No, I am not going to suggest you put your website on a diet to get better search rankings although I am certain some sites could benefit from judicious pruning.
What do I mean then??
What both industries have in common is people wanting to pay for a silver bullet or magic pill if you will. It's not happening for most of us.
There is a simple FREE answer to losing weight.
Eat less and exercise more. That's it. There is no more.
Few people are satisfied with this answer though, they continually search for the magic solution. The diet industry moved $65 billion, yes with a B, in 2012. Some of this money is spent on books and recipes that are sound investments, some is spent on magic potions.
SEO is almost the same. Want better rankings? More visitors to your site? The short answer is better content. Few are happy to spend the time to do what they know they must.
Yes, I know it isn't exactly that simple, there are some clear lists of minimum requirements for working well with Search Engines. These lists are also available for FREE.
Get Google's advice directly via Webmaster Guidelines
Clients and potential clients call and ask if we know about SEO. The answer is yes. What we know is not however, what most want to hear. We won't magically make your site be first on Google, Yahoo, Jeeves etc. We can help YOU improve your rankings, but only if you put in the time. That is why the SEO industry totalled $500 million pounds in England last year. Who knows how much money changed hands elsewhere. People would rather throw money at a problem than roll up their sleeves.
I read an interesting post recently, The Inconvenient Truth at SmashingMagazine.com. If you own a website it is worth a read.
Remember, you shouldn’t be optimizing for ranking in search engines, you should be optimizing for users.
In it, Paul Boag posited that his real problem with SEO is, "It implies we should be accommodating the idiosyncrasies of search engines above the needs of users."
Food for thought.