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SEO Part0: The Correct Mindset

Andrew
Math → MBA → PM → Consultant → FE developer → ...
・3 min read
SEO (search engine optimize) is one of the most important topics for web applications, especially when the website's source highly relies on the search engine. There are tons of strategies about how to improve the ranking on the SERP (Search Engine Results Pages). But it's not easy to decide which items are more important and need to be implemented first. In the past two years, I have joined many SEO discussions and implement lots of strategies on our websites. Therefore, in this series of articles, I try to systematically summarize those strategies. I hope this will give you a better understanding of how to start improving your website SEO.

Before we start diving into the strategies about SEO, I want to talk about the mindset.

What does the search engine want?

If we want to optimize search engine results, the very first step is to understand what the search engine wants.
The purpose of the search engine is to provide the best search results to their users. The best results mean the websites which users most likely want to browse.
If you have studied SEO before, you might have seen some suggestions like this: Poor content can impact SEO. That's nothing wrong with this quote. But should we prevent poor content because it will impact SEO? Definitely not. We should try to provide the best content for our users, no matter if it will improve SEO or not. The correct attitude about SEO is to understand why search engines believe those criteria are important, and we implement those features to provide better user experience to our customers. Once our users love our product, the SEO will improve at the same time.

Why do we need to care about SEO?

If the only thing we need to care about is the user experience, why are there so many SEO consultants teaching SEO strategies?
The biggest difference between real users and the search engine is that the search engine didn't browse our website by a real human. The search engine analyzes our website by their robot and algorithm. Although Googlebot is able to execute Javascript now. The way they check our website is still quite different compared to our real users.

For example, there are some actions which the robot won't do.

  • scroll down
  • login
  • ...

Moreover, because the search engine uses the robot to analyze our website, so it will use some extra information that our users didn't care about.

  • meta description
  • HTML tag
  • img alt
  • HTTP status code
  • ...

How to improve SEO?

Now we know what the search engine wants, let's talk about how to improve SEO. I categorize the SEO strategies into two categories:

  1. Improve the search engine's user experience:
    As I have mentioned before, search engines browse our website in a very different way. If we want to improve SEO. The first step is to help them understand our website.

  2. Improve our users' user experience:
    The final goal for the search engine is to provide the best website to their users. So we not only need to help the search engine understand our website but also have to convince the search engine that our website is worth providing to their users.
    Except optimize UX based on our own experience. Since Google has analyzed tons of websites and tries to figure out what kind of websites will be their users favorite. They have provided lots of their study to let us know what's the best way to improve the user experience.

In the following two articles, I will base on those two categories, providing more detail and real examples.


Conclusion

Don't overuse the SEO strategies, think about why search engines care about those features and identity which features suitable to implement on our website.

👎 Follow the strategies that come from internet articles or be taught by SEO consultants
👍 Improve user experience for the search engine
🎉 Improve user experience for both the search engine and our real users

Reference

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