SEO – Should search engines matter in your campaign?

Today, I had a small epiphany related to SEO/SEM/Internet Marketing. I mean in terms of getting as high as possible in the SERP’s. The theory is a little offbeat but please bear with me. I’m sure many SEO experts will flame this, but hey, it’s only a theory.

When going about your next SEO campaign do something radical. Imagine, if you will, that Search Engines don’t exist. Just think of your User’s’ experiences. Bizarre and suicidal are words which may be in your mind at this moment. Take the following statements into account, though.

  • The Search Engine’s primary function is to serve useful and relevant results to the user. The results that deliver satisfaction.
  • The website in question has a similar primary function: To give the User the information they are seeking. To satisfy the user.

These two statements are very similar, showing that the Search Engine and the User have similar goals. In essence, the Search engine is trying to deliver usable websites to the User. Anything else is simply wasted space. So wouldn’t it be interesting if Search Engines jiggled their algorithm and highly weighted usability/satisfaction.

Doesn’t SEO Cloud This?

So, back to SEO. With a highly demanding SEO campaign it is very easy to slip into the mentality of tailoring the website for Search Engines. Biasing the website a lot towards Search Engines will essentially mean that you are driving a wedge between the two statements above. All the hard work you think you are doing could be putting a strain on the User’s satisfaction. A loss of site satisfaction and who knows, a loss in SERPs placements.

Search Engines don’t really detect usability at the moment:

OK, this is up for debate. But I believe that Search Engines place most of their efforts into ranking websites based upon statistics – essentially their algorithm. I cannot see a way (besides mass user testing and feedback – costly) that the Search Engine giants can measure Usability and Satisfaction at this time.

So you could say that at this time, the theory doesn’t lend any solutions to the SEO company.

So how could we use this theory today then?

Using similar principles to the above and a fresh mentality, one could use the following questions to improve SEO and usability at the same time.

  1. Is the new feature/code/idea beneficial for the user?
  2. Will it help my SEO campaign?

If the answer to (1) is No, then go onto something else. If it’s Yes for (1) and (2), get it going!

Think of the effects

OK, not all SEO companies think solely about a website in terms of SEO. It would be farcical to claim this. The good companies focus on SEO but take into account the fact that websites cannot be over-optimized and the experience cannot be made poorer to accommodate SEO.

But imagine if all websites were made using the theory of usable sites encourage SEO instead of Let’s SEO it with regards to nothing else. Websites, and the Internet as a whole, would fast become a more enjoyable, satisfying experience regardless of whether it helped in the SERPs. Only good can come out of it.

And over to you

I’d really love to hear your thoughts on the above. Do you agree with the ideas put forward? Is this merely a hypothetical world?

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