SEO for Humans

1 Feb
What Are You Looking For?

What Are You Looking For?

Have you ever searched for something online and then been surprised that the first few results are not relevant at all? Let’s take the old dark chocolate example. For whatever reason you want to look for milk chocolate online- you want to learn about the health benefits, or you want to buy some for your sweetie. Do you find the most useful site at the top of your search results? Perhaps. But the fourth search results is this.

On this site, I have no way of purchasing chocolate or finding out about the purported health benefits of chocolate. I just see the word chocolate repeated over and over. So the people behind this page at Wisegeek have managed to create an image-free, text-heavy site with no relevance whatsoever to the human searching for chocolate. But they have managed to work their way up the search engine rankings, right behind Wikipedia and Hersheys, so it’s all good.

This is what happens when web designers take the almighty SEO- that’s search engine optimization, folks- above the needs of real human web users. As someone who has taken courses in SEO and who dabbles in it occasionally at work, I sympathize with those trying to do their best to improve their website’s search ranking. There are myriad ways to improve a site’s design so that it is more search engine friendly. At the html  level, title tags and image tags can be renamed. I cringe when I see a site’s title tag that simply says “Home”. Little things that are done behind the scenes help. But when it comes at the expense of the user experience, you may have a high search engine rank, but a high bounce rate. Visitors will find nothing of value on your site, and leave.

Though I look at some aspects of the online experience through a marketer’s eyes, I mostly look at things through the eyes of a web user. Someone who searches for movie times and hunts for good, local news sites and laughs at Lamebook. As a web surfer, I appreciate what we marketers call “sticky content”. Namely, write good, interesting stuff that makes me want to stay on the site. And come back. In the end, that is more valuable than keyword-packed, image-free, useless sites taking up valuable bandwidth.

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2 Responses to “SEO for Humans”

  1. Chantilly Patino March 8, 2011 at 3:44 am #

    Wow…this is something I definitely need a lesson in! Lol. I’ve been wanting to add meta tags to my site, but I could use a little help. Do you have any tutorials that you would recommend? I use WP.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Las Nuevas Reglas de la SEO « The Lebanexican - March 1, 2011

    […] buenas noticias para los que usamos Google en nuestra vida diaria; me he quejado antes de los sitios que no proveen nada útil.  Google está buscando más que los términos de búsqueda; ya está buscando calidad.  Me […]

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