April 30, 2017 / By Grant Chambers

Modern SEO Takes a Village

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a technique most historically associated with a website and the goal of creating pages with content focused on a topic that your target audience is interested in. If a user is searching for “XYZ”, and you provide “XYZ”, then hopefully your website contains a page(s) dedicated to “XYZ”. If it does, then you stand a chance of a search engine recognizing your webpage as a good resource for their customer, the searcher.

It’s as simple and straight-forward as that, correct?

No.

To compete in today’s SEO game, it takes a village of people, process and technologies. It’s as much about what’s on your website (on-page) as it is what happens outside (off-page) of your website. Strategies you might have deployed in the past may no longer be effective while other newer techniques, which you may have ignored, have gained in importance.

Important On-page SEO Strategies:

When a search engine algorithm is considering your website as a result for their customer, it “knows” whether your brand’s site provides a good user experience and have built your website with a proper structure.

1. User Experience
We love this one, because it focuses wholly on what marketing is all about – the people you are serving. Your website should strive to provide a fast user experience on any device, including mobile, and backed by intuitive navigation leading to relevant content. If you do these things, you’re going to take care of a long list of SEO tactics.

2. Local SEO
A massive Google algorithm update occurred in 2016 that is now known as “Possum”, just one of Google’s many algorithm updates. If your business relies on “local”, you’re going to want to pay attention to this particular update. Learn how to use local ranking factors like name, address and phone number (NAP) and customer reviews to rise to the top of organic results and even get featured in the carousel.

3. Technical Structure and Performance
We are amazed at the long list of technical requirements needed to fulfill today’s SEO standards. But it all makes sense and leads website owners, who care, to make sure they’re taking care of the very “storefront” their users will visit. Imagine if you went to your favorite brick-and-mortar retail store and the front door was cracked, the lights did not work, products had fallen to the ground, the ceiling tiles were falling down and the bathroom toilets didn’t work. You’d probably leave. It’s the same with your website.  If you have page errors, slow page loads, missing titles, broken links or other technical errors, Google will know and penalize you, but most importantly, if your potential customer somehow does find you, they’ll have a sub-par experience.

Important Off-page SEO Strategies:

Most people think of SEO as the website itself. Arguable, but what happens outside of your website is equally as important.

1. Link Building
We attribute a large portion of the search engines’ algorithms to link-related factors. Through links, search engines can not only analyze the popularity of websites and pages based on the number and popularity of pages linking to them, but also metrics like trust, spam, and authority. Search engines know that trustworthy sites tend to link to other trusted sites, while spammy sites receive very few links from trusted sources. A sound link building campaign is a must for your SEO strategy.

2. Social Media Marketing
Similar to #1 above, Link Building, we think marketing consultant Brian Honigman said it well, “Today, links are mainly achieved through developing original content that is in turn, shared across social media. Links to your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and other social networks help the search engines understand what websites are credible and should be ranked for what keyword phrases.”

It’s also very important to realize that search engines rank social profiles. Social media profiles are often amongst the top results in search listings for brand names.

3. Tracking and Analytic Tools
Tracking, analyzing and continually seeking to improve your SEO results can only occur by using software tools, combined with a process that understands how to use them. Whether you use Screaming Frog to sniff out errors, Googles Keyword Planner or other tools, develop a smart set of tools to help in your efforts.

SEO: It’s Still All About the People

These are some of the core strategies you need to consider to be on top of your SEO game. While there are certainly others, the ingredient we haven’t yet mentioned that will make it all possible for you to successfully execute are the various specialists required. From an SEO strategist or user experience designer to a graphic designer, content writer, a web developer, social media manager and data analyst, today’s SEO requires a village.

Change Is the Only Constant

The only constant in the world of SEO is change. Search engines are using increasingly complex algorithms to determine which pages to include in their index and the order they show these pages in search results. Workhorse Marketing is a full-service agency located in Austin, Texas. We understand that SEO is an ecosystem, and have developed a process and team of experts, all working in unison to achieve great results for our clients.

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