Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become more important than ever as businesses realize the potential of online marketing. If you are only focusing on one area of SEO, you’re missing out on other critical areas. SEO optimization is more than backlink opportunities or on-page work. It has evolved into a complex process with a strategic approach to achieve SEO success. In the video below, I’ll share three critical elements that, when put together, deliver exceptional results.
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Now, there are a lot of ideas about what SEO is and what SEO isn’t, and what you should or shouldn’t do. The reality is, if you want to rank in organic search and drive meaningful traffic to your site, you have to make sure that your current strategy addresses three specific phases of organic search.
Effective SEO Strategies Give Better Results
When you do the same thing over and over again and you don’t get results, that’s called insanity. Insanity, by its definition, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If you want to rank this year and see better results, you’ve got to stop doing what you’ve always been doing and start thinking about SEO a little bit differently.
This applies to me as well. In our agency, we look at everything that we’ve done in the last year – what has worked, and what hasn’t worked – to see what adjustments we need to make to ensure that we’re still getting the results that we want for ourselves and for our clients.
This brings us to the simple fact that there are three parts to SEO success for a firm foundation. A lot of people believe that social media is the way to go and that all I need to do is send email blasts or use Google Ads. The reality is, people use Google. It’s become a verb. It’s something that we do every day. In fact, we have 63,000 searches on Google alone per second and Google accounts for almost 90% of all search traffic.
If you’re not leveraging Google’s platform, and you’re not getting your site indexed there, you’re missing out on a ton of opportunities to grow your visibility.
3 Phases to SEO Success
In my perspective as an SEO, there are three steps you can build upon for SEO success. These are all connected and they lay the foundation for the next step. All of these are critically important.
- On-page SEO
- Technical SEO
- Offsite SEO, or off-page SEO which involves domain authority.
Many people focus solely on link outreach or on-page SEO, but they rarely make each step a priority to get the results they want. I’m going to briefly give you an idea of how we want to approach each one.
1. On-Page SEO
The first is on-page SEO. This includes:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Header tags, like H1s, H2s, and H3s
- A well-defined content strategy that includes pieces of content that are well-written and targeted to your persona.
Prioritize relevant keywords. I’ve addressed this before – keywords are important. Use keyword research tools to create a list of keywords. And don’t forget to target the long-tail keywords that your potential customers search for. Google is a database and it understands context and keywords. We have to mark up our keywords.
Make sure that your meta descriptions and your title tags are really well done. Include keywords and make them buyer-focused and search-focused. You want to treat them with the same quality as you would if you were doing an ad campaign.
These are the things that are going to attract people to your website because Google is not just looking at your site’s content. They’re also looking at how people interact with your site and the search results. If you have a bad title tag and meta description, your click-through rates might be lower and your rank could fall.
But if you have a great title tag, and a great meta-description, that drives somebody to your website, you can actually have them engage with your website, which can help promote you in search as well. Google is looking at user engagement metrics, like conversion rate, time on page, pages per visit, and bounce rate. On-page optimization is a big part of that.
2. Technical SEO
The next phase is technical SEO, and sometimes this gets lumped in with on-page SEO, but technical SEO is a little different.
Here we’re talking about structured data, and schema markup, which can be scary sometimes. I’ve got a couple of step-by-step videos that are very helpful and they will walk you through the process. I was afraid of structured data just a few years ago. Now, we use it every day. I think it’s one of the most important things that we need to take ownership of as SEOs and business owners, to get more out of our website.
Technical SEO will also cover things like your site’s structure. Do you have the URL structured correctly? Are your pages being indexed correctly? How fast is your website’s load time? Fast sites are going to rank better. Google doesn’t like slow things.
Make sure your site is optimized for mobile. While this plays a much larger role in the B2C space, it continues to be something that Google is looking at, as more and more of the world goes mobile in their searches. If your site’s not mobile-friendly and you’ve got mobile issues, use Google Search Console to check out your technical SEO use. You can look at how your site’s being indexed, your site speed, and see if your site is mobile-friendly.
3. Off-Page SEO
The last phase is off-page SEO. If you’re link building, but the first two phases are not in order, it won’t be as helpful because you’re pointing to a site that’s not using SEO best practices. If you’re just blasting links to your website, but you’re not taking care of your content, meta tags, and structural integrity of the site, your linking strategy is not going to have the effect that you want it to have.
So, once you have your foundation built, and you add some structured data and technical elements to your site, then you can start doing link outreach and partnerships to look for sites where you can build relationships. Look for places where you can create value by providing relevant content, build community and generate links in a white-hat, natural way.
There’s nothing wrong with link building as long as you do it the right way. Don’t just blast a bunch of links to your site for no reason. Make sure that you’re reaching out to the right people, promoting your content, and promoting other people’s content. Be a part of the community. That’s how the internet works and builds on community. It’s built on the relationship.
By having these three elements, you’re going to see amazing results in your search engine rankings and search visibility. I guarantee it. Don’t just focus on one of these, but follow the steps and begin with on-page SEO. Make sure you’ve got it together. Then start to build in your technical elements and then do your link outreach. These core phases are fundamental to ranking your site in search. If you’ve got any questions, please contact us. And then, til next time, Happy Marketing.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on January 28, 2019, and has been updated with fresh content.