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How we think about SEO

There's no shortage of SEO people out there who will tell you how to find the right keywords, get backlinks, and optimize your Moz score.

We've had plenty of our work feature #1 on Google without doing any of this. That said, we're not anti-SEO.

SEO as answering people's questions

We think about SEO as "answering people's questions". That's what search engines were originally all about anyway. When we're producing software tutorials, the writer-engineer is answering their own questions and assuming that other engineers will have the same ones, so not much research is necessary.

Sometimes, it's useful to do some research to figure out what people are asking. It's not always intuitive. For example "Flask vs Jupyter" is a common search term. It makes no sense to compare these two things, as one is a web framework and the other is a data science notebook, but the fact that people are searching for "Flask vs Jupyter" means there is a question to be answered, and one of our articles ranks #1 for "Flask vs Jupyter" because we answered that question.

Answering questions through comparisons

Knowledge is built as a network of related ideas. It's often easier to explain what something is by comparing it to something a reader already knows than it is to explain it from scratch. But not every reader knows the same thing. We sometimes write X-vs-Y articles that compare many different platforms, tools, libraries, or similar: the idea of these isn't that someone reads the entire article, but rather that they skip to the header that compares the thing they are trying to figure out with the thing they already know.

We built to help figure out what people are searching for. If you use the headers or subheaders our versus tool generates in your article, it's quite likely to rank well on Google, even without any other kind of keyword optimization or backlink building.

Even so, you'll still need to do the hard work of figuring out:

  • Who the reader is that's asking these questions
  • How to answer their question in a way that makes sense to them

This isn't a "quick SEO hack" to rank well. It's a tool to help you get started.