To permanently rank well for organic search results requires that your strategy focuses on every aspect of your website and marketing campaigns. Technical SEO, UX, site content, and social posts all need to be considered in a holistic SEO approach.
Before we dive into how to use a holistic SEO strategy for your website, let’s back up just a little bit and review a couple of the more important ranking signals that Google uses to determine how to rank a page on your website for a certain key-phrase.
As we’ve discussed in many posts, in the past there are well over 200 ranking signals that Google uses when determining where to rank a website page. Some of these signals we know about and some we don’t. Here are some of the more important ranking signals that we do know Google focuses on for ranking your site’s pages.
Important SEO Signals
Content: This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Especially when you consider that Google has been using content as a ranking signal for a very long time and that everything on a web page is content.
Text, images, and videos are all content that Google and the other search engines look at to gain an understanding of what a page, on your site, is all about.
As I said, content has been a ranking signal for many years, however, we’re starting to see a shift with what Google is looking for, from your content.
It used to be common practice when trying to get a page to rank well for a certain keyphrase, to use that key-phrase a number of times in the page’s content. The number of times that old SEO’s would use the key-phrase was a percentage of all of the words on a page. However, just like everything that has to do with the Internet, change is rapid and constant and practices like this will no longer produce positive results.
The way that Google is evaluating content, now, is more holistically. The search algorithm is looking at the relevance of the entire page, as that page relates to the search query that the user typed in.
This changes, dramatically, how you should be looking at your content. Today, your content has to be highly relevant, and of high-quality. Your content has to be written in a manner that will give your user a great experience (UX).
Backlinks: The importance of backlinks is, at least, as important today as they ever have been.
But, wait! Before you rush out and put a link to your site on every directory you can find, it’s important to know that Google is looking for more than just the quantity of links coming to your site’s pages. The quality of the links also plays an important role in backlinking.
If the site, that is linking to your page, has a strong domain authority(DA) then that link will bring SEO value to your site. If not, then you’re actually running the risk of hurting your SEO rankings.
Ever since Google’s 2012 algorithm update called Penguin, the need to have high-quality backlinks has increased within SEO strategies. Google has even addressed the topic of high-quality backlinks by saying:
“The best way to get other sites to create high-quality links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the Internet community.”
Mobile First: Mobile is now a huge ranking signal. In fact, last year Google announced that they will be moving their current index to a mobile first index. This means that their bots will be primarily crawling the mobile version of your website to determine what your site’s ranking should be.
You have to ask yourself, Are you comfortable enough with the mobile version of your site to have it be the determining factor in your SEO rankings?
If you’re not, you better get real serious about your mobile presence in a big hurry.
Mobile’s importance isn’t just about ranking. In the 4th quarter of 2016 worldwide usage of mobile surpassed desktop usage for the first time. So, if your website’s mobile version isn’t up to today’s standards or the content isn’t current, you are losing potential customers every day.
Technical SEO: This is the component of SEO that rarely gets talked about. In general terms, most people are aware of on-page SEO practices and off-page SEO practices but, technical SEO is a whole different animal.
If you were to look at SEO as the construction of your house, technical SEO would represent the foundation of your house. If your foundation is built properly then your house will be solid and last for years.
Technical SEO is the practice of making sure that your site’s foundation is solid and keeps up with the search engine’s ever changing requirements. It is in this area of SEO work that works on elements of your website like:
- Site speed
- Mobile friendliness
- Site architecture
- Site security
Holistic’s 4 Components
So, a good holistic SEO strategy will address the 3 areas of optimization on-page, off-page, and technical. And, it will also focus on the user’s experience (UX).
As surprising as it may seem, the user’s experience (UX) on your website will also have an impact on your SEO rankings. By making sure that your site gives your users a great experience, a few things will start to happen.
- People will engage with your site more, This will show up in higher time-on-page metrics.
- People will be less likely to leave your site right after they arrive. This will result in lower bounce rates.
- People will return to your site to gain more information or to buy more products. This will result in higher returning visit metrics.
- People will be more inclined to positively talk about your site and to share your information across social media. This will increase your social exposure.
Holistic SEO is the very best way to start to get the best visibility possible for your website. It’ll bring the right people to your site and it will help ensure that these people have the easiest time possible in their journey to becoming your next customer.