10.13.14

The 5 Pillars of SEO Success

BY ALEX MATLIN

Highlights from Boulder SEO Marketing and Carbon8 SEO 201 Workshop: What you need to consider when trying to improve your organic rankings.

This past Thursday we hosted our first SEO workshop with Boulder SEO Marketing's Chris Raulf. The workshop focused on the evolving world of SEO and what it takes to get a website ranking organically within Google and other search engines in today's landscape. With Google constantly changing its algorithm and adding to its list of over 250 ranking factors, it can be overwhelming trying to distill what needs to be done from an SEO perspective. While we can't condense the content of our workshop in one blog, we thought it would be helpful to share what we consider the foundation of any good SEO. We call this foundation The 5 Pillars of SEO.

Technical Health: Whenever undergoing any SEO, it is important to make sure that your site is set up in a way that Google can understand, crawl, and index. We like to think of technical health as getting out of your own way. In many cases websites are full of roadblocks for Google's web crawlers such as incorrect robot.txt usage, 404 errors, and missing sitemaps.  Additionally, duplication issues caused by URL canonicalization, duplicate Meta tags and titles, and overuse of the same content split up a websites SEO value and give Google an unclear understanding of where to index it. On the plus side, these technical issues are often easy to find and resolve. If you are wondering where your website stand in terms of technical health, Chris has a great list of free tools to help diagnose any issues.

Website Functionality: Closely related to technical health, functionality deals with how users interact with a website. SEO is very dependent on the user experience, and it is critical that users have a pleasant interactions when navigating your pages. This experience can be affected by slow page load times, broken links, confusing site structure, and a host of other factors. Ignoring these issues will lead to high bounce rates from your site and ultimately poorer rankings. Make sure to test your site from usability standpoint and be constantly looking for ways to improve your user's experience.

On Page Optimization: This is what people typically think of when someone says "SEO". On page optimization involves targeting keywords with relatively high search volume and low competition, and using them within page titles, headings, tags, and content. While the old days of stuffing keywords into content wherever possible in order to gain rankings are long gone, proper keyword optimization is still an important step in SEO. Proper was the operative word in that last sentence, and it is important to note that over use and unnatural use of keywords will result in a penalty from Google. But when used correctly, keyword optimization will put your content in front of the people that are looking for it.

DISCLAIMER!! All SEO is dependent on strong, relevant content. Google is getting smarter every day, and the only real way to ensure that your website will rank highly is to be the best resource when it comes to your subject matter. Proving to Google that you are a subject matter expert means creating and disseminating quality content on a variety of platforms. Optimizing on page content with keywords should be part of a comprehensive content marketing platform.

Authority: Authority refers to online factors outside of a website that effect its organic rankings. You can think of authority as your websites online reputation. In Google's eyes, a link from another website to your content is a vote of confidence that your content is quality. This is why it is imperative that you build a profile of links to your site. Again, quality is the most important factor when building your link profile. Those who try to game the system by creating large numbers of low quality links from poor websites will be penalized. Instead, reach out to those you have already partnered with and reputable websites within your industry. While authority is based on off-page factors, the focus should still be on your content as websites will naturally link to and share valuable information.

Social: Social media may have been filed under another pillar of SEO a few years ago, but its continual increased impact on search engine results make it to big not to be discussed. Social media signals (likes, shares, etc) are one of the things Google looks at within its algorithm, but more important is the power of social media within your content marketing strategy. As more businesses and consumers use social media as their sources for information, the opportunity to get your content in front of relevant people has never been higher. Quality content is shared and quickly spreads, generating leads and building authority along the way. If you want to learn more about specific strategies for social media, Boulder SEO provides social training and workshops.

Want to learn more about the five pillars of SEO and tactics for improving your websites online presence? Check out our next workshop

Alex Matlin
written by ALEX MATLIN

Alex is the Inbound Marketing Manager at Carbon8 with experience in SEO, PPC, display, and social media marketing. He believes that Google will soon take over the world and that learning how to understand it and please it will probably be a good life move.

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