Does SEO = Google Optimisation?

Why should you care about Yahoo and MSN?

Increasingly I hear prospective clients say that they are only interested in Google results and nothing else. However, while Google are way out of sight in traffic referrals and both Yahoo and MSN/Live Search can be erratic and unreliable, I feel this is a bad approach to search engine optimisation in general.

There are two reasons for this:

  • Over reliance on one source of traffic
  • Narrow thinking in terms of site development

In the first case you have no fallback position if it all goes wrong. What if Google, in its attempts to eradicate spam, make another major algorithm change such as has happened a few times over the last few years? Even if you’re innocent you could still be caught up in the fallout and lose key rankings. That’s always going to hurt, but if you’ve no rankings elsewhere it could be fatal to your business. Rankings on Yahoo might just keep you going until Google works out the bugs.

The second case is to my mind even more important. If you’re constantly thinking about Google and what they’re doing then you’re not thinking about your customers. Your mindset may increasingly be to look for tricks and techniques that chase rankings rather than pursue good design, good content, and good usability. If that’s where you end up then you’ll find your conversion rate dropping because your customers no longer like your site.

SEO shouldn’t be about making poor sites rank above their level, it should be about building a site that deserves to rank well because it’s a good user experience, and then making sure it achieves that deserved ranking.

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