Among the multitude of steps required to improve the online visibility of a website and to make it rank higher in the search engine results pages, there are some more important than others.
Below we’ll take a short tour through the road map that we follow when accepting a new project and point out the key points we are looking at in the first month.
1. Technical optimization of the website – the basic SEO foundation;
This is one of the first things that needs to addressed by any SEO expert when starting the work on a new project. Websites may look quite similar to each other, with similar structures in the front-end, however the back-end can vary widely between them.
The back-end of the website needs to be simplified as much as possible by removing any unnecessary plug-ins, aiming for a clean code, optimizing images and adding tags and achieve a proper indexation.
The speed of the website is also an important factor to account for when synthesizing the work plan.
While some of the improvements above will not greatly affect the user experience, it will significantly make it easier and likeable to other, crucial visitors: the search engine bots. What you want to achieve is to basically make it easier for search engines to read and index your website, as fast as possible. This way the website will get a higher grade and the future ranking prospects improve.
2. Website content improvement – why would users want to visit?
Once the technicalities are out of the way, the next natural step is to improve the website content.
You need to ask yourself a few questions:
Why would someone want to access my website?
What is the profile of my website?
Will a visitor find content of interest that will keep him engaged?
Set-up the homepage in such a way that once someone lands on it, they will have to be able to figure out what you are all about in just one glance. The attention span is getting smaller in a directly proportionally way with the increase and abundance of information, and it only takes a few minutes browsing the internet from a laptop or a smart device to be bombarded with loads of information. Your website should be able to tell almost its entire story with one glance at the homepage.
Write articles, add new content to your blog (yes, a blog helps a lot) weekly, and try to offer valuable on-point information from your area of expertise. Visitors will appreciate it and search engines will appreciate it, by being able to bring your website in front as an answer to many online queries.
3. Content marketing – backlinks campaign
Without a doubt, a link-building campaign is both a source of controversy and an obligatory must for every SEO project.
Why is it a source of controversy?
Mainly because this is the part where many only so-called SEO experts have focused on by promising big ROI levels with a minimum effort from their side. Evidently, those promises weren’t kept in most cases and the whole deal got a bad reputation. Link-building is widely misunderstood, and very often poorly executed.
This because a link-building campaign is one of those things that is relatively easy to do, but hard to master.
The focus should be at all times on quality rather than quantity, and only a true SEO expert can master the job. Because there are so many nowadays that it feels like everyone is a SEO specialist, don’t trust the first SEO agency that comes your way and always be wary of the promises of fast, big results.
Why is link-building an obligatory part of SEO?
A two-factor combination of the steps 1 and 2 above is the answer.
A big online presence on credible blogs, directories and other websites by having a link going back to your website tells Google that you are relevant in your industry. If that link is surrounded by quality content relatable to the profile of your website, then you are basically adding content to your online presence, but this time instead of your blog, you are doing it on other domains. A successful, long-lasting link-building campaign will basically make you more popular online, will increase your visibility and ultimately more potential customers will be able to hear about your business. Preferably only good things and in a positive manner.
Here’s finishing with a small warning about the backlink campaign: be careful where you link to and be aware that not all domains live forever, over time some transform to something entirely different than what you remembered, and this can do more harm than good after a while. Nobody wants toxic backlinks.
Remember: stay relevant both for your visitors and the search engines by following the steps above.