Most promotional products distributors are aware that showing up on search results is important to the long term growth and sustainability of their business. However, few give it proper attention, if any at all, or, they search for solutions but they end up overwhelmed by information overload.
There are over 400 ranking factors that can be grouped into 3 categories. Not all factors carry the same weight, which can change as Google keeps changing how it values each. But there are certain factors in each of the categories that have become stronger over time, through every Google algorithm update, so it is safe to say that they are the most important ones and will remain so. And those are the ones we’ll address in this post, we’ll review each category of SEO and how they are important to your overall digital marketing strategy.
The Three Categories of SEO
On-page SEO relates to the content on your website.
Encompasses both the content that’s actually on your pages, as well as the titles and descriptions you provide for the search engines.
Optimizing each individual page on a website helps search engines understand the topic of your site and determine if it’s a good match for a particular search term.
This type of SEO includes:
- Keyword research: Finding the best keywords to target on a page of content
- Content creation: Publishing high-quality content focused on target keywords
- Keyword optimization: Using the target keyword in all the right places.
There are a variety of tools to help with all aspects of on-page SEO for keyword research and content creation. Some are free, such as the ones provided by Google. The top Google tools are the Adwords Keyword Planner and the Search Console. The Keyword Planner helps find search volume, competition, and other keyword references. The Search Console shows you the keywords your site ranks for, traffic, and allows you to check that your pages are indexed by Google. Outside of Google’s tools, there is Ubersuggest, a free handy tool to find long-tail keyword ideas based on searches to find relevant, popular, keywords to target on your site.
The idea is to cross-reference the information that these tools provide for better data, and not just stick to one, because none of them provides all the information in one place, nor is 100% accurate.
Technical SEO relates to non-content elements of your website.
It has to do with a site’s backend structure and foundation. Technical SEO tactics look to improve a site’s readability. This is important for 2 reasons: to make it easy for search engines to crawl and understand your site, and to provide a good user experience. Improving user experience is mission-critical these days. It’s not only important for visitors to stay on your site and convert, but it also sends signals to Google as far as the quality of the site, based on traffic and engagement.
The types of SEO included in this category relate to:
- Site speed
- Site architecture
- Structured data
An easy way to check on the state of your technical SEO is with Google Search Console, it allows you to perform a comprehensive site performance check. This needs to be done regularly as issues might arise with the constant Google changes and other reasons, so your site is always running at peak performance
Off-page SEO relates to your website’s reputation and authority.
It includes techniques to help strengthen the influence and relationship your website has with other websites. This helps search engines see that it’s an ideal search result because it’s from a reputable, reliable, trusted source.
Most off-site SEO relates to high–quality backlinks. A large volume of links pointing to your site from relevant, authoritative sites shows search engines that your site is valuable and established. You can gain these trust signals through a variety of link building and guest posting tactics.
When creating a link building plan you must avoid black hat tactics at all costs, such as buying backlinks and link exchanges.
Another important Off-Site SEO factor is online reviews. The more positive reviews a website has the more trustworthy it will be for the search engines. The most important reviews are the ones on your Google My Business page, but reviews on other sites such as Yelp and Facebook also contribute to strengthening your business online reputation.
You Need All Three Parts
To create an SEO plan that leads to real results, you need to include all 3 categories. Paying attention to just on just one group of ranking factors won’t do. Unfortunately, there are many services that focus on one group only and sometimes even just one ranking factor, leaving distributors who’ve tried these services disappointed in the lack of results and waste of money. You need to use all three parts of SEO in conjunction with each other, monitor and tweak on an ongoing basis, to give your site the best chance at showing up in searches.
In conclusion, your SEO plan needs to include keyword-based content, user experience improvements, and reputation and authority building, for a well-rounded optimization plan.
If you’re considering hiring a provider, make sure they provide full SEO services and not just one (magical) tactic. You also want someone that has experience and is familiar with your business. If your budget is limited, start small with the foundational aspects and grow from there.
If you need help with a plan and implementation, get in touch. We’d love to help, and if we can’t, we’ll be happy to steer you in the right direction.