The Big Picture of SEO

Michael Bergbauer - February 21, 2012

SEO is not a clear-cut concept, which is why many people — even marketing professionals — are mystified by it. Even at its basic elements, clients try very hard to quantify and prioritize optimization efforts. But, there is no clear path — no one thing — a company can do to increase its rankings. Good SEO is a conglomeration of factors. Google admits that its ranking algorithm examines hundreds of factors before ranking a page for search. However, Google is pretty tight-lipped about the weight of each factor. Is an optimized title tag “worth” more than the overall keyword density of the page? If so, by how much? What about in relation to the page’s load speed?

Although some elements of SEO carry obvious importance, all of them must work together to produce results. One great example lies in the basic SEO strategy of optimizing meta data. There are quite a few parts here, including:

  • The title tag — recognized as a very important ranking factor and part of user experience. It directly describes and categorizes the page, so it should be optimized with an appropriate keyword.
  • The H1 tag — usually the first piece of content on a page. It’s also another important ranking factor and leads into the following content.
  • The description tag — not a ranking factor, but still important. Google doesn’t give any ranking weight to a description tag no matter how well it’s written, but it’s still an important element for user experience. The description tag should be written like ad copy — it’s your chance to convince a user to click on your page. In addition, any search terms that were used which are also in the description tag get bolded by Google — compelling users even further. Description tags won’t help you rank better, but they can increase click-through rates.

As you can see, metadata is a great example of SEO elements working together. By looking at the big picture and optimizing your site as a whole, you can increase not only your rankings, but the quality and usability of your website.

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