7 Shades Of Optimal – The Forgotten Word In SEO

My original title for this post was, 50 shades of SEO, but that was a book I got to chapter five or six and realised I was wasting my time, just another tale overhyped by the media and Joe and Jane blogs followed suit. On the remote possibility you don’t know what I’m alluding to, here it is 50 shades.

Besides SEO has enough shades already as it is, from white hat whiter than thou to the black hat SEO and anything in between.

Optimal Google Search + Hummingbird Google Logo

The grey area as blurry as ever, but one thing is clear the grey-er (err darker) the shade of your SEO, the shorter its lifespan. Now you can be sexy and die young by living faster with all the shades that entails or you can think long term and grow steadily.

Whatever you choose is part of your SEO strategy.

Optimal According To Google – (as in the dictionary)


best or most favourable; optimum.
“seeking the optimal solution”

So I think I can safely keep this post to under 10 shades of optimal and leave the sexaul innuendos aside altogether.

  1. Short Term Optimal
  2. Short term rankings and high growth can be a very attractive prospect, the problem with that approach in SEO as with most other things in life, is that if you achieve your peak performance very quickly that peak is just unsustainable over time, plus in SEO achieving lots of high rankings quickly can only be done with grey and darker shades of SEO.

    I hate to break it to you but there are no short cuts, there’s only QUICK, SHORT TERM, short sighted, Optimisation and thereafter largely an exercise in “managing decline”.

    Recovery may be possible if you have a strong brand or solid business, but if your SHORT TERM OPTIMAL fallen in the wrong hands, you may be faced with a decision such as this recent one I had to make, that’s the reply on the fourth email.

    I think these sites are too damaged for me to be doing anything with them. I recommend starting over and staying away from spammy techniques.

    That was a site that has gone too far into the grey spectrum, in fact it was very much on the black. With industrial cloaking and such.

  3. Long Term Optimal
  4. Unlike above, long term optimal SEO, is likely to be centered in making the best possible site and focus on steady growth, long term optimal stays away from quick fix solutions such as keyword stuffing or cheap link building with rich anchor text.

    Long term optimal is defined on a strategy level as survival followed by progressive growth, survival goes without saying you might think, but if you burn your site, domain and business by proxy in the first year or two of your great short term optimal SEO approach, chances are, HIGH, your site won’t be around that long.

  5. Optimal For Google
  6. Optimal for Google or optimal for the search engine (a common misconception) is actually easy, you get the right keywords, then build a page for each one of them:



    You then include the keyword in all the SEO places, title, url, meta descriptions, meta keywords (why not, it’s only 2014), Headings (these are important if in doubt repeat at will), then pulverize the page in question with the keyword very often and you’re all set.

    Now the only thing missing is to bombard each and every page with links, many links, no matter what type, just many links, if you’re an SEO you may even be lucky enough to know about link velocity and other fancy terminology.

    The problem with this shade of optimal is that they belong to the Pre-Penguin-Panda era, and we are now in the Hummingbird era.

    Not to mention that you done all that “to please Google” and completely forgotten about your site visitors, what’s more, that just shows you have been reading the wrong books or in this case blogs, this kind of optimal for Google falls into the short term optimal shade of SEO and will be equally short lived.

  7. Optimal For The Site Owner
  8. SEO for the CEO goes like this, you are the CEO of “Widgets Ltd” and therefore you think you ought to rank (ideally #1) for:

    widgets london, widgets victoria, widgets westminster, etc

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong in wanting that, and if you achieve these rankings while building a great page or site about widgets or widgets in London that’s amazing.

    However, if you’re ranking at any cost for all areas of London, with virtually empty pages, your visitors are unlikely to be impressed, or even convert (that’s calling you or doing whatever you want them to do).

    In other words, rankings are fine they’re just not a very helpful way of thinking, they must come after the users, the content, and yes your business goals in the hierarchy of priorities.

  9. Optimal For The SEO Company
  10. If you are dealing with a, we can’t tell you how we do it type of SEO company, chances are they are doing short term optimal SEO and in the process ruining your site’s reputation by doing the very thing they belive and once was a measure of your reputation.

    PR, PageRank and link quantity as a measure of your site’s reputation, the more the merrier or not far-off.

    Take my word for it, hundreds or thousands of links from India may get you ranking for a while but they do nothing (other than damage that is) to your site and business real reputation.

  11. Optimal For The Site Users
  12. Google was founded on that principle, even if these days, they have grown so large that lots of the time they have no choice but to put shareholders first, but I digress.

    One way to write for the user is to have in mind an actual site user or create a “persona”, for example in this post I am writing with actual clients and prospects in mind as I believe that by speaking directly to them, they can better see how a solid user centered long term optimal SEO strategy and content work.

  13. Optimal For Everyone
  14. Well almost everyone we leave the darker shade of short term optimal and the we can’t tell you how we do it out of this shade of optimal.

    Optimal for everyone SEO, is based on long term, the user, providing them with useful content and usable sites, making it easier to convert by anticipating questions and providing answers, this last was always important but as we shift from keywords and links to semantic search and Hummingbird’s territory that’s more important than ever.

    By doing that you will also help the CEO to see what real SEO is, and as an SEO of the long term optimal variety you are now doing Optimal For Everyone SEO.

There, they’re all optimal, is just that some are more optimal than others and grey-er too :)

So remember SEO is not just about search engines is actually mostly about OPTIMAL.

Here’s to an OPTIMAL 2014!

About Pedro Matias

I'm a central London SEO consultant and private tutor, also specialise in WordPress web design and training. All SEO, web consulting and training approaches are centred on user experience, minimalism, speed and engineering centric design. Run 10K for lunch most days for fun and health.
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  • Bradleydanielelliot

    Humming Bird is also called a Caffeine Google updates.