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Before I begin, it is important to note that SEO, as any other facet of web design, covers both technique and purpose. Technique in the sense that SEO comprises a number of de facto guidelines (and accompanying tools) which help improve the search engine friendliness of your website. With purpose I mean the elusive concept of setting goals, and how to pursue them. Both are incredibly important aspects of learning SEO, and it can be argued that one cannot exist without the other.

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In a recent post, I took a short foray into the world of clumsy analogies by comparing the team work qualities (and necessities) of basketball and digital marketing. In an even earlier post, I made the claim that the single most important facet of content strategy is audience design. Well, now is the time to pull these two threads together all trilogy-like. After this, you can hail me as the Stieg Larsson of marketing.

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So I was watching the 2013 NBA Eastern Conference Finals game 7 between Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers. While making note of the dozens of different ways that the lackluster Pacers were taken to the cleaners by the dominant Miami team (read: LeBron James), I started churning a funky thought in my head. This beautiful, wonderful, exciting, adrenaline-pumping, superstar-studded, tattoo-galore of a game must be an analogy of something. Something equally thought-provoking, exhilarating and life-changing.

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I recently started rewriting some of the templates we use for SEO reports at my company. I first thought that the task would be a simple one. Just rewrite all the SEO stuff to match the latest trends, add more diagrams, charts, and graphs, and make it more personal by increasing the number of client-specific sections. However, soon I started to question my motives (as I usually do when doing something independently).

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“Oh no, not another ‘SEO in a nutshell’ post!” I hear you scream. Oh yes! And to make matters worse, I'm actually calling this SEO In A Nutshell just out of spite! But why, oh why, must I litter the otherwise so clean and orderly forum that Internet is with yet another here's-what-something-is-in-case-you-ever-cared-post? I promise, I'm only doing this for selfish reasons. I'm not trying to buy myself into the major league by posting about something that everyone else is posting about.

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When Matt Cutts speaks, the world listens. We reach out our hands to catch even the tiniest morsels that make up the bread that fills the basket that is Google. We hush in anticipation, as we know that we are about to be revealed another piece of the puzzle that is Google's search algorithms. We want to know these dark, esoteric, technological secrets because a) as humans we are genetically coded to abhor secrets and shadow-talk, and b) as SEOs we are competing in a business where only the first place is rewarded.

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In this post, I propose that a combination of valid, accessible, and search engine friendly markup is the perfect recipe for optimal web design. For markup to be valid, it needs to conform to the guidelines laid out by the “governing body” of HTML standardization: the World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C. While the Internet anxiously waits for HTML5 to shift in status from candidate to recommendation, we're stuck with ye olde HTML 4.

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Simo Ahava

Husband | Father | Analytics developer
simo (at) simoahava.com

Senior Data Advocate at Reaktor

Finland