Owners of online businesses are spending more cash on “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO) than ever. Indeed, a search for the term will find you nearly 10m pages indexed on Google, indicating what a big topic this subject has become. You can buy several programs and services which help you optimize your site so that your business stands out from your competitors and so that you get to the top – or near it.
With Google saying there are nearly 10m pages on SEO, how do you get to the top? Surely all those 10m pages are largely from people who know a thing about optimizing their pages, but most of them are clearly not very good…! Only ten of them can get on the front page of Google. No matter how good those SEO businesses make their web sites, there is no more space on the front page for that term.
Consider also the fact that, on average, only around a quarter of a web site’s visitors come from Google. That means if your business concentrates on optimizing your site for Google you are ignoring 75% of your visitors. Not a good idea. It might do good for your ego to say you’ve moved up the Google rankings, but it is not going to make a dramatic change to your online business.
Now, a video from Google’s blogger Matt Cutts hints at something that is important for web site owners. He can’t say too much without giving away Google’s secrets, but his message is clear. You can “over optimize” your web site. In other words, he’s suggesting stop focusing on SEO. Indeed, you can find your site penalised if you do too much optimization. According to the search engine experts, Axandra, your site can drop by 950 places if you “over optimize”.
There is clear advice in Google’s own “webmaster help” pages. It says there, “make pages for users, not for search engines” and “avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings”. In other words, stop wasting your time on SEO and focus on your web site’s readers. Do that and the people visiting your site will like it – and so will Google.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+