What does it take to make a truly great burrito? A good tortilla and a fantastic pot of refried pinto beans is a good start, but where is the flavor? Where is the spice? Making a heartstoppingly good burrito takes a little extra work and a lot of different ingredients. And that’s just like SEO.
Search engine optimization isn’t just about checking off the box on a few website updates and calling it good. That’s like filling a piping hot tortilla with some guacamole and calling it a burrito. It just doesn’t work, and you can’t sell a burrito like that to anyone who knows what a real burrito looks and tastes like.
SEO is always evolving because search engines are always evolving. At one point in time, SEO was regarded solely as the domain of web designers and copywriters. If you wrote the right text and had the right site structure, you has a search engine optimized site, and you could compete against the big boys in a search engine competition. In other words, the competition used to be about who could optimize the best. But Google and the other search engines realized that SEO could be faked and their algorithms could be gamed. So the search engines started adding other aspects to their algorithms, like meta-descriptions and backlinks.
However, 2011 looks like a game changing year in SEO practice and strategy. Increasingly, search engines are relying more on off-site factors than on-site factors to gauge search engine rank and placement, namely with the introduction of social media links and the famous farmer update. That means SEO has taken on many different aspects previously reserved for marketers and copywriters—three jobs that are slowly melding into one. Today, it takes more than a few quick fixes to create a search engine optimized site. It takes a variety of different techniques, additive, spices, and ingredients to create the perfect SEO burrito.
On-site optmization—Let’s start with the basics. Although search engines are relying more heavily on off-site factors, they still crawl your site to check for keywords and a good site structure. First and foremost, make sure the basics are in place. Do some keyword research and make sure your get a good copywriter to get your keywords into your site text in clever, natural, and inventive ways. Then make sure you have an easily crawlable site structure and that you are including keywords in your page URLs. And, of course, you can fool around with the HTML to give search engines a guide to what they should and shouldn’t look at on your site.
Backlinks—This is where you’re going top start seeing some movement on your Google page rank. SEO is also about reaching out to other websites and getting them to link to you. This may happen naturally, if you have good content, or you may have to go out and create them yourself. But, either way, backlinks are going to show Google that there are other people on the web that trust you and want to send traffic your direction.
Building content—because backlinks are so important to give your site credibility and authority, you need as many people to link to you as possible. The links don’t necessarily have to come from big company websites. They can come from blogs, discussion boards, news stories, and more. But you’ll increase you chances of being shared if you have something to share, like engaging blogs, cool videos, inforgraphics, and more. This is where your copywriter and your marketing manager can get in the SEO game. They can help you create great content that people will want to share with their friends, associates, and other interested parties. Make sure your content links both in and out and contains keywords, and you’ll be well on your way to getting SEO boost.
Social media engagement—Now that you have content to share, how are you going to share it? Social media is one of the fastest growing aspects of the SEO burrito and is quickly becoming one of the most important and tasty aspects. Search engines are now taking into account links that are shared through Twitter and public Facebook feeds. That means that the backlinks you were trying so hard to get on big important websites and blogs are now counted when someone Tweets about your site as well. But not all tweets are of equal value. The authority and popularity of the person who shared your link is taken into account when judging how that link will affect your SEO and page rank. So it pays to build relationships with important people across multiple social media platforms in order to get the most SEO juice out of each share and like that you can.
Relationship building—Increasingly, search engines are attempting to quantify your popularity and level of engagement on the web. And the more well connected you are, and the more traffic you have coming from popular sources, the more your SEO will increase. But getting high-placing links isn’t about quick responses, it’s about building and maintaining relationships of trust across the web. Good online relationships and bringing people back to your site on a regular basis are like the last bit of salsa to top of the burrito. That is the spice that will really give your site long-lasting SEO power.
As you can see, SEO has evolved to be much more than a few quick fixes to your website content. It’s about continued engagement and maintaining beneficial relationships. The SEO burrito is multifaceted and has layers of flavor and engagement that, if made well in the correct portions, will give you some good SEO heartburn—but this is the kind of heartburn you want.
Brad Anderson is the Founder and CEO of Fruition. Brad’s focus is supporting Fruition’s team to enable sustainable growth and excellent client satisfaction (EBITDA growth). With a strong statistical background, Brad built Fruition’s in-house software that is used to manage client success.
President & Founder, Tru Family Dental
Marketing, Dependable Cleaners
President & Founder, Family Travel Association