Manifesto: The Truth about SEO

Often I get this request: “I want Schmeckendorf Industries at the top of the Google rankings.” Well, actually I don’t get exactly that request, but everybody wants to be at the top of the rankings. It’s a worthy quest, akin to climbing Everest, but success depends on your equipment and stamina.

SEO (“Search Engine Optimization”) is the new black magic. I’ve spoken with a couple of self-proclaimed SEO experts who say that if we just get the right keywords on our website, and sacrifice a few chickens, we will top the rankings.  Not so fast, I always say, let’s save ourselves a few chickens. Rankings are not all about keywords. Because people were once able to game the system using non-relevant keywords, Google (for one) has added content and human interaction as factors that will affect your search ranking.  Content – as in interesting content that generates multiple visits, and human interaction – as in blog comments.  That’s why when I post something about compassion for animals to The Huffington Post and it gets a lot of comments – well, that article tops the rankings.

Let’s remember that appearing at the top of the rankings is just a game. What we all really want is to be found. Smart use of keywords can leverage the traffic that is already out there, but consistency of message and frequency of message really affect who will find you online.  You want relevant people to find you: People who care about what you have to say and who might buy your service, watch your movie, or do something else you want them to do. That’s why it’s good to provide a consistent message so that people return to the site. We want loyalists, not fair weather friends. How to build that loyalty?

Twitter has a fluttery, flighty name, but it’s a good builder of loyalty. Using Twitter, we can reach out to specific fans and provide a “news feed” of topics that they care about. Recently, I was developing a workflow for a movie theater client and the news feed I suggested creating was all about indie film, directors and documentaries. Those are all popular search terms, so if we use them, I know people will show up.  But they will become loyalists because the content is good and offered consistently.

Articles that are well-written actually attract readers. Blogs feeding to Twitter and Facebook pages are the way I climb the Internet’s Everest.  Post good articles, and readers and fans begin to seek you out, then become loyalists who look forward to your content. This might happen anyway, on some level, if you use good keywords (like “independent film director”) – but I’ve seen it really take off and generate satisfying results with good content appearing with regular frequency. You need stamina, too, not as much as you need to summit Everest, but give your content a month before you start to obsessively check Google Analytics to watch your site traffic increase.

Photo Credit:  Rupert Taylor-Price via Creative Commons License.


  1. So I just saw your tweet and clicked the and found myself reading your blog and because you mentioned that comments are useful to page rankings, started typing.
    Which means that, at least in this instance, I am your evidence.

  2. I wasn’t knowledgeable of some of the tips that you pointed out so I want to just say thanks a ton.

  3. Magnificent website. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to a few friends ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks for your sweat!

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