Don’t Overlook These 3 SEO Fundamentals

Link-building and SERP efforts won't be effective until these areas are optimized.

February 28, 2017 Resources

Don’t Overlook These 3 SEO Fundamentals

Today is day two of LSA’s annual flagship event, LSA17 in sunny San Diego. (However, it isn’t sunny – we’ve been drenched by a winter Pacific storm, but they say that sun is on the way. Even the baseball field was flooded yesterday.)

One of the topics on the agenda today is a discussion about LSA Certification, a new program that certifies and helps promote media sellers, publishers and agencies with ethical business practices. LSA’s research shows that 80% of small to midsize businesses would welcome this type of certification for their marketing partner.

I agree, and see a need for transparency and standardization for SEO, SEM and online advertising techniques at the SMB level. SEO probably needs it the most. I far too commonly see SMBs hire SEO consultants and digital marketers who end up focusing on the wrong tactics that don’t provide improved business results.

One example I saw recently was placing far too much focus on keyword reports for a B2B brand. Their low value, non-competitive keywords were moving up in the SERPs. The client sees “progress” when viewing the reports, but doesn’t have the sophistication to understand that the traffic and keywords weren’t relevant to the brand and the traffic was low-quality that didn’t convert.

Granular SEO tactics like the above aren’t very effective when the website has fundamental issues.

SEO is constantly evolving, but it’s always a good idea to review each site you’re working on to evaluate the below 3 SEO fundamentals.

1. Content Quality

Google wants to deliver the highest quality page for the search term to satisfy the user. Check your content quality and evaluate the entire experience. Forget looking at the HTML at this stage and pretend you’re a new visitor. Ask yourself:

Does this content deliver what I was seeking for the search term?

Does the design and layout instill confidence? Or does it make me want to find another site?

Pages with quality content that are delivered to the right audience should have good conversion rates. If your pages aren’t converting, what’s the point in ranking higher in SERPs?

2. On-page Optimization

After you’ve confirmed that the user likes the page, optimize it so the search engines like it too. Focus on a single keyword or phrase and ensure that the key elements include it:

  • Page title tag (displayed at top of browser window)
  • Description tag
  • Headline (H1 tag)
  • Body copy
  • Image tags
  • Image names

I far too commonly see agencies delivering sites that they claim are optimized, yet are missing some of these basic on-page optimization elements.

Use Yoast or Moz to check your pages. After you optimize it for the spiders, revisit step 1 to make sure that humans will still like the page.

3. Technical Issues

If Google or other search engines have flagged your site, your optimization efforts aren’t going to be very effective.

Review your Google Webmaster file for alerts about broken links, HTML issues, crawl errors, performance issues, mobile viewing and spam / bot activity. Clean these up and monitor on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Once you have these fundamentals in place, focus on sharing your content and building links! Those efforts will bear more fruit with the proper foundation in place.

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