February 8, 2016
The Great SEO Balancing Act
Keywords, semantic search, crawlers, Pandas & Penguins. SEO can be a baffling world, especially since Google changes their algorithm at about the same pace of new versions of Spotify (so, every 15 minutes.) But isn’t it just about great content? Well, yes and no.
This won’t be the Ultimate Guide to SEO (every time they try to print that, it goes out-of-date.) I’ll just share some of our experience that seems to reflect the current balancing act that seems to lead to success in today’s SEO.
Old-school SEO was all about keywords, and more keywords. Keywords to the point where content and titles became nearly nonsensical in an effort to rank. Sadly, there are still some out there who practice this, and though it may boost their sites for a while, wise old Google doesn’t let it last for too long. And with all the algorithm changes, the emphasis continues to reward quality content.
But some have gone to the opposite end of the spectrum, preaching “content, content”, sometimes tossing out effective on-site optimization with the proverbial bath water. And that doesn’t always turn out so well.
So where’s the balance?
We partner with the graduate programs at George Mason University School of Business on their mission to find the best candidates for their top-notch programs. In our work with them, we’ve focused on generating high-quality, targeted content, along with smart optimization and link-building.
The topics for that content are spurred by extensive keyword research. Balance is key in today’s shifting SEO world.
From #1 organic ranking for “MS in Accounting” to a 20% increase in applications from organic and paid search, the results have spoken for themselves.
The mustachioed Wizard of Moz himself, Rand Fishkin, recently put out a “Whiteboard Friday” that explains how to combine the best of both worlds. He talks about combining wise keyword targeting with concept targeting.
I’d recommend taking the time to watch the video, but in a nutshell: purely keyword targeting focuses sheerly on the words you want to be found, and only leads to bad places. Not too wise. Ignoring keyword targeting, focusing on topic & concept alone and hoping Google will map your keywords directly isn’t too smart either. Instead, combine emphasis on keywords and topics into a potent mix of great content that doesn’t forget what your audience is looking for. Sound complex? Give it a try, and see what happens! The balancing act seems to be worth it.
Tell Us What You Think
What’s your take on the current SEO balance debate? What’s working for you? Looking forward to hearing your feedback in the comments.