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August 22, 2006

SEO Advice: Accept That People Go Crazy Over Matt Cutts

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Let’s be honest here, when Matt Cutts talks we listen blog. But it’s not because we’re Matt-obsessed (well not entirely…), it’s because he’s prone to saying some pretty smart things.

GoogleGuy Google’s Guy wrote a great post yesterday entitled SEO Advice: Writing useful articles that readers will love that touches on two very important SEO topics: How to effectively use on-page optimization tactics to rank well and how to build and capitalize on your niche. See, I told you it was a great post.

First off, Matt breaks down his last seemingly-random post on changing the default printer for FireFox on Linux to show readers how he carefully chose his URL, title, tags, keywords and word variations to achieve strong on-page optimization, allowing him to focus less on the actual keyword density. The process shows readers that sometimes using the long-tail approach (ooo, buzzword) enables searchers to find you easier and may also help you find niches you didn’t even know were there.

What’s that? Another respected industry voice encouraging users to write for their users and not the search engines? We like where all this is going.

All the keyword stuff is good advice, but it’s the finding-your-niche angle that always draws me in. As Matt says, if you’re going to spend the time to research and produce original content, make sure the finished product correctly targets the selected niche.

Says Matt:

“In general, any time you look for an answer or some information and can’t find it, that should strike you as an opportunity.”

I love that advice because it’s such a great way to find article or blog post topics. What information have you searched for and been unable to find? What question have you had a hard time answering? Your answer is your opportunity.

If you’re searching for it, chances are other people are too. And if you’ve already researched it, you’ve already expelled 80 percent of the energy required to write an article on the topic. So, write it. And once you do, make sure to target your on-page optimization tactics toward your niche. Done correctly, it’s very likely your article will be at the top of the SERPs the next time a confused user does a search on a topic related to your niche. It’s supply and demand 2.0.

If you’re already running a website, you should have some idea of what your niche is. Matt explains this by spamming his second-to-last paragraph to death, but the point is valid. There’s something that you do that makes you different from your competition.

Are you the SEO that makes videos? (No, that’s Matt.) Are you the SEO that transcribes Matt’s videos? (No, that’s Rebecca.) Who are you in your industry? Start there and then work your way up, claiming the open niches on your ascent.

Matt says:

“An infinite number of niches are waiting for someone to claim them. I’d ask yourself where you want to be, and see if you can find a path from a tiny specific niche to a slightly bigger niche and so on, all the way to your desired goal. Sometimes it’s easier to take a series of smaller steps instead of jumping to your final goal in one leap.”

It’s kind of like getting a job after college. You start small to get your foot in the door and then build yourself up to where you want to end up. In a completely hypothetical example, it’s like today you might be the small-time blogger known for her Friday Recaps, but tomorrow you could be something bigger… like, hmm, well I’m still working on that next part.

Matt, anytime you want to cross over and become a professional SEO, I know a great training course you can take…

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