Relevance, Importance, and Usefulness

There are so many different aspects of SEO. It’s a complicated topic, and it can often be difficult to explain to clients. We try to use an approach that helps our clients quickly get an understanding of what is driving the various recommendations we make. We do this by breaking down the major aspects of SEO into these 3 components: Relevance, Importance, and Usefulness. Here is how we talk about these things with our clients:

  1. Relevance: What is your site about? What types of information can search engines access to find out what your site is about? This ends up being things like title tags, on page text analysis, inbound link analysis (including anchor text and the topical matter of the sites linking to you), outbound link analysis, etc.
  2. Importance: If you operate a book store site, and are competing with Amazon, how come Amazon always ranks in front of your site? One of the major inputs to this process is link analysis, however, the link analysis is done in a very topical manner. In other words, a page can only be important for subjects which are relevant to the page. The other part of this that is important is that all links are not created equal. Getting links from a recognized authority site (in your topic area) is worth more than a link from another site. The specifics of how the links are implemented (i.e. anchor text, surrounding context) also help in weighing a link’s importance to the topic of your page.
  3. Usefulness: Search engines have much more data available to them about a site. This includes things like bounce rates and tagging data from social media sites. If your site’s bounce rate is measurably higher than that of your competitor, that may mean your site is less useful then the competitor’s site.

These are all great over-simplifications, but many clients don’t want to understand the great inner depths of SEO, yet they still need to understand what is basically at work here. We find that this approach helps the client gain a basic appreciation for what SEO is about, and why it is important to their business.

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Eric Enge

Eric Enge is part of the Digital Marketing practice at Perficient. He designs studies and produces industry-related research to help prove, debunk, or evolve assumptions about digital marketing practices and their value. Eric is a writer, blogger, researcher, teacher, and keynote speaker and panelist at major industry conferences. Partnering with several other experts, Eric served as the lead author of The Art of SEO.

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