This SEO Ask question comes from Ian from San Juan, who asks:
“What do you think should be the next highest SEO focus in 2022 for a brand looking to grow its wholesale products business to generate more leads and sales?”
Every year, SEO professionals look for a magic bullet.
Even after 21 years, I still hope to find the technique to automatically rank a site for any question I want.
Most of the SEO experts I know are still watching.
And we talk about the latest trends uncovered by our hours of reverse engineering efforts.
And while there are certainly “hot” techniques, I want the readers of this column to understand that the basics of SEO have not changed for a long time.
Rather than looking for some algorithmic glitches that come and go as fast as your last Google rep, I suggest getting back to basics.
The Basics Are Still The Same
Since the advent of link-based algorithms such as Google PageRank, the basics of search engine optimization have remained the same.
I can’t guarantee much in life – Google tells me not to offer guarantees.
But I can guarantee that if you do the following five things correctly for each question you want to qualify for, you will qualify for that question.
Here are what I consider to be the five pillars of search engine optimization:
Your website code is the foundation of your entire marketing strategy.
The code on this site needs to be built so that search engines can easily find the great content you have created.
Your website code may not force you to rank – but failure to do so may prevent you from ranking.
The content on your website needs to be comprehensive for your prospects.
You need to have content that works for visitors who are willing to buy, as well as those who need a little more information before making a purchase or filling out a lead form.
Your content also needs to utilize the keywords and phrases you want to rank for.
According to Google, your content needs to gain expertise, project authority, and project trust. This is commonly referred to by its culinary acronym, EAT.
Also known as link building, this is what separates a good SEO expert from a great SEO expert.
Most SEO people can handle the technical side of things. Many can also create a coherent and effective content strategy.
It requires a public relations mindset armed with knowledge of SEO.
Buying links is risky and I do not recommend it.
Work to create a self-building link strategy. For a store, I initially look to my vendors and partners for links.
Then I look to create content that fits the link that influencers in my field want.
Social media really doesn’t help your SEO directly, but social media is how we spread and amplify the great content we create.
Social media is often how we connect with influencers from whom we need links.
Your communication strategy is important for SEO, even if the links from social media will not give you a boost in Google.
Google Analytics itself can give you content ideas, UX insights, audience revelations, and more.
Hire others to spend time on your data if you don’t know what you’re seeing.
I’ve been doing SEO for 21 years, and I still often have another set of eyes from my team reviewing data to make sure I don’t miss a thing.
Do these five things better than the other man, and you will outrank him every time.
But be aware – you have to win every question you want to rank for.
Most of us will never win that battle all the time.
And that’s one reason why SEO is still going on and not a set-it-and-forget-it tactic.
Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience is not a new trend for 2022, but I see a lot of unbranded SEO campaigns.
Just because the work we do as SEO professionals is sometimes technical in nature, does not mean that our audience is technical.
In fact, I see too many SEO experts think that the target audience is like them.
In most cases, the audience is very different from the person optimizing the site.
SEO professionals need to practice empathy in our keyword research, UX changes, content creation, and basically, everything we do.
Find out what your audience likes and dislikes.
Know their political proclamations if possible.
Find out their average income, age and gender.
Understand the best way to approach your audience.
It’s likely different for the B2B Warehouse customer than it is for the company selling tea or refinancing a mortgage.
Use the data provided by search engines, as well as the data of your own website, to better understand your audience.
Stop chasing after the last silver bullet.
It has doubled on the basis of SEO that has not changed in over 15 years.
Remember that every query is different, and you must win every quest.
Do these things and you will reach your ROI goals.
Featured Print: WAYHOME studio / Shutterstock
Editor’s note: Ask SEO is a weekly SEO advice column written by some of the industry’s top SEO experts, hand-picked by Search Engine Journal. Do you have a question about SEO? Fill out our form. You can see your answer in the next post #AskanSEO!