Lee Odden

Myth 102: SEO is Ugly

Lee Odden     SEO

Sometimes it’s fun to post a little Q and A to help folks better understand different aspects for search engine optimization. One particular question that comes up when dealing with “brand” focused sites and particularly with interactive agencies where the prevailing attitude is, “SEO makes our site ugly”.

What do you mean I have to change my site for better natural rankings?

All clients we work with go through some level of education/awareness about SEO so they understand what we’re doing. As your SEO project gets underway, it’s important we reinforce the idea that in order for your site to rank well organically, your site has to be percieved by search engines as the leading authority on topics relevant to your site content. To do that, search engines must be able to understand the content of your site, the internal linking structure and external linking relationships to other web sites.

Relevant content containing keyword phrases must exist on the site as text and within internal links. It is also important to achieve a significant number of inbound links from topically relevant sites over time.

The most common places search engines look for important and relevant keywords with a web page are: Title tag, text high up on the visible page, text within the body copy, image alt text and text within links. There are many other considerations, so this is a short list. However, it is important to point these fundametal optization tactics out since changes to the web site are inevitable if you want to improve traffic.

Implementing SEO on a well-designed site does not mean the design needs to be discarded in favor of abundant text. However, a proper mix of tactics is necessary to create a balance that allows you to maintain your brand identity and user experience and also improve the effectiveness at which search engines can index, score and associate your content with search queries.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Avatar steve Mistretta says

    I think the education process is one of the key challenges as an SEO. Then you get the people who want to try to pick your brain for free. I make sure that when talking to a prospective client I include the statement this is a long term building process.