What Is SEO, Really?

by David Kerr

Nov 17, 2023

Posted in Industry

VP of Design, David Kerr, is photographed in black and white. He specializes in creating websites with a strong SEO strategy.

Formada’s Human-First Approach to Search Engine Optimization

It’s no secret that the world of SEO is constantly changing. There are agencies all over the world who devote the entirety of their work to building a strong SEO strategy for their clients. 

Where Formada excels is by making its SEO strategy a core part of a larger ecosystem of digital marketing tactics, including web design and content development. SEO is a focus, but it is not the focus, and this approach has garnered strong results for our client base. 

Since the very beginning of this business, the human element has been a critical component to our work. To some, that might seem strange. This is digital marketing, after all. But what we strive to never lose sight of is the fact that people are the ones we’re trying to reach through our work. 

The relationship between us and our clients. The relationship between our clients and their customers. These are human matters. We use our digital expertise to influence and benefit those relationships. 

It’s not everyone’s preference or approach when it comes to SEO strategy, but it’s the one that makes the most sense to us. Why? Because technology is always changing. The people typically aren’t. 

And the technology behind search engines has become so much more sophisticated over time, and misconceptions about SEO often stem from strategies that may have been more impactful in the past.

Now, I definitely don’t want to downplay the importance of the technical side of SEO or imply there isn’t ongoing technical SEO work that we’re doing for client sites. There is. I just think common attitudes place too much weight on the technical side of things while underestimating the importance of content SEO. The fact is, one can’t really be successful without the other.

Why Quality Content Is Critical To A Successful SEO Strategy

Typically, SEO is often most closely associated with website development. It calls to mind detailed, code-driven adjustments to a site’s infrastructure that will push it to the top of the search results page. 

However, especially as search engines become increasingly sophisticated, it’s helpful to remember that a search engine’s goal is to serve the most relevant, most helpful, most engaging content in response to a user’s search query.

That’s why when our team is developing a new website or overhauling an existing one, we always consider the human element behind our decision making. 

This influences the purpose behind each page, the potential journeys a person could take throughout the site, as well as the content itself. 

When it comes to the latter, keyword research is a must, but the way you use your research is critical to creating useful, informative content. 

Yes, you should consider what keywords are most relevant to your audience, endeavor to make your pages relevant across the web to accumulate backlinks to your site, and ensure that your site’s content is fresh rather than outdated. 

However, you won’t find the success you want from stuffing keywords everywhere at the expense of readability, creating complex and useless link mazes, and incessantly publishing post after post of irrelevant copy from ChatGPT.

You need to really get into the head of your customers. What are new ways in which you can approach creating content based on those keywords? What has the competition missed? How can you express an interest in their needs in order to create content that is ultimately interesting, and keeps them coming back to your site?

Frequent publishing only has the desired effect when you’re fulfilling their needs vs. your own. Conversions won’t occur if you don’t have what they’re looking for in the first place.  

3 Things To Consider When Developing Your SEO Strategy

Give Equal Weight To Web Development and Copywriting

There are technical standards and guidelines that your website’s infrastructure should follow and strive for as a baseline, but a comprehensive SEO strategy is just as much a copywriting endeavor as it is web development.

You can think of a lot of technical SEO as a series of best practices to keep in mind while developing the relevant, helpful, and engaging content you want search engines to serve their users. 

If your website’s infrastructure is very messy, you’ll absolutely see a great boost from the technical work to properly organize and structure your site, but ongoing SEO is a joint effort that should place just as much effort on a human-centric consideration of your site’s content.

Quality Content Will Help You Weather Ever-Changing Search Algorithms

As search engines become more sophisticated in how they analyze websites, the most impactful approach for ongoing SEO improvement is often thoughtful consideration of your website’s content.

While we can’t predict the future of SEO, we can point to things like Google’s most-recent algorithm updates, which reinforce our long-standing philosophy of content that is created for people. 

Google doesn’t want to direct people to junk. They want to recommend websites that contain the information their users are searching for. Given that goal, their technology is increasingly focused on analyzing site content to determine its value. 

Does it answer the question? Is it credible? Is it useful? The better job it does to answer those questions, the higher it will typically rank. The poorer the quality, the further down it will get pushed. 

Long gone are the days when keyword stuffing and similar deceitful strategies could fool the algorithm. In that sense, content can be king, but only if it’s quality. 

You Likely Can’t Overengineer Your Site Into An SEO Success

SEO services that solely focus on technical and backend adjustments will generally start to feel underwhelming over time if they don’t also include strategy for the website’s frontend content.

For many businesses, in our experience, it is far more effective to take a human perspective on search engine optimization rather than a technically centric one.

Our website design and blogging services ensure that clients’ websites are as optimized for search engines as they can be. With the addition of some of our newer services, like social media management, our clients can help generate even wider attention to their sites to help improve their ranking, as well. 

A Balanced Approach To SEO Strategy

I want to be as clear as possible about the fact that Formada is a highly technical team with an immense amount of subject matter expertise. It’s the application of those technical skills that sets us apart from our competitors. 

When we build a website, we build it for a person to use. When we create a paid media campaign, it’s created to engage with a person. Every block of copy is written with a specific person in mind. 

I believe that approach is what helps us generate the results we do. We take a great deal of time in learning from our clients about who their customers are, what their needs are, and what problems they help them solve. 

It helps our team to create something unique, something that helps our clients achieve their goals and grow their brands. In that light, SEO becomes a way of understanding a person’s needs and knowing how to speak to them. It’s communication. And what could be more human than that?

The fact of the matter is that SEO is a lot of things, and that your brand deserves a strategy that puts your customers’ needs and your business’s goals front and center. Interested in learning more? Contact us today! We’d love to help your business grow.


Get in touch with the Formada Team