The word is on the street: Google’s cool with your site being ‘search engine optimized’–but it’s not really going to care too much soon… there are just better ways to figure out if your site matters.
Here’s a bit from Matt Cutts at this year’s SXSW on what Google is going to be up to soon:
And the idea is basically to try and level the playing ground a little bit. So all those people who have sort of been doing, for lack of a better word, “over optimization” or “overly” doing their SEO, compared to the people who are just making great content and trying to make a fantastic site, we want to sort of make that playing field a little bit more level.
This really makes a lot of sense–the site owner shouldn’t really be in control of his/her site’s ranking. It’s really the sum of the “market signals” that count.
So if you’re counting keywords, or going nuts exchanging links, you’re smoke. Get with the program: create great content and engage your community because Google’s brainiacs are seemingly omnipotent!
On a technical note, creating human-readable URLs and descriptive title and H1 tags still make sense because it’s about improving the human experience–not the bot experience.
So if you’re a marketing or web type, you most likely saw Google’s unprecedented video of its search meeting:
Video! The search quality meeting, uncut (annotated)
This really is awesome for a number of reasons:
The first–and most obvious–thing is that Google is being more transparent around its highly secretive search “recipe”. It’s showing anybody who is interested what kind of meticulousness and rigor go into decisions to improve search.
The second thing, and the thing that matters more to me as a marketer, is that Google is showing what good SEO–and what good marketing–is all about: producing great content. This video, is not professionally produced, nor is it staged or scripted. It’s just an honest peek inside their meeting.
So this is my observation: lots of firms have a treasure trove of good “content” happening every day in their company: it could be an epiphany regarding product development, or an anecdote from a client service rep about outstanding service, or a story about how useful a customer found a product… The take away is that marketing doesn’t always have to be the production of brand new “marketing” content, it can simply be opening the doors to show the real people behind the work, products and company.
Kudos to Google for walking the talk.
Glad to see Guy Kawasaki laying it out simply on Business Insider:
My recommendation for SEO is very simple. It’s Write Good Stuff. In my mind, Google is in the business of finding good stuff. It has thousands of the smartest people in the world, spending billions of dollars to find the good stuff. All you have to do is write the good stuff; you don’t need to trick it. Let Google do its job and you do your job.
So many folks go overboard on the minutia with SEO. Sure, there are the basics like title tag and using H1 tags properly.But if you’re really going deep on keyword density then you might be missing the big picture.
Don’t get me wrong, though: if you have a big team, then, sure, devote folks to the minutia (if it provides value)–but don’t think that you’re going to make big progress on tweaking the small SEO variables.