Originally posted on LinkedIn on January 25, 2019, updated as of September 2023.
Howdy, everyone! If you’ve been following my LinkedIn for a while, then you might recall a little while back when I made a well-received status update talking about the connection between SEO and UX. Now I’m here to blow the lid wide open on the stuff that actually matters most in SEO nowadays. I’m not talking vague generalizations here.
I’m talking about things you can go out and test for yourself on whatever websites you have. Hopefully the information contained in my informal, impromptu, off-the-cuff musings about SEO are worth your time. There’s a lot I can go back and edit here, but I wanted to preserve as much of the raw emotion, energy, and passion when I came up with all this.
It’s based on a question I recently answered on Quora, but felt motivated to adapt it to LinkedIn. No stock answers or anything. Just my honest thoughts and ramblings completely from the top of my head from experience. So let’s dive right in, shall we?
Focus on the Big Picture of Your Website & Change How You See Rankings & Traffic
Stop thinking about “rankings” altogether in the way the “gurus” out there would want you to believe. It’s all fluff by hucksters in the industry who don’t know what they’re talking about or how traffic is generated to your site. Believe me, I’ve seen it all from such jokers. I’ve witnessed people destroy their own websites and so-called rankings because of stupid crap they did. Some companies altogether got lazy on their content marketing and didn’t bother to proofread any of the stuff they put out or outsourced, and these were some big client competitor sites too. There’s a reason why SEO does have a bad reputation, although the field itself is incredible and you can really learn a lot about problem-solving when you work as an SEO Specialist.
SEO nowadays is so much about having a clean, coded site, content and branding to make your business seem like an authority, and really understanding what your audience wants. I completely advocate for white hat techniques first, and then if you want, you can focus on links, but mainly after you get all these concepts down pat.
What instead you should think about is getting your fundamentals down first. You need to make sure you have all these things done for your site:
This is one of the big reasons a lot of people trip up when it comes to their own websites. You have to know how to add the right, appropriate schema markup for your pages. If you’re a local business especially, you need to have the LocalBusiness one on your home page and other parts of your site. Make sure you use schema markup that’s specific to your About Us and Contact pages too.
Good Site Architecture
What I mean by site architecture is how organized is your site right now. Is it super easy to find all your services on it. Does the user have to spend a ridiculous amount of time just to find the right contact form or phone number to dial from their Android or IoS device. Really think long and hard about what you want your customers to do when they land on your site. Also, take into consideration your conversion rate optimization and what lead generation pages you want too. Don’t forget to have a “thank you” page on your site too.
Site Speed Optimization
This will annoy the hell out of people who just wanna get to the point and contact you. Think about all the lost conversions you could have had if your site had been optimized from the getgo. Make sure your code has been minified and you’ve done your homework when it comes to optimizing your images.
I usually shrink them down to 1000 x 1000 in Photoshop and save the images on the 5 setting for the best compression. In WordPress, you can also use a plugin called Smush that really does a fantastic job in cutting your images down to size. Bottom line, if the stuff on your site hasn’t been compressed or optimized, then forget having a super low bounce rate and enough people who will want to come back.
Know How Much Your Conversions Are Worth
What’s the revenue-generating potential of a lead for your business? That’s the fundamental question every good SEO needs to ask. For you, you need to know this because you’ll have real quantifiable data when it comes to implementing good SEO tactics and techniques. You won’t be guessing how well your SEO is doing like most people would to be honest. Really have this down, and make sure you’ve done your homework in setting up conversion tracking on whatever platform you use, whether it’s Google Analytics or in Adobe. Just make sure you have all this on your site from the start.
Content Marketing & Keyword Research
I’ve delved into a ton about the yummy technical SEO stuff. I live and breathe technical SEO, but I started initially from a content marketing standpoint, and I know how much of a big difference it can have on any business. The name of the game in SEO now is portraying yourself as an authority in your niche. How do you that? You have to be able to conduct good keyword and competitor research. Find keywords you can reasonably rank for that are high search volume, low keyword difficulty. There are so many advanced tools you can use like Ahrefs or SEMRush that I personally find great for the job.
If you have these five things nailed on your site, then you’re well on your way to really improving your brand awareness and search engine presence. Remember, it’s not all about “rankings” anymore. It’s about providing the best user experience as possible for your customers. You also need to be able to do as much as you can better than your competitors. SEO takes time and patience, but the results are completely worth it. Supplement your SEO in the meantime with great branding on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more.
Then you can think about building links to ramp up that authority even more, but you’ll find that if your brand is truly whooping some major butt, then you solve a ton of that problem already in many cases.
Thanks for taking the time to wade through my ramblings. Hopefully, it provided some value to someone out there. Now, it’s time for a really nice version on a classic jazz standard called “Straight, No Chaser” Had this tune in my head by the time I was done. 🙂
Roberto Severino eats, breathes, and lives digital marketing. In the last several years, he has become completely overtaken by how awesome SEO, PPC, social media, and web development are. He currently resides in the Metro Atlanta area. To learn more about Roberto and everything going on, you can visit his website at www.robertoseverino.com.