This guest post is by John Hoff of Blog Training Classroom.
I’ve written many articles online over the years. Many deal with WordPress, blogging, and making money online; however, there’s one subject I’ve noticed which consistently takes the “most popular” topic award … search engine optimization.
The concept of search engine optimization at times can really make your head spin. In one respect, it seems like a concept which is extremely complicated to understand and implement because there can be a ton of moving parts which you have to consider, like:
- keyword density
- attaining backlinks
- who you link to
- duplicate content
- how to structure your link text
- heading tags
- meta tags.
And now with terms like Panda and Google +1 getting tossed into the mix, I feel like grabbing our buddy Googlebot by the shirt and saying, “Really? I mean, come on. I’ve got way more important things to do online then trying to understand how your Google brain works!”
But then there’s the simplicity of search engine optimization.
The simplicity part comes when you start thinking about Google as if it were a human. By thinking of it like a human, we can better understand what it wants in terms of concepts we understand and use in our everyday lives.
The human side of Google
The above list shows all the mechanics of SEO. Google is not a human, it’s an algorithm.
Now to throw you for even more of a loop: it’s an algorithm which is trying to act like a human. You ask it something and it wants to be the smartest guy on the block.
How does it get to be the smartest guy on the block?
By giving you the best answer to your question.
And that, my friends, is what Google wants.
While Yahoo! and Bing give “okay” answers, Google wants to give you the best answer, just like your most trusted friend would, because if it can do that, you’ll keep asking it questions.
So what is the human side of SEO?
It’s the concept of helping Google get what it wants in terms of how we humans think. And by giving it what it wants, it will reward you.
How to give Google what it wants
Here’s where all those mechanics of SEO come into play. They are the way in which Google tries to determine two very simple concepts. Is a site or article:
Now those are concepts we humans can understand a little more easily.
The relevant part is the easy part—all you have to do is stay on topic. It’s the reputable part which takes a little more work, but we’ll talk about that in just a moment.
Case study: Problogger.net
Let’s take a look at how Darren Rowse and his site are giving Google what it wants.
As of the date this article was written, Problogger.net has a PageRank of 6. Not too shabby. This tells us that Google thinks this site is important.
How then would Google see that Darren and his site are both relevant and reputable?
The “relevant” part
When you arrive on Darren’s blog, it’s obvious his site is all about the concept of blogging. Here’s a quick list of how he shows Google his site is relevant to blogging:
- He offers products on the subject.
- He’s got an incredible number of articles written which relate to blogging.
- The word “blogger” is in his URL.
- The word “blog” is sprinkled throughout his website.
- His site’s home page title clearly tells people what they will find here (blogging tips).
And the list goes on.
Okay, so that was the easy part: just stay on topic and show Google what your site is all about. But what about being reputable?
The “reputable” part
Back in the day (years ago), simply being relevant was good enough—remember those keyword meta tags?
But being only relevant these days just doesn’t cut it and the reason is because the Internet has grown from a few thousand websites to millions of websites, with many talking about exactly the same thing.
So tell me then, who’s article would you rather read and trust?
Someone who knows nothing about blogging but wrote a “how to make money blogging” article, or an article Darren wrote which was about “how to make money blogging?”
Both articles are relevant to making money through blogging, but whose article would you trust is more correct?
Take that evaluation you just did in your head, and that’s exactly what Google is doing.
It sees that both articles are relevant to the topic but then, just like you, it makes a decision at who is more trustworthy.
And that’s where the reputable part comes into play.
Darren and his site Problogger.net are reputable for these reasons:
- People (a lot of people) link to his site.
- People mention his name and site even when they don’t link to him.
- He’s like seriously everywhere: Twitter, Facebook, Google+ (how do you do it, man?).
- His articles get retweeted, Liked, Stumbled, appear on Digg, etc.
In other words, he’s mentioned everywhere online … and in a good way.
So Darren has shown Google, just as he has to you and me, that his site is both relevant to blogging and a reputable resource people can use. By showing this to Google, he has attained decent search rank.
That’s the simple side of search engine optimization. It’s not about the mechanics, it’s about the human side of SEO.
How to get into Google’s good graces
In my opinion, the way to achieve the best search engine success is by concentrating the majority of your time on the human aspect of SEO.
Don’t get me wrong—if you’re really wanting to dive into search engine optimization, then you’re going to have to learn the mechanics. There’s no way around that. You can think of the mechanics (keywords density, header tags, etc.) like tools.
But tools don’t build buildings, people do.
Chances are that many of you want to rank your articles in Google, but have better things to do with your time than become SEO experts.
If that’s you and the idea of studying search engine optimization is as appealing as watching reruns of Rocky III all day long, then I’d suggest at the very least familiarizing yourself with a few of the more important mechanics of SEO, and then focusing the rest of your time on just building epic stuff.
Concentrate on people, and do what entrepreneurs did back in the day before the Internet.
Create that epic stuff—articles, blogs, ebooks, tweets, etc.—and then get out there and hit the digital pavement. Share your epic stuff with other people and they will like you.
And when other people like you, Google will like you. Hence Google +1.
By the way, what the heck do we call Google +1? Twitter has “tweets” and Facebook has “Likes”, but what do you say when you +1 something?
And how important do you think this tool will be after reading this post?
John Hoff the blog training instructor at Blog Training Classroom and is an Internet Marketer. If you’d like to learn more about SEO and how he ranks sites and articles in Google, he’s got a free SEO brain dump download – no email address required.