SEO isn’t a one-time thing, like when my ex-boyfriend lasered off his back hair. It’s also not a one-thing thing. SEO that’s sustainable and effective calls for a multi-pronged, comprehensive approach a.k.a. a holistic SEO strategy.
The idea behind SEO (search engine optimization, yo!) is to rank highly for what you want (read: rank on page 1 of Google search results for your desired keyword). If you think about what Google wants in return, and we must because SEO is a two-way play, we’re led to Google’s mission statement:
“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Google wants to provide awesome information to the people seeking it. (Pretty dope, right?)
So your job becomes to be a provider of awesome information on the subject of your expertise. (And, yes, blogging is a huge part of this, as Google loves new content.)
Let’s look at things Google wags its almighty digital finger at:
- Artificial links (which is why buying links is pointless)
- Slow loading speeds (here’s how to speed it up)
- Websites that aren’t secure (yup, this matters to the internet Gods and Goddesses too!). Here’s how to keep it safe
- Lousy UX – if your website is difficult to navigate and the user has a shit eXperience because of it, Google doesn’t wanna send more people to it
- Non-responsive websites (make sure your site looks sweet on mobile)
So you’ll wanna make sure your website is legit, loads quickly, and is safe from hackers (follow these basic security best practices to get started).
A Strong, Holistic Seo Strategy in 2017 Looks Like This
Let’s dig deeper into what a holistic SEO approach looks like. For your website, smart technical SEO is huge. By this I mean mostly back-end stuff, but also things off your website can help tremendously.
Let’s break it down.
Holistic SEO: On your website
Using a strong SEO plugin
If you’re on another platform and can’t use a plugin, that’s totally fine – follow these best practices:
- Pick a good keyword
- Use it in the title
- Use it in the headlines (especially H2)
- Use it in the content, sprinkled throughout
- Use it in the meta description (and, oh, write a meta description)
- Use it in your featured image as the alt tag and title (and, oh, include at least one image with your content)
Writing great, quality content
…that actually helps people. If you run an affiliate site or write short, very surface-level articles, Google will hold that against you (grudgy mothereffer, isn’t it?).
SEO best practices FTW
Speaking of SEO best practices as an integral part of a holistic SEO approach, use this SEO checklist to help you optimize your content before you hit “Publish.”
Even if you don’t “blog,” this SEO checklist ☝️ is awesome for anyone who runs a website with words on it! You can also scroll to the bottom of this post to download it!
Giving your users a good
time experience (wink wink)
A good User eXperience (UX) is about people enjoying using your site because it plain makes sense.
It should be intuitive – visitors naturally expect to find certain things in certain places, like a link to a Contact page at the end of your menu/navigation – so don’t get creative with the basics. Focus on making your site easy to use and logical following web best practices first so it can convert.
Here are some resources to get you there:
- Have a Home page that makes sense (read this on how to plan your Homepage)
- Design your navigation so that it walks people from the first step to the second and beyond (check out this free 5-day challenge for help on that)
- Structure your website content and architecture logically, not like you went overboard at happy hour when you decided where things oughta go
- Use website copy that’s clear, not clever, because usability comes first, cowgirl!
Making an awesome website for your audience is a WIN in many ways because, of course, if your website is attractive and easy to use, people will want to return, stay longer, and buy your products or services.
Good UX increases conversions a.k.a. signups + sales. And Google knows this. It’s part of its pushy master plan to improve the internet (mwahahaha!).
Holistic SEO: Off your website
(Sexy’s Got) Backlinks, baby!
The more sites that link back to you, the more weight Google gives to your site. That’s how Google and other search engines decide how important your content is and how highly to rank it.
Getting interviewed and having those sites link back to you is amazing, and pitching guest posts that link back to you is too! Brainstorm other ways to get organic, legit links pointing back to your site.
Take social media seriously
Put your content on social media and encourage others to share it too. (How do you encourage sharing? I say first, write valuable content, and then, share others’ stuff and they’ll wanna reciprocate.)
In 2015, Google brought Twitter back to search results, and just by doing a simple search you can usually see social media results showing up and ranking super highly. So focus on your top 2-3 social media channels and update them regularly.
There’s no way to have a well-thought-out, holistic SEO plan without social media playing a generous part in it.
Consider a plugin like Revive Old Post to Tweet and otherwise share out your posts automatically and for free for a low-effort boost. Something else you can do is partake in blog post sharing parties in Facebook groups (such as Erin Flynn’s Unstoppable Basecamp for web designers/developers and Leah Kalamakis’s Freelance to Freedom for all freelancers) and, on Instagram, put your latest blog post URL in your bio to encourage more frequent clicks.
Traffic helps (duh). Google notices if peeps visit your site or not. And there are a lot of ways to bring extra traffic to your site – use ’em!
Sharing your content on social media and via newsletters, for example, is useful. And as your ranking improves, so will your organic search visits. When done right, it’s a beautiful self-serving cycle that will help you rank well in the long run.
FYI Google also notices what your bounce rate is (how quickly people leave your site after they first get there). The sooner they leave, the more Google thinks your shizz is garbage. So writing bogus social media snippets to get clicks over to your site is gonna backfire. Lower bounce rates help keep your site ranking well into the future.
Seems the rule is basically, “Be awesome; don’t be a dick!” right?
There’s a lot more to keep in mind for a strategy that includes holistic SEO in 2017, such as HTTP/HTTP2/HTTPS, HTTP headers, whether all your content is allowing Google to both find it and index it, and so on, but the above is a wonderful overview for most of us.
So next time you’re giving your marketing strategy some love, think of what Google loves so Google can love you back. That’s all a holistic SEO approach is about!
To get a jump on holistic SEO, download your free SEO checklist for blogging here ?
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