SEO is an art not a science. Google keeps the rules of the game close to the chest. And they’re constantly changing these rules. As Duane Forrester of Bing puts it, “As the [search] engines get smarter with and about signals, and as new, trustworthy signals are grown and adopted, the SEO of yore becomes a bit less relevant.”
This makes it necessary to hire SEO strategists who understand today’s search engine best practices. You need to ask the right questions and you need to get the right answers. If the answers reflect outdated SEO techniques, keep searching.
So what are the right questions to ask? Actually, there is only one question you need to ask:
What are the top three most important components of SEO?
If you ask this question and the candidate or agency responds with things like, backlinks, inbound links, meta tags or content quantity, run for the hills.
The three most important components to SEO are:
- Regular quality content,
- Content authority, and
- Well-formed page structure.
Regular quality content
Google’s profit model relies on the quality of their search engine experience. If their search engine is poor, people will stop using it. Because of this Google works diligently to make sure they’re always providing users with the best possible search results.
When Google first built its search algorithm the Internet was a much smaller place. In those days, everyone accessed the Web from slow desktops and Google measured content value through inbound links. The logic then was that, if other people deemed the content was valuable enough to link to, it must be valuable enough to share with Google search users. While that component of Google’s algorithm still exists today, it is becoming less and less valuable.
Well-formed page structure
It’s also important that your SEO strategist/agency understands the importance of a well-formed page structure. Google needs to be able to present search results in a consistent manner and on different device types and sizes. So if your content is not structured correctly you are not going to be successful. This means packaging your content in a responsive design, using CSS instead of HTML and tagging the content so Google can easily understand it.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, SEO is an art not a science. And there are successful artists out there–smart writers who use the most current Web development rules to drive results. Make sure the “SEO Strategists” you interview have these skillsets.
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