SEO means many things to many people.
To some, it’s links.
To others, it’s keywords.
In actuality, it’s a broader concept designed to increase authority on particular subjects and popularity among peers to increase the odds of being properly classified .
It can get incredibly complex and time consuming on a large scale. However, it doesn’t always have to.
Instead, you might be able to see awesome results by simply focusing on a few key areas; constructing a fulcrum for leverage rather than chasing your tail with the latest ‘tricks’ or ‘hacks’.
But first, you need to understand where this thing is heading .
How to 80/20 Your SEO Strategy Based on the Evolution of Search Engines
Links still matter.
So too, does content. (Specifically, its accessibility + topic targeting + quality).
But in the last few years, a third factor has risen to become one of the most influential methods that determine exactly where you show up in a search result: RankBrain .
Chances are, you (mostly) know all about the first two. They’ve been talked about ad nauseum for years.
The third, is a more recent development that employsmachine learning to consider a mind-numbingly complex amount of data within half a second from receiving a search query.
RankBrain’s success lies in its low level artificial intelligence , able to not only process stuff quickly, but also more increasingly accurate over time as it grows, matures, and adapts.
Couple this development with the increasingly personalized search results different users see, Google’s push into ‘ instant answers ’, the continued layout tweaks of search engine result pages that alter what (and where) stuff shows up, and you’ve got your work cut out for you.
This doesn’t even bring up the larger algorithm updates, or the smaller on-going tweaks to existing ones happen routinely to continually refine their approach.
All of this stuff to ensure that they get better at filtering the good from the bad .
That means hopefully, one day soon, you won’t see the same unfortunately obvious junk polluting the prime 1-3 positions while you toil away in obscurity doing ‘the right thing’.
It also means that if you strategize properly, you should be able to identify a few crucial areas that if executed properly should snowball enough to deliver the elusive marketing flywheel .
Here are a few of those areas to scrutinize.
1. Shortcut Your Keyword Research
Traditionalkeyword strategies are broken.
They’re still incredibly important, no doubt. But not in a 2005 kinda way.
Instead of blindly looking for all things related to the phrase you typed in, they attempt to understand or interpret the meaning behind the words used.
That extends to words on a page. Sure, inserting a keyphrase X times in Y locations can help. But more importantly, is the context of topics and information around those keyphrases.
That means keyword research , or the process of identifying topics related to your site’s pages, requires a hell of a lot more nuance than simply selecting stuff based on ( inaccurate ) volume estimates.
Ross from Siege Media laid out one incredibly thorough keyword analysis in this excellent post . Simply put: it’s awesome.
It’s SUPER f-ing time consuming. (He even admits as much, which is why he willingly shares the entire process. Cause most aren’t gonna ever attempt it.)
For example, here’s a snapshot of the results you get after going through it:
Yes. My brain hurts after reading that too.
If you’ve got the time and resources, follow that.
If not, try this.
Moz recently recently released a new Keyword Explorer tool that brings in several critical factors to analyze.