dave's picture

There's been so much FUD about SEO in the blogosphere lately that I felt that I needed to speak up and set things right.

When it comes down to it SEO is 99% about three things:

  • Write good quality copy. If you want to show up in searches about recycled paper products. Than have lots of clear, well-written copy about recycled paper products.
  • Well structured content.  Google needs to be able to understand your content and how it's structured. Structure your URLs in a way that is simple and makes sense.   Semantic markup is key: use header, list, paragraph etc. tags appropriately. A page needs to make sense when Javascript, CSS and images are turned off. Progressive Enhancement is key. Also separation of content, style, and behaviour (via (X/XH/H)TML, CSS & Images, Javascript respectively) is important.  
  • Backlinks. Google determines the value of your content based on how many sites link to your site, crowdsourcing of sorts.  Backlinks from highly ranked sites are more valuable than low ranked sites. Generally more backlinks means higher rankings, unless you're trying to do something shady via a link-farm; In which case Google will find you out sooner or later and drop your ranking.   If your site is about recycled paper products, then links from pages about recycled paper products are more valuable then links from a page about something unrelated.  

If you want to increase your SEO, better to work on improving the three things that make up that 99% instead of tweaking the hundred other things that make up that last 1%.  Oh and if you use Drupal, #2 is pretty much taken care of.  

Here's a quote I saw on another site:

“The key here is to remember that Googlebots are stupid, so don’t make them think.”

Actually the contrary. Googlebot is very smart. Don’t try and out-think it.

As you can see this site breaks some of these rules (Especially the one about good quality copy).  But I don't really care if the world can find this stuff.  It's a blog.  Which brings up another point.  Many sites aren't really going to benefit from a lot of work in improving SEO anyway.