More than “free traffic,” SEO is one of the key platforms of integrated performance marketing. It works best in a synergistic relationship with other channels, especially paid search. At 3Q, we believe that any action-oriented answer to the question of “What is SEO?” must address our six key Pillars of Good SEO: information architecture, quality content, multi-device readiness, analytics, user experience, and unique value-adds.

1. Information Architecture

A flexible, SEO-friendly site architecture is the first & most fundamental need for good organic results.

  • At the most basic level, this means providing a readable, crawlable, error-free product to the search engine bots and to users.
  • In its most successful incarnation, an SEO-informed information architecture supports ongoing business and site growth goals.

2. High-Quality, Intent-Driven Content

Building content and matching it to a likely keyword phrase isn’t the half of it – quality and meeting user intent rule the day.

  • Every search correlates a set of user intents. Today’s search engines favor intent over simple keyword matching.
  • Before any content is written, your site needs to reflect user intent. The impact of user intent should also frame your content strategy, which should produce topical, fresh, high-quality content to get top results. The content includes more than writing; it extends to graphics and user experience.

3. Multi-Device Readiness

Your users are not restricting themselves to a single device; don’t restrict your site to one.

  • Desktop and mobile SERPs are independent (even if there are many overlaps).
  • You must be ready to meet searchers on their terms – regardless of their preferred device – and deliver a quality experience that befits both their intent and your brand.

4. Analytics

User behavior is complex, crossing over simple channel/source boundaries as brand discovery turns into a conversion funnel. You must trust your data for your decisions to have any worth.

  • SEO growth is rooted in site analytics. Bad or leaky analytics will eventually result in poor SEO.
  • Strong analytics give insight into organic’s impact on all your traffic and allow us to key in on strategies and opportunities designed around what’s best for your business as a whole.

5. User Experience

Understanding and acting on what users do once they get to your site unlocks the true end-goal of SEO: better performance.

  • A deep knowledge of how your users interact with your site – the good, the bad, the puzzling – should guide all site and strategy changes.
  • Establish a positive feedback cycle: user behavior analysis leads to page optimization, which leads to better user experience, which leads to improved performance.
  • The significant bonus: performance of all traffic, not just organic traffic, will benefit from better user experience.

6. Unique Value-Add

What could be more unique than you? What makes your business special? What makes your product/service/website compelling? What sets you apart? What makes you excited to be you?

At the end of the day, organic search is a means to an end – a delivery vehicle. The product is you.