Still, we must consider that SEO in 2018 requires new skills and approaches to succeed in an increasingly competitive world. With more than 5,000 devices integrated with Google Assistant and voice search on the rise, the focal points of search have become decentralized. The SERP as we knew it is long gone; search is dynamic, visual, and everywhere now. This has a significant impact on organizations, as SEO is a collaborative discipline that requires a synthesis of multiple specialisms to achieve optimal results. At the heart of this lies the domain of technical SEO, which has remained the foundation upon which any successful strategy is built.
All roads lead back to technical
It’s how you now use your skills that have changed. SEO has always entailed driving high-quality traffic through organic search. The means of achieving this goal had altered significantly since the early days of SEO when technical skills were dominant. Crawlability was then – as it is now – a foremost consideration when setting up an SEO strategy. The content was secondary – a vehicle to include keywords and improve rankings. This evolved to encompass link building, based on Google’s key early innovation of using links to evaluate and rank content. However, the goal of marketers remained constant: to attract organic search traffic that converted on their website. As a result, we endured a cat and mouse game with some marketers doing whatever it took to gain high search rankings.
Panda and Penguin algorithm updates
As soon as Google caught up with keyword cloaking, black hat SEO practitioners moved on to link buying in an attempt to manipulate their rankings. The Panda and Penguin algorithm updates put paid a lot of those murky tactics. Even (briefly) raised the discussion of whether SEO was dead. This question missed one key point. As long as people are using search to discover information, SEO will continue in rude health. Those discussions are a distant memory as we embrace modern SEO, especially its convergence with content marketing.
The industry has gone from strength to strength, and the best strategies are now justly rewarded with increased search presence. In the process, SEO has moved from an entirely rational discipline to something more rounded. Including the typically “right-brained” domain of creative content. This has changed the shape of SEO departments and demanded collaboration with other digital marketing departments. Technical SEO, for its part, now encompasses all search engine best practices and allows no room for manipulation. Of course, this specialism never went away, but it has seen a recent renaissance as senior marketers realize that it drives performance as well as crawler compliance.
There are four key areas:
Site Content: Ensuring that content can be crawled and indexed by all major search engines. In particular, making use of log file analysis to interpret their access patterns and structured data to enable efficient access to content elements.
Structure: Creating a site hierarchy and URL structure allow both search engines and users to navigate the most relevant content. This should also facilitate the flow of internal link equity through the site.
Conversion: Identifying and resolving any blockages that prevent users from navigating through the site. NEW WAYS TO APPROACH TECHNICAL SEO: A NECESSITY, NOT AN OPTION.
Performance: A key development has been the evolution of technical SEO into a performance-related specialism. This has always been the case, but marketers of all stripes have realized that technical SEO is about a lot more than just “housekeeping”. Getting the three areas above will lead to better site performance through search and other channels. Within this context, it is worth questioning whether “SEO” is even an adequate categorization for what we do anymore.