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‘SEO is not tough…it’s just poorly taught!’

Explaining SEO in nine simple tweets...

SEO strategy image

SEO explained...

There’s a real art to taking potentially complex ideas and communicating them in a way that doesn’t turn the intended target’s brain into a gooey mush.

SEO is a good example. On the surface it might seem like scary internet witchcraft that should be burned with fire. And, yes, there’s plenty of nuance and strategy behind good SEO that should certainly be left to the professionals—*cough* Sonder *cough*—but the concept itself can be relatively straightforward.

It’s all about finding the right analogy to tell the story; a safe entry point that helps startup businesses understand the importance of SEO for achieving online success.

Thanks heavens, then, for Karthik Sridharan, who took to Twitter last week to offer up this rather delightful thread explaining the very basics of SEO—that even a 5-year old could grasp—using a library as the analogous crux.

Here’s a video, if you don’t like your media consumption in 280-character doses:

Finding the right book!

Right, let’s do our best to untangle the thread. The first job is to establish which characters are involved in the analogy. Think of Google as the librarian and all the books contained within the library are the billions of websites that find a home on the internet. The person searching for the book is your potential customer

So far, so good. 

Just like the person visiting the library and asking the librarian to suggest a relevant book on a specific subject—Sridharan uses the example of photosynthesis—a potential customer searches Google looking for a relevant website.

piles of books and ladder

Setting your parameters

Google then prepares the search results in the same way a librarian would sift through the great sea of books in order to find a recommendation. 

Google and the librarian does this by setting certain parameters to rank the vast assortment of websites or books.  

These parameters are straightforward enough but absolutely paramount in the quest to find the most relevant result. Let’s continue with the librarian analogy to explore this framework further: 

  • Does photosynthesis appear in the title of the book

  • Does it appear in the chapter titles?

  • How many times does it appear within the pages of the book—or across the overall content of the website?

Then we apply a second set of parameters to refine the search: 

  • How many other books cited this book as a reference

  • Did any of those books also recommend this book? 

  • How credible are those other books?

Ranking your results

Just like Google, the librarian then assigns certain weights to these parameters and shares a list of 10 books that they believe the person should consider, each of which is ranked in order of relevance

The librarian might have more books that could fit the bill, but the person isn’t going to search past the 10 best results. 

And why would they?

lady with laptop on books

On-page and off-page factors

Now it’s time to join the dots. Using the library analogy, photosynthesis is what’s known as a keyword. Meanwhile, the book title is the page title on your website, the chapter titles are the H1s, H2s and tags, and the mentions in the book content are the mentions in the body content of your website

These are what we call on-page factors.

In the second set of parameters; citations by other books are backlinks and their recommendations are do-follow backlinks. Finally, their credibility is the all-important domain authority (DA)

And this collection of factors is known as off-page factors.

Applying the data

And so we arrive at the fundamental question:

What do we do with all this information and how can the effective use of SEO help a website appear in Google's search results?

We consider those set parameters and apply them using the following steps: 

  • Choose a keyword that your customer is likely to search for

  • Write an article and infuse that keyword in accordance with the on-page factors

  • Circulate the article so that websites link back to it

  • Those websites that do offer a do-follow link—ensure they are credible!

How can we help?

Despite the simplicity of the thread, there’s no denying that the world of SEO can be tricky, and deciding precisely where to focus your attention isn’t always easy.

Fortunately for you, here at Sonder Digital, our team of strategists can always lend a helping hand with all your SEO needs. So feel free to drop us a line and see what we can do for you!

Posted on April 19th 2022

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