The two things you need to know about SEO

From Glen Whitman’s essay, The Two Things:

A few years ago, I was chatting with a stranger in a bar. When I told him I was an economist, he said, “Ah. So… what are the Two Things about economics?”

“Huh?” I cleverly replied.

“You know, the Two Things. For every subject, there are really only two things you really need to know. Everything else is the application of those two things, or just not important.”

The page lists readers contributions on a variety of topics. The other day I was helping a company with their SEO and afterwards I realized that it all boils down to this:

  1. If you want to be the top hit for a search term on Google create the content that the searcher was hoping to find when they googled it.
  2. Make sure Google realizes that.

A lot of SEO advice (page structure, in-bound links, etc) is all about #2, but that doesn’t matter at all if you really shouldn’t be the top link.