Despite data demonstrating that SEO has the best ROI of any inbound marketing channel, SEO is a topic frequently misunderstood by marketers and business owners alike. SEO carries an air of mystery, and the most frequently asked question I have received in 15 years about it is “What is good SEO?” and that is a very good question.
Good SEO is invisible to searchers. When correctly orchestrated, good SEO enables searchers to get from A to Z without showing the B, C, D, E, and so on in between.
The next three examples illustrate how easy it is for users to overlook the success of good SEO.
Example 1: A searcher types in a query like “What is SEO?” with the following results:
The first organic listing (outlined by the blue box) seems to match the query, so the user clicks the result and finds a page headlined with the original question followed by a detailed answer:
The page and its details answer the question; the user is satisfied. The user does not see the keyword research conducted by Search Engine Land—the research that enabled them to identify that users were looking for the answer to “What is SEO.” Nor does the user see the SEO person who developed the content (written and visual).
The user might also miss the on and off-page SEO tactics that make the page visible in Google—like the URL (highlighted with blue 1), the H1 rag (blue 2) that helps the user reach the right page, or the location of the social proof (blue 3) that proves the content to be good.
Example 2:A user may find within the Search Engine Land article a section of links that offer more literature covering SEO:
Moz’s “Beginner’s Guide To SEO” may sound interesting enough for a searcher to click the link. The resulting page proclaims that it has been read over 1 million times and will help the user understand SEO. Sounds great!
Not only is the Moz link a great example of good SEO because it’s a valuable added resource to the Search Engine Land article, but the Moz link is also a good example because it enhances Moz’s own page. While making the Search Engine Land post a more valuable resource (because it includes information from other Internet sources), the Moz link also increases the authority of Moz in the search engine’s eyes.
Example 3: Redesigned websites are a daily run-in. Often, there are announcements via Twitter, email, or Facebook posts about the redesign.
While visiting a renovated site (like the one below), users take in the new look and feel of the site without considering the SEO that makes sure search engines can crawl and index the new site. Properly altered and redirected URLs and updated XML sitemap insure no broken links in the site.
The redesigned website follows SEO best practices in terms of indexing and relevance.
Good SEO is a result of a solid understanding of a client’s business model, a tight SEO strategy, comprehensive keyword research and development, technical expertise and a methodical implementation of the strategy over time. It takes time, experience, and integrity. It’s about content visibility and meeting the expectations of searchers. Only when done poorly—when expectations are unmet—are badly executed SEO tactics noticeable. When done well, good SEO is unseen.
Is your website utilizing good SEO tactics? Find out with our free technical website audit.