SEO Boils Down To 2 Things

by Jim May 18, 2016

Welcome back Rankers!

I’ve been flat out preparing presentations for The Internet Conference, which is on next week. If you haven’t got your tickets I believe there are still some available. Go to if you are interested. If you are in Australian retail, you really need to attend. It’s going to be chock full of awesome content, and I should know as I’m doing some of it!

Working on one of my presentations today I realised I actually presented something similar to a group of Monash University Digital Marketing students only last week. I was trying to simplify things for that audience. I explained how you could break SEO up into two distinct areas: Configuration and Publication.


Basically, configuration is everything in Google Search Console. HTML improvements, page titles, ensuring there’s no duplications, fixing broken links inside the site, not having a site map updated, or things like ensuring you don’t have critical errors such as robots.txt files blocking all of the robots from all of the site, all of the time. (Which has just happened to an unnamed client after a plugin update went rogue and attempted to take over the Universe!) That’s bad in case you’re wondering, the robots.txt file blocking, not the taking over the Universe plan, as Google will de-index the site.


The skill with SEO comes with the publication. It comes with the content. With publication I always say the same thing, “Create awesome content and share it.” There are a couple of caveats around that. If you are creating awesome content, try to get people back to your site.

Pushing great content to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, or Instagram is fine, but if these platforms change the rules and you end up in breach of those rules, you’re done. So what you’re trying to do is use those other outlets. As my friend Chris Brayden said, “Own the message, share the destination.” Get people back to your site. That’s the publication part of SEO.

Mobile Friendly Update

The configuration part is simply ensuring everything is working properly. We talk about Google updates all the time. One of my presentations is on ‘How to survive and thrive a Google update.’ Now we just had one in case you missed it. It happened last week and is one that we’ve discussed earlier, that being a mobile-friendly update. So if your site is mobile friendly, chances are you’re going to get a little boost over non-mobile friendly sites.

You can track your smartphone results either in most rank checking software or do it as simply as grabbing your smartphone and Google your site. Do this with a few different browsers to even out the results. You might have a pleasant surprise. Or not, if you’ve neglected to take care of your mobile-friendly updates. We have seen position changes for clients, so the update is active and working.

Mythical Backlinks

Another item with trying to survive a Google update is backlinks. Everyone’s favourite topic! How do we get more backlinks? How do we get awesome backlinks? How do we get better backlinks than our competitors? Seriously, stop worrying about it. You may only need one or two backlinks.

Let me show you an example. This is a site I worked on last year for our bloggersSEO products.

SEO Backlinks
SEO Growth Without Extra Backlinks

This site has fantastic content and she was getting great session numbers even before I got my hands on the site. Organically only, mind. She did have configuration issues, which we fixed, and her numbers just kept climbing. No extra backlinks. How many does she have? About 32 the last time I checked. She’s in a competitive keyword market but still ranks above a branded site whose product she’s actually talking about. Great content people.

So publication is your creativity. Get awesome writers or awesome video content. It really doesn’t matter. All your mission entails is getting people back to your site. Find your audience by knowing your buyer personas then get into their market.

Hope that’s helpful. Hopefully I’ll see you next week at The Internet Conference. Thanks very much. Bye.

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