SEO can be confusing. With dozens of acronyms, technical jargon, tools, programs, statistics, techniques, and all the talk about pandas and penguins, it’s pretty intimidating. Let alone the fact that SEO is a field that is in constant flux! In spite of the confusion, there’s a simple way to think about SEO campaigns today and beyond: as a set of three core elements which support each other to support an SEO campaign. Let’s take a look at each of these elements, as well as how to implement each of them to increase traffic, conversions, and ROI.
What are the three core elements?
Discussed in detail below, but provided here in survey form, the three core elements are as follows:
I call these the three core elements because they are necessary for any modern SEO campaign to succeed. Without each of these three core elements, your SEO campaign won’t be properly supported and will likely fail. Before launching into an explanation of the three core elements, there are a few things to understand about how they work together.
Core Element #1: Content – Create and Publish Great Content
The first core element comes first logically, because it involves your own website — the hub where everything happens. This element can also be called “onsite SEO” to distinguish from SEO practices that happen off your site, such as external content that garners inbound links (such as guest blog posts) and social media involvement. Here are the essentials:
Core Element #2: Inbound Links – Gain High-Quality Links
How do search engines decide to bring your website up to the top of the search results? Top-notch onsite SEO is only the beginning. Search engines recognize that your site is important based on who is linking to it.
Take this example. Let’s say you’re a yoga instructor. You have a website, and you start publishing some sweet articles about yoga. Somehow, Whole Living picks up on your content and asks you to do a guest post on yoga. You write a piece for Whole Living, and link back to your website.
Whole Living has a domain authority of 80, which is way higher than your site. Bingo. As soon as they link to you, your website gains credibility and authority. Then, you interview a health instructor in a local private college and post the interview on your website. The yoga instructor, in turn, writes about the interview on her college blog and links to your site. Boom. You just got a link from an .edu website.
Because you’re now a recognized authority on yoga, you publish an article in Lifehacker about the positive impact of yoga on work productivity. This article, of course, links back to your website. Another power move.
All of these links to your site are driving up your authority. Your site has proven to the search engines its authority and recognition. Your rankings go up.
No site will succeed in SEO unless other sites are linking to it. It’s just that simple.
Here are the best ways to gain quality backlinks:
Links are crucial. Ensure you have a solid strategy in place for building links.
Core Element #3: Social Media – Be Active and Engage on Social Networks
More than ever before, social media is an integral part of SEO. Search engines can quantify the amount of social clout that your site possesses. Merely getting a few dozen tweets can ramp up a page’s authority, and therefore its rankings, resulting in more traffic to it. The increasing market share of Google+ is a major factor in social ranking, including the power of Google authorship. Social signals matter for SEO.
Keep these two points in mind.
The power of social for SEO can be subtle, but is nonetheless important. Provide sharing opportunities on every piece of content that you publish. The greater the social signals, the better your SEO.
This is the state of SEO in 2013. SEO success is possible, but not without each of these core elements present and properly being engaged. It’s no longer easy to game the system and jump up the search engine rankings in Google with a few slick tricks. You’ve got your work cut out for you.
But you do have a game plan — understand and design your strategy around the three core elements of SEO. As long as you 1) ensure that your onsite SEO is rolling smoothly, 2) you possess a robust and effective link building strategy, and 3) you’re staying active and engaging within social media channels, you’re going to succeed.