How to recognize a lost cause in SEO projects and requests for proposals


Like many of my research colleagues, I really like to see my SEO projects succeed. I like to see customer sites in Zero Position . I like to see the lists of customers in the People also request the section from the results page of a search engine (SERP). I particularly like seeing the best search results with rich snippets – such as recipes – because I know how technically difficult they can be.

Even a second-page list pleases me. People often think that not being on the first page of search results is a bad thing. I do not. Reason? I found that many sites were getting excellent conversions with lists on the second page of the search results. Experienced and experienced researchers know how to deepen research results when they want reliable, timely and accurate information.

That brings me to this article: lost or unsuccessful causes in SEO. I'm not perfect. I make mistakes. Sometimes I involve myself in an SEO project without first knowing that I am going to fall into a lost cause situation.

I hope that sharing my experiences will help my SEO colleagues.

The content management system does not support SEO

First of all, I do not agree with some of Google's statements regarding the BERT. You see, BERT is entirely devoted to words, writing, linguistics, keywords (yes, I said it) and context.

When researchers arrive at a site via a web search engine, they usually do not arrive through the site's homepage. They tend to land on the page in the middle of a site. This concept is known as the pyramid of the Inceptor .

Figure 1: pyramid of the inceptor. The inverted pyramid shows that most entries on a website are not made via the home page.

The researchers want to know that they have arrived on the right page and on the right website. For these reasons, it is extremely important to communicate on the web pages at the top of the screen. Validation of the information perfume is also important for people performing search queries. They want to see their keywords, or query words, on the page.

In other words, the landing page must validate and take over the mental models of research . If websites can achieve these three elements, they normally receive qualified traffic on search engines over time.

In summary, any content management system should support the following:

  • Inceptor's Pyramid
  • Aboutness
  • Fragrance Information
  • ] Mental Models User / Researcher

Question: If a CMS does not support these four elements, is this SEO situation a lost cause?

Answer: Maybe.

The four elements mentioned above are referencing principles. These are not SEO concepts of the month. These were fundamental concepts 20 years ago. These are fundamental concepts now.

I understand that search engine algorithms are changing. Before BERT, there was RankBrain. How many Google updates have we seen over the years? Medic, Panda, Penguin, Top Heavy, Hummingbird, Pirate, Pigeon – to name a few. Even with all these changes, these four SEO principles always apply to all types of web documents.

After signing a confidentiality agreement, I would like to know if the prospect's CMS will support the SEO recommendations of our company. .

What I'm looking for is the desire to:

  • Modify the existing content management system to make it more user-friendly for search engines,
  • Buy a different content management system (and less expensive) that better supports search engines and search engines, or
  • Create a custom 100% custom CMS for website owners, their target audiences and technology.

I do not give specific recommendations in a proposal. I just want to know whether or not: (a) implementation of our recommendations is possible and (b) client teams will support our recommendations.

Website design does not support SEO

This type of situation is tricky. Many organizations use pre-formatted design templates. Website owners might like a particular design. They might appreciate the "interesting features" that they believe will enhance their site in terms of user experience (UX). In the usability industry, aesthetic design refers to the usability aesthetics effect :

Definition: The effect of aesthetic usability refers to the tendency of users to perceive attractive products as more usable. People tend to believe that things that look better will work better, even if they are not more effective.

In addition, many design model vendors claim that their designs are tailored to search engines. I find this statement somewhat misleading. Most of the time, it simply means that the design template creates URLs (web addresses) that search engines can parse.

A user-friendly design for search engines involves a lot more than just a URL structure. Color matters. How the text is formatted and placed is important. A visual hierarchy that supports task completion is essential for SEO and usability. And 10 design patterns are reasonable for a small site. A business site should have considerably more design templates.

Question: If website owners are overly attached to a website design that you think is not totally geared to search engines, this situation with respect to SEO is a lost cause?

Answer: It depends on the design of the site.

It's easy to edit some design elements through Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), such as changing the color, font type, character type, alignment, and color. 39, other formats.

Some design elements are more difficult to modify, such as navigation items that appear in the wrong place … where users / researchers do not expect to see them. Some navigation elements are not at all in the design, like the navigation links in the navigation links and the big footers.

My answer to this question is similar to the answer I gave for an allegedly user-friendly CMS. After signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), I would like to know if a potential customer is willing to modify and / or add design models

What I am looking for is the desire to: [19659014] Modify the existing design so that it is more user-friendly for search engines,

  • Buy a different (and cheaper) site design that suits searchers and search engines better, or
  • Create a custom 100% custom design for website owners, their target audiences and technology.
  • I do not give specific design recommendations in a proposal. Again, I want to know if the implemented client teams will support our design recommendations or not. Sometimes I use an example of a design change to measure the intensity (or not) of the backflow. I can do this during phone calls prior to submission.

