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February 7th, 2008

HRO – The Evolution of SEO

In a few recent conferences that Dave Coustan and I have attended together, whenever the topic of SEO comes up, he always mentions the human element. In other words, the reader. You need to make sure the content you’re posting is ‘Fit for humans’ as Dave says.

Thinking about it more, I jokingly refer to it as HRO, or Human Reader Optimization. It’s the next step beyond SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Sure it’s great that you’ve used SEO tactics to get somebody to your site, but is that landing page something they actually want to read. It might contain the keywords, but is it relevant and perhaps most of all interesting?

Google helped make this a bit more obvious (hopefully). Think back to Alta Vista, when ‘relevant’ meant a page that contained the most instances of a keyword, with Google relevant is partially calculated by what others (via links) think is relevant.

A while back I talked about the SEO strategy surrounding blogs and made some jokes/jabs about it. With blogs, the SEO strategy should start with, “Write good relevant content that people find interesting.”

Newsroom vendors hype the SEO benefits of keyword-optimized press releases. Great, are they HRO? As a general web user, is a press release really what you want to read?

About the Author
Josh Hallett leads up the Voce Connect Client Services team, managing the care and feeding of clients and developing social media strategies with the rest of the team. You can also read his personal Hyku blog and follow him on Twitter @hyku.

Filed in Marketing, SEO

Add Your Comment1 Response to “HRO – The Evolution of SEO”

Rob Williams on February 9th, 2008 at 12:46 pm

It always amazes me that this line of thinking is still overlooked. I’ve been trying to communicate this at least since 2004: Design for your target audience and the search engine will follow