Website Magazine just released a big story in its May 2016 issue about Search Engine Optimization called “The Secret of SEO.”  I love articles like these (especially from a paid content provider) because they give me a renewed glimpse into the latest strategies that I may or may not already be doing for myself and for my search marketing clients.

SEO 2016Oddly enough, the very opening of the article is revealing in its big, bold letters.  It states simply enough that search engine optimization itself in 2016 isn’t really THAT different than it has been in the past.

Indeed, the practice itself of making a web site more ‘attractive’ to search engines is very similar to what it’s always been.  It’s just that although we can still put the lipstick on, we don’t want to put it on the pig….we need to create something more worthy of that SEO lipstick.

SEO is more about the positive experience your website (or ranking web page) has to offer its target audience.  Is there any value in what you are saying?  Anything new or interesting worth sharing for your reader?

Five or more years ago, dry and dull copy on a page stuffed with keywords a company wanted to rank for may have dominated certain search engine queries. Now that the search engine landscape has become more and more crowded, those tactics are no longer a viable option for any search phrase worth ranking for.

After all, a big part of a solid SEO strategy is researching and identifying which search phrases are relevant to your business.  Further filtering that initial seed list of appropriate phrases to target means that you must identify phrases that are in demand, yet not overcrowded (too competitive).

Add Value, Not Fluff

The easiest online marketing strategy still goes something like this; first offer value with your web page, then make it friendly for search engines to digest.  Somewhere along the way, search engines started looking at more than just keywords, they began to look at the experience and the value a page could offer to make it worthy of rankings.  We can’t just ‘magically optimize’ crappy content anymore and expect high organic rankings.

Why?  People don’t read crappy content and they don’t share it.  If there is no buzz around your dry garbage copy, no value to readers, then search engines are smart enough to determine this simply by monitoring how actual humans respond to your web page (no matter how many keyword tricks you pull.)

Does this mean SEO fundamentals don’t work anymore?  Absolutely not….they just need to be used in conjunction with a few other things to truly shine and that was the point of the article.

So, what are these ‘other things’ that the article referenced?  I’m going to take a look at each of the three ‘pillars’ or ‘foundations’ that the article referenced below.

Three Basic SEO Foundations in 2016

Simply put, we can boil SEO fundamentals into three basic buckets.  They are 1) Content (what people are actually reading/viewing), 2) Links (people share and link to great content) and 3) Experience (is your site mobile friendly, secure and fast to load?)

I will be writing more about these three ideas with specific posts coming soon.  However, I think the point of the article was that these three items are what what we need to have in place before the optimization comes into play.  Simply put, these three details create the best environment for a site visitor which is who Google wants to keep sending your way ultimately.  Without these foundations on your site, optimization will be a waste of time…like putting lipstick on that pig we were talking about earlier.

Check back, I’ll be linking to new posts soon….lots to cover with concept but I think that following these guidelines will make both search engines and your site visitors happy!