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Is SEO a big part of how you do business online? If so, stop! The number one piece of advice I could give anyone is to design and develop your websites for your target audience - for your users - instead of for the search engines. In fact, doing so will actually IMPROVE your search engine rankings. Search engines are focusing more and more on tweaking their algorithms to best perform when presented with websites that are designed for real users. Additionally, they can easily spot keyword and link stuffing and other "seo techniques" more than ever before.

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Last Post by I, Brian
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I think most people would agree with you. The golden rule: People buy your products or services, and click on your ads - not search engines! In addition to search engines detecting keyword stuffing or hyperlinking every other keyword on your page, people will notice it too. Your site's image will surely be damaged, if you use such obvious techniques.

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Don't create tableless, CSS-only XHTML markup because spiders have an easier time with it than spaghetti code. Create it for usability and accessibility :)

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Is SEO a big part of how you do business online? If so, stop! The number one piece of advice I could give anyone is to design and develop your websites for your target audience - for your users - instead of for the search engines. In fact, doing so will actually IMPROVE your search engine rankings. Search engines are focusing more and more on tweaking their algorithms to best perform when presented with websites that are designed for real users. Additionally, they can easily spot keyword and link stuffing and other "seo techniques" more than ever before.

Couldn't agree more! I've had to explain that principle to a number of folks just getting into the SEO world. That's why its called optimization..not..searh engine shotgunning/blasting! :mrgreen:

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Amen. I've always been mystified by SEO fanatacism. If we really have to go to extravagant lengths to get an engine to notice/index our site, then doesn't that highlight a flaw in the search engine?

Rather than acknowledge that and address the flaw, search engines in general and Google in particular, promote the SEO industry through a clever mix of hints, hush-hush, PageRank, and content monetization. Shame on them... they used to be a SEARCH ENGINE.

Seriously, if they can't "index" your site without elaborate SEO, SiteMap, and so on, then we all need to find a better search engine.

My site is as active with spiders as I want it to be, and I've never done any "SEO-ing".

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Well that's what I'm trying to say ... that all of the SEO hype is just that, hype. It's the false impression that using sitemaps and copywriting with your keywords in mind and all these other techniques will really do a lot more than they actually will. Copywriting should be done for the enduser - not the spider :)

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Is SEO a big part of how you do business online? If so, stop! The number one piece of advice I could give anyone is to design and develop your websites for your target audience - for your users - instead of for the search engines. In fact, doing so will actually IMPROVE your search engine rankings. Search engines are focusing more and more on tweaking their algorithms to best perform when presented with websites that are designed for real users. Additionally, they can easily spot keyword and link stuffing and other "seo techniques" more than ever before.

Have to disagree with you there, sorry. :)

SEO was born from accessibility issues precisely because search engines did not reward websites for being good to users - they rewarded sites for being as clear as possible as to their meaning and purpose.

Certainly I agree there are extremes in SEO that are SEO for SEO sake - keyword stuffing and copyrighting like a machine with no regard for users.

Really, a serious website needs to take both user and search issues into account. Forget one, and you may as well forget the other.

Of course, once you get a serious user base it's easy to forget that SEO could have been a help in the first place. After all, I don't think DaniWeb was mod_rewritten to help the members. :)

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Hi Brian :) Long time, no speak. What I was primarily getting at was SEO for SEO's sake. I'm getting tired of seeing people spend 10 hours writing a single intro paragraph just to make sure it has the "perfect" keyword density - and yet it fails as a "perfect" introduction to website visitors.

You're definitely right in your statement that once you get a good userbase, you forget that SEO gave you your start. I will have to admit that I mod_rewrote DaniWeb for the SEO benefit. But I can't help but admit that it has usability aspects as well ... thread123.html is very easy to remember and type in, encouraging word of mouth marketing.

It's for this reason why I just despise the latest craze of keyword stuffing forum thread URLs for SEO benefit. I highly doubt that there is any benefit to naming a forum thread URL is-seo-a-part-of-your-business-plan-t123.html instead of just thread123.html . The only difference IMO is that the first is a huge hindrance to site usability and word of mouth marketing. It's wordy, long ... and is the 'a' included or is it 'your' business plan or 'my' plan? Users certainly won't remember! And you still need to include the numbers anyway to accomidate for multiple threads with the same pagetitle. Completely ridiculous and unnecessary!

Design your site with usability and accessibility in mind ... use descriptive titles to stir user interest, wrap an article's title in <h1> tags, description in <h2> tags, and body content in <p>, and that's all the keword density thinking you have to worry about.

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Long time no see, too. :)

And I figured that's what you were getting at - SEO for SEO's sake - but I have to admit that not only are the search engines getting better at access meaning in a page content (from semantics processing, to spidering JAvascript links), it's also harder to simply SEO a page into the results.

I'm also very much of the opinion that it's essential to focus on user experience and enjoyment of a website from the start.

My big belief is that online communities - whatever form they take - are the future commercial success of the internet. Marketers want to be viral, and sell themselves to entire user bases in quick swoops. Communities are the potential key to that.

A site simply about a product and SEO-copywritten does not have that value.

I actually started a number of new forums recently. I feel like I'm forcing my way through a closed door - that any community not already established has the odds stacked against success - but I'm willing to invest in my own forums to give them momentum through that door.

It's not content, it's not links - users are king. Maybe not strictly in SEO, but in marketing in general. SEO can help bring in new users, but not at the expense of them.

2c. :)

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