A Proposal of The modern SEO Theory: Redefining Popularity and EAT, Content Quality and Technical SEO



u/laurentbourrelly
Redefining the 3 pillars of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Since I started doing SEO in 2003, we use the same approach.
When a SEO wants to improve a web site, he/she looks at the following 3 traditional pillars: technical, content, and popularity
Technical
The technical pillar deals with all aspects of how the website complies with accessibility requirements for search engines. Technical SEO is even an expertise in itself. Some professionals are specialized in technical SEO because it's complex and evolving constantly. The traditional SEO audit is the place where the technical pillar is most visible. A web site can host a multitude of elements, in need to be optimized. In the end, very few web sites can put everything in order to comply with the technical audit. Technical limitations and marketing goals can be a definitive roadblock for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to be correctly implanted. It's not unusual to have less than 10 or 20% of SEO recommendations carried out. Usually, the bigger the site, the most difficult it is to push SEO recommendations all the way through.
Content
The content pillar takes care of how content is optimized for SEO. From a quality standpoint, a search engine is not very difficult to please. The level of quality from a human perspective is much more complex, but Google put out some guidelines around what is quality. A SEO carries out the mission to optimize the content for search engines. A bunch of tags and advices on keywords are the basics. However, the border is hard to define between the end of the job of basic SEO about content and where the content marketer and copywriter kick in. The Panda Google penalty put some order in content. The level has risen, but it's still not great. Most of the content is just a notch above what was around before. For the most part, content meant for SEO purposes only can't pretend to attract much natural traction.
Popularity | EAT
Popularity is all about links. Here, the situation is a bit awkward. Google says SEO should not acquire links artificially. Put out great content out there and links will come. The truth is not so simple. Links are the most powerful weapon in the SEO arsenal. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) got very good at getting links in the most unnatural manners, while staying under Google's radar. The Penguin Google penalty tried to put some order into this mess, but it didn't go so well. Negative SEO has never been more possible than during the Penguin reign of terror. I believe more good was achieved by scaring the SEO community, rather than fighting spammy links with algorithmic evolution. Besides keywords in anchor text, nothing really changed in the art of getting links. Maybe, the strategies are less aggressive today, but pages in top results on Google's search results page don't usually get all their links in the most organic manner.
When a SEO analyzes a web site, he/she looks at these 3 fundamental aspects, in order to formulate recommendations for the situation to improve.
It works more or less, depending on the situation and the skills of the SEO.
Today, we need to take a different approach.
The modern SEO approach to the 3 fundamental pillars
What does Google really want?
Of course, it values a well-built web site, great content, and lots of good links. That's the old school way to look at it. I'm not saying we should not do it anymore, but it's just the basics. Today, we need to dig deeper and look at it differently.
Google is looking at 3 very specific factors, in order to evaluate if a web page has value: expertise, authority, and trust.
By looking at the analysis from the following perspective, the dimension changes completely.
Expertise
Do you know what you are talking about, and can you express it very well to your audience? Basic SEO optimization should not be the end of our job. Title tags and meta description should be perfect, Hn need some attention, the length of content matters, presence of keywords, etc. Automatic SEO audit tools can do that today. Where the value of an SEO Consultant comes in should go beyond those basics. We need to push clients to be real authorities within their industries. They need to express out loud how good they are at whatever it is they are doing. Moreover, they need to tell their expertise in the best way possible for people to understand and connect with the content. It's not easy at all, but it's the most important challenge today, regarding content.
Authority
Is your content good enough for influencers within your industry to mention you? Is your competition talking about you on the Web? When people you are competing against have no choice, but to mention you, it starts to get really funky! If not, go back to create more compelling content. It's just a routine to be sure that the content is SEO compliant, while being amazing for humans is another level. Furthermore, recommendations will extend to content promotion and analytics of results. Buying links and spamming the web can only go so far. When real authority is detected, funny things happen. The web site starts to make jumps to the top 3 of the search engine results page. It's still possible to achieve great results by buying links & Co., but the authority web site will win at the end, always!
Trust
Is your web site safe for users? Are you taking good care of them, protecting their private data and making sure the experience will be pleasant and safe? Beyond the basics, to make sure a web site can be indexed, it's time to go deeper into the complex challenge of trust. Going for https is only the tip of the iceberg. A shady web site can switch to https, but it will remain dangerous for the user. A SEO should make sure everything is in order for the user experience to be perfect.
Same goal, different perspective
The impact is huge when you redefine the vision with expertise, authority, and trust. First, you will have an edge over your competition, which is still talking about technical, content, and links. Next, the client will need to seriously challenge the ambition of the web site. It's hard to stand out in the crow today. A web site needs to be seriously awesome. Of course, it's still possible to spam Google for short terms goals. However, if the ambition is long term, SEO needs to push beyond the traditional boundaries.
Laurent Bourrelly
26 ๐Ÿ’ฌ๐Ÿ—จ

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