The SEO Hierarchy of Needs

Posted on February 20, 2010


Before you start soliciting links and becoming active in online communities, it’s best to first ensure that your site’s content, structure, and design are in peak condition, Virginia Nussey advises in a recent post at the Bruce Clay blog: “Before you can expect a site to develop inbound links, you have to be confident that there is content worth that attention and those links.”

  To help you decide where to devote resources for optimizing a site for social buzz, Nussey describes “the SEO Hierarchy of Needs” as a pyramid of requirements. The most basic ones are found at the bottom of her pyramid, and each higher tier represents requirements that can’t be met until the needs below it are satisfied. Nussey advises moving up the SEO tiers in this order:


  • Keywords & Content. Target relevant and trafficked keywords that relate to your site’s goals. Then develop compelling content for those keywords and goals.
  • Optimized Site Architecture and On-Page Elements. Develop a site architecture with content silos that support your themes. Use internal linking to indicate strong relevance in the search engines.
  • Usability & Optimized Web Design. Use A/B and multivariate testing to expose any obstacles to conversion or competing calls to action, and to improve user experience on the site.
  • Link Development. Consider link magnets, link bait, and link solicitation. Increase your chances of attracting quality, relevant links through exceptional content and strong relationships.

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