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.
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.)
You know your search is successful when...
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.
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.
This 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.
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.
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