Traditional Aspects of SEO
SEO – Search Engine Optimization – has been around since search engines have. When someone want’s to find something on the web, be it service, goods, or just information, it almost always starts with search. When a professional wants to optimize a website, they typically focus on three traditional things:
On Page SEO
This aspect of SEO is the most viable when running an audit of a website. It deals with the technical aspects of what makes a site search engine friendly. A website has many elements which are either going to help or hurt based on how they are employed. Does your site have good architecture? Was it built correctly using best practices? Do your images have alt tags? That sort of thing. Usually there are lots of areas that a given site can do better, and this is the best place to start.
This aspect deals with how content on the site is optimized for SEO. Search engines are pretty simple in that it doesn’t take much to give them the quality of content that they want, and Google has released some guidelines about what is and is not considered quality content. SEO professionals typically attempt to optimize content for search engines using tags and keywords, while good copywriters make sure the content is topical. When Google’s Panda update was released, it took the quality of content needed to secure a better tanking up a notch.
Popularity and Off-Page SEO
This aspect is about some of the things you can’t easily control. How many people are linking to your page, and how did you get those links? Google prefers that you get backlinks to your page in an organic manner, and when it released the Penguin update, it attempted to penalize those trying to get backlinks to their site in a not-so-legitimate manner. However, many high ranking pages are obviously not using only organic links, so SEO professionals attempt to stay under Googles radar while using banklinks to boost their page rank.
A Different Angle to Traditional SEO
When doing SEO, its easy to get caught up in the way things have always been done and continue doing them in a very methodical way. However, Google’s algorithm is changing on a pretty consistent basis, and if we as SEO professionals don’t keep up, there is a very good chance that we, and our clients, will be left behind. Yes, you need a well built site with lots of links and good content, but that’s just the basics. We need to do more than that, and to understand that, we need to understand what Google really wants.
When you put new content on your page, are people in your industry taking notice? Do they mention you when making their own content? To optimize your site and standout, you want to make it impossible for your competition to not mention you and what you are doing. If that’s not happening, go back and make your content better and get it seen by the right people. We are no longer writing content for search engines, we are writing content for people. If people don’t like what you are sharing, search engines won’t either.
Does the content on your site leave visitors with the impression that you know what you’re talking about, and are good at communicating that expertise? Yes, your content should be optimized for search engines, and yes, you need to pay attention to things like the presence of keywords. However, most of that stuff is automated for an SEO professional. Where the value comes in is when we push our clients to become experts in their field, and to make that expertise known. This is one of the most important challenges regarding content.
How is your site security? Are you taking care of the visitors to your site by protecting their data and their interactions with you? Just having an SSL certificate installed isn’t enough anymore. A good SEO professional needs to make sure that a visitor’s experience is pleasant and safe.
All of these aspects don’t deviate from the substance of traditionalist SEO as much as they do the spirit of it. When your competitors are talking to their clients about technical details and banklinking strategies, you will have an edge by redefining the vision and focus of your agency to concentrate more on what Google (and ultimately Google’s users) actually want. Standing out isn’t as easy as it used to be, and to break free of the pack, you need to be exceptional.