Many people still think of search engine optimisation (SEO) as purely metadata sets, or on-page key phrases. But over time SEO has become a lot more sophisticated, and a much more holistic approach is required.
And what really pleases me about SEO today is that it requires an ethical approach meaning transparent, honest and truly helpful marketing content is required. Today the search engines have caught up with the cyber wrong-doers, and are ready to penalise them.
While many traditional SEO techniques, such as early key phrase placement and alt attribute applications are still valid, search engine crawl technology has evolved to a point where robots interpret your content very differently from previous times.
In fact, it is true to say that robots can now ‘read’ textual and visual content. They will also analyse link structures, and through this, make sense of the flow of web pages.
This means they will understand the complete structure of your website, and they will read the entire story, and if there are any gaps in that story, there’s going to be gaps in your search return performance.
But beware, robots will detect inconsistencies in inbound links, navigation and headings in relation to actual page content. This means that if inbound links or on-site navigation are misleading, your ranking will be affected and your visibility may be significantly reduced.
This means care should be taken in not only the creation of individual pieces of marketing content, but also the entire structuring of the site. And everything counts: content structure, navigation, tag descriptions and link structures are all scrutinised during a crawl.
The effort required to meet the rising website performance standards required by this high-level scrutiny will deliver well structured, accessible and high quality content. The kind of content people will want to share with peers and when they do, this sharing will be detected, and will further improve your search ranking.
So, what the search engines are looking for, and are rewarding, is well created content which is readily accessible in a logically structured web environment. So the better your website, the greater the rewards in visibility, and more importantly the better the user experience.
But beware, robots will detect inconsistencies in inbound links, navigation and headings in relation to actual page content. This means that if inbound links or on-site navigation are misleading, your ranking will be affected and your visibility may be significantly reduced. So it’s well worth getting this right.
Many agency-side people in the digital space seem to suffer with separation anxiety issues. That is to say that they don’t like including links that cause site visitors to leave their website to view off-site knowledge bases or other digital resources. At Novacom, we think this is short-sighted.
If you have developed a well structured and highly navigable website with helpful, accessible content, transparent and ethical marketing communications, you have nothing to fear.
That is because search engines will reward you with higher visibility and visitors will also reward you by coming back. Search robots do not see website structure and content as we do, but they do know right from wrong, in a pretty human kind of way.