Your business can create a successful SEO strategy by understanding SEO's primary functions and knowing the main mechanics of how SEO works.
At Yellowball, we’re looking to demystify and simplify SEO for everyone. If you are starting an SEO strategy for your business, then this should serve as a useful introduction.
If you are involved in any sort of SEO, it’s worth getting a fundamental understanding of search marketing. We find that clients who have a sound understanding of SEO’s core values and theories can work with their agencies more effectively.
For those who would like to learn more, Yellowball has also produced an animated video version of this article.
By committing to SEO, your business can facilitate better customer relationships and produce better overall results.
How to Create an SEO Strategy
- Understand SEO's primary functions and capabilities
- Know the mechanics of how SEO works
- Online optimization
- Content creation
- Link building
Understand SEO’s Primary Functions and Capabilities
In order to understand how SEO works and to make it sustainable, we need to understand search engines. We take them for granted every day. Go to Google, type in your query and voila, access to the world’s information. For free, right?
Not really. Search engines are not entirely free – they make their money through advertising. The more people that use their search engine, the more opportunity there is to charge businesses to advertise to this user base. This is a big business: Google made more than $100 billion in ads in 2018.
This is why it’s important that search engines provide excellent results for free users. If you find what you’re looking for quickly and easily through Google, you’ll keep coming back. If you keep coming back, Google can continue to charge advertisers.
At its core, search engine optimization is the practice of increasing a website’s visibility on search engines with the intention of increasing traffic via these search engines.
If you remember nothing else, remember this: If Google is trying to provide the most valuable and relevant results for each search, it’s our jobs as SEOs to make it clear that our website (or individual web page) fits this criteria. We’re not trying to trick Google. We’re simply raising our own authority to give ourselves the best chance of ranking.
Know the Mechanics of How SEO Works
As search engines have become more complex, so has SEO. However, you can still rely on 3 core pillars: onsite optimization, content creation, and link building. Bear in mind that agencies often have individuals that specialize in one of these core pillars, or even specific practices of each of them.
1. Onsite Optimization
Many people differentiate between technical SEO and onsite optimization. But, for the purposes of introducing ourselves to SEO, we will consider them both as similar, foundational elements.
Since searches can be made about anything, search engines have to be organized enough to intelligently answer search queries from users.
View this stage as a process of organizing your website so that it is super easy for Google to categorize it and understand which searches can be included in the results.
If you have a really clean site structure, with pages laid out correctly and labelled precisely, there is a much better chance that visitors will return to your site. A messy website is more difficult for search engines to read and reduces the chances your page will appear in the results.
By optimizing your website, you can boost your site’s search engine rankings.
2. Content Creation
Content has become a buzzword recently. Content marketing, social media content, and video content are all valid forms of increasing visibility and traffic. While all of these can be part of a wider SEO strategy, when we’re talking about content for SEO we’re most likely talking about articles on your site.
Search engines are robots. They are very clever ones, but they still have to work within the confines of their own technology. Luckily, search engines like Google are very good at reading normal text on a page.
As a result, search engine robots analyze the content on a page and look to understand what value it can offer a searcher.
As SEOs, we use content creation to demonstrate to Google that we are both authoritative on a particular subject and are also the best answer for a particular search term. Yes, keywords and synonyms are important, but SEO has moved past pure keywords.
We want to identify the intent behind each search term that we are targeting and then look to satisfy that intent in the best way possible. This is why content will always be a part of an SEO strategy. We’re not creating content for the sake of “more is better,” we’re creating it to prove our worth and answer specific questions for the searcher.
3. Link Building
Link building is probably the most influential SEO tool.
Simply put, if a relevant and authoritative website links to your website, it is considered an endorsement of your site and your content.
You may be cited as a reference or provided further information on a subject by linking to an article you have created. The more votes your page has, the more influential Google considers your website to be.
SEO link building happens through a variety of processes, including outreach. Contact a website and offer them access to great content. In return, they may publish your content on their site and cite you as a reference.
The very best form of link building is called “link earning.” This is the practice of creating content on your own site that ranks highly enough for people to find it on organic search results and link to it.
Link earning is scalable. Eventually, people will begin linking to your content without you having asked them to. Now, your website will have a single piece of content that earns links consistently with minimal overall effort.
Analytics may not be part of the foundational, core SEO practice, but they are still incredibly important. In order for an SEO strategy to be successful and scalable, your business has to make data-driven SEO decisions.
Without looking at analytics, we leave ourselves open to poor decision making based on emotions rather than facts. Make sure your business invests in analytic SEO decision making.
Launch an Effective SEO Strategy
As a marketer, you need to know the core values, theories, and mechanics of SEO. Remember SEO’s primary functions, create content, build links. Now, marketing and business success will be yours.