We're always on the lookout for better ways to explain and simplify SEO so it doesn't take up so much of your time – and so you can create an effective SEO plan whenever you need it. One of the more effective perspectives, especially for top-down SEO campaign planning, is looking at search engine optimization in three different categories: Technical, Content, and Links/Authority.
SEO Campaign Planning: Technical
"Technical" SEO is the behind-the-scenes work, usually referring to title tags, meta descriptions, proper headings and URL descriptions. This might feel boring or less necessary than other types of SEO, but we promise it's very important. Not only does it provide lots of useful information for Google to use when placing your site in search results, but it also gives viewers a better, more reliable experience. Think of all these technical tags as signposts for your visitors, carefully nudging them in the right directions and telling them exactly where to go if they have any specific questions.
Fortunately, technical SEO is fairly straightforward. Its requirements rarely shift as quickly as other types of SEO, and once you have the good habits down, it's easy to keep doing a good job on this aspect of website building. However, keep in mind that technical SEO also includes more complex practices like proper sitemaps, subdomain management (if applicable) and various architecture decisions. A little expert advice may be useful here if you aren't sure how your site currently stacks up.
SEO Campaign Planning: Content
Content SEO is what most people think of when they think of SEO optimization. It's all about keywords, good content, and smart titles. Content SEO focuses on organic language and solutions for online prospects. You always want to be addressing a real need in commonly used syntax. For this reason, research is extremely important for great content SEO practices. You need to know what people are searching for, what searches are bringing people to your site, and how people are searching for particular products or industries.
However, content SEO isn't just about picking the right keywords at the right time – it's also about creating quality content. You need text that flows smoothly, quickly communicates information, and avoid overlinking or overstuffing with keywords. Both Google and readers quickly pick up on these faults, and they tend to look very unprofessional. Aim high!
SEO Campaign Planning: Links and "Authority"
Links affect your site in two primary ways. The first is technical, although separate from tagging: You don't want any 404s, incorrect redirects, or failing backlinks. Readers will give up on your site, and Google will grade you very harshly for these poor linking practices: In other words, run a tight online ship!
The second part is a bit more complex. You want authority linksfrom trusted sites that link to your content – which Google rewards with higher ranking (this somewhat outdated but still informative Moz article may be worth a read). The more authority a site has, the more credit you get. However, "authority" is a twisty little metric. Sites like Huffington Post or Forbes have changed their business models so much that they seem to be losing authority due to the new types of articles they publish, while blogs with previously low authority are gaining credit as they become more professional.
As a general rule, try to acquire links from professional sources. Trade magazines remain a solid bet here. Links from major news sites, while difficult to achieve, also count for a lot. Links from too many cheap directories, meanwhile, can do more harm than good. As in the social world, simply pay attention to who you associate with.