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Search Engine Optimization The Missing Link?

Joe Simpson

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Finally you can see the finish line - you've spent 6 months learning SEO. You've read thousands of blogs, websites and documents telling how to “SEO" your site, you've spent a fortune on Ebooks promising to teach you the secrets of SEO (which turn out to be all the stuff you found for free but with a better title!)

You've set up your blog, optimized your title and meta tags, rewritten your content so many times you've forgotten what its about. You've updated your alt tags, repositioned your keywords and modified your anchor text.

Phew. . . .

But the chores are only just beginning - that was just the on-site stuff. Then you've moved onto the off site optimization - sounded simple but it's not. You've sent out hundreds of emails pleading, begging, cajoling or bribing looking for inbound links. Normally met with surprise, scorn or amusement or mostly just ignored. Finally the links started to trickle in - you've pestered your friends on Facebook and any other social networking site you can think of - please more links! You've racked your brains and commented on hundreds of forums with witty, informative and helpful posts - proudly displaying your home address nestled in your signature.

Even discovering the existence of the evil “No Follow tag" only slightly diminished your enthusiasm. Finally you've now reached the end of

the line but the trickle of new traffic although welcome is hardly the mighty flood that one of your ebooks promised ( plus no sign of the Ferrari from the AdSense earnings)

What's gone wrong with my SEO - where's my thousands of hits?

The main thrust of this article is hidden in the title - of course it's aimed at promoting search engine rankings. We in the SEO industry often are perhaps too formulaic - sure our destinies are shaped by a selection of search engine algorithms but these algorithms are getting smarter at spotting our checklist SEO practice. We can all look at a web page and pretty much tell whether it has been touched by the art of SEO. How we titter when someone has left out their main keywords from their first Heading tag. The problem is if we promote a site from an SEO checklist pretty soon the search engines will spot this and knock us down. The last thing they want is to promote a sterile, formulaic internet based on interpreting their algorithms.

The secret is in the Link - the missing link - the SEO holy grail (well maybe not). It's not about your web site or page or how many high PR inbound links you have (well it is still a bit) - the search engine algorithm is looking for the best page for their searchers query.

Let me frame an example - I was recently looking for a certain picture of my favourite castle in Northumberland - I knew the castle, I knew

the artists name, I knew he had painted the castle - I just wanted to find out where the pictures where. I typed in the information into

Google - so what was my best outcome?

Well was it

a) to discover a page which had my search query in the title, headings and splattered all over the web page without actually telling me anything I didn't know (but ranked on page 1)?

b) a page full of information on the castle, the artist and lots of really good links to pictures and more information.

Well obviously b) is the answer and there is my missing link.

Have you ever considered the value of placing excellent, authorative and most of all useful links in your web pages ? Would it be draining Google juice from your site or be genuinely helpful to your visitor.

Whatever your answer think about it carefully - also think about what the search engines will prefer. I have done some tests with many sites and that missing link - the outbound link to a useful resource seems to pay dividends.

Good luck in your promoting your search engine rankings.


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