Jerri: What are some of the most frequently ignored strategies for implementing SEO? How
does ignoring those strategies hurt organizations and how could improving them help?
A company or organization really needs to understand that ranking well in search engines
is not about paying an agency to just do it. They have to build content. It truly is about building
valuable content on your web site or out in the community
It comes down to content versus search. People are finding things faster; they search for stuff and
find it, and then when they get there, they’re interacting more. So sites built for the search engine —
search engines are getting smarter so they recognize when a site isn’t built for people. Then, when the
people come to the site and see it’s built for a search engine, they won’t stay. Focusing on building for
search engines doesn’t work. You have to provide the audience with the content that they want.
Some companies don’t understand that they need to build content. I just saw some research yester-
day that talks about how time spent on content as an activity on the Web has increased by 37 per-
cent, while search as an activity has decreased by 35 percent over the past four years. Focusing on
simply getting top results in rankings on the engines isn’t going to get you new customers. You need
to build content that helps you get top rankings on the engines and positions your organization as a
thought leader or provides your audience with the content that they want.
Blogs, tutorials, high-quality tips and tricks . . . companies need to have the mindset that giving
away info that is truly valuable is the best strategy. When you have good content that’s linkworthy,
then people are going to link to it.
Another thing that companies need to think about is the navigation: how pages on your site interlink,
and how the site works when you are dropped in the middle of it. If you’re doing it right, people are
coming into your site from all different places. Your design needs to be such that they know where
they are in the site and they know how to get around. I have found a lot of organizations think that
the old standbys, such as pages that are about us, or contact pages and the like, are sufficient. They’re
not thinking about “when I land in the middle of the site, I still want to know how to get around.” It’s
just assumed that I’m coming in from the home page and that’s not always what happens.
Jerri: Are there other aspects of SEO that organizations could improve upon?
The biggest strategy that we find is undervalued or ignored, that not only helps SEO but
also makes a site more user-friendly, is its information architecture. Planning out your site’s navigation
in such a way as to allow someone who drops right into the middle of the site from a search engine
results page to still know where they are, how to find additional information, and motivates them
to take the call to action is extremely important. Once again, it’s not about getting top rankings on
the search engine results page; it’s about getting the right people to your site and then engaging them.
Jerri: In what areas is SEO being handled well?
People are starting work in modern coding standards and that is good for SEO. We build
all of our sites in xHTML. That means that it can work extremely well for the user in all of the
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