SEO Path

by Scott Austin June 18, 2012

SEO is going to be an important traffic driver for us.  So, I've been spending the past few weeks learning as much as I can about SEO.  There is plenty of information out there.  There are many blogs on the subject.  I found this one that has a great ebook that you can buy that gives you all of the technical details you need for onsite SEO optimization.  Quora is also a great resource.  I also attended some meetupsand networking events around SEO. I am not an expert in this space yet.  So I'm not going to go into details on the techniques one should use.  But I have learned enough to give this summary of SEO. There are three main pillars to SEO:
  1. The first is the technical work you need to do to ensure that your site gets crawled and indexed well in the search engines.  And that your content shows up well on a results page.  This is pretty straight forward stuff.  You need to do the basics.  The more detailed stuff is not as important.
  2. The second is to have great content.  This is not stuffing your pages with keywords.  It is about having the kind of content that people (real people, not search bots) care about and consume.
  3. Lastly, the internet needs to point to your content.  If you do a great job at #2 and build the right relationships (PR, community, social, etc), this task will be much easier.
There are three areas that SEO efforts fall into:
  1. White Hat.  These are things that consumers want and that search engines regard highly.  Doing these things will always have a positive effect on your rankings.
  2. Black Hat.  These are the bad practices that search engines actively look for.  They will negatively impact your rankings are even get your site delisted.  This can include link swapping, participating in link farms, keyword stuffing, hidden text, etc.
  3. Grey Hat.  These are the quick shortcuts or hacks that optimize for some of the cracks in the search engines' current algorithms.  Working in the space can have a short-term positive impact.  But eventual, an algorithm update will catch upto these practices and negatively affect rankings.  An example is article spinning.
Everyone understands that should focus on White Hat when building an enduring business.  But it becomes a slow process that takes a lot of effort.  People generally know to avoid the Black Hat stuff because of the immediate negative impact it can have.  I've seen many people promoting Grey Hat techniques.  Followers of these techniques should be prepared to have their SEO traffic decimated in a search engine update.  I and my company have chosen to go down the White Hat path.  Its going to take time and effort.  We want to be an enduring company and this is one of the ways that we will ensure that outcome.
Scott Austin
Scott Austin