Understanding the Mechanics of SEO as both Art and Science

Posted on April 11, 2010


For those who have followed traditional search engine optimization best practice guidelines over the years, John Alexander co-founder and director of the Search Engine Academy shares several SEO insights.

The definition of SEO “best practices” might be defined as follows:

  • A series of a static rule sets (you follow the general rules and you should do okay.) 
  • Considered by many SEO professionals as the list of steps one uses to optimize any Web page
  • The only white hat ethical way of performing optimization. 

Lots of people talk about the art and the science of SEO, but few people are aware that the real solution to saving hundreds of hours (or even months) of work, is to use good mathematics. But before I go any further on that, let me recap the part about SEO being an art and a science too.

“SEO as a science” is where most people get all hung up.

  • Where do my keywords have the most impact?
  • Which of the more than 200 ranking signals are most important this month?
  • What do I need to change in my pages to gain top visibility with the correct audience for my product or service and hold that spot at the top for the maximum amount of time?

Since this seems to be an area where there is always a lot of questions, I thought I’d offer you a check list of places where your keywords will have the most impact and influence in search. This is not an all extensive list, since to deliver that and each calibration with any exactness, you would have to examine your own competitive landscape which will vary from key phrase to key phrase and from industry to industry. But just ensuring your researched keyword phrase is located in these on-page locations will help you a lot.

Let’s start with 10 very easy influences to start. Make sure your keyword phrase is:

  1. Prominently in beginning of your Title tag
  2. Prominently in H1 or H2 Heading tags
  3. Use it with your Body text on the page
  4. Use it at least in a single occurrence of link text (in a way that make sense to the reader)
  5. Use your important keyword phrase as a cluster of words forming the phrase (a whole phrase)
  6. Don’t feel you have to “over do it.” 
  7. Shorter URLs often seem to do better these days
  8. Make sure you try and use your keyword phrase in about 80% of your in-bound links
  9. Your remaining 20% of in-bound links should be synonyms so you avoid looking contrived
  10. Always remember that even mild optimization mixed with good keyword research can make a huge difference in your success on the technical side SEO.

Now let’s look briefly at “SEO as an Art” or the creative side of SEO.

One of the biggest parts of SEO that people refer to is the “art of SEO.” While people discuss it constantly, not many really spend much time explaining SEO as an art. By the “art of SEO” I refer to the creative possibilities. From keyword research and keyword forensics right down to finding the right type of content to publish that will convert your audience of Web visitors.

Creativity can be used for instance in things like:

  • Exploring which keyword data will bring in the right audience for you
  • Exploring the types of content that your ideal buying audience is seeking
  • Making the most out of things like high interest topics using more original creative means like working with nostalgia.

By using creativity, you can often pull in the largest audiences for the maximum percentage of the time, while being completely different. Creativity and SEO helps separate you from the competition which also gives you advantages.

Source Article: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/pages/understanding-the-mechanics-of-seo-as-both-art-and-science.aspx

Posted in: SEO