Holistic SEO

Posted by joy

I had written the following comment in response to a tiny little bit of handwringing about how SEOs are killing Google…

I do SEO oriented Web design for a living, and I’m convinced that backlinks are just one of *many* factors that make a page worthy in Google’s eyes. Just like Page Rank and meta keywords, I don’t get too upset about backlinks. And I just laugh at the professional SEOs who come up with those linking schemes only to see their SERPs dip every so often with the continual Google algo changes.

What makes good optimization (and if you think about it, optimization is just a method of displaying information to the search engines) is a holistic approach. Clean markup, minimizing scripting, simple relevant nav, descriptive labels on buttons and links, use of the title and h tags, strong (I mean really strong copy) keywords that *actually correspond* to the site content.

Also, I have seen evidence on my blog especially that Google does take traffic into effect when determining SERPS. If I have a newsworthy post, I will sometimes see it in the Google Web SERP within a day or two after posting. If the post grabs enough traffic, it will stay on the SERP, if not, it will revert to being on the Google Blogsearch. YMMV, as always.

The Google algorithm has been changing constantly and not only is that due to SEOs gaming the system, but I also think due to the fact that Google’s aims have been continually redefined. Is it good to have product results on Google Web search? What about Blog posts showing on Google Web search? I’ve stopped worrying about specific factors (i.e. PR, backlinks) and mainly look at SERPS for keywords and domains and incoming traffic.

3 Responses to “Holistic SEO”

  1. devnet Says:

    I have to agree. I seldom backlink to other sites instead concentrating on content…and another friend of mine who started his blog a full 2 years after mine has a higher google page rank than I do…despite my blog being the #1 result for the search term “linux blog”. Very odd…and the only thing that he does different is backlink about 5-10 times a post.

  2. Bill Says:

    I view SEO as the process of creating pages that enable people to find sites that offer what they want to see. That’s much more inline with helping Google than causing it harm.

    There are a number of different aspects to that, which include:

    - creating pages that offer value to visitors,
    - coding pages and sites so that they are easily spidered by search engines,
    - presenting information in a manner in which it can be extracted easily and meaningfully by search engines,
    - using semantically strong HTML so that meaningful words and phrases that the right people will search for do appear in page titles and headings and content and anchor text.

    Linking to other sites, and having them link to you is only part of the whole process. Creating strong business and personal relationships that may sometimes result in referrals, whether by phone or mail or link, is another. The web is just a medium by which people and organizations reach out to others, and it should be part, rather than the whole, of a marketing plan for commercial organizations online.

    The web is also more than just a commercial marketplace, but ranking well in search engines often requires more than strong content - it depends upon whether or not people refer to the pages of your site using links. Google’s algorithms strongly rely upon those links, to spider pages, to rank their importance (PageRank), and to understand what the pages are about by looking at the anchor text within those links. Some of the indexing that Google does relies more heavily upon how you format information, such as Q&A, definitions, and local search. But you still need some links to those pages for search engines to find the information.

    There are times when pursuing some links to your site can be important. But it isn’t the only effort that one should make.

    There can be some value to showing product listings in OneBox results above some Web search results, and news results or images above others. Those appear because people are actually searching for the query terms in Froogle, or Google Image Search, or Google News. The idea is to match the intent of the searcher, and if the search engine thinks that a query might have some commercial intent behind it, they will show some product results.

    Blog posts can also often be the most relevant results for many searches, especially since many bloggers know a lot about the fields that they write about.

    Looking closely at search results is a great idea.

  3. Devon Says:

    I remember the days I’d type something like “pepsi” into a search engine and get a list of porn links. That was annoying. I’m all for Google altering their algo’s whenever they see fit. I think some people focus TOO much on SEO and it damages their ability to do it well. I knew one guy who used to insist on certain things that worked, but his site was really not interesting to his audience…thus giving him great search engine exposure, but poor interest by the people he was trying to attract.

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