Online Search Architecture (OSA)
The consideration of all online search environments that users can access to obtain information and the understanding of the impact each of these can have on one another in consideration of a businesses online spaces
When we look back at 2016 and we consider the digital environment that so many South African businesses have started to operate in
The progression of use of technology by users is so advanced that it is almost impossible for a business to keep pace in an ever changing environment.
When we look back on 2016 there will be a number of buzz words that many people will not forget. Amongst these you will find the well used acronym of SEO or Search Engine Optimisation.
It is one of those terms that gets thrown around the boardroom table with ease but no grace. Often you will hear, “We have to get our SEO higher”, or “We need more SEO to get better rankings on Google”. Interspersed with this (and I say this from a position of wishing to educate rather than berate) you will find the odd person shoving in, “How much budget do we need for SEO”, or “Why are our competitors always above us after we created so much content”. The latter individual is, of course, referring to the paid ads at the top of a search results page (when a bid is applied).
We often find that people throw around the term “SEO” to add weight to their arguments, discussions, recommendations etc when it comes to expressing digital marketing initiatives. However, often these same people are not actually aware of what constitutes SEO. It is in these cases that you would find, suddenly, that Facebook, AdWords and Google search have suddenly become one and the same conversation item. Loosely bound together under the guise of SEO, these mechanisms often receive obscure descriptions and incorrect interpretations for their application for a business.
The question I ask though is, why! Why do these people, most of whom are extremely intelligent and well informed, still not understand the concept of SEO? Why can’t they understand that it is the application of on-page and off-page organic ranking factors, efficient on-page technical application (Page titles, Meta-Descriptions, Canonicals etc)and good valuable content production that produces the best results in reaching the SERPs?
Well, in review of 2016 and the many conversations I have had, I believe that they are not incorrect. I am! When I considered SEO I think about it from the perspective of being an individuals whos job it is to ensure that all relevant and applicable SEO factors that are trackable, measureable, monitorable and optimisable are accounted for. When our clients think of SEO they are thinking about the return that it generates not the technical applications. As they think in terms of what they get for the effort they put in, they consider SEO as any and all activities that get them more traffic to their site and generates additional business.
The reason they specifically gravitate towards SEO as an overarching theme is that, for them, Google search is the first point of contact. When businesses think about how to find items online, they most likely think Search and Social.
The most interesting fact I have drawn from this is that they are 100% to group these online elements together. We know as Search Engine Optimisors that you can rank for your own site and your social networks. We know that you can increase the value of your site by driving social visitors to it which in turn supports SEO. We know that integrating an AdWords campaign to your site can support increased ranking rates.
So then why are people still buying SEO? They are not, they just think they are. What they are most likely buying is basic on page optimization and setup. What they don’t understand is why they are not getting the results that they see in articles online that exclaim the magnitude of SEO as a creator of business. They don’t understand, because no the client and the supplier are talking different languages.
The client wants a result that they lump under the term “SEO”. The supplier provides exactly that but SEO in its simplest state is a long term process. So the client gets frustrated and upset and throws SEO out the window.
What the client really wanted was a setup online that drives as much traffic to their site as possible, is optimized for conversion (whatever that may be) and will begin to show them return in the form of appearing in the SERPs.
I like to think of this as OSAD (Online Search Architecture Development).
OSAD considers that the search environment has changed to such a degree in 2015/2016 that we cannot consider the ability to rank in a balloon of just content and good on-page practices. In review of the best performing clients and campaigns we can see that the application of a multi-level approach to online marketing creates more opportunities for ranking and drives a higher rank per page/platform for the business.
In short we are saying look at your online ecosystem.