I was explaining what I do for a living to someone who had a very basic idea of SEO.
They had it all twisted though.
They thought I had this weird control over Google.
And that what I did was some kind of black magic.
Dark and mysterious (like me!)
After I explained how Google works, with its 200+ signals, they asked me to pin it all down to 1 thing.
Like literally, ONE single thing that all SEO hinges on.
You already know the answer: it depends. (perspective matters).
And I was quick to rubbish their demand to put all of SEO wisdom into one bucket with the same label.
But upon giving it more thought (organic cola with lime was very helpful), I realised it could really come down to one thing.
It’s all about a positive experience.
If you’re linking to random, unrelated, crappy sites – this isn’t positive.
If you’re crowding your pages with walls and walls of content – this isn’t positive.
If you’re stuffing keywords like a Thanksgiving turkey – this isn’t positive.
If you’re throwing popups, interstitials and modal windows all over the place – this isn’t positive.
If your site is slower than a sloth on acid – this isn’t positive.
If you make it hard to find things and move around your site – this isn’t positive.
If your site is like an 8am lecture – this isn’t positive.
I could go on and on.
And you know this is true.
Too many times we have blinkers on and we’re in denial about how terrible it is to use our sites.
And then we wonder why no one can find us, no one stays for very long or even bothers to contact us.
So how do we fix this?
Frankly, get your mum or dad or someone totally random to find your website in Google.
And if/when they do, ask them to find things on your site.
Make them fill out a form. Or go through the checkout process. Or just move from page to page to see how it all works.
You’ll be so surprised at what you’ll find, because they’re going to be honest (maybe a bit polite but it’ll still be the truth!).
And you can then use this understanding to fix your SEO.
You’ll be able to make your site faster, cleaner, easier to use.
You’ll get more leads and sales.
And you’ll be found in Google.
Because you’ll learn what real people are doing, not Google.
And although we think about what Google likes or doesn’t like (when it comes to SEO).
Remember, Google is nothing without humans and without humans you have no business.