26 February 2019 Matteo Caruso

What is SEO? Keywords or people?

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In Veneto we would say: “cossa xeo ‘sto seo “or what is, and is not only, Search Engine Optimization and because it has more to do with behaviors and expectations of people than with simple keywords.

SEO is a rather common slang term, it also defines a profession or rather a specialization of digital marketing, but it is an acronym for a British expression which in full means: “optimization for search engines“; an activity that aims to obtain the best positioning for a site’s page in search engines, most commonly Google.

Google is, and maybe for a while longer it will continue to be, the first search engine in the world.

But why?

Why does Google, and SEO, work?

It simply gives to people, if you want, an experience: simple, natural and rewarding, just as described in point 10 of the Sixth W Manifesto (https://www.tsw.it/the-sixth-w/il-manifesto -the-sixth-w /).

Google wins because its results always aim to be those desired and sought after by users. To improve, it continues today to use the Quality Raters, that is people, to evaluate the quality of its algorithm, thus adding a “human” judgment to its ranking factors.

The SEO serves to maximize the relevance of the site on search engines to increase the traffic of users that can arrive from this origin. Possibly it can determine a greater notoriety or quality of a site and, in derivative way, the ability of a company to transfer or to make available adequate contents.

The English acronym SERP means “search engine results page” and defines the capacity that a company or site has to be found. Whenever a user searches with an engine, he gets an ordered list as a response. The use of keywords is essential to determine the positioning of a site in search engines.

But SERPs are nothing more than pages that answer web users’ questions. And then maybe it’s not quite right to continue talking about engines (robots or spiders that are in the webs of the www).

Motors for which it is optimized

Engines that give results

Ok, but people are the real engines of the whole activity, it’s the search behavior of the users that once aggregated actually orders the search, the engine records and sorts by priority, but the real priority is that of organic occurrences, i.e. the written text (or now dictated) by people.

SEO in people’s experiences

Every SEO activity aims to favor the best positioning of a website and the brand to which it belongs and it is easy to understand how the good positioning of a website in search engines is functional to the visibility of the products/services sold.

We do not want to deal here with the technical aspects related to SEO, because we in TSW have always been concerned, in terms of the connection between supply and demand, of the visibility of content for the engines by looking at them from the side of the user experience, which we prefer consider as people, and therefore the content has always been at the center of every positioning or optimization strategy. A significant content, close to research, easily found, expressed in a simple but comprehensive way, rewards still today in the qualitative, but above all quantitative, proliferation of contents and fruition media.

This is why I like better the abovementioned dialectal “XEO”, I mean no offence to the Venetians, because it is not about optimizing the research line more related to spiders, but the research experience, for this reason the X stands for the experience, often abbreviated as X , that people do. Who are then the engines of this experience that can and must be optimized, if not the companies that those experiences of fruition generate?

SEO is not an exact science

Each SEO activity is based primarily on empirical studies. Search engines do not explain how their algorithms and ranking factors work (now more and more intelligent also because they are combined with data provided by statistical systems of user behavior analysis during their navigation and with machine learning technologies), because if they would have, there would be immediately those who would find the way to deceive them, to give more relevance than the legitimate or due to their sites.

There are guidelines, we know rules of conduct and some relevant elements, but nothing more. And these guidelines do not give certainty, so you have to experiment, and then see the result of your actions (some days later, the time that the changes are indexed), with the monitoring of the positioning and the analysis of the statistical data.

A bit like in scientific research, a theory is made, and then an experiment is made to verify it, based both on previous experiences and on the forecast of what may be of value in the future.

A bit like in life, choices are made, we value certain content and certain information, certain actions are performed, inspired by certain values, hoping they are correct… only comparison with others and time can confirm them.

Good optimization. What is it about?

The basic concept is, or at least would seem, simple: to identify and address an issue relevant to the audience.

It is the relevance for readers that engines will love!

The engines in fact aim as we have seen to return to the user the best possible result. So what’s the secret to improving a text, a page or a site? Make it more relevant, complete, interesting.

That is to make people live an experience: simple, natural and rewarding

For example, to apply a criterion of relevance the engines use backlinks, or the influence of traffic that comes almost entirely from external domains. That is sites or pages where others talk about that specific page or link to the pages of the site in question as a reference.

In order to evaluate again the accuracy and the authority to treat a theme the engines must consider what we have always considered in TSW as the real fulcrum of the SEO, the theme of the contents.

Having dealt with a certain topic for a prolonged and significant period of time, with more occurrences not only of keywords, but of semantic relevance on the subjects, gives thematic authority.

This leads to the relevance of the topics, we would say the contained values, which prevails over the single keywords.

Search instances, search intents and expectations

We have seen how the keywords are relevant, but they do not give the true relevance, which is given by the contents, the backlinks and the depth with which we dealt with a theme.

Today exact match means something different, and the website that contains most instances of a keyword doesn’t have the highest score for that keyword. Rather, it is the website that best fits the needs or intentions behind that keyword, which is what the user expects to read and know as a result of that search request that represents a request for satisfaction of a need.

The more a reader is busy with the presented content, the longer it will remain on the page or on the website, increasing what is called “session duration“, another important ranking factor.

As these are the information that readers are looking for when they enter the search term, the websites that serve it will get more involvement from website visitors. Google therefore interprets this increase in commitment as a good response to the visitor’s demand, thus positioning the URL higher.

It all starts with keywords and a search field

When visitors type a query into a search box and land on a site, will they be satisfied with what they find?

The sites, the contents must be built for the users, which we call and consider people, not for the search engines.

When users are satisfied with the content that is offered in the SERPs and in the pages to which they refer, this translates into a positive experience, both with the search engine and with the site; the first one gives the first results or the path, the second the information or the content if you prefer.

The real result, however, is experience, not the page, the path and if you want even the feeling and not the content.

Who knows how you arrived on this page … but if you have read up to here I hope that the information or the stimuli that you have found have been to your liking, but above all that the experience has been of quality and in line with your expectations.

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TAG: SEO digital marketing antropological marketing The Sixth W approach