SEO Philosophy – The Long and Short of it (Part 3)


So we come to the final episode of SEO Philosophy. We explored some aspects of search and the importance of quality content. How does all your knowledge of SEO pan out in the end? It should help you create a user-friendly website.

Social Signals

In our post on SEO for Authors we referred to Social signals:

Social signals represent the influence an article has in the social sphere of a the Internet. These would include things like Facebook likes, shares, comments, Tweets, links via Linkedin, etc.

Perhaps you can also think of social signals as how “real” people  react to your site.

The current leading theory is that the more or better social signals your site creates or receives, the better it will rate. Have a look at what KissMetrics has to say about this.

Matt Cutts, however, fairly recently said that this is not the case. According to the ever smiling, ever friendly, SEO guru, they do not currently use social signals in any way in their algorithms.

There is, however, another problem. Let us call it the chicken-egg conundrum. (Here at InstaScribe we spend hours coming up with new and innovative expressions.) Sites with good or very positive social signals rank high on Google.

This is where we find our conundrum. The SEO people say good social signals reach  higher rankings. While Google says that social signals do not influence the rankings. The one group argues causation and the other correlation.

Does this mean that you should not bother with social signals? No, not at all. What do you want to happen? That your website is ranked number one, or that your book sells? Obviously it is the second one.

Two women standing in a summer prairie field

Source: Getty

So, the better your social signal network is, the better chances are that someone might stumble across your rabbit fearing zombies via a friend’s Facebook like, tweet or Instagrammation.

Does it matter whether they find you via a search engine rather than socially engineered signal? No, what matters is that they buy the book! (Have a look at this article. The authors argue that they prove that people are 71% more likely to buy a product because of social referrals. This is beyond the scope of our article as it is technically not SEO, but please read and implement!)

Citations: It’s not what it seems to be

We have already looked at the importance of earned links, and how to block porno Pete with his badly earned links. There is another very important factor in ranking your website: it is called citations.

What is a citation?

A citation is an online reference to your business’s name, address and phone number (NAP). Like links to your website, Google uses them when evaluating the online authority of your business. Unlike links though, citations don’t need to be linked to your business’s website in order for you to be credited for them.1

So, to clarify the clarification, all our references to your Zombies with the fatal white rabbit allergy are technically citations. They do not link to your website, but Google is clever enough to know that we are talking about your book.

Being listed in an online directory would count as a citation. But, as far as the InstaScribe team has been able to ascertain, people don’t digitally flick through the online Yellow Pages when looking for a book to read.

Higher Grade question: If you are listed on under your specific genre, is it a link or a citation?

User Friendly Design

illustration 3

Google claims that it can determine whether a website is user friendly or not. Is it easy to navigate, easy to read, nice to look at, and DOES IT HAVE A CLEAR layout strategy?

If you Google “The world’s worst website ever” the number one search result will take you to It is horrid. Take our word- don’t risk damage to your soul. (Technically if it ranks number one it is a great website, but let’s not mess up a great story by introducing facts.)

Plan your website. Draw a picture of it, if you will. What goes where? What are the keywords for each page? To which pages, does this page link? Users do not appreciate it if it is difficult to find something. Why is it not on the Products page? Why do you only find it on the New Books page? It does not make sense!

Hongkiat provides a bunch of tools to help you with this.


Like we said, these posts( including Part 1 and Part 2) is more about the philosophy of SEO rather than a How to… tutorial. Tutorials are generally easier to use, if you just follow the steps. It could be likened to giving an author a fish. Philosophy, on the other hand, would be supplying the said author with a rod, a reel and an understanding of what the fish likes to eat.

The advantage of understanding how to think like a search engine should be apparent.


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