What is SEO? For many, it is just spam dressed up, packaged, and delivered as a legitimate business tool. Even as budgets for search engine optimization increase and marketers understand the need for high-quality campaigns, the perception of SEO remains disconnected from what it actually is and does for businesses. Google’s recent algorithmic change, dubbed the Panda Update, has served to bring this to the fore.
If you look at coverage of the Panda Update, which is aimed at improving the overall quality of search results by targeting sites with poor quality content, you will find a trend running through much of it. This, for example, from the Inquirer: “Google has installed updates to its page rank algorithm that should highlight quality web content over search engine optimised (SEO) garble and promote quality journalism…” And later in the same piece, “Good writers will breathe a sigh of relief when they realise they don’t have to carve up stories and apply irrelevant SEO tricks to get them seen by readers using Google.”
Another post, this from V3, says that the algorithm change has the “aim of returning search results from high-quality websites and downgrading those relying heavily on search engine optimisation.”
What attitudes like this fail to consider is that SEO is good content. The cornerstone of any SEO campaign is building quality, relevant, informative, entertaining, good content. There should be no distinction between “good” writers and “SEO” writers: sure, before the Panda Update, you could get a poorly crafted website to the top of the SERPs using “tricks” and SEO “garble,” – just as you could get customers to buy from stores that were overpriced or stocked inferior products. But reputable firms rely on quality content above and beyond anything else. There is no trickery; only solid techniques to get your quality content noticed.
SEO and good content are not mutually exclusive. In fact, SEO is nothing without a foundation of quality content. Luckily, more and more businesses are realizing this and ignoring the outdated view of SEO as spam or “garble.”