Do you need a tool to help you understand search engine optimization?
SEO is essential to making your business successful online (and, in many cases, in the real world as well). But it can be both frustrating and daunting for someone new to the subject.
Fortunately, Search Engine Land has developed a helpful tool to explain how to optimize your site for search and get the results you want. They’re calling it the 2017 Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors, and it provides a visual outline for all of the important “elements” involved in search engine optimization.
First, let’s define what search engine optimization means.
You’ve probably heard many different explanations. When you get into the nitty gritty, it can be complicated and confusing – even if you’ve been engaging in SEO best practices for years. So here we’re going to take it back to basics as a reminder of the ultimate purpose of SEO.
Our definition at White Rabbit? It is “the process of building and promoting a website in order to boost the number of visitors the site receives from search engines like Google.” In other words, good SEO brings more people to your site, so your audience and business can grow.
A simple and straightforward definition – but it doesn’t tell you what you need to do to optimize your site. This is pretty important, especially since SEO best practices are continually evolving.
That’s where the 2017 Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors comes in. The table shows the most important elements of website development. It also shows what must be avoided. Useful, right?
The periodic table combines both on-the-page SEO and off-the-page SEO. As the site owner or developer, you have complete control of the on-the-page SEO. You set the parameters for content, architecture, and HTML.
In off-the-page SEO, readers and external influencers add value to your site. They contribute to your site’s trust level, links, and personal or social engagement. The periodic table shows how both segments combine to build a successful website.
Like the periodic table you’ve seen in science classes, Search Engine Land’s table uses a two-letter format. It also has a ranking hierarchy of SEO practices. Items with a +3 are ranked most important, and items with a -3 ranking hurt the most.
For the best results, you need a little bit of all of the pluses, because all of the “elements” work together to bolster one other.
Here is an overview of both on- and off-the-page SEO contributions for success.
Content Is Still King
You’ve heard the phrase before, and it’s still true according to this periodic table. Nothing matters more than high quality content. Let’s say that again, because it is probably the most important factor in reaching potential customers and getting them to convert: nothing matters more than high quality content.
Pages must be well written and thoroughly researched to resonate well with your customer. High quality SEO content establishes you as a trusted authority and sets you apart from the competition. If you provide great content, your customers will return again and again.
Ask yourself this question: “Do we offer real value, something of substance to visitors that is unique, different, and useful, that they won’t find elsewhere?” If so, you’re probably on the right track for providing quality content. If not, you probably need to improve the level of content you offer.
It’s also helpful if your topics are fresh and relevant to current social discussions and trends. Engaging stories and articles will keep a reader on your site longer. These kinds of articles will also introduce customers to more of your products and services – as long as you provide links within your pages.
You can boost your vertical content by providing links to videos, local news stories, and images that add to your site’s relevance. High-quality links from trusted sources enhance your credibility. When you choose the right keywords and phrases and provide answers to common questions, search engines will rank you higher, and more new customers will be directed to your site.
Mobile and Search Engine Friendly
More people than ever access the internet through their smartphones, so it’s crucial for your site to be mobile-friendly. Also, more people perform Google searches on mobile devices than on desktop devices, so your rankings move upward with a mobile-optimized site.
The website framework needs to work seamlessly for both mobile and desktop interfaces so you can meet the needs of any customer that visits your site.
Additionally, your website needs to be easy for search engines to crawl through and index. You can help guide this process by making titles, tags, and headers match the page topics and expand upon them well.
Using carefully crafted meta descriptions will help hook a new customer and lead them to your site. These are the one- to two-sentence descriptions that pop up under the heading of each search result.
Remember, meta descriptions are an important SEO success factor to employ, so that more people can find your site when they search for something using Google or another search engine.
Built to Last
If your site is optimized, it will load quickly and operate smoothly.
It’s worth your time to test your site on different devices and browsers to gauge page speeds and make changes if necessary. You may need to reduce the size and number of images on your pages for faster loading.
