We tell you to not just write but to write the best content. To engage with people on social networks. To wonder where and how to add your contact information to your website so you can send Google a other trust signal. To skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it's been, and so to figure out what Google's going to do (good luck on that one and please let us know when you figured it out!).
It's where we do suggest <title> changes, clean code, fix bugs.
It's where you go after quality links, investing hours in getting an A-list blogger to link to your site about lawn care services.
It's a world where nice guys finish first; #1 on Google, first page.
It's not true.
Whatever you have read or heard about SEO and about Google's smarts, links are the name of the game and any well linked site will beat yours tomorrow if they want to. And I don't mean well linked in the sense of quality -- oh no, that has nothing to do with it. Quantity beats quality. Wanna know why? Because machines can't measure quality and so they approximate it with popularity. And popularity on the web means ... well linked. It's a vicious circle out there, folks!
The reality is that games work and both you and Google are being gamed. Deal with it.
The Pretty Picture
So why do we tell you those other things? Is this all smoke and mirrors? Snake oil?
We tell you, we instruct you so, because we care and it does matter. Yours is not a burner site you can just abandon for another Made For Adsense project; yours is your company site.
You're not running a scam; you're selling real things for real money to real people. No pay-per-installation malware is dropped on people's computers by your site and if it were to happen it is because your site got hacked by the bad guys.
When you get hard-earned, longed for prospects on your site, you don't want to feed them machine-generated or other badly written content: you want to woo them and give them your best.
You want to sell.
And in the end it's not just infinitely more effective but also much easier to keep your site in the index the right way, to garner links because your site is that damned good, to get social network attention from people instead of machines.
Reality is the pretty picture.