Old vs new. Technical vs creative. Code vs content. The same old arguments exist within the world of SEO and that’s because everybody wants to be THE authority on the subject.
So when it really comes to it, who can we trust and what should we believe?
Opinion shifts and changes on the say so of a Google algorithm update, a Matt Cutt’s blog, a MOZ whiteboard or a Quicksprout revelation. We bookmark web pages, companies and people who provide us with unlimited content, which documents every new strand of DNA that grows within the shapeshifter that is SEO.
As a student of the digital era, it’s up to you make an educated decision on how you mould your own strategies and what sources you believe in. Here are just a few of the arguments that take place every single day:
Technical aspects of SEO
Anyone who tells you that there’s no point in fixing errors, providing your site with all of the aspects of responsivity and ensuring continuity is a traditionalist - an artist of content - a biased soul. Having awesome content is half of the battle - you still have to signpost it, make sure the experience of that content is simple & navigable and that there’s no chinks in the armour of the website. Tools such as the Screaming Frog Spider Tool can help you tidy up glaring mistakes and provides you with a great base to start from.
There are endless tools out there, which will tell you how the user is working their way through your site. Use them. Whatever you think you know could be totally different from what happens in reality. Prove your own theories and show them to your client. Crazy Egg by Quicksprout allows you to see what parts of the page your audience are drawn to and what parts are going to waste/not being utilised. The heat mapping and confetti tools pinpoint exactly where activity takes place. In addition, the tool also gives you some vital insights into time on the page, origin of the country etc. Insights like this can help you tweak design and content, as well as inspiring new elements of your website.
Visually appealing, creative design
Websites have to be responsive - it’s as simple as that. That’s why we’re seeing simple, clean cut designs that cater to tablets and mobile devices. But it’s always nice to be different isn’t it? Cater as much as you like, just make sure you’re serving up a meal for the eyes of your audience. Information that’s presented in various forms in media will be a huge draw to your to whoever you're trying to attract and to Google. Try incorporating infographics, videos, animation, PDFs, slideshows etc. wherever you can and you could find your audience growing exponentially.
A balance of old SEO and new SEO
This is the key to making your content sing. You still have do your keyword research and build web pages around certain searchable terms, but it’s not solely about those single keywords. Providing your audience with solutions to problems, presenting the information in an entertaining & accessible fashion, as well encouraging their opinion will boost your content. It’s proven. Create a discussion around your content and that discussion will be your escalator to page 1. Long tail key phrases are now recognisable and relevant, which means Jeeves (Google) will actually answer your question if you ask it.
Be honest and innovate. Revisit but don’t rip off. Be technical but don’t overpopulate and point to things that don’t exist. Answer questions but leave room for interpretation. Become an authority but not a dictator. Adapt to the landscape but don’t forget what you said before.
Design and create a website for the user. Don’t just do it for search.
Checklist (this is our own order)
- ✔ Responsive
- ✔ Tries to answer questions to age-old riddles
- ✔ Navigable, visually appealing
- ✔ Content is focussed & entertaining
- ✔ Updated and ready to be repurposed
- ✔ Collar matches the cuffs (meta & content)
MOZ / http://moz.com/blog
Quicksprout / http://bit.ly/quicksproutseo
Search Engine Land / http://selnd.com/12jWlSu
Screaming Frog / http://bit.ly/1B5Cd5K