Regular maintenance of your site’s architecture will help to keep your site loading quickly and performing well.
The other half of this equation is to update your site regularly. All sites need to be updated regularly to provide fresh views each time that a customer visits, but it goes even further than this.
One of the factors search engines use in rankings is the amount of content and the frequency with which it is updated. In fact, new sites often take a while to move up in the rankings because they simply don’t have a big enough pool of content to recommend them.
Additionally, you will gain customer respect and trust if you have a considerable amount of content that has been around for a while. Strike a balance between evergreen content and new content, and you will gain a loyal audience for years to come.
Made for Connection
Each person now sees a customized search when they use a search engine. What does that mean?
That your Google search may not look the same as someone else’s – even if you use the exact same keyword. That is why it’s important for you to connect with the customers you are seeking in your specific demographic or region.
If you sell a product or service particular to a certain geographical area, your site needs to employ mapping tools. These tools will drive people to your site when they search for items or services in your surrounding area. Also, don’t forget that the language on your site needs to speak to your local audience as well.
Connection is about more than reaching people in your area though. Whether your audience is local or global, you need articles that are ready to share with just one click. Then the word will spread further about your products and services. Create content that speaks directly to the audience you’re targeting, and set it up for easy sharing on social media.
Also, make sure the links you use in your articles are from expert sources. These links are deemed more valuable by search engines, so it can help to increase your ranking. Perhaps just as valuable, it makes you look more like a trusted source of information because you’re using trusted sources.
Finally, another way to connect is to reach out to other affiliate sites who are willing to use your links on their sites.
Bottom line? You will reach more customers if your site is set up to help people connect.
Factors That Hurt Performance
Of course, as we mentioned above, The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors doesn’t only list the building blocks for a solid website. It also shows common violations, which you must avoid or correct if you want your website to succeed.
What are “violations”? Basically, things that attempt to deceive search engines to improve a site’s ranking. In short: cheating.
Google tends to penalize most violations, so it’s best to avoid these deceptive techniques and build your rankings organically.
Let’s go over a few examples.
Your content quality goes down if it lacks substance and/or credible links. So, it stands to reason that using pirated (i.e. plagiarized) content is a huge mistake which will cost you in the long run.
Engaging in cloaking will also hurt your site’s success. Cloaking is showing search engines a different page than the page your reader sees in order to receive a higher search ranking. Your site may be blacklisted for engaging in this behavior.
Another way you can hurt performance is overusing keywords, especially at the ends of articles. Some people even stuff by hiding content, such as using white text on a white background to beef up the keyword count. But search engines want to see exactly what a person sees when they look at your site, so you will be punished with lower rankings if you use these techniques.
You can also turn customers away by using too many ads and pop-ups. Everyone expects one or two per visit but more than that can cause people to leave and not come back.
If you search other blogs and forums to dump your own links into the discussion, especially if you use automated software to do so, the search engines will also punish you for this.
It’s not all bad news, though. Get rid of these violations, and you are likely to see your search engine rankings recover.
Using the Table for Your Advantage
Now that you understand how the 2017 Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors works, what do you need to do next?
Look at each of the categories and think about what areas need improvement on your site. Do you need more development in on-the-page SEO areas, such as content, architecture, and HTML? Do you need more development in off-the-page SEO areas, such as trust, links, or personal and social connections?
Also ask yourself if you are committing any violations, and take action to stop those behaviors that are hurting your rankings.
Are you looking for assistance to boost your SEO success? At White Rabbit, we always stay on top of the latest SEO changes to help our clients bolster their search engine rankings, but we also make sure that we utilize techniques designed to encourage sustainable long-term growth.
Because in the end, isn’t that the point? You want to build a relationship with your clients so that they keep coming back again and again while reaching new people as well.
If you are dedicated to growing your customer base, we can help you use SEO to establish your authority and give you a lead over the competition. Contact us today to learn how we can help you grow.