Developing a good SEO strategy is like making a good sandwich. In order to get a good result, you need good ingredients and a step-by-step recipe.
In the past few years, SEO has gone through some major changes, and it’s important to know if you’re using an outdated strategy or not. This infographic summarizes the things you should be including in your SEO efforts.
Layers of an Old SEO Sandwich
Not too long ago, a typical SEO strategy looked something like this…
- Website Optimization – Make sure search engines can see your content, place keywords often and no need to worry too much about how it looks.
- Content – Create keyword rich content often and don’t worry if it’s really providing anything useful or unique to visitors.
- Links – Get as many keyword-rich anchor text links to you as possible. Spend over 75% of your time and budget here.
There was more focus on satisfying search engines than there was satisfying visitors. You can argue that this was a poor mindset, but at the end of the day, it got you increased rankings and traffic. You can also see why Google would want to make some major changes to how it was ranking web pages. If Google could find a better way to reward sites that were focused on satisfying their visitors’ needs, then people would have a better experience with the search engine. In the past 2 years, Google has made some major changes that has continually pushed its algorithm in this direction.
Layers of a New SEO Sandwich
Now that Google is moving closer and closer to rewarding sites with the right focus, here’s what your SEO strategy should encompass now:
- Website Architecture - There should be more emphasis on creating a clean site structure and focusing on only having content that adds value to your visitors’ experience.
- Social Signals – In 2013 there is no question that social media has to be part of your SEO strategy. There have been studies that show high correlation between SEO performance and social signals, and Google has suggested social media numerous times.
- Credibility - Think of visual cues that would express the credibility of your business, and make them visible to your visitors. This may be awards, accreditations, testimonials or mentions in large media publications.
- Freshness - If you run a lot of searches, you’ve probably noticed that Google tends to rank fresh and authoritative content. If your site isn’t offering new, high-quality content on a regular basis, there’s a good chance they’ll give the rankings to someone else who does.
- Content - The old phrase “Content is King” is more true than ever before. When making content, ask yourself if the content you’re producing would satisfy the Googler’s search, and be brutally honest with yourself.
- User Engagement – Your SEO goals should have moved beyond chasing numbers. The number of linking domains and social media followers should be the focus of how real people are engaging with your content. In other words, is your content being naturally shared, linked-to, and mentioned?
- Online PR – Building an authoritative brand should be just as much of a goal as ranking for your dream keywords because you can’t really have one without the other. A core piece of building your authority should be developing stories that media outlets and PR outreach programs can help you spread.
- Blogging - A blog is a powerful SEO tool. Google itself says, “If you have a website but don’t have a blog, consider creating one: A blog is a great way to connect with people who share your interests, or to publicize your site or product.”
- Link Earning – You shouldn’t be building links in 2013, you should be earning them. This means all that time you use to spend finding sites that were easy to get links from is now better spent developing cool stuff for your target audience and thinking of creative ways to get it in front of them, beyond search results.
- Authorship - It’s no secret that one of Google’s goals is not only to identify web pages but actual people as well. Authorship is one way you can better humanize your brand and increase the click-through rate of your search snippets.
- Local Signals – If you’re optimizing a local business, then creating local signals should be a priority. For more help on this topic check out the 2013 local search ranking factors.
- Combating Negative SEO - Google is penalizing more sites than ever. It’s important to understand Google’s guidelines and to know if your site is affected or not and how severely.
“…social signals were some of our highest correlated factors, with Google+ edging out Facebook and Twitter…”
If you want to be successful at SEO, having the right mindset is half the battle. If your vision isn’t evolving as quickly as Google’s algorithm then you may end up with a sandwich no one wants to eat.