Journal: News & Comment

Monday, August 02, 2004
# 12:26:00 AM:

Is it worth optimizing your site for search engines?

Permalinks to this entry: individual page or in monthly context. For more material from my journal, visit my home page or the archive.

People sometimes hire me to submit their sites to search engines and directories, so they can get listed there faster than by just waiting for it. But I don't do search engine optimization, i.e. changing the content of a site so it appears higher in the search results for certain terms.

That's because I've found—in more than 20 years online, 12 on the Web, and 6 using Google—that the online places that are easiest to find are the ones that people actually find useful. So the best way to get good search results is to build yourself a website that:

  1. Identifies what it is and what it's about in the page title and headings.
  2. Really talks about those things in its content.
  3. Is good at that.
  4. Gets updated regularly.

In other words, to get good search results, you have to put some serious time and effort into making a good website. That's because modern search sites, led by Google, are reputation machines: they have (more or less) made quality—and esteem in the eyes of other website builders—the measure of a site's relevance. Anil Dash puts it another way:

There's a part of me that's always felt that, if you're a professional at a certain trade, and I can come in as an amateur and do better than you, then you probably suck. [...] If this is your trade and you can't beat someone who came in at the last minute to enter a contest that's gotten the attention of nearly everyone in your field, it's time to rethink your strategy. [...] My suggestions [for good search result placement]? Write good content. Develop an audience that cares about what you're doing. Do something that's relevant to people in your field.

To summarize: "Duh."

UPDATE: In the comments, David Czepanski points to another page that makes a similar point very well.


Journal Archive »

Template BBEdited on 29-Apr-2010

Site problems? Gripes? Angst? - e-mail
Site contents © 1997–2007 by Derek K. Miller

You may use content from this site non-commercially if you give me credit, under the terms of my Creative Commons license.

eXTReMe Tracker