Nancy Roblewsky
December 21, 2022

SEO Involves More Than Keywords

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) involves more than keywords.  Too many business owners think of SEO as simply a list of keywords when in fact, it’s comprised of a vast array of items.

I don’t know how that definition got started though I suspect salespeople wanted an easy way to explain. Perhaps after hearing the explanation, the “list of keywords” is just the one thing that stuck in everyone’s head. 

SEO is complex

Whatever the reason, almost every owner I work with asks the same thing. What keywords has my website been optimized for?  They don’t seem concerned with anything else. 

Every time I think, “Here we go again” as I launch into my answer that keywords are only one aspect.  SEO is so much broader than that. It’s technical, it’s an art and, most importantly, it’s forever changing thanks to updates from Google.

SEO is long-term process

Google (and all search engines) have complex algorithms containing hundreds of components which are revised constantly.  Hence the need for ongoing work that involves patience and attention to detail. 

While numerous components make up the world of SEO, the core components usually remain the same.  Most algorithm changes amount to small adjustments, like fine-tuning ingredients in a recipe to get it ‘just right.’

SEO starts with the code

It may also help to think of SEO as a house.  You can’t have a structural sound house without a great foundation which is why it’s so important your website be properly built.  Technical SEO includes metrics related to a website’s speed and functionality. 

Now, the basic building blocks of any website is the code.  Therefore, the key to better performance for speed and function (two areas that are a big part of usability) is mixing efficient coding with the newest methods.

With browsers always changing and new devices coming to market, staying on top of new coding methods is also vital to building a site that’s easier for bots to index.  Why? Coding errors make indexing harder or even impossible.

Content is part of technical SEO

I also can’t stress enough how vital it is to have quality content.  Not only should your content be helpful (answer user’s questions); it should be updated on a regular basis.  It goes without saying that content needs to be original and not copied from someone else’s website.

Google (and all search engines) have gotten so much smarter and getting better at understanding user intent all the time. This makes optimizing for exact keywords less important.  You can now use a variety of words and not worry about whether you used a specific keyword or phrase the right number of times. 

Focus on the user

You can’t lose when you focus on the user. This is by far the best rule to follow.  Think about what they want to know and write content that answers their questions.

Don’t underestimate organization and layout.  Using the proper mix of eye-catching headlines, shorter paragraphs and lists make information easier to read, which makes a dramatic difference in keeping users engaged.

Accessibility is part of SEO

Provide a great user experience by making your site work properly on all devices and for everyone, especially those with disabilities. Doing so is not only the right thing to do; it also benefits you financially as it expands your market reach.

Assessing overall quality

Google looks at your entire website over time to determine large scale patterns for performance, usability, and navigation. When evaluating quality of content, it looks at grammar and spelling in addition to whether it’s helpful. 

It uses all the information it collects to put together a big picture to decide how well your site should rank.  If that picture is bad, Google may decide that your website (in general) shouldn’t be ranked ahead of other sites that offer a better overall user experience.

Focus on fundamentals

My best advice is that you can never go wrong when you focus on the fundamentals because while algorithms change, the basics stay the same.  Build a website that offers a great experience and you’ll also be aligned with Google’s mission of providing the best answer in a fast, pleasant, and secure way.

No single item is a magic bullet

As you can see, SEO involves more than keywords.  No single item is the key that opens the SEO lock.  You need to understand all the components and how they work together. Only then can changes be made to improve your search engine visibility.

Contact Sleepy Dog Media for information on getting a user-friendly website with ongoing maintenance that includes SEO-related items.

Published: December 21, 2022 • Last Updated: December 21, 2022