Tailored for Users: Our SEO Approach

Quo Agency
Good creation work frames are boundless. Ours are. At Quo Agency, we are venturing into amazing enterprises of our own in the creative licensed material, apparel, and social media markets.
Nelson Rojas
August 16, 2019
7
min read
Operations
The typical way of searching on the Internet is through a search engine, for this reason, to approach SEO we need to understand search engines and how they operate because this activity largely involves manipulating them[1]. However, this must be done under certain ethical parameters related to the quality of all the site’s elements. Despite this, some people choose shortcuts that violate privacy and with it the security of the data of many users[2].

What do we call a search engine?

This term encompasses two search models, one is a crawler-based search engine and the other is based on human-driven directories[3]. Currently, the use of the latter model has been declining, so much that the well-known DMOZ directory announced in 2017 the closing of their site. Despite this, human-driven search engines such as Hotfrog or Jasmyn Directory are still working.


For that reason, today, when talking about search engines, we refer to programs whose internal structure or backend is composed of algorithms designed to find and collect information in a database about different web pages[4], but from an external point of view, or front-end, search engines are an interface users interact with by typing the term they want to find. The algorithm searches each page of the backend database and returns the links that lead to the pages whose term is associated in the front-end.


Dissecting a search engine

Crawler-based search engines scan the Web and create an index of results that users search through. The way they do it is through a process that involves three elements[5]: 1) spiders, 2) indexes and 3) the search engine itself.

  1. Spiders: they are autonomous programs that target the URLs of different web pages. A spider enters each page, reads it, tracks its hyperlinks, downloads the HTML and stores its content.
  2. Indexes: are repositories where a copy of each web page is stored[6]. With all this information, a database is periodically updated since the spiders return to the pages, looking for changes in said contents. In this process, they are weaving a network of links that allows millions of web pages and their content to be held together.
  3. The search engine: at this level, there is a repository of millions of pages, so a program is required to classify the matches and organize them by importance. That's what the search engine does, sift a large amount of information compiled in the index and classify it.


A matter of visibility

As can be deduced, a website with a good position on the search engine results page (SERP) experiences a high level of traffic, so visibility is fundamental[7] and it is in the top positions of the SERP where higher visibility is achieved. In this sense, there are ways a page can be improved to make it more visible.

In general terms, search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of marketing strategies[8] that drive a website to the top positions within the search engine results page. There are different ways to make websites more attractive to search engines, optimizing the categorization of keywords is essential, since this positions textual content during an organic search better. Participation in social media is another important factor, as well as the structure of links (internal and external), the length of the URL, the loading times and the quality of the content structure.

Currently, Google stands out as the most used search engine, its search share represents 90% of the search results worldwide[9], so a big part of the efforts to improve SEO focus on deciphering the individual algorithms that allow Google to choose the sites that will be in the first places of an organic search, which may differ from those of other search engines.


Optimization methods for Positioning

To a large extent, the methods to improve positioning focus on the textual content of the website, because of this, during SEO improvement it may be necessary to rewrite the content to adapt it to the demands of the different tools that explore from topics to keywords, in order to make these elements more attractive to the algorithms that search engines use.

In general, to improve SEO, it is necessary to understand how search engines work. For this article, we selected the one with the highest demand, Google, and we focus on its potential operating criteria. This search engine could have countless variables to determine the positioning of a page, and even more, the algorithm used to carry out this process is not public knowledge. However, based on open access data, this article proposes categorizing the aforementioned variables into:


  1. On-page variables: refers to all the elements a person has direct control over while building a website, such as copywriting[10], meta tags[11], images[12], site’s internal structure[13], loading speed[14], optimization for different devices[15] -either mobile, tablet or desktop- and the quality of code construction[16].
  2. Off-page variables: these are all the factors of a website there is no direct control over since they are outside the construction of the site itself. Such is the case of:
  • Links that refer to a site from other sites[17].
  • Social media and other indicators of user perception[18] It is about users’ perception when interacting with a brand's website. It can be positive or negative and is expressed through social media, or even via reviews and ratings on other sites. This data could be used by search engines to assess the relevance of a site.


Note that for off-page variables, although there are actions to perform for them, these actions do not constitute part of the construction of a website, but instead are related to marketing strategies. That’s the reason why these variables will be outside the scope of this article. This idea will be emphasized paragraphs later.


Quo's SEO approach

In regards to SEO, Quo prioritizes what it considers essential during the construction of a site, the on-page variables. Within these variables, it’s important to mention relevant aspects such as:

  1. The technically correct construction of websites. If a website has errors and does not work properly, it does not provide a satisfactory user experience and Google could account for it. As a consequence, it is inferred that the relevance of this site in searches will be disapproved, not sending it to the top places. This first aspect implies the technically correct development of the front-end and the optimization for different devices -mobile, tablet or desktop-.
  2. Content aspects. Although Quo can investigate and propose structure and content writing for websites, it is not within the scope of the creation of a website to perform such activity. It would be part of business and marketing efforts, therefore, this aspect will be neglected in this document.  However, it is within Quo’s responsibilities during the creation of a website, to guarantee the revision and the correct structure in the code of the textual content.
  3. The use and optimization of images.
  4. The effective supply of metadata to Google. Every website provides Google and social media with relevant information, this is usually called meta information. It is taken into account by Google when trying to see how a site works. In general, these are keywords, tags and meta tags of the code.
  5. Construction with an excellent UX and a suitable UI. A site that works and achieves its mission for users is a site that proves to be relevant to Google. So as long as a good job is done regarding the usability of the site and the user experience, essential work related to SEO will be done.


