Owners and managers of service-based businesses must pay attention to effective SEO strategy elements in order to drive web traffic, store traffic, and ultimately sales.

SEO and SEO strategy elements are the best way to increase the visibility and searchability of your service-based website. As design elements, SEO strategy elements are parts of the SEO strategy.

SEO targets different kinds of searches on a website like an image search, video search, news, and vertical-specific search. 

61% of the marketers make it their priority to improve the SEO of the website as a part of their inbound marketing plan. 

Let me warn you to know, SEO takes a lot of knowledge and experience. But more importantly, you must stay on top of changes that Google plan in advance.

So don’t want your time on an old website that needs a website redesign. You will thank me later.

A Quick Review on the advantages of  SEO 

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  • Helps optimize the website to make it user-friendly
  • Increases your business visibility and drives in more customers 
  • Builds brand awareness and increases conversion rates
  • Helps bypass the competition
  • Influences the buying cycle

SEO strategies for both On-page and Off-page are ever-evolving and the criteria under which Google assesses your website is also constantly changing.

Nearly 80% of users ignore paid ads in search results. Click To Tweet

Marketers came up with a list of factors that can affect your SEO by following the pattern of these criteria. But, is it possible to boost your SEO ranking in a short span of time? In rare cases, you can, but most of the time SEO ranking increases over a period of time. 

Fast and Painless – Website Redesign

The Result? A beautiful, fast, SEO tuned and mobile friendly website.

Factors Affecting On-Page Optimization

Marketing Content as an SEO strategy elements

Your website becomes uniquely valuable if most of the visitors find your page high-quality, unique and valuable. The content of a website should be impeccable to rank well on SEO. Go beyond promoting your brand and add value to your target audience. This effort is greatly appreciated by Google. 

The best example of the content optimized website is HubSpot. The H1 tags are very precise, to the point and with the right set of keywords. The H2 tag is also put into good use to explain their product or service. 

Following is the power of a good header text. Highrise boosted conversion by 30% with a single headline tweak. 

Source

 Excellent UX

The information you want to convey should be easily consumable. 52% of users say that the main reason they won’t return to a website is its aesthetics. MOZ ranks website with a few UX tweaks such as adding H2 and H3 tags to improve page architecture, readability and crawlability. 

 Here are a few ways in which you can align your UX with the SEO strategy. 

  • Define user goals and your website should align with user-focused design.
  • Should have brand communication consistency
  • Establish a content hierarchy
  • Follow common UX patterns that can resolve the usual UX problems 
  • Create a mobile-optimized website
97% of page-one results have at least one image on the page. Click To Tweet

Keyword Targeting 

Usually, small businesses focus on primary keywords or direct keywords. But 50% of the searches are four words or more which is why long-tail keywords are more important.

Additionally, it can be difficult to outrank the existing competition when you use a primary or direct keyword. For example, if you have a floral business, your primary keyword might be ‘florists near me’  but a long-tail keyword will be ‘where to get white lilies for wedding decoration’. 

  1. Content is not the only place where you can include these keywords. The importance of choosing the correct search terms and keywords for your SEO campaign will become even more vital with voice search. 
  2. Including image alt tags for each image on your website, with the correct keywords will also help elevate your position on the results pages. Similarly, the title and meta tag of your website should also be keyword focused. 
  3. The primary keyword should come in the URL of your website and also be a part of the title element. In the body of the page, primary keywords should appear 2X+ times and secondary keywords should appear on the headlines and body if appropriate. 
50% of the searches are four words or more which is why long-tail keywords are more important. Click To Tweet

Crawlers and Bots Accessibility

There are many technical aspects of the website that should be taken care of along with the design and content part. 

To rank well in SEO:

  1. Maintain a static URL with no dynamic element
  2. The content should be unique in all the pages of your website
  3. The page should load directly as HTML and not post-load via AJAX, JS, etc. 
  4. The website categories should be organized in such a way that it should not take more than 4 clicks to reach any given page
  5. If any page is temporarily unavailable or is under construction, status code 503 should be returned by the server
  6. Meta robot tag should be allowed for crawling and indexing
  7. Key page elements like meta tag and description should follow the defined character count
  8. The website URLs should be included in the XML sitemap files 

Social Media Shareability

Websites URLs see maximum shareability only through social media. Social media also increases brand awareness and content consumption 

Make your URL as descriptive as possible to help the user understand the page they are taken to. 

Add sharing options for the social pages that best fit your business on the website itself. For example, if you are a retail store owner, you can have sharing options for Instagram and Facebook. If you run an auto repair shop and have a blog page, it can have Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook sharing options. 

Make sure the page has inherent sharing the value. More people should feel your content is valuable enough to re-share. 

Do You Know Your Score?

Your marketing ROI is critical. For you and your company.

Measurement matters now more than ever. Use this marketing scorecard toolkit to bring structure and meaning to your numbers.

Multi-Device Optimization

It is essential to create a website that has an adaptive design. Your website should render properly on all browsers and be legible and blur-free on all screens. Make sure it also employs the exact same URL when accessed from any device. 

Authorship and SEO strategy elements

If your website has a blog page, give credits to the author whether it be in-house or guest. This will increase the credibility of the blog as compared to a blog with no author or the brand name as the author. 

