SEO success is the outcome of getting several small components to work together as a fluid operation. If you have been around SEO for long, you have likely heard there are more than 200 ranking factors that Google considers.
Fortunately, even if you miss a few of those, your site can still rank well. The less talked about - but even more important part of an SEO strategy - is synergy.
Some people approach SEO with the thought that you must perfect each area of your site, your link profile, and so on. The truth is, no website is perfect. That means that yours doesn't have to be either. That doesn't mean that you should use a limiting website builder or that you should neglect any part of your SEO though. It simply means that if you are lacking in one area, you may be able to pick up slack in another.
Links Can Trump Content
Have you ever noticed a short sales page outranking very long, detailed information on the same topic? Part of this has to do with the content Google prefers to show for query. The other part of that has to do with authority, which is built by gaining inbound links. Links are also the reason you may see low-quality sites outranking sites with much better content.
Content Length Can Influence the Impact of a Link
On the other end of the spectrum, a page with high-quality content will still need some links to rank if the domain itself is not authoritative. This is where the balance comes into play. Let's say that one page has 300 words of content and the other has 3,000 - both of equal quality. If both sites are new, the longer content should rank higher than the shorter content if both have the same links.
In the real world, both sites are not usually new which means there are some other areas that need to be addressed as well.
The Past Dictates Your Future
The third major element that needs to be addressed is existing issues with a site. Primarily overoptimization on page and harmful links pointing to the site. Let's say your site is full of pages with keyword stuffed content. Even if you build 50 links from major, credible sites in your niche, you may see little or no impact. If on the other hand the content on your site is very in-depth, engaging, and users love it, bad links from the past couple severely hamper how well that content could rank. User experience matters but its value is greatly reduced when your content or links have Google seeing you in a bad light.
User Experience - Icing on The Cake?
User experience doesn't matter at all if you can't get visitors to your site. Additionally, sites with a poor user experience can still rank. Site speed and mobile friendliness seem to be two of the most important and influential UX factors. Although many argue that bounce rate, time on page, and other related factors are being considered, those items don't necessarily mean that a site failed to deliver exactly what the searcher was looking for.
Think of it this way. It is the middle of the night, a pipe under your home has busted and is gushing water. You aren't sure where the shutoff valve is and you need someone to fix it ASAP. You go to Google, search for an emergency plumber, click their site to verify they are available around the clock and then you close the site and call.
You may have only spent a few seconds on the site but, it gave you exactly what you needed. If we looked only at the time on page, the site would look like it didn't perform well though.
That's Why AI is Google's Next Big Push
Rankings are determined by algorithms. Even though they work very well, they cannot reason. If you have an online store and people leave in 4 seconds, that is considerably different than if you are an emergency plumber. As AI continues to develop, it may start to be able to distinguish between the two. At that time, UX factors other than speed and mobile friendliness may have a greater impact on rankings.
As of today, those elements are all very important to the end goal of getting conversions. However, they are not as important to rankings. Knowing where the biggest impact comes from will allow you to make the most important changes first.
5 Steps to Launch Any Campaign
To benefit from synergy, you should start each campaign by addressing the following 5 points.
Conduct a full review of the website content, checking for thin pages, keyword stuffing, and keyword cannibalization.
Complete a full backlink audit. Identify harmful links to disavow, look for overoptimization of anchor text, and study the breakdown of links between pages on your site.
Identify your most important keywords and look at the top 5 or 10 competitors for each term. Study their link profile, content length, topic of content on their blog, site age, and overall traffic to their site.
Take the time to put in writing the deficiencies your site currently has. This can be internal issues like the links and content or how you compare with the competition. Use this information to map out a clear plan to close the gap over 6 or 12 months.
Create a content calendar that maps out where your content is lacking. This can be a lack of informational posts as compared to your competitors, it can be a plan to increase the content length of existing pages, or it can be a combination of blogs, videos, graphics, and location pages. Either way, develop a plan so you have time to figure out how to create content that will rank and engage.
Once you cover those five areas, you will be in a great position to kick off your campaign and enjoy the success that comes from a well-executed strategy. Remember, your site doesn't have to be perfect, even small improvements in many areas can lead to big improvements overall.
I am fiercely competitive and passionate about SEO, which means working with myself and the Stellar SEO team will put you on the winning side. Nothing about SEO is guaranteed, but we make a habit of helping brands dominate, even in the most competitive of industries. Since 2012, my company, Stellar SEO, has become one of the most highly regarded names in Search Engine Optimization. Taking the unconventional route, my journey to becoming an SEO industry expert began after reading a magazine article with a "Best Business to Start" headline. Starting with no funding or prior business experience, I began researching everything I could about entrepreneurship and SEO. In the process, I personally tested every theory, piece of sales advice, and "proven" method to deliver effective link-building campaigns. I found that there is no one-size-fits-all method or magic guru tricks to link building.