SEO’s Central Concept
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is about creating content that provides value to your audience and then making that content easy to find.
Content doesn’t have to mean written content, content can be rich media (images, GIFs, video, audio, etc), products, tools, services, forms, anything a person might be looking for and which would provide the searcher value.
Value can be entertainment value, informational value, functional value, perceived value, emotional value, and more. Remember: there’s just as much of a market for Instagram as there is for WSJ.com – so don’t make the mistake of dismissing types of content that may not feel “substantive” when thinking about content marketing.
The SEO Environment
There are two major spheres to consider when approaching SEO:
- Elements that you have full control over (your web properties); and
- Elements that you only have influential control over (everything on the internet that is not directly one of your web properties).
In SEO you’ll commonly hear these two spheres referred to as Onsite SEO and Offsite SEO, these are both parts of any complete content marketing strategy.
Pro-Tip: If you come from a more traditional marketing background you can think of Onsite SEO as referring to your owned media and Offsite SEO as your earned media, with both coming together as part of an inbound marketing strategy.
Onsite SEO refers to your onsite content and the onsite technicals for your website.
Onsite content is pretty simple, it’s the content you’ve created to be viewed/used by the people who visit your site.
Rule #1 – make good content that’s useful to people.
Onsite technicals are structural elements you’ve added to your site or site code to make your content easy to find and access (by people and robots).
Rule #2 – make your content as accessible as possible.
Offsite SEO refers to content that references your business and lives online, but NOT on your own website. Offsite SEO includes reviews of your business, social signals, structured citations, and link signals.
Tooltip: Reviews can be found on sites like Yelp, Zocdoc, and through platforms like Trustpilot or Google Business.
users of your products/services discussing the quality of what your business produces.
- Social Signals:
Tooltip: Examples include: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, etc.
social signals refer to mentions of your business on social platforms, as well as engagement users have with you via your own social media accounts.
- Structured Citations:
Tooltip: Examples of structured citations include: Google My Business (GMB) listings, Yelp listings, Yellow Page listings, etc.
commonly referred to as business listings structured citations can be found on sites that provide users information about your business’s hours, services, and location. Structured citations have a significant impact on local search results.
- Link Signals:
Tooltip: These signals tend to come from a variety of sources including PR pieces, blog posts, online articles, links in social media posts, etc.
these are other sites linking to you – users referencing you, your site, your products, and/or your business.
These two spheres (offsite SEO and onsite SEO) work together. Offsite SEO helps people find your site, onsite SEO helps them navigate the content, find value in your site, and convert for your business.