Originally at https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/01/28/are-seos-focusing-on-the-wrong-target/

I’ve spent a considerable amount of my life in the SEO world. But I’m here to say that our discipline is led by a false premise. We’re all chasing the wrong rabbit (or hog/unicorn/insert your favorite elusive animal here).

Take the term ‘SEO’, for instance. Search engine optimization is defined by Wikipedia as “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results, often referred to as ‘natural’, ‘organic’, or ‘earned’ results”. But I propose that the ultimate objective for SEO is not to get engines to recognize our relevance to a searcher’s query but to actually get our audience to value what we’re publishing and become loyal brand advocates.

To do this, search marketers must continue maturing into integrated digital marketing strategists who understand, and can act on, the key business objectives of your company.

We spend countless hours examining keywords, traffic volumes, recommended bids, but really what it comes down to is value to the user. And this practically means content – while content components (links, meta tags, length, readability, Open Graph markup, etc.) are important for relevance, they aren’t measured for value to the searcher. What value, you say? The value that our content provides to our audience – and, yes, I realize that value is difficult to measure quantitatively.

One small way SEO value can be represented is by social sharing metrics. It’s like the old word-of-mouth advertising – if someone likes our brand, they’ll tell someone else. Over the past few years, social factors have become an important correlation for ranking. But to be truly effective at building social presence, hence effectively execute SEO, it’s our content that must do the work.

It’s about content

I realize you’ve heard the mantra for years: content is ki…

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