This last weekend I the pleasure of speaking at WordCamp Miami. While I was fortunate enough to participate on two business panels, my main presentation was a solo one focused on search engine optimization.

If you’d like to review my presentation, you can download the presentation on Sideshare, as well as view the livestream video below.

SlideShare Presentation

Everyone From Young to Old Wants to Learn SEO

The topic of SEO is always a hot one. People may say SEO is dead, but this is farthest from the truth. SEO is alive and there is a lot of interest in this skill-set.

At each conference I seem to have a room full of attentive attendees with lots of post presentation interaction that is followed by even more mini conversations in the hallway and at social events.

Everyone wants to obtain a better understanding of search engine optimization. And who can blame them? SEO can be very intimidating and confusing.

What I love about these conferences is the audience is diverse and their inquiries are just as varied. This weekend my questions came from a young attendee of ten years old all the way up attendees who were eligible for senior discounts.

Questions ranged from “what is SEO” to complex architecture inquiries and requests for long-term strategy creation. They came from brand new bloggers to well established website owners.

The diversity in audience and questions reminded me that SEO is a strange world of constantly changing elements and this ongoing movement can be so overwhelming.

But guess what? SEO hasn’t changed that much at all. The core fundamental is still the same. The people who use SEO may have broadened, but SEO is just as it was fifteen years ago when I stated.

Focus is the Most Important Lesson I Can Offer About SEO

Throughout my presentation and my one-on-one talks I held one common theme that I desperately wanted to drive home to everyone I spoke with over the three-day event.

It was a basic concept, but a critical one: The best SEO is human-based SEO.

High performing SEO isn’t about automation, shortcuts, binary code, or even outsourcing SEO services to a third-party consultant. While we did that years ago and it may have been successful in the past, it won’t work today.

The best SEO is about understanding your website visitor, connecting with them on a personal level, and helping them solve problems.

Search – and in particular search engines – have matured. And yet, the fundamental objective of serving the visitor and providing value has not changed.

We might be flooded with mobile inquiries, demands for performance, and long voice based search phrases, yet the ultimate goal of serving the visitor has not changed and it won’t change.

As long as there are living, breathing humans with questions, there will be a need for high quality, human-based SEO.

The best SEO has and always will be a strong focus on the user experience and proving tangible value.

Real SEO isn’t about data, website code, or plugins. We may use these elements in our pursuit of serving the visitor, but the common thread of SEO should always be a strong focus on providing a positive user experience that solves a user’s question or inquiry.

All of the shortcuts, Fiverr gigs, and unsolicited email offers of SEO services won’t help in providing real value through your website or blog. They won’t resonate with the visitor on a personal level. And when I say visitor I am referring to real, human people who have everyday problems and who need everyday solutions to those problems.

SEO is Complex and Yet So Very Simple

SEO is evolving and everything about it is getting more and more complex. Articles are getting longer, search phrases are becoming much longer, and search engines are much more sophisticated in their processing of inquiries and sorting of content. And yet through all of that, nothing has changed.

Google is still simply looking for webmasters and bloggers to do the right thing. Help people. Provide value. Freely offer solutions to everyday issues.

My youngest attendee asked if he could game the system and use automation or code to push himself to the top of Google. I replied as I would to my own son. I was quick and forceful and gave him a definitive no as my answer.

When he questioned this and pushed for black hat SEO, I reminded him that he has lost focus on the visitor and the gaming of SEO would serve no long-term or tangible value.

And that is because SEO is about people and helping these people. Black hat SEO and shortcuts don’t help people. They create clutter and Google is now very good at removing such clutter.

If you are just embarking on your SEO journey, take the time to learn about SEO in depth but look past algorithms and shortcuts. Focus on the why of SEO and how this skill-set will help you reach your future website visitors.

Always stay focused on your visitor, their struggles, and how you can help them. Don’t lose sight of this core principle.

Learn About Real SEO and Empower Yourself

The take away I wanted to give users this weekend was that anyone can rank well in search. I am a very passionate about this statement because I believe it with my whole heart.

If you do the right thing and do so for the right reasons, you’ll see SEO isn’t a mystery at all. It’s really just the process of helping Google find solutions to human problems.

Here are some excellent ways you can learn more about SEO:

  • Goggle’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide
  • The Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization eBook
  • My DIY SEO Courses
  • SEO Bootcamp’s Onsite Training Workshop
  • Virtual SEO Summit
  • YouTube Videos
  • Monthly SEO Webinars

Now that you know the core objective of SEO, you need to decide if you’re willing to put in the due diligence into learning SEO. I hope the answer is yes.


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