Posted by: johnocunningham | June 20, 2011

How Google Does SEO

In recent months, I have noticed a lot of chatter in LinkedIn marketing groups about search engine optimization (SEO). It seems to me that a lot of people are curious about what SEO is, how it works and how they can “game” the system to get higher page rankings for their Websites.

Predictably, there are a great many “experts” in these groups who offer to demonstrate how they can get your site to a page one ranking with little expense or back-breaking effort. For those given to “abra-cadabra” solutions, it sounds so appealing.

But consider this: Google’s search algorithms (a fancy word for “formulas”) are perhaps the most-well protected secret in the world. Furthermore, they are constantly being tweaked for improvement, so that searchers are more likely to find the content for which they are searching. This year alone, Google will roll out more than 500 adjustments to its search engine algorithms, according to Matt Cutts, head of the Google Spam Force. So how the heck do you “game” a system that is constantly changing the rules?

The short answer is: You don’t.

If you want a higher search ranking, try doing what Google advises in its May 6 pronouncement on “high quality” sites. Try producing original content with useful information such as research, in-depth reports and thoughtful analysis. Also, make sure the content is error-free, grammatically correct and interesting to readers. It also helps if some of it is written by recognized authorities (so law firms might want to include links to the best stuff published by their best, most recognized lawyers).

What will put you lower in search engine rankings? Poor quality control, excessive advertising, pages produced with little attention to detail, and content that is mass-produced by or outsourced to “content farms” that produce redundant sentences with repetitive keywords to game the system.

If you want to know just how the Google algorithms are evolving to separate the wheat from the chaff, you can follow Matt Cutts on his blog.

But your time might be better spent focusing on the production of useful, interesting and compelling content. By the way, if you search for “John O. Cunningham,” my site is the first one listed (and I have never once thought about how to “game” the system).

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