Anyone who thinks that SEO is important should change their perspective. SEO stands for ‘search engine optimization’ and the question is: Are you trying to optimize your web pages for search engines or for people? Your users are human beings, not software robots so you need to spend your time, energy and money on optimizing your pages for your users rather than the search engines.
If you run or own a website you certainly know what SEO is all about. It’s a billion dollar industry that has been growing tremendously ever since search engines emerged and this trend continues. Google, Bing and other search engines index millions of new web pages every week so the space for top search rankings is getting more and more crowded. Many website project managers think that the most viable strategy for beating the competition is to invest a certain amount of money into SEO services. So called ‘SEO experts’ claim that they can guarantee top search positions for predefined key words and phrases provided you pay them enough money for their work. The truth is that nobody knows for sure which variables and criteria Google bases its current search algorithm on. As a matter of fact, you actually don’t even need to know how exactly Google indexes and ranks your webpages because Google constantly improves its algorithm to produce search results that more and more closely reflect the opinion of your website’s users. Google invented a system called ‘PageRank’ which functions like a huge voting system. With it, users can better evaluate how useful a certain webpage is.
Google uses a number of criteria to interpret the opinion of a user: How long does the user stay on a page, how often and how frequently does he return, does he put any backlinks to the page, does he share the URL on social networks or through email, does the user enter or leave a site through that page, etc. What most SEO companies don’t tell you is that Google doesn’t decide whether a webpage is popular or not. Your user does. So, instead of spending thousands of dollars on having your webpage code tweaked by an ‘SEO expert’, you should rather invest in creating fresh and useful content which should be 90% of your SEO activies. The remaining 10% is making sure that your website meets the latest accessibilty standards which are clearly defined and frequently updated by such organizations as the World Wide Web Consoritum (W3). Yes, your website needs to be easily accessible by both human beings as well as machines. The question is, what happens once a potential user finds your site? Will he stay? Will he find what he was looking for? If not, he will leave and never come back to your site, which means you have wasted all the money you spent on SEO.
So, the next time you plan or review your SEO strategy, think about whom you are creating your webpages for and what your users might expect.