Monday, March 24, 2014

Innovation in SEO: The "technical build"

It sounds simple and common sense; build a website so search engines love it from day one. The alternative is to build a site, then consider SEO and then spend more money to make technical changes. For example, don’t build your site out of frames and Flash.

SEOs reading this post will know that although the concept sounds obvious it is still all too common today to find companies building sites before considering SEO.

If you agree with the points in this post then you will be piling on the pressure. I argue that the SEO technical build is no longer just about getting the right URL structure, content and tags. I argue that a “technical build” today must consider how a new site will operate, react and reach audiences in a world in which we are all publishers.

We’re all publishers?

We are. People and companies publish lots of content on the web. Sometimes they do this without thinking about it; Facebook or Twitter updates are publishing, for example. The result is a very noisy internet. Brands are just one source of information in a sea of information.

We’re all publishers, this has changed the web and how digital marketing works. Look at how Google has raised the bar so that process based publishing is no longer a positive quality signals. Links from article sites or exact match PR hubs or even from blogs that fail to manage a certain quality are not links you want.

To earn links that matter brands must now successfully engage with audiences and do so in a way that creates positive quality signals; links, those social indicators that Google does look at, author when that’s appropriate and so forth.

I explore the evolution of We’re all publishers a little more in my 2014 predictions piece. I dare say this blog will loop back to it again but for now let’s look at what it means for “technical builds”.

The SEO build in the publishing world

A website that’s been guided by a SEO expert from planning stage to production will have more going for it than just the correct technical markup, content, sitemaps and so forth. Today, a site that’s been built with SEO in mind will able to satisfy a publishing strategy .

Examples of modern SEO build considerations

  • Easy and appropriate location for linkbait publishing
  • Integration of editorial and commercial content
  • Blogger / Press media hub onsite
  • Native video player capabilities
  • Dedicated landing page strategy for;
    1. Retargeting
    2. Display
    3. Affiliates
  • Page retirement strategy
  • Content flow/publication support such as drafts, on-schedule posting,preview links

What does this mean?

In the past it was possible to consider the “technical build” in a much more isolated state. The technical SEO offering advice had to concentrate on making sure the code was as appropriate as possible.

Today, the SEO offering build advice also has to think about the audience. She needs to understand what the brand will have to do in order to engage with creators, curators and community moderations in order to win their attention. She needs to understand the publishing strategy the brand use to assist with SEO and make the right technical recommendations to support that.

It moves the role of the technical build from a checklist or audit to that of a strategy. That’s a big ask of anyone in that role but an important one. The "Publisher Build" is here to stay.

What are your thoughts?

Picture credit: Giuseppe Zizza.

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