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Hi John,

Thanks for the share, I had seen this mentioned in an email newsletter I subscribe to, but hadn’t got around to reading it yet.

It’s well and truly about time Google updated it’s basic webmaster SEO advice, and the document is really clear, easy to follow and well written.

However I was a little disappointed (at Google, not you John) that I was able to read through a 32 page document and didn’t really learn anything major except perhaps a little in the mobile search section. Given I still consider I have a lot to learn this rare for me, as I normally love the fact you can nearly always get something out of most things you read in life.

I guess I was hoping for some new wise advice that would make me go “wow”, but it’s really just an official “bringing together” of existing information any student of SEO should already know. I guess that’s the point though, to separate the fact from the fiction and provide the basics as a starting point.

John I KNOW you are right when you say the majority of sites don’t follow these, and just need to if they want to rank well for most types of keywords. However the difficulty and skill is in how well they implement them – for example it’s all well and good to say create quality unique content, build quality links etc, but the skill of the writing and the actual quality of the links isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

I also think a bit of the content is almost deceptive by making out Google to want something more idealistic than it’s robots actually do. For example the statement “build your site for users not search engines” I think is rubbish. Before anyone disagrees, I’m a big believer that you need to consider the “needs” of both and primarily build for users. But ignoring the needs of search engines in your content is crazy, and just won’t lead to success.

The statement in the document “Bad: inserting numerous unnecessary keywords aimed at search engines but are annoying or nonsensical to users” on the surface looks obviously correct. However on the other side, as stupid and annoying as doing that is, most people whose sites I review that have followed the “build for users” advice fail to do their keyword research, write as if search engines didn’t exist, and then wonder why they aren’t being found – when half the words people use to search for their product don’t even appear on the page! Copy writing in a style that reads brilliantly for humans and gives search engines what they need is a very valuable and underrated skill. I’ve many times had to rewrite copy with problems in both directions – horrible keyword stuffed text in one direction that needs to be fixed for human consumption, but in the other direction beautiful and convincing copy written by genuine professional copywriters that is holding the business back online as it simply fails to include the words in the copy that people would actually use to search for that business.

I’m probably preaching to the Choir here especially you JohnW with the keyword research bit, but hope no-one minds me adding my reaction to the document. Hopefully I’ve added something useful to the conversation.

I guess after all that, what I’m mainly getting at is two things
1) Take everything with a small grain of salt. Google isn’t going to give away everything, and is going to tell you that things that work that it wants to work, but not the things that work that it wishes didn’t!

2) Knowing what to do is not the same as knowing how to do it well. But having a go is still much better than doing nothing, and in low competition industries just making and effort should get you good results.

Matt