Your SEO Needs a Little TLC
Now that I’ve lured you in with the cheesy title, let’s unpack that headline a little bit.
TLC in this context could stand for Time, Love and Care (not to be confused with BLT which stands for Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato). But in the context of SEO it actually stands for the three pillars of a successful SEO strategy: Technical, Links and Content.
When we say that Technical, Links and Content are the key to a successful SEO strategy, we mean that to have a strong search engine presence it’s paramount to have a sustained and conscientious focus on these areas. But why? Let’s dig into it further.
Ah yes, my bread and butter and an essential part of any SEO strategy.
This is a crucial area which ensures your website is in the best possible shape for a search engine to discover, crawl and index your pages. By ironing out detrimental technical aspects of the website early on, you set a solid foundation for any work you do moving forward and will be rewarded by search engines with increased rankings as a result.
This step is often overlooked or not given the attention it deserves, which will ultimately leave you at a loss and held back by a website that performs poorly from a technical standpoint. We have a team of technical experts that analyse websites in incredible detail. Using our in-house 100+ point technical auditing document, we consider key areas such as:
- XML Sitemaps
- Site Structure
- Meta Data (i.e. Page Titles)
- Page Speed
As with any and all parts of SEO, the technical aspects can’t be treated as a one-off project – it needs constant nurturing and attention to maintain its health. To cater for this, each client of ours has a dedicated Technical Account Manager who ensures your website’s technical optimisation remains consistent for the future.
Content is king, is it not? Well, absolutely – websites would simply not exist if there was no content on them. But just having content on a page isn’t enough to rank well these days. This pillar of SEO ensures that the content on your website is as well optimised as possible to rank for those all-important search terms.
If you work in the medical, legal or financial services space, you’ll find that you have to fight harder than ever to show search engines that your web pages are worth ranking. This is due to a Google Algorithm Update from August 2018 referred to as “Medic”, which introduced new content guidelines for webmasters to follow to demonstrate their expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. We call it E-A-T for short. Delicious.
The reason behind this update was to stop misleading or false content being ranked by making sure the extra effort is put in to back up your claims. The problem with this was that perfectly ethical and trustworthy sites took a hit as well, which meant everybody had to adapt their approach to content writing.
A recent update has since elaborated on these principles, adding ‘Experience’ into the fray. While E-E-A-T isn’t quite as catchy, the latest update recognises there are certain instances where the reader may be looking for first-hand experience. With the addition of experience, Google also emphasised the overall importance of ‘Trust’ in your content.
You can read about the recent changes to the E-E-A-T guidelines here but some best practices include writing in a tremendous level of detail (sometimes 3,000+ words), citing your sources, providing multimedia (i.e. images, videos) and quotes/testimonials to demonstrate your E-E-A-T acumen. Search engines want you to write for people, not search engines and as the years roll on, this becomes more and more apparent.
We’ve also developed an in-house tool which gives an objective measure of content quality based on the various ranking factors stipulated by Google over the years, allowing us to benchmark and measure improvements over time. Pretty nifty, eh?
We’ve just spoken about trust and this is one way to earn it. This area of your SEO strategy refers to inbound links to your website that help build credibility and authority in search engines.
A lot of scepticism still remains in the market as to whether inbound links actually make a difference to rankings. All I can say is that, as an agency, we are heavily data driven and don’t think they make a difference; we know they do.
Search engines use metrics such as the quantity of unique linking domains to a page, as well as the quality of those links by using Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority as a measurement. These metrics assess how trustworthy you are and help search engines make decisions as to where you should rank in the SERP pecking order. The higher the number of relevant and good quality links you have powering a page, the more likely you are to climb the rankings (given your technical and content are on point too).
But wait! Wasn’t there a Google update that prevented you from doing this? Yes indeed. On that fateful day in April 2012, Google announced the Penguin update which heavily penalised websites using bad practices for generating inbound links to their website (i.e. link farms) and rightfully so.
That’s why it’s so important to follow White Hat (ethical) techniques to gain inbound links. It may take a little longer and require more effort, but it’s 100 percent worth it. Not only will you see no results using bad practices, but you also risk a manual penalty from Google which can omit your website from the search results, like Interflora in 2013.
We have a dedicated Outreach team with contacts across the globe that ensures the links pointing to your website are natural and that quality is never at a detriment when it comes to your inbound linking strategy.
And that about sums it up. Of course, I’ve been speaking about the three pillars when I refer to TLC – but it’s also important to give your strategy the Time, Love and Care it deserves. Too much?
If you want to hear more about what our technical SEO team do for our clients – cheesy acronyms included – get in touch!
(This article was originally posted in June 2020 and has since been updated to ensure accuracy and relevancy).