How SEO is like buying a new house

by Aaron Kaiser

Real Estate is an industry most people have a relatively good grasp of. Almost everyone will own a home at some point in their life. And even if they don’t, they’re likely to have researched it seriously. Few purchases in life are as heavily scrutinized as a property. Subsequently, most people have a good grasp of the factors that influence the true value of a property:

  1. The foundation
  2. The Structure
  3. Location


Most folks understand that a house is built from the foundation up. If the foundation isn’t solid, everything else can be compromised. The same is true of your SEO initiative. A solid foundation is crucial to long-term success. And in SEO, keyword research is your foundation. Everything you do must be built upon it. Without an analysis of customer search behavior and the competitive landscape of the industry, an SEO program will lack the insight needed to get off the ground. Just like a house with a weak foundation.

While the foundation lays the building blocks of a solid property, it achieves little on its own. How many people do you know that live on a concrete slab? The value of the foundation is that it provides the base upon which a quality structure can be built. And the quality of the structure is ultimately just as important as the foundation in determining property value. As the three little pigs found out, a house made of straw holds no real value.

As you may have guessed, your website is your online house. And Google is the property inspector, assessing a wide range of factors on your website to determine the true quality of your structure. Just like in real life, architecture is crucial in the assessment of property value, as is the quality of materials used in building that structure. From an SEO perspective, property materials include:

  • Web site code: Clean and well structured code is necessary to enable Google’s spiders to access every nook of your online property.
  • Web site content: The old adage that content is king is as relevant as ever. And with the appropriate foundation work (keyword research), your content can be crafted to deliver maximum SEO impact via body content and other on-page elements (page titles, headings, anchor text etc).

Location, Location, Location

The final piece of the property value equation is the location on which it has been built. External factors will always influence the value of a property. Even the most lavish property will fail to realize its true value if it is located in the slums. External elements such as crime rate and wealth of surrounding suburbs contribute significantly to property valuation.

Likewise, circles of association play a crucial role in Google’s assessment of a web site. From an SEO perspective, high quality links will ensure your website has a great location. Search engines analyze the links to each website to determine the quality of the location in which it resides. If your site is connected with link farmers and spammers, you can’t expect search engines like Google to attribute much value to your property. You’re in the online hood. Want to prove to Google that you live in a good location? Make sure your link building efforts are focused on the acquisition of quality links.

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