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SEO for Beginners Part 1: SEPOV isn't a Russian Hacker

Aug 17, 2007
SEPOV is an acronym for "Search Engine Point of View"; it is usually used in the context of search engine optimization (SEO) discussions. If you really want to approach SEO with confidence, you need to learn to look at your web site from the search engine spider's perspective and consider its motivation (if you'll forgive a little anthropomorphism).

Fortunately, search engine spiders are actually rather simple creatures.

"What's My Motivation?"

There is, in fact, one simple, central, and obvious search engine truth from which everything else is derived: A search engine's popularity is directly related to the quality of its results.

Never forget this truth. Do not minimize its importance or allow yourself to think of it as simplistic. There is much hand-wringing and money-spending by those who try to predict what Google is going to do next. The simple fact is that all the search engines will do what they've always done and always will do, namely try to improve the quality of their results.

Google rose to prominence because its results were the best. Their primary user interface was (and remains) ridiculously simple. Their results were just better than everyone else's. And they still are-although Yahoo and Microsoft are gradually closing the technical gap.

The search engine spider's motivation is therefore that of its creators: Find valuable, easily categorizable information so that the rest of the search engine software can match it to search queries and thereby provide good results.

All of the major search engines apply advanced contextual analysis to return links to pages that have the greatest amount of high quality information about specific search terms. Think about that statement again for a moment, "...return links to pages that have the greatest amount of high quality information about specific search terms."

There are profound implications to that simple statement that the vast majority of web site designers just flat-out miss.

"Go Deep"

For a given web page, depth is more important than breadth. A lot of information about one subject is far, far better than a little information about a lot of subjects. When the Google spider is examining one of your web pages, you have to convince it of two things:

1. Your page has a lot of information about the search terms. That is, it is relevant to the search query.

2. Your page has good information about the search terms (do you have high quality or authoritativeness)

Of those sites that are relevant and authoritative, Google makes one last value judgment: Freshness. The site with the most recently updated content wins.

"Playing Favorites"

Research has also proven that search engines in general and Google in particular tend to favor web sites that have one or more keywords in their URL. For example, one reason I liked the "web-marketing-advisor.com" domain name is that it contained some of my top keywords right in the name itself.

If your web site has the keyword in the URL, it also implies that depth is more important than breadth for an entire web site, too, since you'd want all the pages on the site to be highly relevant to the keywords in the title.

In other words, in my opinion, it is better to have several sites, each of which is focused on a narrowly defined subject matter than one site that has a shot-gun approach to many subjects.

And a word from the "Do as I Say, Not as I Do" department: Unfortunately, chopping up portals into individual sites that each tackle a tiny subset of a larger subject is at odds with how people want to actually use a portal. But there is a way... And we'll talk about it in part two.

Coming up in the next installment: Spiders are more human than you think!
About the Author
To learn more about SEO, visit Midnight Marketer. Ross Lambert founded Midnight Marketer and authored Sonic Page Blaster and Ross's Guide to the Masters of Marketing .
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