SEO isn’t something concrete, something that can be defined. No doubt an outline of what it encompasses can be made out, but what it actually consists of constantly keeps changing.
That’s the reason no matter who you are or how much experience you have with SEO, it’s never enough.
But then again, even if you’ve got a basic idea of the outline, you can pretty much fill in the circle one way or another. So here are the 9 basic components of a strong SEO strategy.
Backlinks have been the most important and stable part of the SEO game for as long as SEO has been existing.
No doubt their importance has somewhat diminished over the years, but it has never been completely wiped out.
The methods to procure backlinks, the types of backlinks to acquire and frequency of acquiring them has considerably changed over the last decade.
Right now, “Quality” and “Relevance” are placed above “quantity”. So make sure the links pointing back to you are from sites in the same niche. The narrower the gap, the better are your chances for ranking.
Guest posts on sites with similar content is one of the best ways to do so.
#2 Keyword Density and Placement
A tricky one this is, do too much and you’ll be penalized, too less and no one would notice your blog exists.
Keywords are what let Google know what your content is about. So you need to make sure that you let it know, without emphasizing your desperateness to rank for that particular keyword.
The best strategy is to:-
- Start the article/paragraph with the primary keyword.
- Headlines can be optimized by embedding the primary keywords in them. They gain a slight preference based on their header tags.
- Use LSIs:- Keywords with similar meaning, but not exactly the same words/alphabets. For eg. if “SEO Strategy” is your primary keyword, you can use “Strategies for SEO” and other related keywords.
As far as keyword density goes, a density of 0.6-1% is ideal. (It’s not fixed, so keep experimenting!)
#3 Content Length
The longer the content, the better you rank, simple as that. Obviously there are other factors at work like Domain authority, backlinks etc.
But if two websites having the exact same domain profile (no. of backlinks, domain age, DA, PA,TF) post content, one shorter and the other comparatively longer, the longer website is more likely to outrank the shorter content.
The best examples can be seen on Neil Patel’s blogs, where 99% of his posts are around 6-8000 words!
#4 OutBound Links
Outbound links tell Google that you’ve got a credible source for your content and it’s not just heresy.
If you’re talking about SEO Strategies, it’s a good idea to link to the #1 result for the phrase on Google, and if you don’t wish to give them a free link (because obviously that’s your competition), you can always link to Wikipedia, Forbes etc.
These are some of the most respected sites on the web, hence when you link to them it passes some kind of “respect” onto your content as well.
#5 Internal Links
Internal links are one of the most under-utilized SEO strategies. Even though they look like “self promotion”, they work miracles for the Search Engines.
Simply because they help the bots jump from one page to another seamlessly, the same ease of navigation can be said about your visitors as well, and they also add as “backlinks”.
So overall internal linking to your other pages is a great way to tell Google what those other pages are about, as well as enhance the user-friendliness of your blogs.
#6 Image Optimization
A lot of SEOs focus only on the “content”, and they miss out the fact that images are just an as important part of your SEO strategy as the textual content.
The best ways to ensure image optimization are:-
- Use Alt tags consisting of your primary keywords for your images.
- Rename the images according to your primary keyword. It’s important because then they’ll be reflected in the image URL as well:- e.g. mysite.com/wp/blog/seostrategy.png .
#7 URL Optimization
Short and Keyword rich.
That’s exactly how your URLs should be.
If your article is about SEO strategies, make sure it’s something like www.yoursite.com/seostrategy or www.yoursite.com/wp/seostrategy works fine as well.
But something like www.yoursite.com/article/93121 won’t do. And again, www.yoursite.com/wp/content/article/blog/seostrategy won’t work either.
Because Google only focuses on the first few words of your URL and the value of the keywords is inversely proportional to their distance from the starting point of the URL.
#8 Website Speed
It matters more than most people think it does.
A slow site not only has a direct effect on your site’s SERP, but also an indirect effect in the form of “”pogosticking”.
Meaning, if your site is slow, most people would hit the back button even before it completely loads, which is called pogosticking and this would push your further down the SERP.
So make sure your site is as fast as it can be. Use a CDN, use GtMatrix and other freely available tools on the internet to find and counter the problems.
#9 Social Signals
Social signals tell Google how “socially popular” the content is. The more shares you have for your URL, the better your chances of getting ranked above your competitors.
You can use plugins like SumoMe to embed a “Share” button on your website easily and insist your visitors on sharing them.
Infact some researchers believe that soon enough, Social Signals would take over Backlinks in terms of SEO importance, hence it’s not to be ignored.
As I discussed earlier, SEO isn’t definite, you are always free to experiment on your own.
A certain kind of keyword density or URL structure might work better for you than it does for others.
Hence the factors discussed above are just the “outline”, feel free to tear them apart and find your own strategies.