Life After SEO for Content: What’s Next?
It’s no secret that the world of search engine optimization and search in general is constantly changing. The trick is to not just keep up with the change, but stay ahead of it. The mantra “content is king” has been the precedent in SEO for a while now, but what do you do after you’ve incorporated quality content into your site and optimized every page and backend as much as possible?
It’s time to think a step further AND a step ahead of Google. One of the newest cries in the land of SEO is semiotics. What is this exactly, and what does it imply for SEO? It basically asks for a shift in thinking where we don’t just consider what’s written and embedded on the page, but the meaning behind it all.
Three’s Not a Crowd in Semiotics and SEO
Semiotics is basically comprised of three components:
- The relationship between items and objects. Example: American streetlights are always green(go)-yellow(slow down)-red (stop); they follow a certain order, and the light will always turn yellow before it turns red.
- The meaning of something and/or its context. With search and SEO, context, synonyms, and more are looked at to provide the most relevant search results possible.
- The meaning of words based on their relationship with the user. For instance, if you have fond memories of going to the beach as a child, you’ll most likely respond positively to words such as: beach, sand, ocean, surf, etc.
So what does this mean in terms of SEO? For starters, relationships and meanings are already at work in search results. To approach content, design, and SEO as a whole from a semiotic approach all that’s missing is one more piece: the relationship with the user.
Use Pragmatics to Incorporate Semiotic Thinking into your SEO Strategy
Right now search engines aren’t developed enough to take pragmatics into consideration when answering a search query; however, that doesn’t mean this factor still doesn’t matter. After all, at the end of the day a person — who is influenced by pragmatic associations — is using your website, not a robot.
Applying pragmatics to your SEO strategy, website, and content is relatively straight-forward. The short of the long is it requires companies to consider the user while making content and site changes.
Some ways to incorporate a pragmatic approach include:
- Use satire or other humor: Machines and technology don’t have the capabilities to understand humor, but people do! Using appropriately funny and amusing stories/jargon can make your site stand out from the rest of the crowd and (just as importantly) make it memorable.
- Utilize a lexicon: Does your business have its own language or jargon? When creating content, it’s important to consider the users and not just the search engine. As much as possible, try to communicate with your targeted audience in the same or similar way they would speak and communicate.
- Incorporate metaphors: This doesn’t necessarily mean “copy only,” either. The design of your site can be metaphor; it’s an opportunity to showcase what makes it unique. At Findsome & Winmore, we specialize in both traditional and digital marketing initiatives, so we recently re-branded our company from “Websolvers” to “Findsome & Winmore: The Classic Digital Marketing Agency.” You can see this message through the theme of classic and modern elements that are applied throughout the entire site.
- Consider culture when designing: What is the culture of your targeted demographic or market? One (relatively) easy way to capture the attention of your audience and connect with them is by having your website design reflect how they process information.
American culture tends to appreciate websites that have a cleaner look, where the information is clearly visible and accessible without cluttering the page.
The Japanese version of the same site, though, shares much more information in a more compact space – indicative of Japanese culture and how users there prefer to view and process information.
It can be easy to focus on content and keywords when it comes to optimization, but be sure to look at and consider the big picture! Even though technology may be crawling and indexing the page, where the user chooses to go is still up to them.
Additional resources to consider:
Google’s Hummingbird Deepens Semantic Search Results: Deciphers how Google now approaches providing search results to deliver the best content possible.
Semantic to Semiotic Evolution Search: Reveals the role of semantics in search.
Intercultural Design by Smitha Prasadh: Explanation of what different perceptions can be, and its implications for design.
The Harsh Realties of SEO That No One Tells You: SEO goes beyond keywords. HubSpot explore some of the finer points of SEO that can be easy to overlook.
Understanding SEO Friendly URL Syntax Practices :This article may be from 2012, but it does a good job explaining the value of a URL structure, and why the structure (ie syntax) matters.