What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
This means, your brand has a lot of potentials to be presented to your target audience as a solution while they are looking to solve a problem.
Organic search is often the primary source of the traffic to your website and is directly tied to the website performance, as well as a critical component helping you to move the users through the buyer funnel and convert. Therefore, the goal is not just to focus on the content but to establish a strong foundation for your website to have a clean and effective user experience.
Why is this important? Because the UX is important to google users and so it is important for the search engines. The cleaner and more effective the user funnel, the easier it can be discovered by the search engines. This creates trust and credibility for the brand and its digital properties. We dive deeper into techniques to improve your SEO in later articles.
With rising mobile traffic, local traffic becomes a very important part of your success, especially if you are operating in a small to mid-sized marketplace. Local SEO optimizes the website and your digital properties for a specific vicinity so people can find you more quickly. Examples of this can be found when a user searches for a solution in a certain destination.
As you can see in the image above, there should also be a great focus on your google reviews, and also on all other sites such as Yelp if applicable. Higher your google reviews, better chance you will have to rank for local SEO along with increasing your online reputation with the users.
Like any other KPI (Key Performance Indicator), SEO is also quantifiable. It doesn’t have a straight line from beginning to the end for a better calculation of your ROI like some other channels such as email marketing, but with the understanding of your business and sales funnels and with the help of proper tracking, you can easily quantify your traffic and conversion due to the organic growth.
All and all, implementing a strong SEO on your website and digital properties will be beneficial for your business and marketing efforts.
Now that we dived into some SEO information, let’s go back to reviewing different types of SEO efforts:
What is On-Page SEO?
- Optimize your titles and descriptions
- Have appropriate URL structures that can be identifiable by Google and by users
- Easy navigation system for your website (sitemaps, etc.)
- Optimize the internal links
- Text formatting
- Proper optimization of headline tags especially your H1.
- Optimize your images for image sizes, names, and ALT text
- Optimize and create user-friendly 404 pages
- Optimize for page load speed
- Optimize for mobile devices
- MOST IMPORTANT: Delivery of high-quality and evergreen content for your users. (Relevancy, and Authority)
- Optimize and clean your external links.
What is Off-Page SEO?
Think of off-page SEO as your referral activities. The activities that you do outside of the website such as:
- Link Building
- Social Media Marketing
- Brand Mentions
Why is it important to Focus on Off-Page SEO?
For many years search engines are trying to find ways to deliver the best content to their users based on several factors we mentioned at the very beginning of this article. Off-page SEO is a great indication of how your brand or in this case your website is being perceived in the digital world.
A high-quality and engaging website will have a lot of chatter in the digital world, and therefore it is a great indication for the search engines to identify it as a great solution to be presented to the user searching for that specific solution.
Link building has been considered one of the most popular and effective techniques for off-page SEO. By building links to your website, you are showing search engines that your website has all the votes and checks the criteria to be considered a voice of authority and expertise in the digital realm. Therefore, Google bypasses your competitors and provides your website with a higher ranking.
There have been numerous techniques and tools available to webmasters to increase their link counts. Some of the popular ways are:
- Blog directories
- Article directories
- Shared content directories
- Link exchange schemes
Note: I don’t personally advocate for any of the methods described above because the majority are not effective and no longer work today. Search engine AIs are becoming wiser every day and algorithms can pick up on some of these tricks. Not only the techniques might not help you but also might result in search engines penalizing you for these efforts.
To assist webmasters with their link building, search engines provided them with ways to be able to link to other websites without passing any SEO juice. One great example of that is tagging the links with a “nofollow” tag.
You should consider using this method to disable the link juice to any website that you cannot trust 100%. You can apply this across the board to any link type whether banners, images, or hyperlinks in the body of the text. In some CMS types such as WordPress, there are easier ways to accomplish this without needing to modify the code yourself. A great example of such a tool is Yoast SEO, which allows you to manage the majority of your SEO needs in one plugin.
What is a Good Link and How to Get Them?
Just like anything else about SEO, the link building strategy should be about the quality of the link and not the quantity of the links. For example, a link from a simple blog does not have the same value as a high reader, a popular website such as WSJ.
The more natural these links are the higher the chance of success at the end.
I know what you are going to say…some version of “It is very difficult”…
Indeed it is, you have to work very hard to get there but it is achievable. Especially with the delivery of high-quality and relevant content. The stronger your brand authority gets, the more webmasters will find your content interesting and be willing to link back to your website.
Social Media Marketing and Off-Page SEO
Off-page SEO should be considered part of your social media marketing alongside all other things possible through this channel such as brand awareness, conversion, lead gen, and direct purchase.
Social Media mentions are a great ranking factor for a great SEO boost.
By now we can establish how much search engines love chatters and it all ties back to those 3 key points mentioned previously. Good chatter equals Expertise, Authority, and Reliability. Brands that are trustworthy for users have a better chance of making search engine users happier and turn them into returning users.
Your brand has a chance to be mentioned across the digital realm, and not necessarily with a hyperlink or link back to your website. It can be a simple mention on forums, articles, reviews, and different social networks.
These so-called “signals” can be caught by Google crawlers and act as a boost for your brand and digital properties. I would definitely recommend including this in your marketing strategy as part of the off-page SEO tactic.
Google’s 2021 Algorithm Update
Google rolled out their June core update and the page experience update. Along with that Google rolled out a spam update to ensure the search is done safer for the users. The first of this spam rollout was concluded on June 23, 2021, following by the second batch coming up this week. The spam updates don’t have an effect on genuine websites but will be massive for the websites engaging in deceptive actions.
This will include any deceptive act that can cause Google to consider your site’s content created for the search engines and not for the users or tricks used to increase rankings. Hence, this will be a great time to perform a massive backlink clean-up and ensure your site is safe, user-friendly, and engaging.
Along with that, Google search is now putting a focus on page experience along with the other 3 SEO pillars mentioned previously. This means it will be about the quality of the content and how the user is engaging with the content. We will dive deeper into increasing site engagements in later articles.
When thinking of having a successful SEO strategy, both off-site and on-site strategies will help boost your website, and therefore you should have a balanced focus between the two. In the future, I recommend putting more focus on your links and try to gain links from higher-value websites. Remember, the higher the value the better the value.