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If you are only focusing on one area of SEO, you're missing out on other critical areas of optimization. SEO is more than links or on-page work. It's a combination of three critical elements that, when put together, deliver exceptional results. In the video below, I'll share how to incorporate these three phases into your SEO work. 



Video Transcript: 

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Now, there's a lot of ideas of what SEO is and what SEO isn't and what you should do or what you shouldn't do. The reality is, if you want to rank in search and you want to drive traffic to your site that's going to be meaningful, you have to make sure that you are addressing all three phases of search.

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. So, if you want to rank this year and you want to 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 the agency, we've looked at everything that we've done in the last year and we've seen what has worked, what hasn't worked and what adjustments we need to make to ensure that we're still getting the results that we want for ourselves and for our clients, and this brings us to a simple fact of the three phases of SEO that we have to understand and have a firm foundation.

A lot of people are under this kick, maybe social media's the way to go or all I need to do is send email blasts or maybe I need to do paid advertising. 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, if you're not getting your site indexed there, you're missing out on a ton of opportunities to grow your visibility.

Now, I built a stack here and this is in the order you probably should be working on them, in my perspective as an SEO. These are all connected and they all lay the foundation for the next step. All of these are critically important. On page SEO, what we call technical SEO and then offsite SEO, or off page SEO which involves our link average.

A lot of people either focus solely on link outreach or on page SEO but very rarely do we see this kind of move through the entire stack here to get the results we want. So, I'm just going to briefly give you an idea of how we want to approach each one.

The first is on page SEO. So this is your title tags, your meta-descriptions, your H2 tags. Making sure that your content is really well written, that it's targeted for your persona. You need to make sure that this stuff's buttoned down. You want to use keywords. I know there's a lot of talk and I've addressed this a couple times; keywords are important. They're important. Google is a database. Google is a tool that understands context and keywords. We have to mark up our keywords.

So, you want to make sure that your descriptions and your title tags are really, really well done. They're buyer focused, that they're also search focused and you have your keywords in those. 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's not just looking at your site's content. They're also looking at how people interact with your site and the search results.

So, if you have a bad title tag, and you have a bad meta-description, and you're getting that impression that they don't click, your rank could fall. Or if somebody clicks on it and then they don't really get what they expected and they come back, you also could be negatively impacted by search. 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, that can help promote you in search as well. Google is looking at user engagements and user metrics. On page is a big part of that.

The next phase is technical SEO, and sometimes this gets lumped in with on page SEO but the reality is, technical SEO is a little bit different. This is where we're talking about structured data, schema markup, which can be scary sometimes. I've got a couple videos on that, that are very helpful and walk you step by step through how to do it. I was afraid of structure data just a couple years ago. Now, we use it every day. I think it's one of the most important things that we need to get behind and start to take ownership of as SEOs, as business owners, to get more out of our website.

Technical SEO is also going to cover the things like your site's structure. Do you have the URL structured correctly? Are your pages are being indexed correctly? How fast is your website? Fast sites are going to rank better. They're going to do better. Google doesn't like slow things. Then mobile. While this plays a much larger role in the B to C space, it's continually going to be something that Google is looking at, as more and more of the world goes mobile in their searches.

So, if your site's not mobile friendly, if you've got mobile issues like using search console to check out your technical SEOs use. Great idea. You should be using search console, looking at how your site's being indexed, looking at your site speed and seeing how your site's working on mobile, is it mobile friendly.

The last part of this stack is off page SEO. If you're doing link building, but these two things are not in order, it's not going to be as helpful because you're pointing to a site that's not really meeting all the requirements. If you're just blasting links to your website, but you're not taking care of your content, the meta-tags, the structural integrity of the site, this stuff's not going to have the effect that you want it to have.

So, once you have your foundation built, once you begin to add some structured data and some technical elements to your site, now you can start doing your link outreach and partnerships and you can look for sites that you can build relationships with. You look for places that you can create value and content for, build community and generate those 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 outreaching to the right people. Make sure that you're promoting your content. Make sure that you're promoting other people's content. Be a part of the community. That's how the internet works and build on community. It's built on the relationship.

So, by having these three elements, you're going to see amazing results to your search rankings and your search visibility. I guarantee it. Don't just focus on one of these, but start with on page. 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 comment below. And then, til next time, Happy Marketing.

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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