Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been the buzzword that is near and dear to many marketers since the dawn of the internet.
Many have tried to grapple with optimizing their content while considering the many intricacies that search providers have embedded into their search engine designs. SEO has evolved since the late 20th century beginnings from a small, yet robust criterion relayed from Google, AOL, and Yahoo to the diversified criterion of today’s global myriad of search engine options.
Today, marketers are looking to get a leg up on Google’s mobile-focused indexing algorithms by creating synergy in their SEO and website marketing strategies in a more holistic manner. Let’s explore the beginnings of SEO and how developing a holistic SEO strategy can help your organization in the future.
What is SEO?
One of the first people to popularize the term, SEO, was Bruce Clay in 1997. Danny Sullivan, Advisor and Chief Content Officer at Third Door Media, tells us that “SEO is only not seen as rocket science by those who already know it.” For those who don’t understand SEO, it might seem more like an abstract idea that is more guesswork than actual strategy.
This is the intended response that Google wants when it went about creating the 200+ Google ranking factors that it looks at when analyzing your site. More than 70% of all traffic on the web starts from a search engine with 60% of all traffic originating from a Google search which means that the source that you need to pay the closest attention to is Google.
The content that gets a higher search ranking on Google is based on the trustworthiness of the link and the authority that it exhibits to the reader. One of the Google top ranking factor is when the content contains links to other high-ranking content that relates to the topic of the content, it will undoubtedly receive more impressions and get a better chance of converting due to its perceived trustworthiness by readers.
Keywords are a big part of SEO to varying degrees depending on who you’re speaking to. Some say that they’re extremely important while others feel that they aren’t. Naysayers formed their opinions when Google rebuilt its algorithm in 2013, but the consensus is that relevant keywords are needed for content to rank high in searches.
In short, Google wants you to produce fresh content consistently, but knows that some people have historically tried to game the system by throwing up keyword heavy content that is unreadable to try to circumvent Google’s algorithm (hence the recent changes). When you’re producing consistently relevant, readable content filled with useful information, Google rewards your site with a higher search ranking.
The fact remains that headlines that are optimized for SEO aren’t exactly going to be the most appealing for readers to engage with. Finding a sweet spot in your keyword usage within your content’s body, headline, meta description, tags, etc. is what will keep you in the good graces of Google. People want to click on it and share content that resonates with them so considering your audience as well as the search engines when working on your site is one of the best ways to formulate a SEO strategy.
Why your Business needs a SEO Strategy
Incorporating a SEO strategy into your website development is extremely important for giving site visitors the freedom to easily move from one page to another. Search marketers should account for the fact that there is already an over saturation of content for people to choose from on the net. As such, readers are becoming more selective with what they read, watch, and explore from their search engine entries.
A solid SEO strategy will help you occupy new corners of your market and build awareness around your brand. Marketers need to approach their SEO strategy with patience and commitment while considering factors like voice search, AI, hyperlocal focus, personalized search, etc., before creating their content. If you’re consistently pushing out poor-quality content that's not well researched, it will ultimately negatively impact your website's reputation and ranking. As such, having a strategy that is backed in key SEO trends is important for all brands to pinpoint and execute.
Configuring a Holistic Search Strategy
Barry Schwartz, News Editor at Search Engine Land, says “SEO is not just about the webpage anymore; it’s about content within the apps and content within your featured snippets like the structured data.” Developing complementary coverage for reaching all relevant audiences with your content is the most effective way to position your content to garner the highest ranking.
Using a holistic search strategy for your content eliminates issues is the best way to get the best visibility for the website. A holistic approach to SEO gives you the opportunity to target and reach the right audience and ensure that the journey that they take to become your customer is as easy and stress-free as possible. Focusing on developing your website with proper levels of navigation, an engaging header, and link labels give the visitor a more enjoyable experience that will keep them from bouncing after reaching your home page.
Another big part of implementing a holistic search strategy is to use natural growth patterns in your content and user experience. Factors such as loading speed, site speed, and mobile devices compatibility are key features to optimize prior to opening the floodgates for visitors to engage with your website and content. If the visitor isn’t satisfied with their first experience or they feel that your long tail keywords misrepresented your website, they may choose to never again visit your site.
Holistic search strategies should have a social element to them. In other words, if a visitor likes what they see and wants to share the content via their social media channels, email, or on their own website, they are given the option to do so with ease. Configuring your website in this manner makes it easier for visitors to read and interact with your content, rather than try to weed through the myriad of complex keywords and buzzwords.
The focus for your website and content is to meet the needs of your audience and not just on SEO keywords. In the end, it’s better to think about your search strategy as a means of catering to the needs of your visitors and giving them a more convenient user experience while reading relevant and engaging content than simply checking SEO keyword boxes. Create and publish quality materials, and they will come.
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