Google’s Maile Ohye Talks About “SEO Mistakes”, But Are They SEO?

Google’s Maile Ohye Talks About “SEO Mistakes”, But Are They SEO?

10th May 2012

Google’s Maile Ohye is a smart woman who knows her stuff. She decided it was time to address some SEO matters and ‘teach’ the world about SEO. So she made a video called “5 common mistakes in SEO (and 6 good ideas!)”.

The video, which you can see below, is a quick 101 lesson in how to think about SEO, or even better, how to think about sites in general. The title suggests you will get actual SEO mistakes and tips. In fact it is about how to think strategically. Still, its a message we all should be aware off, but why the “SEO Mistakes” title?

The “SEO” Mistakes

In the video she pinpoints five ‘common mistakes’:

Mistake 1: No Value Propositing: why would a user choose my site in the search results?

Mistake 2: Segmented approach: none of the items are working together: no communication between marketing, business and SEO. It should be part of the entire marketing process, not a silo.

Mistake 3: Time consuming work arounds. Like rel-canonical to page one. This actually is a hint on ‘lazy’ SEOs, who will use anything they see and read.

Mistake 4: Getting caught in SEO trends. This is the hint towards SEOs that they should be focussing on the user instead of focussing on search engines.

Mistake 5: Slow iteration. SEO is constantly evolving, your team should be able to react at anytime and constantly improve and repeat.

If you look at the mistakes the only really “SEO” mistake in there is number three which talks about actual SEO tactics. All the other ones are around one message: listen to and focus on the user. Create content which will help your user and don’t focus on creating content for Google. (That is actually the crux of my comment on Barry’s post here).

The Tips

Ohye also gives site owners a few tips ‘to go’ which actually have the same focus:

Good practices:
– Do something cool
– Include relevant keywords
– Be smart about your tags and site architecture
– Sign up for e-mail forwarding in webmastertools
– Attract buzz and natural link, votes, +1s and follows
– Stay fresh and relevant

Watch the video:

What do we think?

So Ohye is ‘teaching’ webmasters and meanwhile pointing them towards Webmastertools. What do we think about this? Is it a good thing? I would say yes, but with a ‘but’ written all over it.

It is a good thing that Google is telling site owners to focus on the user. And they should do that in every way they can, like this video. But the way she puts it here I think is wrong, the focus on “SEO Mistakes” where they aren’t really SEO mistakes, more mistakes in how you think about search and sites in general. It could be that this shines a wrong light on what SEO actually is. But maybe the title is just ‘linkbait’, using the right keywords…?

What do you think?


Written By
Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.
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