Forget About SEO! Surprising Facts About the Obsession with Search Engine Optimization
There is ONLY ONE right SEO strategy
Long-term over short-term thinking
When Larry Page invented the Page Rank, as simple as it is, its goal was to organize information on the internet based on perceived relevance by the audience. The most linked-to content was marked to be the most relevant one. This was inspired by the peer-review process where quotations (paper mentions) are seen as “academic gold” and the source of ‘academic worth’. Google would index the websites and store keywords. Then when users looked for keywords websites that matched these keywords would be ranked by the number of links to it.
Google's business model revolved around providing people what they seek. To retain its market position, it had to provide the most valuable elements to its users in the fastest possible way. Once people would see how this algorithm works, they would start abusing the system to reach the top of the page not by providing value, but by satisfying what the algorithm was looking for. Over time, Google was updating its algorithm so that there is less room for cheating.
Regardless, spammy links and traffic, robots that spam forums, automated scripts that create a false impression of relevance, has become the mainstream norm in most of the SEO community. An entire industry based upon a lie; a perceived knowledge of how the Google algorithm actually works. The fact is, no one outside Google really knows.
However, there are some timeless valuables that would resist changes across time, as long as there is capitalism and Google is a private company.
Here are the ‘timeless’ facts:
- Google employs some of the smartest people on Earth. If you are happy with the content you are getting, it means they do a good job at providing what is valuable, near, and has been endorsed by others.
- Consumers are generally satisfied with Google that holds a monopoly in the Western hemisphere, which means Google gives meaningful content.
- This means that regardless of how the algorithm works, the only thing you need to focus on to get on top of the Google Search results is to be and produce things that are valuable, near people, and are endorsed by others.
No pyramid schemes, endless linking to forums, or tweaking of on-site SEO, will make you reach the top at certain keywords unless you stick to three main things that keep Google’s dominant market position regardless of its algorithm that is kept secret. The algorithm may change, but the business model behind Google won’t. And these three things are the cornerstone of it. Add to this the fact that it takes some time to build a reputation on Google, you wouldn’t want to see most of your efforts dumped because you did not focus on the main, timeless valuables but focused on an ephemeral hype.
Here is what we believe to be timeless with Google:
- Valuable content is blogs, guest posts, interviews on YouTube, Vimeo, NYT, Guardian, BBC, and other media, that people find value in. People will find value in your content if you solve a problem for them. Google solves the problem of making information accessible. Your business must solve also a problem with its content so that it gets rewarded by relevant visits that can convert to revenue.
- Near in physical or metaphorical terms means to have a shot near where the user is searching for, or that you provide exactly what the user tries to find. The onsite text needs to be focused on solving the users’ problem in as precise ways as possible. It also needs to be written in a way to capture her imagination. If you are not near your consumer geographically or metaphorically speaking, they will go to a nearer place.
- Endorsed by others means not to flag and ask for guest blogs to be exchanged or use scripts to paste your content onto countless and oftentimes worthless forums. To get links to your website it means to become a symbol of something people want to share and mention. Tesla became a symbol of green and responsible energy/driving. Microsoft has become a symbol of corporate greed for many in the engineering community (‘The Empire from Star Wars’ as some call it). Apple has become the symbol of walking the extra mile to produce quality. You must find your voice and be very loud about promoting it. Then, endorsements will follow by the sheer value of the previous two elements of an amazing SEO strategy.
Thus, it is clear that pros do SEO so much differently we don’t usually call it SEO. We call it PR, not Page Rank, as it was Larry’s initial idea, but Public Relations.
By Aleksandar V. Ribak