A nice post by Jill Whalen makes the point that,
without knowing the ultimate reason for doing the things they do, they [search engine optimiser professionals] don’t get it done correctly. You don’t create titles for titles’ sake. You don’t get links for links’ sake. Everything that we teach people to do in SEO has a purpose, and that purpose is not to make the search engines think our site is better than it is. The purpose is to actually make the site better than it is.
— Jill Whalen, Avoiding Clueless-Is As Clueless-Does SEO, Search engine land, September 27, 2007 (Emphasis is original)
In a way, this is obvious, but Whalen’s point is that many SEO people simply go through the motions and almost forget about creating good content; the technical on-page factors such as a good title, link text, etc are there because these are naturally important for good content, not solely for search engine optimisation.
As I mentioned in a previous post on SEO, “the task of getting good ranking is ultimately a business/marketing strategy: sites need to have compelling enough content for others to want to link to them.”
It reminds me of a few people I have talked to in recent months about SEO who say they would put extra title attributes (tooltips) on links, images, and even headings and paragraphs! To me that is excessive (and way out-dated); if it doesn’t help the end user, it is very likely not to be useful for search engines.