Think of your company’s SEO basics as a structure or a house that you are building. Throwing together some walls and windows and surrounding them with hothouse plants might look great for a second. But it probably won’t withstand the effects of time.
On the other hand, building a strong foundation for your SEO basics is like grading the slope first. Then you must ensure the walls are plumb, landscape with care, and make sure everything is covered with a roof that doesn’t leak.
Here’s how to put SEO basics together into a structure that makes you proud.
The Foundation is High-Quality Content
Without high-quality content, your SEO plan is doomed. We all have to remind ourselves that search engine optimization isn’t really about search engines. It is about the people who use them.
Search engine algorithms are smart enough to separate keyword-stuffed drivel from a narrative in which the keywords flow naturally. However, an algorithm can’t compare to a human brain that can differentiate a compelling narrative from a dull one.
When you create a piece of content for your website, it should end up as something you can be proud to associate with your company’s name (and your name if you have a byline). Ask yourself these questions before you click “publish.”
- Does this content hold together, or is it disjointed?
- Do the images and/or videos harmonize well with the written content?
- Would I be happy to show this to a potential customer?
- Does it represent the company’s voice and values?
Just as you would build a house you would be proud to have your friends visit, you should build content that you would want potential customers to use. You want potential customers to benefit from having read it.
Structural Walls of Actionable Content
The walls of a house organize the space while holding up the roof. The structure of your web content likewise should be straight and purposeful.
Each section of your content should serve an identifiable function. It should organize your narrative so that it flows, just as foot traffic flows from one room to the next.
In other words, rather than going back and forth between features and benefits, why not have the features and benefits together in one “room?” That way, website visitors can take them in without confusion.
The “front door” to your content should be inviting. At the end of your content, when you metaphorically show your guest out the back door where they can mingle and talk, they should feel glad to have been there. They should feel as if they belong.
The “Curb Appeal” of Engaging Writing
Even the most structurally sound house isn’t appealing if there is trash strewn about, walls left unpainted, or hinges sagging so doors don’t close properly.
Similarly, content about the most appealing topic doesn’t appeal if it is full of mistakes, goes off on tangents, or changes tone in every other paragraph.
When you see a house with curb appeal, you want to get closer. You want to explore. When you see clean, organized content on a topic that interests you, you want to explore and experience what the content has to offer.
Clean Windows Reveal Ethical SEO Basics
Say you have always wanted a house with a spiral staircase. As you’re driving by a house for sale, you catch a glimpse through a large bay window of what appears to be a spiral staircase.
But when you and the real estate agent visit, you discover that it ascends into an unfinished space that would require quite a bit of work to become usable. At that point, you may consider giving up on the house altogether.
If you thought you were going to get your spiral staircase only to discover it wasn’t that simple, what else might the seller be hiding from you?
Dishonest, or “black hat” SEO is similar in many ways. Unethical SEO pushes content to the top of search engines, yet doesn’t deliver on its promises. It infuriates readers and prompts search engine algorithm developers to invent new ways to keep that dishonest content out of search results.
SEO is a long game. Your ethical and above-board SEO practices may not deliver overnight results, but in the long run, they will demonstrate honesty and integrity — qualities most companies want to be associated with.
“Roof” Ensures SEO Basics Are Covered
Before publishing new content on your website, make sure you have covered everything. For example, you may ask,
- Did I use my keywords so they flow naturally in the content?
- Do the headings and subheadings make sense and provide structure?
- Is my content easy to navigate?
- Do the image tags provide accurate information for screen readers used by people with vision challenges?
- If I read the content out loud, would it sound natural?
- Does it have a beginning, middle, and end?
- Would I be happy to have my name associated with this content?
Like a sound roof, SEO basics should cover everything. “Holes” give your competitors opportunities to outrank you.
SEO Basics Step by Step
- Start with a Foundation of Quality
Choose a topic that benefits potential customers.
Select keywords that are relevant to your topic.
Plan for the best way to present the content.
- Build Strong Walls
Organize the topic and subtopics logically.
Write a narrative that flows naturally.
Use headings to divide content into digestible chunks.
- Make the Content Appealing
Write correct, concise, informative content.
Deliver what the title and keywords promise.
Don’t deceive readers with hard-sell or non-relevant information.
- Make Sure Everything is Covered
Ask yourself if the content serves customers and answers their needs.
Ensure you haven’t left out anything relevant and important.
Edit out extraneous information.
Hard Work on SEO Basics Pays Off
It takes time and skill to build a safe, solid, functional structure. And it takes skill to build accurate, easy-to-understand content that benefits readers.
Unlike search engine marketing (SEM), SEO works over time. It is designed to withstand the tests of time and the changing “weather” of evolving search algorithms.
Don’t concern yourself with fly-by-night “developers” who throw something together that checks all the boxes but provides no lasting value. Time (or the next Google algorithm update) will show it for what it is.
We can help you build a website that is structurally sound and has all of the features your business needs. And we know how to give it the features that help it ascend the search engine rankings.
If you are interested in a new website, a website refresh, or advice on digital marketing, we encourage you to set up a call with our team. Let’s build something great together.