I’ve seen a few articles titled ‘The ABCs of SEO’, but most of them either continue on to the DEFs and trudge all the way through Z, or ditch the metaphor altogether after the headline. Dear SEO reader, that’s not me; I won’t do that to you.
My understanding of “The ABCs” gels with the definition:
the rudiments of a subject.
“the ABCs of emergency heart-lung resuscitation”
One might add to the summary-fun by sticking to three topics starting with letters A, B, and C. …Which also lends itself to “legs of the SEO stool” and various “triangles are the strongest shapes” and “3 is the magic number” tropes, too. Sure, let’s do it!
- A is for Algorithm
Yes, this starts us off on a weird foot, but you have to start with “A” and Google’s algorithmic whims rule the roost. Ignore seemingly silly phrases like “Penguin update” & “Panda update” at your SEO’s peril. …We’ll stick some of SEO’s other technical bits in this category, too. CMS platforms, hosting, microdata, valid code, etc. They, and many other elements, play a part in the Google algorithm.
- B is for Backlinks
A website can’t thrive in a vacuum. Googlebot is a web crawler. Crawlers follow links. If nobody’s linking to you, Google knows. Similarly, when many authoritative sites link to yours, Google knows. Oh, and Google cares! Social Networking and other engagement fits nicely here, too. It’s all about the connections. …Well the B-section is all about connections. But shouldn’t that fall under “C“? No. Don’t get confused.
- C is for Content
Content is king. Let’s type it again. Content is king. (That first link is better, though.) A client once wanted me to optimize their site without changing or adding any text. That relationship didn’t last long. Fresh, interesting, relevant content–unless you’re lucky enough to find a weird niche–SEO can’t thrive without it. Keyword research falls under this “C” umbrella, too. You can’t have good SEO content without appropriate keywords.
SEO ABCs Epilogue
There is no D in the ABCs of SEO
D is for Design
Haute designers usually loathe SEO best practices because while SEO cares about UX, so to speak, it cares little for bleeding edge design, and design ‘best practices’ often spit in the face of SEO efforts. Sometimes, emphasis on design goes hand-in-hand with the sentiment that “lots of text doesn’t look good.” That’s not un-true; optimized content usually isn’t sexy. …But it helps us rank better.
I wrote this post today because I whipped up a small section thereof in response to a first look at a client’s new site mockup. It’s pretty, and they’re paying a lot for it, from a big name. …Which is why I fear they’ll make my SEO work harder in the near future. No matter. SEO gets harder every year with or without their “help” 😉 I advise. We carry on.
It’s a dance. Pick your priorities and get good advice. Start with the ABCs of search engine optimization.
Dan Dreifort consults on UX and SEO. Damn. He missed the perfect opportunity to further underscore how important UX is for great SEO. Oh well. He accepts no more than four new clients per year. His client waiting list is mercifully short right now, but for some reason, he doesn’t make it really easy to contact him.