Guest Blog Contributed by Chamber Member Ron Le Vine, Efficient Portal
Over the years, we have had many people ask us about SEO. So, I thought I would write about it for a bit. First, I will start with some history and then get into how to think about SEO in the current times.
Back in the early days of the Internet people would build a site and then tell their friends and colleges about it. Sometimes the sites were useful. Sometimes not.
Later on, the search engines were developed with the idea of providing users of the Internet a way to search the thousands of websites for information they needed. Sites like Infoseek.com, Yahoo.com, and so on, came into being and successful by providing this service. Even so, when you searched for the information you needed, it was a crap-shoot on whether or not the results you received would be the ones you wanted.
Pretty soon, the search engine companies realized that people who were looking for their local Catholic church, they probably weren’t interested in porn sites that featured Nuns… So, they began screening the websites for keywords to help alleviate some of this problem. Of course, once web developers realized what was going on, they started to exploit the system. They would write sentences such as, “My car dealership is the best car dealership in the history of car dealerships. So, if you are looking for a great car dealership to go to, come down to our car dealership for the best car dealership experience!” This is, of course, borderline non-sensical as no one actually talks like this. But, the over-saturation of the words “Car Dealership” in a text would get them to the top of the search engines.
Of course, the search engines caught on to this and started penalizing sites for doing this. But, sites still needed to get to the top. So, they started what is now called, “Keyword Farming”. About 15 years ago, we would see a lot of websites where there would be some useful information at the top of a page with some imagery. But it would seem to end about half-way down the page and then everything would appear to just be a background color. A lot of folks just figured this was room for expansion of the page later. However, if you did a click and drag over the area, you would find a ton of keywords that had been placed there and had their font colors changed to match that of the background. Thankfully, this has been dealt with by the search engines as well. So, doing this will actually result in a page being ranked far below where it would have been if the practice had not been done.
Enough with history. What about SEO in the current times?
While there are a bunch of search engines out there such as Yahoo!, MSN, Google, and so on, the only really relevant search engine we need to worry about is Google. Google is the elephant in the room and if you handle your website in such a way as to make Google happy to rank you high, the other will as well as they all basically follow the same rules albeit in slightly different ways.
The search engines of today have a very high degree of artificial intelligence working in the background called Spiders. These spiders are smart enough that when they come across your website, they can tell if you have expertly written content that is actually about the subject matter with no keyword-farming or other SEO tricks. In short – they are looking for websites that display a degree of expertise in the professed subject matter. The better of an expert you can present yourself to be, the higher you will rank. Oddly enough, this is the same as when a person comes to your site.
So, to answer the question posed above:
Don’t sweat the SEO. Write your articles and pages for human consumption. Worry about things like spelling and grammar as well as presenting as the best “Expert” in your field. This will get you the ranking you need without any special tricks which may get penalized in the future.
If you found this blog useful and would like more information, contact Ron Le Vine, Efficient Portal – (503) 899-0411