hear and search in keywords

Without the SEO--and therefore the optimized content-- car dealerships would talk about their "pre-owned" cars instead of "used cars", mountain resorts would write about their "chalets" instead of "cabins" and the FOX network would promote "Glee" instead of "entertaining television." With exception to "glee" which does, inexplicably, get searched quite a bit, "pre-owned cars" and "chalets" are searched far less frequently then the "SEO'd" alternative.

The reality is, in order for content to do it's job, it really does need to be keyword optimized. Someone might make the point that any good copywriter can work in keywords but that wouldn't negate the fact that it is optimized content. If your content focuses on your readers or tries at all engage the reader on their terms, using their language, then the only way to do that is to know what keywords your visitors are searching for and "optimizing" those words into your content.

Because if your content doesn't do that... it just isn't good content at all.

Inconceivable ContentThis post was inspired from The Princess Bride themed presentation I gave in early 2010 at SEMpdx's Searchfest titled Inconceivable Content: The Dread Pirate Robert's Guide to Creating Swashbuckling Content, Pillaging the Search Engines, and Commandeering a Treasure Trove of Conversions. If you enjoyed this post you also might enjoy other posts inspired from the same. Search for "inconceivable content" on this blog to find them all.

June 3, 2010

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


Great insights.

The thought came to mind that marketers, without SEO understanding and experience, are often to blame for the lack of SEO'd content. Your example of pre-owned cars vs. used cars is a great example. This is clearly an attempt to soften the blow to consumers interested in a used car but don't want a clunker; does anybody use that term anymore or am I just old? Other examples like mountain resorts vs. chalets are simply a poor attempt to be the determining USP of the company they're marketing.

P.S. I think Miley is corrupting everything. Not just our adulthood.

You make some good points. There is a significant difference in sticking keywords in an article or story and writing and using the keywords with the visitor in mind.

Great Post thank you for information.
In current trend we can't think a single step toward progress without SEO.
I always make my effort to create quality content because I want my work to speak for itself,

Good content is good content - if its on topic it will be search engine friendly - what's the point of being #1 for a search term if your bounce rate is going to be 99.99%!

For me consistently the best SEO content is video - it gives two bites at the cherry and the transcribed content (as long as you use a decent transcription service - yep I linked to one here!) is keyword rich but scans naturally - and users love to watch video rather than trudge through loads of spammy "keyword rich" text.

P.S. Miley has already corrupted everything - and is now hatching a world domination plan!

Great piece. I've seen a couple of instances lately where a site's pages have been optimised for certain keywords, but those keywords only remotely relate to the actual content. While they may get rankings, ultimately the site visitor will be disappointed.

SEO optimization is just a tool used by SEO knowledgeable webmasters to spam the web. Have you read the keyword SEO'd garbage on blogs, article directories and web 2.0 sites? Yes it matches my search keyword, but does it provide me the value-added content I was searching for? Have you see the keyword riddled mumbi-jumbo produced by spinning software and ESL freelancers? It is becoming very difficult and time-consuming to wade through junk on the first page of google written and promoted by SEO savvy webmasters to get to the true value-added content on page two or three written by subject matter experts who are more concerned about providing good content and may not know much about SEO optimization. Such are the shortcomings of SEO and Google's algorithm.

Right on point. I just read the SEO copywriting guide from Brian Clark and you have really illustrated why SEO should not be ignored. the marketing message might be top notch but if it doesn't speak the searchers language.. it has no effect

I feel what you said about SEO being more than just about rankings is absolutely vital to grasp. From one side traffic is more important than rankings, and conversions far more important still. From the other side, as it were, it's the user who determines whether the rankings and traffic become conversions or not. And that comes down to all the factors you mention ....

I thought Shoe hit the nail on the head when he said "make websites for people, not search engines" but perhaps it would be better said like "make websites for people, not search engines - and don't forget to optimize your keywords!"

I've certainly changed my way of thinking over the past few months. I've always viewed SEO as being something from the 'dark side' but I think the problem may have been that I was listening to the wrong people (or not really listening at all). Clearly, SEO when it's done in the right way and for the right reasons can be a win/win for the website owner as well as the people who are visiting the website.

It's all the references to Princess Bride, BSG and all the fun sci-fi stuff that makes your writing great. What happened to Caprica anyway??

You make a good point that SEO copywriting speaks to an audience in a way that they understanding. I think it's important to promise what was delivered. I've read a lot of blog articles that looked very promising but didn't deliver anything in terms of content. P.S. I love Glee but cannot stand Miley!

I once spent a frustrating 2 hours (from New Zealand) to search for a new basic engine part - a "cam angle sensor" (housed in the distributor). This part is referred to in many car forums (USA included), and unavailable online it seemed anywhere. But after cross referencing numerous supply sites (notably from Asia), online USA sellers/marketers refer to it as a "distributor ignition pick up" (which is a new part name/term to me). Finally found the best price at Amazon.

Though Google search suggest indicated "cam angle sensor", but no equivalent terms, as did most of the seller sites - i.e. a lack of SEO or perhaps knowledge of non American English or marketing terms (e.g. NZ petrol vs USA gasoline or NZ pharmacy vs USA Drug Store, etc). This experience indicates that many seller sites are perhaps not optimized or aware of equivalent search terms or keywords...

I think this post is very VERY true. Great factual concept for SEO. I would recommend this to anyone beginning seo copyrighting or trying to get their website listed.

I'm really glad someone other then me hates on Glee. But yes I mostly agree with most of your points that SEO concerns can on occasion take the focus away from being purely on content but that is just a reality of the system. One may deride link building but honestly if a site has the resources and people that care about the welfare of the site that much, it really must be considered a genuine asset since that care and those resources will also go towards providing great content

Thanks Shanna. I believe Caprica is gearing up for Season 2. I just hope it moves faster than the first season. I'm barely hanging on... :)

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