Ranking factors have always broken down into three areas and understanding each of these is vital to SEO success. That’s why I created the SEO Triangle to help you understand where to focus your efforts for the best possible rewards.
Figure: The SEO Triangle
Content is central to any marketing strategy now. Creating truly relevant, engaging and timely content plays a key role in demonstrating expertise, delivering your brand voice, solving customer problems, building your networks, driving lead generation, delivering social engagement and much more. From an SEO perspective specifically this takes several forms.
Firstly, on-site content is of course a major signal to the search engines about what your site is about. What keywords shine through from your content will dictate the terms for which you rank. This includes your headers, page titles and core content as well as rich content. You do need to ensure you avoid any ‘Black Hat SEO’ (or underhand) techniques such as keyword stuffing where you deliberately try to force search engines to rank you on a key term by repeating it in a way that is not natural for the reader.
Your content needs to be considered high quality. This means it shouldn’t be ‘Thin Content’ – anything that appears to be of little value, too short or copied from elsewhere will cause you problems rather than helping you.
You should keep your content fresh. If you publish surveys then update them regularly. Blog often. Static websites get old quickly and search engines are looking for the sites that will answer the user query now not 6 months ago.
As part of your content strategy make sure you answer consumer questions, provide local content and are as broad but relevant as possible.
Technical SEO comes down to how your site is built and managed. There are many considerations here but we can break them down into simple categories.
Speed. Your site must be fast to load on any device. Slow loading will impact your rankings. In today’s mobile world consumers do not have time for slow sites and search engines know this.
Architecture. Your site should be simple and your url folder structure should be as high up as possible. Avoid /home/product/2019/primary-lines/fashion/shoes/Adidas/product-name and try to bring it right up to somewhere like /shoes/product-name. Your key pages should be directly off the main url.
Navigation. UX is another signal so ensure your site is easy to navigate and is engaging and clear on the actions users can and should take.
Security. Your site should be HTTPS – that security signal has become far more important in the last decade.
Code. Ensure your coding is clear and remove any unnecessary code. Get your head tags accurate so for example you only have one H1 tag on the page and it clearly represents what the page is about. Get you meta titles and descriptions right. Avoid our-dated coding languages.
Let’s be clear right from the start – you should not be trying to buy links or force them into your site.
Links are an important factor in ranking. If a large number of high quality sites link to you then this is a clear signal that your site is worthy of being linked to.
If however a large volume of low quality sites link to you and very few high quality ones then this looks suspicious and can harm your ranking. You can add your site to directories or pay to be listed but this is not a genuine sign of quality and so you should avoid it.
That’s not to say you can’t have links from lower quality sites but if you do you must ensure they include a ‘nofollow’ tag to tell the search engines that this link is not to be used for SEO reasons and is purely promotional.
So you can see how the SEO Triangle works and these key signals are a good guide for your SEO strategy.
There are many tools that can help you monitor these stats from places like Moz and ScreamingFrog.
For any further advice on your SEO or wider digital strategy feel free to get in touch with me here or you can get my best selling book, Digital Marketing Strategy.