How seriously do you take SEO? 13
I pity the fool that doesn't obey SEO practices! (2) 15%
I know SEO practices and I keep them in mind but I don't enforce them at all costs (4) 31%
I know just a bit of SEO but I find it too complex or intimidating. (1) 8%
SEO is lame. Do what you do, and let people find you. (1) 8%
What the heck is SEO? (5) 38%
I have been building up a desire to rant about Search Engine Optimization, as every time I pass through Admin-Promotion Communities there is always this feeling of paranoia when it comes to neglect SEO practices. SEO seems to be followed with religious devotion, with people thinking that if you don't follow each step you will be condemned to forever be past the page 10 of Google Results. This is because many new webmasters seems to not really understand the reasoning behind the "rules" of SEO and just parrot them and panic about it.
Let's not forget that they are just guidelines created to help you avoid common mistakes and become more likely to have Google and other SE accept you as reliable source when other people search for your keywords. SE what will always care about the most is how reliable you are. Do you update often? Do you have a good amount of relevant content? Or are you dodgy? Do you have old information, which might be outdated?
Those are the pillars of SEO. Those are the things you should care about above worrying if one members puts an external link or if a members shares a text or something already shared somewhere else (OH NOEZ!! DUPLICATED CONTENT!!). Do you think SE give a darn if once in awhile you have external Links? Specially relevant Links? No! It is actually a sign of a genuine site and not a dodgy one for SE to find a few references here and there with other places. If you're linked to active places that SE have qualified as reliable it will take external links to be a good chunk of what you offer for them to flag your site down.
SEO is mostly conceived observing and analysing how Google and other engines were able to bring relevant information and places for their results and then mimicking those practices to bump the results. Many looking to make a profit and having parked domains with pages full of adverts, malicious codes and links to more of their spam.
"Oh, so Google likes first level urls? I'll make my sites using dot.tk. Likes I link to other places? I'll make my page just be a collection of Links to my other collection of links and adverts. "
- Google althgoritm becomes more strict, TK domain gets less credibility, excessive links to other sites get punished. Lack of proper text content get punished. -
"Alright. No worries. I'll keep all under the umbrella of my own site. I'll create a random imprehensible wall of text with my relevant keyworks to fool Google and I'll buy a TDL now that are accessible."
This is the reason the algorithm and advice has and will keep changing. SE have to adjust their parameters so they can give relevant results and outsmart the Black-Hat webmasters so their dodgy sites don't make it. It is a never ending war, meanwhile the SEO advice becomes more complicated and precise with each year.
I am not devaluing the inherent value of having good practices for SEO purposes. It is good to know what common mistakes you can avoid, like having a long unrelated address, copying and pasting most of an article in other websites, missing the opportunity to redact your articles with keywords that will help people find you, etc.
So, sure emulate the good practices that big websites adhere to that seems to please SE, just don't think that the SEO guidelines is all you need to reach the first place. First and foremost have a good amount of unique and up-to-date content and keep updating often. Even if you don't know or follow every single step you can get to first page by being a genuine website or community that many people favour and likes to check often. By doing that you are already using relevant keywords and practices that helps your SEO.