Good SEO Means Putting Your Visitors First

Written by Nick Stamoulis

This might sound a little crazy coming from an SEO professional, but if you want to have the best SEO campaign possible (the kind that can survive just about any algorithm update) the single best piece of advice I can give you is to stop worrying about the search engines and put your visitors first. A good SEO campaign is, of course, going to follow the Google and Bing Webmaster Guidelines but in my experience adhering to the Webmaster Guidelines usually means you put the needs of your target audience ahead of your SEO program…and that usually means you’re going about SEO in the right way!

Google even says in the Webmaster Guidelines;

The best way to get other sites to create relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can quickly gain popularity in the Internet community. The more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it. Before making any single decision, you should ask yourself: Is this going to be beneficial for my page’s visitors?

Think about your link building campaign. Links are still very much the bread and butter of SEO and for a long time the only thing that mattered was how many inbound links your site had. But as the algorithm has evolved quantity is now much less important than quality. It’s not enough to just have a lot of links; good SEO is about getting the right links from the right sites. In my experience, the right links tend to come from sites that your target audience actually visits—forums, blogs, community and niche sites, industry associations and more. These high quality sites do provide high quality and trusted links, but they can also direct highly targeted traffic your way. A good SEO program doesn’t look to get links for the sake of getting links; your link building should be about finding new ways to connect with your target audience and create doorways into your site. Remember, each link to your site has the potential to drive traffic over. When you focus your link building on the kind of sites that could actually do that you almost can’t help but have good SEO!

Having a strong SEO campaign also means you take the time to invest in your content marketing, a critical component of any SEO program. You should be writing content that is designed to educate and engage your visitors, not just rank well for various search queries. In an increasingly cluttered online landscape only the best content rises above the din and that means writing for actual people, not just the search engines. After all, human readers are the ones who are going to be doing business with you in the end, not Google.

Good SEO usually means you aren’t trying to manipulate the search engines or chase the algorithm. A lot of sites do pretty well in the search results after they’ve invested in black hat SEO tactics but in my opinion it’s only a matter of time before they aren’t fast enough to stay one step ahead of the game and Google catches them with an algorithm update. When you put your visitors before your SERP rankings you tend to avoid the kind of tactics that produce short-term results but could ultimately land you in hot water with the search engines.

If you want to have the kind of SEO program that will help push your website to the next level you want to always put your visitors first. A good SEO campaign should be about building your online brand presence, developing your expertise and industry authority and connecting with your target audience and not just about ranking better.

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