In which I clarify my feelings about SEO

I’ve said in the past that I’m deeply sceptical about the role of SEO in achieving good Google rankings, but, in light of what I’m seeing as a result of my local search experiment, I think it’s time for a clarification.

When I asked about SEO being BS, I should have been more specific. Certainly there are some basic rules of web writing which I think you’d be a fool not to follow if you’re concerned about rankings. Get your keywords up high, preferably in the title, and use them as much as you can without destroying your writing style. This may make for more repetitive word use than hardcore literary stylists prefer, but such is the way of the web.

My objection to the SEO industry is its promotion of the idea that SEO is more important than content in boosting your rankings because, while it’s old fashioned, I persist in the belief that content is still king.

My little local search experiment has, however, taught me just how effectively truly bad SEO can kill your good content, as the following results — taken from an actual search that landed the searcher at this blog — so aptly demonstrate. The only reason I’m beating the Gazette at its own game on its own turf is its abysmal SEO — or its complete lack of SEO.