Why SEO matters – search engine optimization

A magnifying glass hover over an iPad which currently sits on Google's search engine homepage. The lens of the magnifying glass focuses the view on the colorful Google logo.

The best content will always win. 

Allow me to repeat that: the best content will always win. 

One more time: the best content will always win.

The end. Thanks for reading my blog post. 

Oh, wait. One more thing before I let you go. Let’s talk about how you can write the best content, and how you can put it online in a way search engines can understand. 

We treat search engine optimization (SEO) like a gimmick. It’s been the content creators versus the ever-so-mysterious, all-powerful, multinational-corporation-gatekeeper-run algorithm. Hack and shortcut-addicted SEO mavens want the shortcut, the quick win, and the temporary ‘current’ state of SEO. It’s why you see so many books titled SEO in [insert year here]. 

Each year, search engines grow smarter. Each year, search engine optimizers try to outsmart them. At the end of the day, companies like Google have the simple goal to help people find the best content. Every time Google improves, optimizers have to re-write their gimmicky content or watch it flop.

Entire companies have gone bankrupt overnight when Google updates. Investments in hacks like keyword stuffing, link networks, and clickbait were all for naught. Google wants to provide the best results to the right searches. Period.

Gimmicks and hacks are unsustainable. It’s the 21st century. Businesses should assume algorithms written by search engines are impervious to malicious content. 

What’s changed? Our ability to store and understand massive amounts of data. An indie cheese shop can use the word “cheddar” 300 times, but it’ll never outperform a food blog’s review of the five best cheddar producers. Why? Because Google can see what users do once they get to your page. Be honest. Is this a good sentence? 

“Cheddarn Good Cheddar makes the finest cheddar-based cheddar cheese you can find from a cheddar shop.” 

Hopefully you said no. What do users do when they don’t find what they want? They go back to Google and they continue clicking on links, or they adjust their search and try again. Modern analytics allows Google to see and store all major user behavior. What someone searched for, what they clicked on, how long they visited, and if they viewed other pages. It also sees  when they come back to their search. If they go to another result and they like that content better, Google will know. All that data tells a clear story about whether your content served the needs of the user.

Yes, think about that for a moment. Google cares whether you find what you’re looking for. Google is a product, delivering a service, and they know you’ll search elsewhere if they can’t deliver the best results. That’s a good motivator to improve.

Let’s break the cycle. Let’s write our content with an admission that search engines are mind readers. This doesn’t mean you need to be the Jane Austen or Amanda Gorman of cheddar. But it does mean we should take steps to make our content more useful to our visitors.

What you’re going to learn from this book is some clarity and structure. You’ll learn how the world of search works and why it works that way. You’ll learn how to deliver the best content to the correct audience. Then, we’ll dig into what quality content looks like and how to avoid falling into the trap of SEO gimmicks and hacks. As a part of this, you’ll learn about how search engines work, the ways they’re improving, and what the future will bring. Finally, once we have those basics down, we’ll touch on some technical details. Nothing requiring a PhD. It’ll be basic information about websites and how you can be better than your competitors. No code necessary. We’ll finish with free tools that’ll help you write the best ‘forever’ content Google and your customers will love. Forever.

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