Good SEO is like a swan

Posted on February 12, 2011


A very wise man (don’t ask me who) said that a castle is a bit like a swan. On the top, all you see is beauty, grace, and elegance, but if you look under the surface of the water you’ll see legs working like crazy. I think it might have been comic fantasy writer extraordinaire Terry Pratchett, but he probably stole it from somewhere, so I have no compunction about stealing it from him.

The same analogy can apply to your website. On the surface, everything should look smooth and functional, but this can only happen if you’re busily at work in the background. This is particularly true when you’re performing SEO work.

The thing about search engine optimisation techniques is that they can so easily muck up the swan, especially when performed by inexperienced SEOs. Instead of maintaining the calm beauty of the floaty white creature, the work becomes a bit too obvious. You end up with a bird that has ‘buy me!’ spray-painted on its wings; or the metaphorical equivalent thereof.

The hardest thing to do with SEO work is subtlety. When undertaking SEO, experts and amateurs need to hold back, refraining from just hammering keywords into content or buying links. Not only can these techniques put you in danger of penalties, they simply make your website look bad.

Do your work well, and your site will continue to float tranquilly on the waters of the Internet. Do it badly, and all you end up with is an annoyed and rather bedraggled waterfowl.


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