Obsessive-Compulsive Confessions of an SEO Guy #SEOOCD

Sep 7, 2014 | SEO | 0 comments

Understanding how search engine optimization (SEO) works is both a blessing and a curse. This post isn’t about the blessings, though.

It’s about the curse.

I don’t browse websites like most (normal) people do. Nooo, of course not. I have to look at them through a different lens. I have to examine and scrutinize them, where most people can just read, view, enjoy and move on with their day.

Below are a list of my own personal top 5 #SEOOCD confessions of things that I do as an SEO that the average person probably doesn’t notice or care about. They’re distracting, annoying and could possibly lead to me requiring medication.

SEO OCD #5 – URL Structures

So I’m browsing Facebook, minding my own business when all of a sudden I come across a post like this:

SEO Obsessions #1 - URL Structures

I’m a dad blogger, so the topic is of interest to me. But what do my eyes zero in on? The photo of the cute little boy in the back seat of a car? Nope. The URL structure of the post on Salon.com.

IT USES UNDERSCORES! My word…

It has filler words in the URL! Oh, the humanity.

Are underscores best practice? No. Actually, Google’s Matt Cutts said there is a difference and you should understand how Google treats them differently.

Will filler words in your URL kill your SEO? Well, no. But the longer your URL gets, the worse off you are. And they don’t really add value, so you’re better off without them.

SEO OCD #4 – Page Structures (or Lack Thereof)

One of the first things that I do when I visit a new site, is to either examine the site’s source code or inspect the page using a tool like  SEO Quake. This tool tells me a lot of useful details about your site, such as the page title, meta description, sub-headings used on the page (h1, h2, h3, etc). If your site is missing the title or not using sub-headings, I will probably think less of you.

Hey, just being honest.

SEO OCD #3 – Social Sharing (or Lack Thereof)

There’s a good chance, if I like your content, I’m going to share it. My favorite platforms are LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, and content on these platforms can really take off, if it finds the right audience. I land on your site and immediately begin to scrutinize it for social sharing functionality:

  • Is social sharing even available?
  • If I share your content, are you using hashtags or your own social accounts as a reference? (notice the via @DanielRuyter when you share this post, for example)
  • Do you use structured data to help make sure your content sharing is optimized?

As an SEO guy, social signals and content’s reach via social can be just what the doctor ordered. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but if you’re not doing even just a little bit to help me help you share your content, you’re doing yourself a great dis-service.

SEO OCD #2 – Mobile Websites (or Lack Thereof)

Like many people, I spend a lot of my time browsing the web on my mobile (or tablet) device. I actually did an entire post on how I judge companies (and bloggers) that don’t have the best mobile websites. When I’m viewing a site that either isn’t mobile-friendly or there isn’t a mobile version at all, I admit I get a little distracted. My viewing pleasure goes down and I start examining all of the SEO no-no’s they’re violating.

I know, I have a problem.

SEO OCD #1 – Keywords (and Keyword Stuffing)

I admit that I don’t just read a website’s content for the content. As I’m reading, I can pick up on whether their content is “optimized” or not. What bugs the #SEOOCD in me is not that they’ve made an attempt to optimize it, but rather, when the content is very clearly over-optimized. It’s great that you’ve determined your target keyword for the page is “checker print dish towels”. Is it really necessarily that you inject it EVERYWHERE?

The answer, my friends, is “no”.

Oh, and there’s really no need to have 800 keywords in your meta keywords tags, either.

What do you think?

Do you suffer from any symptoms like I do? If so, I’d love to hear yours in the comments and on Twitter using hashtag #SEOOCD.