Fed Up With Search Engine Trickery

by Frank on April 19, 2010

The following is a guest post by Brett Duncan, a great guy and a marketing guru in the true sense of the word.  Reading his marketing blog will make you a better marketer, whether you’re online, direct or traditional.

Fed Up With Search Engine TrickeryLike everything, we humans tend to find ways to appreciate and exploit every technology we’re presented. Search engine optimization is no exception. Too many people are confusing search engine trickery with search engine optimization, and I think I’ve reached my level of tolerance on the whole thing.

It’s a tough line to not cross. If you know people are searching for what you’ve got, then it would be silly to not make sure you’re where they’re looking. I think you have to start with the motives, though, when you try to distinguish the difference between gaming and optimizing.

By definition alone, “optimize” essentially means “to make the most of.” Applied to the topic of SEO, it implies that there is already something created that needs to be optimized. In other words, you’ve created content (step 1) that needs to be optimized (step 2).

Gaming starts in a completely different manner. Gaming asks the question, “How can I trick Google?” Because that’s what gaming is: trickery.

Google It Not a Code to Crack

So many people think of Google like the TV series LOST. We loyal viewers of LOST have been promised that the series is going to make sense, and that questions are going to get answered. So we’ve spent the past six years piecing clues together, re-watching episode after episode, trying to crack the code and figure it all out. It’s a fun game, and the writers have done an brilliant job in spinning an amazingly complex story while also building an unprecedented fan base.

Google is not interested in creating such a scenario. Google admittedly wants to be “better and faster at finding the right answer” for the end-user. They want their results to be accurate and relevant. Which means they are continually doing everything they can to combat those who try to trick them and ultimately keep them from getting to that right answer.

In other words, Google is going to reward those trying to make the right answers easily available to them, rather than trying to crack a code to get bad answers in the mix.

People or Program?

This all seems very obvious. However, too many of us plan and act in a way that seems like this isn’t too obvious. We focus on the bot and the spider and the algorithm, and forget the people. But Google is interested in connecting people with people. The bot, spider, algorithm and web, for that matter, are all just a vehicle to do that.

So here’s what we should all be doing: find the people you want to connect with, write something accurate and true that they’ll find valuable, and then go back and optimize it so Google can help live its mission of finding the right answer for people.

Focus on the people and the core message. Then, make the most (optimize) what you’ve created. And leave it at that.


Brett Duncan spends many of his waking hours trying to make sense of marketing today. He offers up his marketing ideas for small businesses at MarketingInProgress.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/bdunc1.

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