There are many people who believe that SEO is about tricking search engines and finding loopholes in Google’s algorithms. But is it really?
Recently, I was told by a developer at a networking event that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not only just a buzzword, it’s a gimmick and a sham. He referenced this post by Chris Sealey, front-end web developer and user interface designer of 51bits.com, where Sealey explains in detail why he “just doesn’t care about SEO.”
According to the individual that I spoke with, as long as you create good enough content to begin with, people will link to it and come to your site as it is, so there's no need to optimize anything for search engines. Thus, SEO is completely irrelevant.
That would be really great. Then I wonder why everyone’s wasting so much money paying SEOs to optimize their websites?
I’ll tell you why.
It's because search engines are not people. While our intent may be to optimize content and websites for people, we have a pretty big wall between all of that great content and the people who are trying to find it. That wall is called a search engine. Search engines are how we navigate the web—they are our starting place, and our map for pointing us in the right direction when we tell them what we're looking for.
As Sealey pointed out, search engines have become pretty darn good at figuring out how to read and sort through all of the content on the web and return results that are actually useful to the human user. However, search engines are still robots, and robots can only do so much.
If you have great content, but it’s built in Flash (to give one example), search engines won’t have a clue as to what that content is actually about. If search engines don’t know what that great content is about, that page is definitely not going to show up in the rankings, which means it definitely won’t be found if any human tries to search for it.
Believe it or not, SEO plays a pretty big part when it comes to anything that’s on the internet. Real SEO is not about tricking search engines or trying to find loop-holes in Google’s algorithms. Real SEO is about making sure that search engines understand exactly what your great content is about and why it deserves to show up in the rankings.
Think of SEOs as the translators between human users and the robots. We speak schema tags and directive files. We know that to properly read and understand your great content, an XML sitemap goes a long way, and some clean, keyword-optimized URLs won’t hurt either. We understand the importance of www resolves, title tags, and that the quality of your anchor text can make a big difference.
Within the digital marketing industry, to say that you don’t care about SEO shows a lack of awareness and understanding for not only how your own website works, but for digital marketing strategy in general. Most importantly, you’ll run the risk of losing invaluable traffic to your website.