Four Pillars of an Effective SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is difficult to understand, and sometimes over complicated. Apparently, the ‘ranking factors’ are to be blamed for this. Ranking factors i.e. the criteria applied by a search engine while evaluating the web pages, run into 200 pages in case of Google in a bid to generate organic search results.
If you take a close look at the ranking factors, you would realize that not all of them are relevant to every business. In reality, there is a sea of information and there are a number of variables to decide the placement of the SEO results. However, these are not definitive and final. The information overload is so overwhelming that it is easy to get lost. A searcher or a prospective customer (prospect) may spend hours on the search engine and still not get what he is looking for. It is therefore necessary to have a blueprint based on some definitive strategy.
Here, we outline the four pillars or main areas that you, as a site owner, should be focusing on with your SEO:
All these areas overlap each other and are sometimes complex to understand, but once you know how strong or weak you are in relation to them, you can direct your efforts towards an improved website. This guide helps you know each area with a goal to make SEO simpler:
Technical SEO is basically concerned with how well your content can be crawled and indexed. It involves a lot of meticulous planning and hard work. Your goal should be to ensure that a search engine can read your content and explore your website with ease. All this can be taken care of by the Content Management System (CMS) that one uses e.g. WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla! Tools like Screaming Frog and Deep Crawl can explore your website and highlight technical problems, if any. You should focus upon the following:
Technical SEO can be done easily if your business is small. However, for a voluminous website with millions of pages, a careful execution of Technical SEO is crucial. Technical SEO is actually a major part of your website design and development. Much success in implementing strategy depends on how the developer knits the website design, development and SEO to make a fast and mobile-friendly site.
For most of these technical optimizations you can use plugins in Wordpress. For more check out our post on 10 Wordpress Plugins That are Essential for SEO.
It is said that ‘Content is King’. A website, however fast and attractive, loses its worth, if the prospect finds nothing of utility in it. The content of your website tells him what you do, from whom you get it done, from where you get it done and most importantly, why he should use your business. If you want an edge over your competitors, your content should not just be descriptive but should also help prospective customers achieve their goals. The content of a service business can be broken into the following categories:
In general, SEO is important for all the above, but is often considered only for the Service content. It is not utilized for content like ‘reviews’, ‘testimonials’ and ‘case studies’ that form part of Credibility content. For example, if a prospect is looking for someone to fix solar panels in his building, and if your website has content not only regarding the service provided, but also a well-optimized case study showing similar work done in the neighborhood, it would illustrate credibility. Marketing can be done to a wider audience with this SEO strategy. This can be the best Return on Investment (ROI) as you are marketing without escalating your costs. There is no cost per click, remember? It may not be applicable to every business though.
Optimize all content to the customer and decide if content marketing has to be used. Local businesses are paying agencies to churn out blog posts as a new approach to SEO. But, it is you who have to decide whether it is necessary.
Ensure that your website is optimized as a whole and not page after page. It is advisable to start with a well-structured hierarchy for your site. Next, sensible optimization needs to be applied by the following steps:
Always think about your customer. If you are in local business, local SEO is important wherein your address and location are crucial. The thumb rule is to keep a solid technical SEO, add an on-page optimization, use tools like Screaming Frog, identify weak points and correct them.
The goal of every SEO is authority building. It is primarily done by link-building. Links are very crucial, but can be the toughest part of SEO.
A positive link-building philosophy can boost you way ahead in the competition. As Late Eric Ward put it ‘Connect what should be connected.’ This is a simple, beautiful concept and aims to arrest the ‘more the merrier’ mentality of link building. Links have to be from relevant sources and link-building efforts should create something that deserves links. Links should be there only where it makes sense. Natural link-building should be the crux of all link-building efforts. This involves more work –revisiting content onsite and creating something of value first, but it is worth the effort as it will lead to safe and dependable link-building strategy. In other words, build real links and do not disturb the qualitative and punitive parts of algorithm. Ensure your website has content that deserves to be ranked and linked too.
Through this guide, we have aimed to simplify the SEO which has long been perceived as complicated. The process involves proper structuring and optimizing content on website. Let us make sure that all the frivolities in making of a website are done away with. With added knowledge about SEO, reaching your goal of improved ranking and greater business is within reach.