    Take for example the navigation links in the navigation links located at the site. Reason? Even now, I am constantly reluctant to: (a) use and (b) how they should be formatted.

    My company is very supportive of Ariane wire links based on location because one two lines of text communicate a lot of very important information to human users and technology. Moreover, when they are correctly implemented, they communicate the context … which is important for the BERT algorithm.

    Do you know what I heard the most complaints? From designers. The most common complaint? "They ruin our design."

    Well, that's not quite true. The problem is not the presence of links in the chain. The problem is their design.

    Breadcrumb links can be formatted in many ways. (But if you want them to appear in the search listings, you will have to follow guidelines for structured data in Ariane's thread .) That's the job of the design team give them a nice appearance and follow the usability, the UX and the search engines & # 39; guidelines.

    If the design team does not want to modify the content to make it more user friendly and search engine friendly? What if other teams bow to the decisions of the design team? In all likelihood, the proposal will be a lost cause until all teams learn to work together to achieve common goals.

    Information architecture does not support natural referencing

    According to the former Information Architecture Institute, the information architecture (IA) organizes and labels the content so that it is: (a) easier to use and (b) easier to find.

    Ideally, the information architecture should precede (design before) the design and development of websites. Many web design and development issues arise because the content is not well organized at first. In addition, a website's tagging system will not be as effective as the content is not organized properly.

    I am an educated, trained and experienced information architect. I can practically consult a website and say if its information architecture and its corresponding navigation system are problematic. What I want to know before submitting a proposal are two questions.

    Questions: Are website owners willing to change the architecture of information? Will there be one or more executive and / or executive champions to ensure that the recommendations are implemented by the design, development and content teams?

    Answer: Both answers should be a resounding YES.

    I once had a customer with a successful e-commerce site. However, the search traffic had stabilized and was starting to decrease.

    What was great about working with this great company was that it had a very talented staff for UX software / usability. This group knew when to use specific tests to solve specific problems. They used qualitative data to understand quantitative data in context.

    For example, they learned that a faceted classification system was the best impact analysis for the organization of most of their website. They even minimized the provision of duplicate content to human users and search engines.

    Figure 2: A facet taxonomy allows assigning an element to several taxonomies (sets of attributes), thus allowing its classification. be ordered in multiple ways, rather than in a single predetermined order (as in a strict hierarchy). This definition is taken from one of my favorite books: Introduction to Cataloging and Classification by Arlene G. Taylor.

    The problem? The Web development team took on the task of mixing a facet that had little to do with the classification system. You can even see the confused expressions on the faces of users (the test sessions were recorded on video) after adding the facet.

    The solution was simpler than expected. The unusual facet must be removed. Instead, facet links must be modified as contextual navigation (cross-selling, in particular). We could even show the decrease in search traffic matching the addition of the confusing facet.

    We have been able to present this solution to all the teams of the company (marketing, content, design, development, UX, etc.), I admit. I was surprised when we dealt with the development team. They have not discussed. They did not discuss or ask for further clarification. It was like they were in agreement.

    I was wrong. The answer came in an email. "We do not believe you."

    Despite my years of experience, none of what I said to this team matters. For them, I did not know what I was talking about. Other teams have accepted our solution … but not the development team.

    Is this referencing situation a lost cause? Yes it was. This company clearly needed an executive champion and a development manager to ensure that all UX / usability team tickets were properly implemented.

    Until that happened, we could not do anything else for this company. The problem was the architecture. The solution was to repair the architecture.

    I understand that many SEO companies specialize in developing links. Web sites can get instant development, supposedly high quality, in a very short time. This solution seems attractive to many design, development and architecture teams. Team members should not admit that there may be problems with the way they have applied the best detectability practices.

    A website is a form of communication with human users and technology. At large sites, teams must work together to ensure that they communicate clear and consistent messages to human users and technology users . There are usually mutual concessions on all sides.

    Overall, I hope all readers will understand that we are all part of the same team, even outside consultants. We want the best for the users of your site.

    Shari Thurlow will deliver a speech at the session SMX East "Taking the step: giving the best of yourself without giving up the goods" on November 13.


    The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. The authors are listed here .


    About the Author

    Shari Thurow is the founder and director of SEO at Omni Interactive Marketing Omni Interactive Marketing and the author of the books . ] Visibility in Search Engines and When Search Meets Web Usability . Shari is currently a contributing editor for ASLIB Journal of Information Management. She has also served on the Board of the Information Architecture Institute (IAI) and the User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA).



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