The New SEO Definition Is Rooted in The User

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What is search engine optimization (SEO)? When defining SEO we wanted to make sure we took Google’s goal into consideration. Their goal is to connect users, with the most relevant, inclusive, and contextual content available. So, the job of the modern day SEO is to help websites create valuable contextual experiences built on a strong foundation that aligns with a website’s primary personas and user journeys. Defining the job of the SEO professional in this way aligns with Google’s goal, and helps Google find, understand, and rank the best experiences – ultimately driving valuable traffic to your website.

The New SEO Goals

In the new definition of SEO, there are two primary SEO goals that all the strategies roll up into.

SEO Goal #1: Create targeted and valuable experiences and content to earn high-value traffic.

SEO Goal #2: Increase conversions and user satisfaction by creating an environment that allows the user to connect directly with the content that best matches their intent.

At its core we believe SEO strategies, above all else, must provide value to a website’s target personas, and the brand as a whole. So everything we do is rooted in long term value.

Traditional SEOUser-focused SEO
Algorithm Is The FocusUsers And Personas Are The Focus
Hyper-targeted Short ArticlesIn-depth Articles
Focus On KeywordsTopic Focused Writing
Content UniquenessContent Value
Content QualityContent Quality
Specific SEO TacticsBrand Building
Link BuildingRelationship Building
Buying LinksEarning Links
Quick WinsLong-term Strategy
SEO Is Completed At The End Of The ProcessSEO Is Included Throughout The Process
Accountability Is On The SEO TeamSEO Accountability Is On Every Team
SEO Compliance Is The Responsibility Of The SEO TeamSEO Compliance Is The Responsibility Of Every Team
SEO Opperates In A SiloThe SEO Data Layer Is Integrated Into Every Process
Mass MarketingPeople Marketing

Download this comparison chart here [pdf] [png].

Parts of the New Definition of SEO

Below are the 3 primary parts of the new definition of SEO. They include foundational and planning elements, onsite elements, and distribution elements that help earn value.

1. Foundational/Discovery Elements

A New Persona In The Mix

In order to create a successful marketing campaign, it is important to understand who you are targeting. When SEO is an important part of the marketing mix it’s important to define and include Googlebot as a persona to help drive SEO integration and value.

Client Alignment Training

What: This includes continuous knowledge sharing and training sessions with clients about the ever-changing SEO landscape.

Why: This is done to help align internal client teams, educate the client about valuable SEO strategies, and align belief systems, so that everyone is working towards the same goal.

Define Success Metrics

What: These are the primary and secondary goals of the campaign

Why: Used to help define strategies, distribution maps, and align campaign focus across channels

Define High-Value Keywords

What: Defines the set of high-value keywords to optimize for, and build value around. These high-value keywords are defined based on their traffic value, conversion value, persona value, and brand value.

Why: This will give us a list of high-value keywords to focus on and build the content strategy from.

Baseline Measurement

What: This is a measurement across your primary search KPIs.

Why: This is done to provide a baseline for measuring the success and value of the marketing strategies.

SEO Value Score

What: An audit of 100+ weighted variables built on an algorithm that correlates with SEO value. It identifies opportunities for optimizations that can contribute to site health, crawl ability, and the search engine’s understanding of how relevant your website is for your high-value keywords.

Why: This is used to help uncover site issues that would keep the search engines from understanding the websites authority, relevancy, or crawl ability.

Competitive Audit

What: This identifies your real competition for both informational and commercial search queries. It runs off a framework that helps you build smart strategies from insights gained from analyzing real competitive sets.

Why: This helps us understand keyword difficulty as well as strategies the competitive set is using to drive traffic, gain rankings, and increase conversions.

Define Content KPIs

What: These are the primary and secondary goals of new content assets.

Why: These will be used when defining content strategies, distribution maps, and aligning campaigns across channels.

Define Persona Target

What: These define the target demographics and psychographics of the user type that a website wants to target.

Why: This is used when determining what type of content to create, what topics to target, and where the content should be distributed.

Onsite Content Audit

What: Analysis of current content sets utilizing GAP, ROP, Keyword, and Intent Analysis.

Why: This helps align user and search engine needs, with goals and KPIs of the content sets.

GAP Analysis

What: This analysis uncovers gaps in current content sets and topic targets and those which have been identified as being important.

Why: This helps inform content creation strategy, and can help inform site hierarchy based on current content sets.

ROT Analysis

What: This uncovers low-value content that is classified as either “redundant”, “outdated”, or “trivial”.

Why: This helps inform content creation strategy for deletion, creation, or rewriting current content sets.

User Intent Analysis

What: This helps align user needs of those coming from search results, with the content set they land on.

Why: This is used to ensure the users intent is being met with the content they land on when coming from a search result. Having a higher user intent score can increase user satisfaction and give positive signals (such as low bounce rate) to the search engines, that the page is ranking for the correct keywords – this helps solidify rankings.

2. Onsite SEO Elements

Tagging Updates

What: This includes title tags, description tags, and header tag updates

Why: This is used to align the tagging of the content, with user and search engine needs for page relevancy and hierarchy.

Onsite Content Updates For Legacy Content

What: This includes updating content sets to reflect priority keyword targets.

Why: This is done to better align the search engines and the users with the value of the content set and what the page is relevant for.

Define Content Type For New Content

What: This helps define the content types that will be most effective in the campaign.

Why: Each type of content has strengths that help it be more effective towards accomplishing a business or marketing goal. This tells us which type, or a combination of, the content we should be using.

Topic Definition For New Content

What: This helps us define the topics for the new content sets.

Why: Once the type of content is defined, and we know who we are targeting, we can define the topics for the content. These topics are defined using a similar model as the keyword definition stage, and takes into account traffic value, conversion value, persona value, and brand value.

3. Distribution Strategy

Distribution Map

What: This is a “map” that helps define content distribution.

Why: This helps define the channels that each piece of content should be distributed on to drive goal completion and KPIs.

Content Creation

What: This includes creating new content that is not currently on the website.

Why: This content can be used for onsite keyword targeting and traffic gains, conversion rate optimization and goal completion, as well as within social channels to build community and brand.

Social Channel Utilization

What: This involves utilizing social channels as a distribution source and engagement medium for new and existing content.

Why: Social channels can be used to help socialize and distribute content. This results in better user metrics and inbound links that contribute to authority and relevancy, as well as community building and brand positioning.

Digital PR

What: This is inclusive of identifying high-value content partners, putting together an outreach strategy, and executing an outreach program to build links and ranking metrics.

Why: This is done to help build relevancy and authority for keyword rankings, to drive traffic, and increase brand value and awareness.

Social Channel Optimization

What: This is about optimizing social channels and social content.

Why: This is done to help build a strong foundation for content on social channels, which helps them rank within the social channel. An example of this would be optimizing videos for YouTube distribution.

Benefits of Executing SEO In This Way

  1. Helps manage online reputation.
  2. Protects against traffic loss during site migrations and redesigns.
  3. Protects against being penalized by search engines.
  4. Lowers risk of ranking loss due to an algorithm update.
  5. Increases ROI and conversions.
  6. Increases user satisfaction from those coming from search and referral channels.
  7. Better matches user intent with content sets.
  8. Improve website usability and brand satisfaction.
  9. Increases not only traffic quantity but also traffic quality.
  10. Earned social shares and engagement from influencers.
  11. Earned links and citations on high-value websites.
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