How can websites rank well if they don't practice SEO?
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Can websites that don’t know SEO rank well?

Can websites that don’t know SEO rank well? - answered by Matt Cutts


It can be useful to stick to SEO best practices, but Google is trying to make sure that you don’t have to do SEO and still rank well. They will definitely try to find the best content and put it in front of people. Of course, it would help if you had a technically healthy website. It’s very important to concentrate on having uniquely valuable content - accessible, crawlable and useful.


Matt's answer:

Google would appear to favour sites that are built by those who know all the SEO best practice techniques and tips. There must be many technically poor sites that actually have fantastic content, surely these shouldn’t be penalized?


They’re definitely not penalized in the sense that they don’t receive any manual action that would make them rank lower. But we do try to compensate if there’s good quality content and people still make mistakes. All the time people ask: “why don’t I get a bonus for having W3C code that validates really well?”


There’s a lot of great content that doesn’t validate but is still really good


Just because somebody dots every I, and crosses every T, and gets all of their HTML structure right, doesn’t mean that it’s the best content. There are a lot of common sense things you can do, like making your content accessible, making it crawlable, having good titles. But even if you do kind of brain dead, stupid things, and shoot yourself in the foot, but have good content – we do want to return it. So if you embed something in some binary that we have to extract, or we have to process some JavaScript to find the links, or work around if you have untitled on all of your pages, and we have to try to synthesize or guess a title – we’ll still try to do that.


We try to make it so that you don’t have to do SEO, and we still find the good content. Of course, if you’re willing to put a little bit of time into just making sure that your content is accessible, and useful, all those things, that absolutely can help. But it’s definitely not the case that we want to penalize anybody if they don’t do every single thing right on the SEO checklist.


If somebody isn’t SEO savvy, it doesn’t mean they don’t have good content


First and foremost, we care about trying to get the stuff that people really will like, the good, the compelling content in front of them. And so we try to make Googlebot smarter every year. And we try to think about new ways to index and return pages. And that’s just something that we’ll keep working on and hopefully do it relatively well.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: