Have you ever wondered if there’s a more holistic approach to SEO that you can apply to your website that feels more aligned with how you run your business and marketing?
A way to combine all of your marketing efforts into one overarching strategy that doesn’t require the mind of a developer or understanding fancy technical articles about SEO?
In this blog post, you will learn exactly what holistic SEO is (and isn’t) and why it matters for your website and business. Best of all, you’ll learn some quick tips that you can start integrating into your marketing strategy today.
A Brief History of SEO
But before we go any further, I want to take a quick minute to talk about how much SEO has evolved since its inception because it’s important to understand where it started and where we are now. We are only going to cover the core nitty gritty highlights, but for a deep dive, Search Engine Journal has a great in-depth overview of the history of SEO.
In the early days, content was the name of the game (this hasn’t changed) and believe it or not, Yahoo! was the only big player on the block. That has definitely changed, right? At that time, content was essentially the only ranking factor, in addition to a few other things (like breadcrumbs and directory listings). What you had on the page was more or less the end all be all.
In 2002, Google surpassed Yahoo! to become the world’s most popular search engine. With this shift came some big changes to SEO and how websites are ranked. In these early days, there were a lot of what is now referred to as “black hat SEO” tactics that marketers used. Things like gaming the system and buying backlinks to increase rankings. But Google caught on pretty quickly and by the mid 2000’s, these practices were a big fat NO.
Tip: Black Hat SEO tactics can get your website banned from Google. So, if someone promises something that sounds too good to be true when it comes to SEO, it probably is.
2010 and beyond
Fast forward to 2010, and mobile commerce and usage is skyrocketing. Google’s algorithm and practices starts adapting to these changes.
It’s also a time of profound social media growth and usage. Since 2010(ish) and for the past decade since, Google has been rolling our regular updates for both its core algorithm and more specific updates related to things like page experience and mobile.
One of the biggest changes to happen in the past decade is the Mobile First Index. It used to be that your mobile rankings were dependent on the performance of the desktop version of your website. A lot of businesses in the mid-2000’s had separate mobile versions of their website, but Google really pushed website owners to think of web design in a more responsive and adaptive way. The mobile first index was part of this push and now, both your mobile and desktop rankings are dependent on how well your website performs mobile.
Another big change has been the focus on page experience, including page speed, load time and things like “dwell time,” aka how long a user hangs out on your website.
So Why Does It Matter?
You’re probably wondering why the heck you’re getting a brief history of SEO instead of the lowdown on holistic SEO like you searched on. What do all of these changes (and the hundred others not mentioned in this blog post) have to do with holistic SEO?
The answer is simple.
At the end of the day, all of the changes (for better or worse) that Google has made to its algorithm are all about creating the BEST experience for a user and satisfying their need, which in the case of SEO is providing the information, product or service that a user is looking for via their search.
And that my friend, is what holistic SEO is all about. It’s about YOUR ideal client or customer and the experience you create for them on your website. In over 13 years of marketing, it’s the companies and organizations that understand SEO is about so much more than keywords or links that see the most success.
In other words, it’s not just about driving traffic via well targeted keywords (though that’s important too). It’s about creating a kick-ass online experience that benefits the user.
In 2022, SEO Overlaps With Pretty Much Everything You Do Online for Your Brand
It can and should be integrated into your existing marketing strategy. Improving your SEO is not only beneficial for driving additional traffic and customer diversification, but when done consistently, it will help elevate your online brand visibility over time.
Ok, that’s all great, but how exactly do you that? First, there are still some core foundational components of SEO that you need to focus on.
- Backlinks. The ultimate trust signal and SEO popularity contest. Having other quality websites link back to your website is key. But here’s the thing. You’re already a marketing maven who is networking, collaborating, and sharing content. Every time you’re on a podcast, that show link back to your website is a backlink. Anytime you’re a guest blogger, that’s a backlink. Anytime you’re part of a collaboration and they link back to you from their social media account, that’s a backlink. In short, you’re already doing a lot of the things you need to be doing to build trust through backlinks. Just make sure that the anchor text (the keywords that are hyperlinked) include your brand name or other keywords relevant to your business.
- Keywords – yes, they still matter. Billions of daily searches on Google don’t lie. The key is finding the right ones for your niche and what your potential clients are searching on. My beginner keyword research for SEO post has some great tips to help you get started!
Holistic SEO Tips
But here’s where things get juicy, and we start to think outside the standard SEO box. Holistic SEO is really about how you’re making people feel. Mind blown, right?
Start with a killer user-experience (UX), meaning:
- Make sure your page load time doesn’t take forever. If you’re using Squarespace, Showit or WordPress, this shouldn’t be hard to do. Make sure your images aren’t crazy huge and compress where you can.
- Don’t make it hard to find your content. Your navigation should be clear and direct users to where they need to go. If potential clients can’t find what they need to easily, they will bounce. Not good for SEO or the user.
- Think mobile, mobile, mobile. It’s not enough to have a responsive website. You need to be thinking about how user’s interact and engage with your content on a mobile device. Maybe that sales page looks killer on a laptop, but it doesn’t quite hit the same on an iPhone and Google Analytics is telling you the majority of your traffic is coming from mobile.
- Create content from the perspective of your target audience. Who are you writing this content for? Really get inside their head and speak to that one person when you’re crafting your next piece of content.
- Good branding and web design create legitimacy and trust online, but don’t overdo it. You don’t want to sacrifice functionality for aesthetics. If your website is gorgeous but no one knows how the heck to find anything, then you’re not meeting the user need.
Ok, that’s a wrap! Holistic SEO is going to be your go-to strategy for 2022 and beyond. Helping you elevate your online visibility, drive more traffic AND create a stellar user-experience that will leave your potential clients feeling on top of the world.
Are you going to start implementing SEO this year? Questions? Find me on IG and let’s chat! I can’t wait to hear from you.