What is SEO?

What is SEO in 2014? While certain elements of SEO remain reassuringly familiar, other aspects of the SEO sphere have moved on at a baffling speed.

SEO is now a mature marketing industry in its own right, requiring a combination of high quality on-site optimisation, inspired content marketing, high-end design and an intricate knowledge of authorship, co-occurrence, entities and associations to create an internet marketing strategy which is entirely its own.

Check out our dynamic infographic for examples and tips illustrating how to manage your SEO successfully in 2014.

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What is
SEO?

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Design

Design is an important part of user experience. You need to present a pleasant and engaging user interface that will not distract users from achieving their goal but that will help them reach it, whether they are on a mobile phone or a desktop computer

Design

Content Marketing

High quality content that people will want to share and talk about is the only way up – write useful articles, create tools that your readers will want to use, spread the word using social media and other marketing channels.

Content Marketing
Optimisation

A web site with fast loading times, which clearly communicates what it's about, is a winner. Your users will know straight away that they have found what they were looking for. Optimising and writing with the user in mind will result in higher click throughs and relevant traffic.

Optimisation

Authorship, Co-occurrence, Entities and Associations

The future of content encompasses everything from authorship and co-occurrence to entities and associations. Google's ability to define context on pages will eventually usurp the need for anchor text.

Authorship, Co-occurrence, Entities and Associations

Why is design important?

It's easy to get bogged down with SEO when you're involved in a new site build. But user experience should be the leading concern when constructing your website. It doesn't matter how well your site is ranking, if the design is poor then it won't convert.

A well-designed website should be intuitively simple to use with a design targeted to your customer base. A photographer's website should reflect their creativity and style, while an e-commerce site should feature simple pages guiding users towards the checkout. By balancing a great design with effective content and well-structured SEO, you give yourself the best chance of nailing both the rankings and the conversions.

Examples on the web

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A few more examples

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Top tips

  • Consider your colour palette carefully; less is more

  • Keep elements consistent with clear functions

  • Ultimately think of your users before the search engines; don't sacrifice usability for style

  • Organise your content into a naturally flowing hierarchy, with internal links, so it's easy to navigate

  • Spiders can't crawl Flash or images so ensure they aren't used for navigation or to replace important text

  • Make sure all images and videos are optimised and searchable

Why is content marketing important?

It's not enough to have a great product anymore; your competitor's got one as well. Now, the global customer expects more. Inbound marketing is fast becoming content driven. This means interacting with your community to find out what they need and providing them with content they value. By doing this you'll build trust and loyalty that is ultimately returned in revenue.

To be appreciated, shared and linked to, your content can't just be great – it has to be amazing. By developing a content marketing strategy that focuses on targeting key audiences with amazing stuff you will get shares and links, improving the authority of your brand in your niche; resulting in improved SERP ranking and community involvement.

Examples on the web

Mouse-over a thumbnail above for a short intro or click to view the example

Examples on the web

Mouse-over a thumbnail above for a short intro or click to view the example

Top tips

  • Plan before you start creating and ensure your idea has search volume

  • Make content informative, relevant and interesting for YOUR target audience

  • Think quality not quantity when creating

  • Encourage interaction by including a call to action that's clear and persuasive

  • Develop a community and try to answer common questions or solve problems

  • Use relevant channels to promote your content, then measure its effectiveness

  • Respond to the things that work and change the things that don't

Why is optimisation important?

Although search engines try their best, if you want your website to be found you need to help them out a little. Ultimately optimising your website, and your amazing content, should be done with your target audience in mind. However in order to give your site the best chance of performing in the search results, you need to have a good structure.

A good site structure includes easy navigation and well researched optimisation. Your optimisation should explain to Google and your visitors exactly what each page is. Remember that searchers are scanning through search engine results pages for things that stand out as matching what they are looking for. Good optimisation will make your website stand out amongst the competition

Some essential tools

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Some more essential tools

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Top tips

  • Create unique, accurate meta-data, including page titles & descriptions

  • Incorporate keywords naturally into titles and descriptions, without stuffing it full

  • Use natural variations within copy, as opposed to misspellings and out of context synonyms, to appeal to users and search engines

  • Make your URLs search-friendly and easy to understand

  • Create a simple navigation and site map for users and spiders

  • Use web analytics to measure your success

  • Utilise usability testing to get real feedback on the flow of your site

  • Run CRO analysis to ensure you're making the most out of your navigation and checkout

Why are authorship, co-occurrence, entities and associations important?

Google can now understand the text on a web page and define context, thus eliminating the need for overly stuffed or exact match anchor text. Co-occurrence relies on entity and association theory to tie authors up with the types of content they write by recognising the regularity and variation of certain words in the text.

This new development means that rather than desperately trying to optimise content, by becoming an expert in your field - one involved in content creation, interaction and thought leadership - your brand is naturally going to become associated with those keywords you want to rank for.

Read about it

Mouse-over a thumbnail above for a short intro or click to view the example

Read more about it

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Top tips

  • Reduce the use of exact match keywords

  • Use a variety of root keyword mentions in context

  • Identify your key message and create relevant content that supports it

  • Become a real person who is identifiable as the face of your brand

  • Keep up with industry trends and contribute to community conversations

  • Create interesting unique content for your niche market

  • Focus on best SEO practices

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