Earlier this week, I was asked exactly what Search Engine Optimisation is…a surprisingly difficult question to answer if the other person doesn’t have a lot of digital knowledge and doesn’t have a lot of time! The person who I was talking to had neither, so I came up with the below. Hopefully you will be able to use it in a similar situation, like if you are trying to explain to a senior manager about the importance of SEO investment.
Pillar 1: On-Page Content
Over the years, the way to optimise your content has changed. Previously, keyword stuffing was a la mode, but search engines have become more sophisticated and this no longer works. Your content should be informative and easy for the user to read. You should mention the words which you are trying to optimise the page for, but only in the natural context of the page itself. The general rule is if you have kept the user happy, the search engine will be happy with you!
Pillar 2: Off-Page Networking
Again, over the years, the way that your page should network (i.e. the page’s link strategy) has changed. Link farms are only the domain (no pun intended) of black hat SEO practitioners, and should be avoided at all costs. I like to think of link strategies like regular human networking. Everyone earns their network by being useful, and can grow their network by being introduced to new people. Your link strategy should be earned naturally – by providing excellent on-page content that people want to share, e.g. through social networks.
Pillar 3: Under the Bonnet
There are a number of ‘under the bonnet’ (or hood for American friends!) changes that you can make that can have an impact on your SEO performance. Uploading an xml sitemap, tagging your images and having accurate meta titles and descriptions will enable search engines to find you more easily and understand your content.
Over the next three weeks, I will explain each of the pillars in more depth, so make sure you check back to find out how to optimise your site using the Three Pillars of SEO.