SEO, search engine optimization, begins with the web content (on the page) but also includes building a solid reputation for the web content. Search engine rankings try to approximate trust along with relevance. While relevance can be built largely on the page, trust is demonstrated by how the web content is referenced by the Internet at large. Off the Page SEO elements, as identified by Search Engine Land in “The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors” , include links, social, trust and personal.
SEO and Links
Search engines have always used links from other sites to determine the quality and relevance of content. SEO efforts have focused on link building. Link building is the process of actively seeking out links to your web content. Link building used to be a problem with SEO as people would trade links to improve search results and create sites of links for money. Both of these have been addressed in current search engines.
The SEO link elements are:
- Quality – link come from a site that is also considered to be trusted.
- Text – text surrounding the link corresponds to the web content being referenced, especially with the same keywords.
- Numbers – number of one-way links from reputable sites. (One-way means there is a link to the web site and not any links back to the same site.)
Links will naturally occur through people referring to your site as content is discovered. Social Media provides a great way to promote content and create links through social sharing. Bloggers will also engage with other blogs through comments, linking back to their own content. Care should be taken when using blog comments to build links as to avoid becoming a spammer.
SEO and Social
Social Media has created new opportunities for SEO. Many blogs and web sites allow and encourage web site content to be shared on Social Media platforms. Search engines track how much content is shared, and highly shared content is given a better ranking as it represents a level of trust. Social shares is closely related to the concept of linking.
Social Media adds an additional dimension to SEO. Social Media has the concept of identity which allows for a reputation to be ascertained for a given Social Media profile. Social Media profiles that are followed, active in sharing and actively retweeted / re-shared have a stronger reputation. So, search engines can also rank based upon the quality of Social Media interaction based on the reputation.
To take advantage of the Social elements, make it easy to follow and share your content from your web site. Web site tools, such as WordPress, have many different ways to make this easy to incorporate. Engaging with influential people on Social Media can also be a great way to both promote your content and improve SEO. Build a relationship and share information. Hopefully it will build from there.
SEO and Trust
Approximating trust is one of the goals of search engines. There are two SEO elements about trust that have been around for a while and one element that is emerging. One aspect of trust is authority. Authority is a cumulative SEO element, being evaluated based upon the quality of links and social interaction.
The other longstanding SEO element of trust is history. History refers to the history of the site, how long the site is in operation and if the site has been focused on the same topics for that history. So, buying an old domain will not help if the nature of the site changes.
One of the more recent movements in the Internet has been to better establish identity. (This has been a big push with Google+) As the author tag has become available in HTML for content to better secure their work, identity is being easier to manage. So, if your site features multiple authors, take the time to ensure they are properly identified.
SEO and Personal
Not all SEO elements are related to the web content and how it appears on the Internet. There is a personal aspect to SEO, which focuses on the searcher. Search engines often know a bit about the searcher. Depending on the search, the search engine will consider:
- Country – where does the searcher live and does it relate to the content.
- Locality – in what local area does the searcher liver and does it relate to the content.
- History – has the searcher visited your site before or connected with your site on social media
- Social – has the searcher’s friends visited the site before.
As the web becomes more personal and social continues to connect across sites, the personal element of SEO will become a more important element in search.
So far we have focused on the SEO elements that represent the important “to-dos”. The final article in the series will highlight things to avoid.
Category: ROI, SEO