SEO Secrets of Success: Baking SEO into Fiesta Bowl
Most people tend to think search engine optimization (SEO) is something you add to your website. A more integrated approach would be to view your website as merely one outcome of your SEO efforts.
Including SEO from the beginning and throughout web design, rather than as an afterthought, is what we call “baking search in.” When ZOG Digital was tasked with designing and developing Fiesta Bowl’s new website, we made sure to make SEO a priority by doing so.
There are two primary ways to go about website optimization: 1) within the strategic planning process, via keyword research, and 2) within the construction of the technological infrastructure of the site.
If search data, to paraphrase www.battellemedia.com blogger John Battelle, acts as “the database of human intentions,” then certainly knowing what people are searching for before building it necessarily makes a website more relevant (as it is, by design, tailored to those intentions). Websites that are designed with search keywords at the core become natural outgrowths of those intentions.
First, understand what people are searching for and how they think about it. This then guides our website content strategy by informing:
- New content areas: Popular keywords drive content areas tailored to those topics.
- Content priority: We know which content areas should be given greater prominence.
- Content nomenclature: Even subtle differences in keyword name can have a profound impact on the volume of traffic that can be driven to a site. As a simple example, while the term “football bowl games” draws 49,500 searches per month, “bowl games” garners 368,000 searches per month.
A prime example of how search-oriented content strategy plays out in practice is our recent work with Fiesta Bowl. In our research, we noticed a large number of people searching for hotels around the event. We saw this as a content opportunity that most sites were not capturing due to the short timespan and the high demand around these terms. Armed with this search insight, we created several pages (see “content areas,” above) on the website that targeted terms like “Fiesta Bowl hotels,” and “Hotel near the Fiesta Bowl.” These new content areas allowed Fiesta Bowl to promote certain hotels that they felt best fit the needs of their fans on their site and through search.
In addition to content planning, baking search in also encompasses the technical build itself. In the case of all our clients, and here, too, for Fiesta Bowl’s website build, we architected it so there would be no obstacles, and it would be easily visible to all search engines. In general, some typical tactics we see design-focused shops utilize in web design, that become technical obstacles to visibility and need to be remedied after the site is created at additional cost of time and money, include:
- image-based navigation
- lack of H1 tags or space in design to accommodate them
- content in images and incorrect or missing meta information
While creative freedom and design elements are certainly critical to successful web design, equally as important in our view is solid design informed by and within the constraints of a rigorous search-oriented build process. By baking search in, you truly could say, and it would be fitting, that, “If you build it, they will come”—as visibility from search engines will help to ensure people find the content they’re interested in, when they’re interested in it, on your site.
ZOG Digital can be reached at email@example.com, or through our website: www.zogdigital.com.