I'm a big fan of boiling things down to brass tacks. SEO is such a complex and often confusing area of small business web marketing. Working with one of my private SEO clients recently, I decided to breakdown the SEO process into 3 key steps & processes so she would better understand the timelines and procedures me and my team were working on. So today I wanted to present that same breakdown here on the blog. Here are your 3 critical factors for SEO success...
DISCLAIMER: Again, I want to reiterate that SEO is very complex. This post is not an attempt to oversimplify SEO. It's simply an attempt to give you a general breakdown of the 3 major categories of SEO you should be thinking about.
SEO FACTOR #1 - Website Optimization
Before you can do anything else with your SEO plan, you need a strong foundation. This begins with the actual framework & foundation of your website. If your website code and structure is not in tip-top shape, you will always struggle to get any lasting SEO results. Failing to do this is something like trying to build a house on a weak foundation. The house, no matter how beautiful or well made, well always be at risk of collapse. The same is true for SEO.
I always recommend Small Business Owners build their website in the WordPress framework. Not only is WordPress a flexible and affordable web platform, it's also scalable and extremely SEO friendly. Beyond that, you will likely need to hire an SEO professional to ensure your website code is well optimized and all of your ducks are in a row.
SEO FACTOR #2 - Content Optimization
Once your website structure itself is in place and well optimized, it's time to begin working on your content. Content is the cornerstone of any web marketing plan, and SEO is definitely no exception. There are 2 primary types of website content you will need to be successful with your SEO plan: Blog Posts & Landing Pages. You can read more about these types of content here: Blogging For SEO and Landing Pages For SEO.
We all know that "Content is king" and that content plays the most important quarterback-type role in SEO success. But content is useless without a solid website structure AND marketplace authority -- which segues nicely into the next critical factor...
SEO FACTOR #3 - Domain Authority
Authority is the pinnacle of online success in all categories, and that applies just as much to SEO. When we talk about authority in SEO terms, the very best measure is something called "Domain Authority" which can actually be measured objectively thanks to great tools like Moz. The long-term goal of any SEO plan should be to grow your Domain Authority to outpace your top competitors.
Domain Authority is based around a lot of different factors but in a nutshell it's really about your overall web presence & link profile. In other words, the more high-quality sites linking to you and the more places your website content is shared & mentioned online, the higher your Domain Authority.
Which SEO Factor Is Most Important?
This is actually a trick question. Obviously, the most important SEO factor is Domain Authority (factor #3). But the reality is you cannot really achieve Domain Authority without first having a well optimized website (factor #1) AND great, optimized content (factor #2). So the question itself is sort of meaningless -- all 3 factors are critical to SEO success since they have a strong interdependence.
I hope this general breakdown is useful for you. Now, go out there and get to work on your SEO!