The Four Pillars of SEO

 1. SEO is about Content

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Lots of SEO managers talk about keyword density, Meta tags, long-tail keywords and a dozen other buzzwords that make they believe they control the placement of websites within google. The truth is, over the long-term, good placements in google come from great content. In fact, content that engages the user will increase your SEO and content that you add to increase your SEO should engage your user.

Why?

Because, at the root of the situation, SEO is simply about giving your reader the best information for their query. If your site provides the best features, community, information and engagement it will naturally be ranked higher in SEO. You’ll also have less to worry about during SEO changes because you will have naturally, fresh and organic content. However, you can’t forgo good SEO practices just because you have top quality content. Too many sites remain obscure due to poor SEO. Don’t let your site fall victim to thinking content is enough.

2. SEO is about authority

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No matter how far we go with content, technical SEO, and marketing research, links will hold a site back. After all, who would trust a site that has no inbound links? Would you? The odds that you are the first person to discover a diamond in the rough website is absurd. Which is why search engines like Google still rank inbound links incredibly high.

Inbound links are like references during an interview, they add authority to the content on your site and increase the flow of traffic, both through the links and through a higher ranking on search engines. However, no matter the importance of links to a website, you shouldn’t seek out cheap services that offer thousands of links for mere dollars. These links will be rated as bad in SEO and will negatively hurt your ranking.

So, how does a budding SEO manager secure good-quality links? There is no magic answer, however, my favorite solution is through the blogosphere, where guest-bloggers will happily link back to your site from their own. You can also seek to guest blog on other sites as well. Increasing your exposure to new audiences.

3. Please don’t forget the tags

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Imagine a large warehouse, it’s filed with boxes on plain metal shelves. You receive a new shipment of boxes, all stuffed with premium items. In a hurry, you stuff those boxes quickly onto the shelves and forget to mark them, leaving only what was originally on the box to identify the contents. How likely are you to find those boxes again? Will anyone else, working in the warehouse, be able to tell what’s in the box? Probably not. The content of those boxes will sit unused until inventory time. That’s exactly why title tags are so important in SEO. If you don’t give your individual pages a title, then search engines will automatically title your pages for you. Since the title is the first thing the reader sees, a poor title will drive away traffic before they ever reach your site.

Worse yet, a poor title will mean your page will be buried behind a million other pages and never be seen again. Always give each page a title tag – opting for a title that includes your primary keywords and is descriptive about what’s on the page. That way, your user knows exactly what they’re getting when they click your link.

Don’t over think title tags either, they should be short, succinct and contain just enough information to entice a reader. Web Crawlers will detect the tag and rank your page higher for keywords within the tag that are relevant to the information on the page.

4. SEO is about the User

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If you were to walk into a store with great merchandise, good service and a clean store – you’re likely to buy more from that company, regardless of their pricing – many profitable companies operate on this strategy. Now how about a dirty store, with poor service, and low quality products? How low of a price would items need to be for a customer to purchase them? Websites function in the same way. Sites that cater to customers can charge more for their services, while poorly written, clunky websites struggle to survive.

Too many new SEO managers get caught up in the technical details of SEO. Page ranking, user interfaces, typeface, etc. There are so many features and details which lead themselves to be micromanaged in SEO. However, at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is the user experience. What does the user get out of the SEO?

Obtaining clicks or a high search rating won’t mean much if users immediately click away from the site after the first page. You must cultivate a user experience that benefits the user in a way that encourages engagement and sharing, before you see a large benefit from SEO. How do you do this? Through content. After all, Content is King. If you provide the content the user is seeking, users are more likely to remain on your page, share your site, and engage with the community – which will naturally increase your SEO.

So what is SEO about?

In conclusion, SEO is a complicated machine, with thousands of moving parts – and the rules change every year. However, with every rule change it remains the same. Providing quality content that enhances the user experience will always place your sites above the crowd.