With the power of search engine optimization (SEO), you can increase the visibility of your website in search engines. The idea is to, with the help of a combination of different tactics, make it more likely for your site to rank higher in organic searches relevant to your brand. Because there are so many ranking factors in play, many newcomers are intimidated to try and leverage this strategy for their own website. However, when you reduce SEO to its core elements, it’s much easier to understand.
Google Search in a Nutshell
Google is incentivized to provide searchers with the best possible results for their queries. Naturally, it prioritizes pages that match the user’s query as closely as possible; these are relevant pages. But within that pool of relevant pages, Google wants to selectively rank the content that seems the most trustworthy or authoritative; in other words, more trustworthy content should rank higher.
Most SEO tactics attempt to improve the relevance of your website’s pages, the authority of your domain and individual pages, or both of these aspects simultaneously.
The Elements of an Effective SEO Campaign
There are many elements of a successful SEO campaign:
#1. A high-level strategy.
First and foremost, you need to have a high-level strategy in play. Obviously, your ultimate goal is to increase your website’s rankings in search engine results, but how are you going to get there? Is it more important to get brand visibility, or get a stream of organic traffic back to your site? One of the most important decisions you’ll make here is selecting the keywords and phrases you’re going to target; in other words, which user search queries are you going to pursue? Different keywords have different levels of search volume and different amounts of competition to worry about; the ideal selection of keywords will offer sufficient traffic, but minimal competition. Only proactive research and strategizing can help you find them.
#2. Fantastic onsite content.
Every good SEO strategy begins with a foundation of high-quality onsite content. Your content will play a role in determining your site’s authority, and will be responsible for keeping website visitors onsite. On top of that, it offers a great opportunity to convert readers with a call-to-action (CTA). But with relevance to SEO, your content is your chance to optimize for specific keywords and phrases. Your individual articles and pages will also serve as valuable anchor points for your backlink building strategy. In other words, your content plays a role in both the “relevance” and “authority” sides of your SEO strategy.
#3. Technical optimization.
Google tends to favor sites that work efficiently and treat visitors well. Accordingly, you’ll need to spend some time technically optimizing your site for performance and consistency. That means ensuring that all the content of your site loads properly, increasing your site speed as much as possible, and ensuring optimization on mobile devices and all types of browsers. Fortunately, many website builders offer templates and foundations that are optimized for search engines by default, but you’ll still need to run occasional checks to make sure your site is functioning as intended.
One of the most important elements of SEO is link building. You can increase the perceived trustworthiness of your site by making it technically optimized and writing great content, but if you want to keep growing, you’ll need the help of external links. The more backlinks you have pointing to your site, and the more authoritative those links are, the higher you’re going to rank. The best way to build these links naturally (so you don’t face the prospect of a Google penalty) is to write high-quality offsite content with strong links back to your site. You’ll also want to employ the use of a backlink checker, so you can regularly evaluate your strategy, checking for holes, and proactively scouting for new link building opportunities.
#5. Measurement and analysis.
Finally, you’ll need to spend time measuring and analyzing your results. Are you increasing in rankings for the keywords and phrases you’ve chosen? If not, what could be responsible for the delay? If so, are there any new opportunities that could be better? Are there certain publishers and onsite pieces that are performing better than others? Keep adapting if you want to improve.
If you can create and manage an SEO strategy that covers all these important areas, you should be in a position to increase your rankings and generate much more organic traffic. Of course, if you’re a newcomer, you may benefit from working with an SEO agency, or hiring a professional team; with so many ranking factors to consider and the threat of Google penalties looming, it helps to get outside expert advice.