Ranking number one in Google for your industry’s revenue-driving keywords is a big prize.
Twenty years ago, when Google first started, your approach to SEO was simple and could be executed by anyone with some basic website knowledge. All you needed to do was include your target keyword on your page and then spam your page with as many backlinks as you could.
Quality was neither here nor there.
Fast forward twenty years, and now we have hundreds of ranking factors to take into consideration. And, the importance of each factor (the weight assigned in Google’s algorithms) can change daily.
In 2018 Google ran over search 654,680 experiments which resulted in 3234 improvements to their search algorithm. This equates to around 9 changes to Google per day. We also saw numerous larger updates that shifted the search landscape considerably. Sites that were previously ranking for their target keywords dropped off a cliff.
To win, you need a strategy that enables you to progressively optimise your site, whilst leaving room to adapt and evolve in the face of Google’s shifting algorithms and your competitors’ efforts to outrank you.
In simple terms that means you need to have a goal in mind, then you need to analyze the data, prioritize and make changes and then assess the impact of your efforts on your traffic. And this needs to be an ongoing process that repeats itself continuously. SEO is not a one-time thing.
At Reckless, we always take a data-driven approach to SEO. We don’t make changes until we have assessed your:
– Website’s technical performance
– On-page optimisation
– Backlink profile
– Traffic opportunities
It’s only when we have collected and analysed the data that we begin to formulate an SEO strategy and begin to implement changes.
In most cases, the starting point of any SEO campaign should be your websites technical performance.
Technical SEO factors refer to how your website is built and ensuring it is built using best practice methods that Google wants to see.
Think of your website as your house.
You want something that’s aesthetically pleasing and nice to live in. You want a house with a layout that makes sense and doesn’t have doors that lead nowhere. You also want to be safe and you want to make sure that all your wiring and piping complies with regulations.
If any of these things are incorrect, when you come to sell your house it will be devalued.
It’s the same with your website, except Google is doing the valuation and if they don’t like what they see, then they will devalue your website in the search results no matter how many backlinks you have.
Some examples of technical factors are:
– Site speed
– Site security
– Duplicate pages
– 404 errors (pages not found)
– Redirect changes
– Poor page hierarchy and structure
– A lack of internal links
– And hundreds of other factors…
At Reckless, we put your website’s technical factors first as we believe that this is the foundation upon which an effective SEO strategy is built.
Also, if your website’s technical factors are on-point, it’s one less thing to worry about when you’re strategizing your next move to jump from position two to position one in Google’s results.
SEO stats show that backlinks, social signals, social media, directories, and many other “off-page” practices will prove to be even more valuable than you ever thought possible.
Once you have achieved technical excellence with your site, you can begin to formulate a strategy based on research and analysis.
This is where SEO becomes very much like a science. You shouldn’t be blindly implementing changes without first having assessed your own data and competitive landscape.
For example, having reviewed the first page of Google for your keyword, you notice that the top 3 results all start their title tag with “how to …… “.
Based on past experiments you know that numbers and lists can outperform “how to posts” so you make a hypothesis, like, if I change the title of this page to “7 easy ways to ….” I should see a higher click-through rate, which will lead to an improvement in rankings.
You implement the change and then you wait to see if your change validated the hypothesis.
If it did, great, pat yourself on the back. If it didn’t, you have to go back to the drawing board and analyse the other factors that are influencing the search results listings.
As your implementing changes, you should be constantly reviewing their impact on your search performance by reviewing your position in the results page, and the traffic you’ve won.
You also need to be regularly reviewing your competitors looking at where their approach may give them an edge over yours so you can adapt what you are doing.
Without reviewing the data, you are flying blind and you may be making the wrong kind of changes for your search vertical.
You need to use the data to drive every SEO decision you take.
To succeed today you need an in-depth understanding of search ranking factors, how to analyse them, how to prioritize them and how to optimise for them.
By laying a strong technical foundation, then progressively optimising your website using data to guide your decisions you will see an improvement in your website’s performance in Google’s results.
If you want expert assistance with this, get in contact today to find out how we can help.