Search engine optimization is a term that everyone seems to know, yet few understand. Algorithms used by Google and other Internet search providers are complicated to the point of seeming arcane. They also seem to be purposefully kept obscure in certain aspects to prevent people from identifying and exploiting their flaws. Despite that, many people reduce SEO to pure numbers, claiming that what really matters is the right density of keywords and targeting specific phrases. While that indeed helps, there is one much more important factor: your website’s actual content.
Good Content’s Worth Its Weight in Gold
Facing this fact cannot be avoided. Search engines are built specifically to return good content that’s relevant to the human that’s looking for them, not just to the crawler bot that indexes the web pages. Furthermore, what is often ignored is the so-called soft SEO: dissemination of your content among users through referrals, social networking, and other means. Good, original content is the best kind of SEO and allows for achieving high rankings even without an optimized website.
How It Works
The key element of soft SEO are backlinks. Google search algorithms gauge the page’s relevancy not just by the amount of keywords they contain, but also by the amount of other pages that link to it. Of course, the system is more refined, attaching more weight to links from reputable sources. As such, unique content that results in users linking to it is one of the most effective forms of search engine optimization and, by far, one of the most long-lasting. Even if the website and its structure change, the audience remains.
One Doesn’t Preclude the Other
Of course, just as focusing exclusively on keywords and website optimization is foolhardy, so is ignoring that aspect completely. The most effective strategy is to combine both. Unique content that conforms to your search engine optimization strategy can have a powerful effect on your website’s search ranking. What’s more, basic SEO doesn’t require much effort. It can easily be accomplished on your own with free SEO resources available on the web.
The Framing Matters Too
Even with unique, optimized content, your website can have problems reaching a high position in the search results. The usual problem is website navigation. The structure of your website plays a surprisingly important role in ranking. An easy to understand and navigate structure allows crawlers to move quickly through your website and index it thoroughly. The rule of thumb is that shallow websites, ones where accessing any webpage requires a minimum of clicks, tend to rank higher than deep ones. Of course, such an approach to navigation benefits your human users as well.
While some may attempt to convince you that search engine optimization is pure mathematics, taking into account just keywords and their placement on the website, real SEO experts will be quick to point out that the best SEO is simply good content. This rule should be the basic guideline for all your search engine optimization efforts, regardless of the focus and scope of your website.