Even before the existence of Panda, Penguin, and other Google Updates, the search marketing world is already aware of the basic SEO Workflow standard that separates the white hat from the black hat (commonly called by Google as Web Spammers) practitioners.  Those who are massively hit by Google’s latest search algorithm updates are surely aware of the obvious difference between creating high quality contents from creating spams and implementing shady tactics.

Every content creator, business owner, or SEO practitioner has already been warned since the creation of search engines that spamming is a violation and one should stay away from it to avoid any kinds of penalties.  But, people won’t really care until they are already compromised.

To refresh your mind on what SEO is really about, let’s look back at the basic SEO Workflow Pyramid created three years ago.

The SEO Fundamentals Pyramid

SEO trends come and go but there is one fundamental principle in the industry that all search practitioners should abide with.  It is the basic fundamental of Search Engine Optimization.  This principle is illustrated into a pyramid by Rand Fishkin, one of the most respected names in the SEO industry.   (See Illustration above)

Fishkin divides the Search Engine Optimization Pyramid into 4 important parts:  Accessible Content, Keywords, Links, and Social.  Each part is an important factor of SEO which plays a vital role in helping your website rank on top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).  Let’s take a closer look on each part starting from the most important one and relate it to the status of search engine optimization today.

1.  Accessible Content – The common phrase “Content is King” is not actually an exaggeration.  In the SEO world, content is the force that keeps websites alive.  It also encourages people to keep coming back, thus it helps in attracting more traffic.  Nowadays accessible content means high quality content. High quality contents are created with the target audiences’ needs in mind.  Though Fishkin did mention about quality, he didn’t emphasized it well.  Google already changed their search algorithm to prioritize the indexing of high quality and relevant contents (especially targeting those that are not optimized).  This means that creating high quality contents is a major way to make your website more visible especially to Google.

2.  Keywords – In the overall SEO Workflow Pyramid, keywords is the 2nd most important component that needs major attention.  A few years ago, the practice of overstuffing and inserting of too much keyword in content was a trend.   Overstuffing is definitely the bad side of SEO and is now already a thing in the past due to Google’s stricter search algorithm changes.  In the positive side of SEO, “keywords” is the major component that keeps the industry alive.  Without it, there is nothing to optimize at all.  Every SEO campaign starts with keyword research and business owners can predict their return of investment by determining what keywords need to be ranked and which one can help create greater opportunities.  One most important thing all search practitioners should remember is not to abuse it.

3.  Links – Massive and automatic creation of links is one of the most popular SEO trends a few years ago.  The more links pointing to your website the more chances it will appear on top of the SERPs.  But, this is already a thing in the past.  The race of who can create the highest number of links defeats the very purpose why it is used by major search engines as one of the important factors to rank a website.  Though links are the fuels that enable websites to rank on top of the SERPs, big search engines nowadays (especially Google) are tightening the belt in segregating high quality links from low quality ones.  As what Rand Fishkin mentioned in this video, it is really difficult to get links especially those high quality ones and in most cases it takes time to build them.  Low quality links (though very easy to acquire) have no value at all and can badly harm your website, your brand, and your reputation as a business entity.  Link-building should be given more careful attention to ensure quality and relevance.

4.  Socials – What is SEO without Social Media?  Your website might do great half a decade ago without the help of Social Media, but nowadays, Social Media and SEO are quite inseparable.   Most big search engines already used social signals as one of the factors in ranking web contents.  Social Media Optimization is already a part of every SEO campaign.

The Pyramid of SEO Workflow three years ago is still the reflection of today’s basic SEO Workflow.  There’s only a bit difference on the emphasis for high quality content, relevant keywords, high quality back-links, and Social Media Optimization.  This pyramid should always be instilled in the mind of all search practitioners to avoid penalties or problems in the future.


SEOmoz Whiteboard Friday – The SEO Fundamentals Pyramid, http://vimeo.com/2509081

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