Optimize for search engines or users?

Search engine optimization companies are spreading all over the web. They claim to optimize your website so that it comes first in the search results for whatever the people might be looking for. Well, not everything really, but for whatever you make, produce, sell or do.

Who uses their services? Those who initially hired a bad web design company to build their website. You may wonder which are those bad agencies, that make bad websites and don’t know how to put your site high in the search results. But you may also wonder, why not a single agency advertises itself as we don’t know how to design proper websites but can do one for you company.

There are certain standards and good practices for building websites, and many designers don’t know about them. It is to say that not everything is the same that looks equal on the web. There might be two pages that look exactly the same to you in a web browser, but one is designed by the standards, while the other is not. They both can make a complete sense to you, but the search engines will prefer the first one over the other. Similarly, two cars that look the same, might be in fact different, if you know how to open the hood to discover the different engines they have.

Content vs. the rest

However, content is always the king on the web. If the website has a great content that people find unique, and are willing to link to from other sites, it will definitely rank high in the search results. The popularity and uniqueness of the content are the most important measures of the website’s quality. In such cases, search engines might even forgive you for not conforming to coding standards.

The technical performance, in essence, can’t enhance the quality and relevance of the content, but it can help search engines to appreciate it. For example, in a news site — instead of making the title of an article visually larger and bolder, you can actually tell the search engines, that it is the heading of an article (by using appropriate HTML code). And the algorithms that work beneath search engines will appreciate it and reward you for doing so.

Even the fragment of a text in the previous paragraph (set in bold) is emphasized technically, not only visually. The ability to link and describe the meaning of the content or mark it up in a special way, are the very basics of the hypertext and the web.

Essentially, search engine rankings boil down to the balance between:

  • quality and popularity of the content,
  • organization of the content, and
  • technical representation of the content.

Understanding and improving

Thus, before looking for a search engine optimization expert, you might consider the following:

  • Should the websites be optimized for search engines or people?
  • Maybe a professional writer could improve the content (product descriptions, about us section, slogans, etc.) and make it more interesting and unique.
  • Standards aware web designer could make the code describe website’s content.
  • And probably the usability expert could improve the navigation and organization of the content.

It is understandable that a lot of website owners and editors don’t know the reasons their website is not showing up in search results as desired. The truth is, all they probably need is a better copy. Spending few hours to improve it or asking a professional writer to do it might be the best solution. You, as an insider of your industry may actually know more about the phrases and keywords that people would use to search for your services. Think of them and include them into the navigation, headings and product descriptions on your website.

Search engine optimization is not a rocket science. It is all about people like you and me googling for things that interest us.

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2 Comments

  1. Sandy says:

    Good writing style.

    I have to agree: “Search engine optimization is not a rocket science”

    It is part of internet marketing, but SEO is bigger than on-page optimization.

    I can give you a challenge: create and optimize 3 sites in Google 10 for “car insurance”, “wedding favors”, “weight loss”. I can promise that you will make hell of a lot of money from getting there.

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