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Updated SEO Fundamentals

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If you have had any encounters with E-Web in the past you would have almost certainly come across our popular acronym CLAP. CLAP stands for Content, Links, domain Age and number of Pages. This has always been a memorable and pointed way for us to communicate the basics of a foundational SEO strategy to our clients.

In the last year, just like all the previous years, the SEO and online marketing industry has once again totally reinvented itself. Since we are now dealing with a whole new beast, as E-Web’s Strategy Director it was about time I revised our old CLAP acronym to to reflect the current SEO landscape. Here is what I came up with:

DOCS! its all about the DOCS… Okay, so maybe it doesn’t have quite the same ring as CLAP, but it’s the most accurate representation of what a website needs to achieve effective SEO.

So What Does DOCS Stand For?

Domain Authority

Your website’s domain authority is made up of three things:
1. The age of the domain itself. How long has it been since your domain was first indexed? You can use this tool to find out: The Way Back Machine.
2. The number of quality domains that are linking to you.
3. The presence of quality content on your website. We will cover this in more depth under the content relevance section.

Ongoing Discussion

Search engines need to know through external factors that your website remains relevant and the best online resource in its niche. After all, information is constantly changing – now more than ever. Search engines judge your website’s relevance by factoring in the ongoing online discussion that it generates. Though social media will play a role in this (and we will go into that in more depth in a moment), a well rounded and natural looking discussion profile is made up of a diverse range of types of discussions, context, platforms, geographical locations, language, page structure, anchor text and so on.

To achieve this natural looking discussion profile you must have a solid ongoing link building campaign. That campaign must be heavily diversified to target many platforms such as forums, blogs, articles, directories, guest posting … the list goes on and on. Attaining links on these different platforms will give you a varied discussion profile automatically.

Content Relevance:

Valuable, up to date content is paramount. Your first port of call to creating a solid SEO strategy should be ensuring you have the most useful information on the topics you are targeting. Whether that means editing existing content, adding new pages to remain up to date, or implementing further rich media such as video, audio, images, presentations, spreadsheets, PDFs, infographics and any other resources you can think of.

Rather than rambling on about the specifics of this ranking factor, I think that it’s better explained via the following analogy:

Imagine you are in a situation where you only had two books to choose from in order to solve a problem. Assume that both books share the same title, and are both directly related to your problem. However, one book is only a couple of pages long, while the other was a 2-inch-thick doorstop of information. Which of these two books would be your preferred problem-solving resource?

Now suppose that one of the two books not only contained a good amount of quality written content, but also useful illustrations, instructional image diagrams, and maybe even a few tables and spreadsheets? Would that also persuade your decision about which book to choose?

We thought so … and guess what? Search engines think in exactly the same way.

Social Proof:
Anyone who’s anyone in the SEO and online marketing space knows that social media is already an important factor in both search engine rankings and a well rounded online marketing campaign. If you not already in social media, chances you are already behind the eight ball in your industry.

Complex search engine algorithms are a great way to filter websites to show only the best sites in the search results page. However, there is another resource that search engines can leverage that is infinity better than any algorithm: user feedback. There is truly no better indication for search engines that a site is of high quality than reviews from users of the site itself, and that’s what social proof is all about. It’s people sharing a resource they had a positive experience with by liking it, + 1’ing it, sharing it through social bookmarking, and so on. No algorithm in the world is capable of deriving such valuable information from the the site itself.

So that’s it, I hope you got some of value out of reading about DOCS!

I would love to hear what you think so please comment below. I know that SEO theories are a constant work in progress, and I am open to adapting this idea to be even better moving forward.

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