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What Baby Books Can Teach Us About SEO

25 September 2012 BY

Being a new mom, just finishing off my maternity leave, I have done my fair share of baby book reading over the last months. Baby books are made to organize the world`s things for brand new people with no pre-knowledge. Babies and search engines are on the same level of naivety, experiencing things for the very first time every time they crawl, and therefore they can remind us of the most important basics of SEO.

As a website owner, it is not unusual to lose the perspective of your own content. Maybe you have worked for years to create unique, great content to rank better in the search engines. You have read about SEO and you have done everything by the book. And somewhere along the way, you lost your focus. The website is now about everything and nothing, and the rankings are not improving. Why? You have lost sight of the most basic element of SEO.

I see this many times every week when meeting (potential) clients. People over-complicate things in their desperation to rank better. And somewhere along the way, they lose both the rankings and the usability of their site. This is where the baby books can help us; to go back to the absolute basics of communication, and therefore also the very core of SEO.

So, what can the baby books teach us?

1) Don’t complicate things!

The best baby books for brand new people are the most basic ones, the ones that don’t complicate anything, but call things by their names, and nothing more:

PIG
COW
HORSE
BLUE
RED
CAR

As soon as you add stuff to the most basic, you complicate things, and the users (in this case the baby / search engine) lose their focus.

For example; looking at on-page factors only, which one of these books are optimised the best for the word “pig”? (The Norwegian word for pig is “gris”, I didn’t have any English books available at home.)

Alternative 1:

PIG

Alternative 2:

PIG-COMPLICATED

Alternative 3:

PIG-MOST-COMPLICATED

Exactly! The most basic one wins. It is about “gris”, and nothing else.

This principle goes for both baby and search engine: Don’t complicate things, and your content will rank better! Do you run a restaurant in Oslo? Optimise for “restaurant + Oslo” on your main page(s), let the lower-level pages be about other, related topics, and let them do the long-tail work. But keep it very simple on the most important pages.

2) Most important information should be introduced at an early stage

Both babies and search engines have a limited amount of patience. They won`t look very long for something interesting before they lose focus and move on. Therefore you should introduce the most important information on a page or on a website as soon as possible. In SEO, this means:

URL
Title-tag
Internal link (menu, breadcrumb etc)
Header
Other content

With your keyword present in all these elements, what do you get? A clear message of what the page is all about, introduced from the very start of the page.

cow-with-navigation

Clear header, relevant content, top level navigation available from every page of the book, and long-tail content for the more advanced user.

3) Keep the focus on the main topic!

Keep the focus on the main topic on every page. If a page on a website or in a baby book is about a pig, don’t introduce a cow, chicken a barn or maybe even a tractor or an airplane on the same page. This will only make the content confusing. Keep focus and use internal links to guide the user / search engine / baby to the other content if necessary.

Content with no clear focus, confusing for a baby and, if this was a web page, confusing for the user and the search engine.

To summarize:

1) Don’t complicate things
2) Most important = early on page
3) Focus on the main topic

These 3 make both baby and search engine happy and less confused. Basic SEO that will help you get much closer to good rankings! Never forget the basics!

Books used in this blog post:
Baby Bok Møø! Møø! – Fortellerforlaget 2012
Barnets første ord – Rebus 2000
Sølvboken Dyrene – Norsk Fakta Forlag

AUTHORED BY:
h

Agnete Tøien Pedersen is Head of SEO in iProspect Norway and has years of experience within SEM, SEO, web publishing and journalism. She is also chairman of the Board of Ethical SEM in Norway, BraSøk. On a daily basis she is working with customers of all sizes, in Norway, the Nordics and internationally.
  • http://www.antonkoekemoer.com/ Anton Koekemoer

    Hi Agnete,

    My first born is only a couple of months old and yes – Being a SEO and digital
    marketing professional I’ve read a lot of books lately on children and can’t
    help to agree with you. Treating your website like an infant might just be one
    of the best things you can do in terms of building and growing the website by
    using legitimate tactics and engagement on social media channels. Thanks for sharing
    the relevant images – found them quite laughable (in a good way)

  • Agnete

    Thanks :) I truly believe in not complicating things, thanks for the comment!

  • Pingback: PPC advice from a SEO expert - State Of Search

  • SeoMensch

    i realy like that analogie between SEO and BabyBooks :) congrats!

  • slandry

    This is great! I read a ladybug baby book with my daughter the other night and it’s true. I saw a few similarities!

Nice job, you found it!

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