This Ask an SEO question comes from Ian from San Juan, who asks:
“What would you say should be the top SEO focus coming into 2022 for a brand looking to grow its wholesale product 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 that automatically ranks a site for any query I want.
Most SEO experts I know are still looking.
And we’re talking about the latest trends uncovered from our hours of reverse engineering efforts.
And while there are certainly “hot” techniques, I would like readers of this column to understand that the basics of SEO have not changed in a long time.
Instead of chasing algorithm errors that come and go as fast as your latest Google representative, I suggest you get back to basics.
The Basics Are Still The Same
Since the advent of link-based algorithms like Google’s PageRank, the basics of search engine optimization have remained the same.
I can not guarantee much in life – Google tells me not to give guarantees.
But I can guarantee that if you do the following five things correctly for every query you want to rank for, you will rank for that query.
Here are what I consider to be the five pillars of search engine optimization:
The code on your website is the foundation of your entire marketing strategy.
The code for this site needs to be built so that search engines can easily find the amazing content you have created.
The code on your site may not make you rank – but if it is not done properly, it may prevent you from ranking.
The content of your website should be all-inclusive for your prospects.
You need content that works for visitors who are ready to buy, as well as those who need a little more information before making a purchase or filling out a lead form.
Your content should also use the keywords and phrases you want to rank by.
According to Google, your content should radiate expertise, project authority and project confidence. This is commonly referred to by its culinary acronym, EAT.
Also known as link building, this is what sets a good SEO expert apart from a great SEO expert.
Most people who do SEO can handle the technical side of things. Many can also create a coherent and effective content strategy.
It requires a PR mindset armed with SEO knowledge.
Buying links is risky and I do not recommend it.
Work on creating a link strategy that builds on itself. For a warehouse, I would initially look at my suppliers and partners for links.
Then I would look to create linkable content that the influences within my field would like.
Social media really does not help your SEO directly, but social media is how we convey and reinforce the good content we create.
Social media is often the way we connect with the influencers that we need links from.
Your communication strategy is important for SEO, even if links from social media will not give you a boost in Google.
Google Analytics itself can provide you with content ideas, UX insights, audience revelations and more.
Hire others to spend time on your data if you do not know what you are seeing.
I’ve been doing SEO for 21 years and I still often have another set of eyes from my team reviewing the data to make sure I don’t miss anything.
Do these five things better than the other guy and you will surpass him every time.
But be aware – you have to win on every query you want to rank for.
Most of us will never win that battle all the time.
And that’s one of the reasons why SEO is in progress 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 that many SEO campaigns lack the goal.
Just because the work we do as SEO professionals is sometimes of a technical nature does not mean that our audience is technical.
In fact, I see far too many SEO experts who think that the target audience they are targeting is just 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.
Know your audience’s likes and dislikes.
Know their political inclinations if possible.
Know their average income, age and gender.
Understand the best way to contact your audience.
This is most likely different for the B2B Warehouse customer than for the company that sells tea or mortgage refinancing.
Use the data that the search engines give us, as well as your own website data, to better understand your audience.
Stop chasing the latest silver ball.
Duplicate the basics of SEO that have not changed in more than 15 years.
Remember that every query is different and you have to win at every search.
Do these things and you will reach your ROI goals.
Featured image: WAYHOME studio / Shutterstock
Editor’s Note: Ask an SEO is a weekly SEO consulting column written by some of the industry’s best SEO experts, which has been hand-picked by the Search Engine Journal. Do you have a question about SEO? Fill out our form. You may see your answer in the next # AskanSEO post!