For years, SEO has been an interesting industry filled with “black hats” who attempt to trick or fool search engines, experts who claim to know how to move your website to the top of an organic search, hard-working and honest professionals who truly have your best interests at heart and, of course, the search engine folks themselves who’ve battled to maintain the integrity of their product.

The Road Less More Traveled

That’s where SEO has been, but where’s SEO headed?

Adam Torkildson wrote the following in a recent article for Forbes magazine: “Google is in the process of making the SEO industry obsolete. SEO will be dead in two years.” Further proof that things are changing shows up in this quote from an article on LearnToDuck.com: “If you do SEO for a living, you will be out of business or irrelevant in three years.”

Here at {code} Roadies, we aren’t ready to write the SEO eulogy quite yet, but what we do know for sure is that clean code and focused content don’t go out of style. If you call that SEO, then so be it. Let’s explore the coming changes to SEO and how they will affect development, as well as some recent trends and how to give your website a “checkup.” We hope to clear up some misconceptions and give you some valuable insights!

 

Playing By The Rules vs. Playing With Fire

Google’s latest changes to how it does business definitely have some folks scratching their heads. Let’s see if we can shed a bit of light on how to make sure the right users find your site. First, perhaps it is time to formally define SEO for the uninitiated. According to Wikipedia, SEO is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural,” or unpaid (“organic” or “algorithmic”), search results.

Check out the difference between this definition and the following line from Google’s own Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide:

Even though this guide’s title contains the words “search engine,” we’d like to say that you should base your optimization decisions first and foremost on what’s best for the visitors of your site (emphasis is ours).

In other words, while popular opinion (and Wikipedia) puts the focus on the search engine, Google itself encourages you to focus on your visitors instead! It makes sense. After all, creating and maintaining compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any other factor.

Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct other users to it. This could be through blog posts, social media, email, forums or other means. Organic (word-of-mouth) buzz is what helps build your site’s reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content.

While it is important to do the basics right when it comes to programming your web site, it is equally important to create a site with high-quality, focused content that delivers an interactive, informative, memorable experience to end users. If you do that, your site is optimized.

Search engines like Google and Bing treat SEO with suspicion. After all, many “SEO gurus” are doing their best to circumvent their search algorithms, taking advantage of features to give their clients a leg up. You should know that as search engines identify these vulnerabilities, they fix them. Then they often go on to punish the abusers by using the algorithm itself against them (we’ve seen it happen to a competitor). It can be ugly.

Instead, follow Google’s rules and wear the “white hat.” If you give visitors what they want, they’ll come back, and they’ll tell their friends. In short, once your site is built properly, SEO shouldn’t be viewed as a separate function, but rather as an integrated, ongoing process.

{code} Roadies can help by providing solid, clean code and the compelling customer-focused content that’s preferred by today’s search engines.