Whether you look at the search guidelines of Google or Bing, most search engines advice webmaster that they should focus on users and not search engines. Rand debunks this myth as he points out several things that are essential for SEO but users will never see them:

  • Redirection: Without engines, we can use whatever method is convenient – javascript, meta refresh, 302 – it makes little difference to the user.
  • Rel="Nofollow": Internally or externally, it becomes a pointless attribute.
  • Title tags: We might still make them, but agonize over keyword usage and positioning, uniqueness and flow? I doubt it.
  • Meta tags: Nope. No reason to even bother.
  • XML Sitemaps: I’m pretty sure no human has ever visited this file in an attempt to sort out the pages on your site.
  • Webmaster Tools Registration: Without engines, there wouldn’t be any.
  • URL Canonicalization: No need – visitors are getting the content either way.
  • Accessible Link Structures: So long as you’re not worried about the >2% of visitors who can’t see Flash, go ahead and build rich applications to your heart’s content.
  • Robots.txt & Meta Robots: No engines, no reason to direct engines.
  • Link Building: Unless it’s specifically to draw in relevant traffic, why bother?