Emphasis on out of range parameters

Again, there is a set of factors whose direct control does not depend on the construction of the site itself. We refer partially to a couple of on-page variables and all off-page variables. The fact is that these variables are located in a diffuse area very close to speculation when planning for them, and for this reason, within the scope of a website development project, we do not consider them and prefer to focus on what can be guaranteed. In this sense, strictly associated with the development of a site, Quo does not plan to address elements such as:

  1. Copywriting for customer sites, strictly related to the product or service offered. Although this is an on-page variable, at Quo we do not write content on topics that, in many cases, are outside our competence. It is important to keep in mind that Google rewards sites that prove to be relevant from a content point of view, but the creation of such content is in the hands of an expert on the matter, that is, the brand itself, not a third party trying to interpret it. 

In extraordinary situations, Quo can research, analyze, and write content for which research is a sufficient source of data to create relevant and useful content. This extraordinary situation, however, is far from the scope of a website project, and they are rather treated as part of market research services. Therefore, it’s considered in this article as a parameter out of range. 

  1. Keyword research and other strategies when generating content. This is another on-page variable related to content aspects, however, content writing strategies consist of finding out the relevance of potential content in search engines, which is achieved through keyword research. This is no longer something that concerns the creation of a website, but rather the marketing area, for this reason, it is outside the competence of this type of projects.
  2. Links that refer to a site from other sites (off-page).
  3. Social media and other indicators of user perception (off-page)
  • Performance of social media advertising.
  • The brand’s ratings on different review sites such as Trustpilot, Facebook, Google Customer Reviews, etc. Note that, much of the success in these qualifications, is given by the quality of the products and services themselves. This shows the number of factors that could contribute to the SEO of a site, and are outside the scope of the website’s technically correct construction.


Conclusion

It is important to highlight the fact that at Quo we understand that to have a good SEO, you have to stop worrying about how search engines could interpret a site; Instead, you have to focus your attention on developing a site that provides a useful experience to users. In other words, from our perspective, we must stop building for search engines like Google and build for users. Google has its criteria to verify the good work of a website and that the information it contains is valuable, so trying to circumvent those criteria is like a will-o'-the-wisp.


References
[1]Ledford J. (2008). Search Engine Optimization Bible. Wiley Publishing, Inc: Indianapolis.
[2]Lees Christopher (2012). SEO Company Green Cow SEO Exposed! Black Hat SEO Secret Techniques – Case Study. Retrieved August 04 2019, from http://seospoiler.com/seo-company-greencowseo-exposed-black-hat-seo-secret-techniques-case-study/.  
[3]Michael A, Salter B. (2008). Marketing Through Search Optimization. ELSEVIER: Massachusetts
[4]Ledford J. Idib.
[5]Michael A, Salter B. Idib.
[6]Michael A, Salter B. Idib.
[7]Mitchel M. (2012) Understanding SEO. FT Press: New Jersey.
[8]Thurow S. (2003). Search Engine Visibility. New Riders: Indianapolis
[9]Statcounter. (2019).Search Engine Market Share Worldwide. Retrieved August 10 2019, from https://gs.statcounter.com/search-engine-market-share/all/worldwide/2019
[10]Julia McCoy. (2014). Why SEO Copywriting Services Are Essential To Your Internet Marketing. Retrieved August 10 2019, from https://expresswriters.com/seo-copywriting-services-essential-internet-marketing/
[11]Ashok Sharma. (2018). Meta Tags in 2019: Why are They Important in SEO?. Retrieved August 10 2019, from https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/meta-tags-important-in-seo/
[12]Roger Monti. (2018). 7 Ways Images Can Boost Rankings. Retrieved August 10 2019, from https://www.searchenginejournal.com/image-seo/270007/
[13]Marieke van de Rakt. (2018). Site structure: the ultimate guide. Retrieved August 10 2019, from https://yoast.com/site-structure-the-ultimate-guide/
[14]Edwin Toonen. (2018). Does site speed influence SEO?. Retrieved August 10 2019, from https://yoast.com/does-site-speed-influence-seo/
[15]Sean Si. (2019). How Responsive Web Design Affects Your SEO. Retrieved August 10 2019, from https://seo-hacker.com/responsive-web-design-seo/
[16]Sujan Patel. (2012). 10 Ways Coding Can Help Your SEO. Retrieved August 10 2019, from https://www.searchenginejournal.com/10-ways-coding-can-help-your-seo/45402/
[17]Mahum Ali. (n.d.). What Are Backlinks And Their Effect On SEO Search Engine Ranking. Retrieved August 10 2019, from https://www.twinword.com/blog/backlinks-affect-seo-ranking/
[18]Keran Smith. (2019). Social Media SEO: What You Need to Know to Grow Your Business. Retrieved August 10 2019, from https://www.lyfemarketing.com/blog/social-media-seo/
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