Google/Bing Is Smarter Than You Are, So Stay Honest

Pat Bowen
Pat Bowenposted on on June 10, 2013

There are literally millions of articles and websites that talk about SEO. Bing lists 247,000,000 at this moment, so there isn’t a shortage of information about the topic. That being the case why would we write an article about it? Two reasons:

  1. We constantly get questions about it.
  2. There is a lot of bad information about it.

This isn’t meant to be an article on any particular technique, trick or practice. Quite honestly, we find most of those to be gimmicky. Instead we thought it would be good to offer a few brief thoughts on the general principles we use to optimize sites through a method we call Honest Optimization

Let’s start by setting the stage for our thought process:

  • What is SEO? “Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.” – Wikipedia (so it must be true)
  • What is the goal for your site? To sell more products online? To establish yourself as a credible expert in your field? To help users find retail locations? To provide a service such as online bill pay? To educate a group of people about a cause or topic?
  • What is Honest Optimization (at least the Pageworks variety)? The process of designing the look, functionality and information of a website to improve conversion of business and online strategic goals.

Now, what is Honest Optimization? SEO is focused on search engines, but search engines only matter if the people who find your site go to your site and find it useful. Most likely your end goal is similar to one of the site goals above. The first difference between pure SEO and our Honest Optimization technique is we’ve widened the focus to start with your business strategy and end with real users accomplishing your desired goals. Search engine optimization is just part of that. At Pageworks we also want a well coded site, a site designed for ease of use, a site that builds your brand identity, and finally a site that promotes the completion of your goals.

Back to SEO. Since optimizing your site fits in the middle of Honest Optimization it’s worth taking a look at. Like I mentioned earlier, there is a lot of bad information out there. There are services that offer to promote your site or add it to directories or get X number of back links. Guess what. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. As Google adjusts its ranking algorithm we’ve noticed one continual pattern: It’s moving more towards ranking well coded and honest sites higher. Why? Because those are the sites that people find valuable. Think about it. The site that doesn’t cut corners or trick Google or Bing is most likely the site that has the most honest and valuable information. As Google becomes ‘smarter’ it moves closer to ranking sites like a human would. Search engines are adding the ability for their algorithms to interpret natural language and get context out of how a search is phrased just like you get meaning out of how a question is phrased. This is all good for a brand or company that wants to build a strong and credible brand online and it’s also good for companies like ours. You can focus on providing valuable content to your users and we can focus on building solid sites from a design and code perspective.

So, we didn’t just give you the secret to ranking number one on Google or Bing, but that wasn’t the point. What we wanted to take a few minutes to do was to reassure you that if you build a credible and honest site you have a good chance for ranking well. Additionally, as people visit your new credible site they’ll find it more rewarding and easier to complete their goal. Isn’t that your goal?

If your looking for ways to honestly engage your audience feel free to shoot us a message so we can have a casual conversation about helping you accomplish your goals.