October 18, 2014
SEO is a Fairy Tale. The Tortoise and the Hare
For years, Search Engine Optimizers (SEO’s) have been like the old story of the tortoise and the hare. Google is the tortoise, and SEO’s are the hare. Google plods along, regularly updating it’s search engine algorithms and consistently making progress, even if it’s slow. SEO’s, on the other hand, are racing to beat Google. Always thinking they are one step ahead, yet always playing catchup every time a new major algorithm or update is released. It’s a never ending battle to reach a non-existent finish line.
This, then, is the question. How do we stay ahead of the search engines when they keep changing the rules?
Luckily, it’s not a question of beating Google or any other search engine. It’s not even a race. Many SEO’s are obsessed with rankings on the Search Engine Results Pages, but they don’t realize that the results are different depending on the person, their location, their search history, the device they are using, and many other factors that are uncontrollable by Google or an SEO. The goal is not to be number 1 (again, this isn’t a race), it’s to give the customer what they need, when they need it, and where they need it. While SEO’s are obsessed with rankings, Google is obsessed with the customer. Everything Google does that drives SEO’s nuts is done to remove focus on the things that do not matter. If there is nothing left in analytics but customer behavioral data (rather than search terms), SEO’s will then be able to focus on the customer, and create content and a website that will rank well for the customer who needs it at that time.
True SEO is directly related to User Experience. If the site is built around the customers, and the SEO is built around the customers needs, then rankings will come for relevant customers. When relevant customers come to the site, everyone is more successful.
SEO is not the story of the tortoise and the hare, it is the story of our customers.