1,890 words: The average content length of a Google first page result.  Click To Tweet

Metadata

The meta tag and description is vital for any website. Add primary or secondary keywords to the meta description and this description should inspire people to click on the website URL.  The title tag or the meta tag can be written in the following format, 

Primary keyword, Secondary Keyword | Brand Name 

The optimal length of a title tag is 60 characters even though there is no exact character limit for it. 

Internal Links

Linking back to pages within your blog improves the value of the page in the eyes of Google. If you have a product page and a blog page, try linking back the blog article to the product page using an anchor text. 

Factors Affecting Off-Page Optimization

SEO strategy elements for your off-page SEO activity must be defined and tasks assigned to drive success.

The off-site ranking factors affect SEO equally to on-page counterparts. Your business’s trust, value and subject authority is determined by the off-page optimization. There are quite a few factors that will help you gain reputation and relevance like, 

41 percent of large companies consider link building as the most difficult SEO tactic. Click To Tweet

Backlinks

 Building backlinks is a major off-page activity that is directly associated with the quality of your website. There are three types of backlinks that you should focus on, 

  1. Natural Links: They are organic links that are given by various online sources like blogs, social media and add merit to your quality content. 
  2. Built Links: These are links that a business acquires through dedicated backlinking activity
  3. Self-created Links: These links are created by enrolling the business in directories and contributing to forums, press releases, etc. 

When it comes to building links on your own, there are many ways you can go about it. But firstly, it is important to know the difference between a ‘do follow’ and a ‘no-follow’ link. 

A do-follow link lets both the search engine and the audience to follow the link. This link has the maximum influence on the ranking. 

A no-follow link allows only the audience to follow the link and tells the search engine not to follow your URL.

This link has a considerable impact when it is at the top of a page and the least effective when it is at the bottom. Google has recently said that they will consider no-follow links as an outgoing link but only if used contextually. 

SEO strategy elements with these link tags must be understood and organized.

It is better to have a 70/30 ratio of do-follow to no-follow when building links to your website. This will help you maintain a balance that Google expects for every website. 

Here are a few ways in which you can build quality links for your website, 

  • Contribute guest blogs: Guest blogging is one of the proven backlinking strategies. Reach out to websites from your vertical that have better google ranking than your website. Getting backlinks from them will eventually increase your website’s ranking and credibility factor. Dedicate a resource who can work full time on shortlisting a list of websites. Then, master the perfect way of communicating with them and write exemplary content that aligns with their blog. If you are currently in a liquidity crunch to afford a resource for this, you can always look for tailor-made financing options for your small business. 
  • HARO: Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a backlinking strategy that can be a hit or not depending on your industry. Numbers do not matter in HARO. Answering many remotely relevant or irrelevant questions is not going to help your ranking. Pick extremely pertinent questions for your business and answer them in the best way possible to create value to the reporter and leave a mark with them. If you want a backlink from these journalists to ask them directly. Journalists and reporters are always short of time and they can’t think of offering you a link, so it is always better for you to ask. 
  • Fix Broken Links: Fixing broken links is a backlinking effort on its own. There might be so many linkbacks that would have been lost only because of broken links and improper linking. You can use Google Analytics to easily find broken links by checking the links that trigger error 404 alerts. Check where these links are directed from and go to that particular page to fix the broken link. 

Non-Backlinking efforts and SEO strategy elements 

SEO strategy elements for non-backlinking efforts require outreach and engagement. Much like pitching the media.

Social Media: 

Social media plays a huge part in any digital activity including SEO. Create content that has the capability to go viral on social media and promote your website links along with it. This will increase the footfall to your website. 

Influencer Marketing: 

Social media is now fueled by influencer marketing and there is no reason to stop oneself from doing this even for SEO. The trustworthiness of your website can shoot up when an influencer mentions you; especially if it is organic. 

Customer Care: 

Prompt replies to queries, reviews, and complaints prove that you care for customers. This will increase the trustworthiness of your business. 

How does Google Assess you with You SEO Strategy Elements

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We know that Google’s algorithm is complicated and is constantly changing. It uses a couple of algorithms called Panda and Penguin that will evaluate your website based on the above factors. 

Hummingbird:  

The Hummingbird is an algorithm that focuses greatly on natural language queries. It focuses on the meaning of the content instead of looking at individual keyword meaning. This algorithm will help take users to the most appropriate page as per their search. 

Panda:  

Panda algorithm was first launched in 2011 to provide more relevant and quality content to the users. This algorithm is all about on-site content quality. Panda evaluates your site comprehensively and not page-wise. 

If one of your pages has mediocre-quality, your whole website gets affected. Panda algorithm has a checklist it has to tick off to assess your website. This list proves that Google does not algorithmically define the quality of your content but evaluates it on the basis of user likeability. 

Thin content/low-value content and duplicate content are two factors that Panda will surely take into consideration while ranking your website. 

Penguin: 

The Penguin algorithm was developed to find websites that have unnaturally created backlinks. The credibility of these websites is down in the eyes of Google. Though Penguin was developed primarily to fight unnatural links, there are a few other factors it takes into consideration before ranking your website. 

Keyword stuffing in your website, too many internal links and deceiving users with wrong or hyped information are some factors that affect the algorithm. 

Even if your website lags behind because of these algorithms you still have a chance to recover. Both these algorithms are reiterated by Google very often. It re-evaluates your website every time the algorithms are updated. So, you can correct your mistakes and make your website ready for the next evaluation.

Wrap up about SEO Strategy Elements

Starting a service-based business is difficult enough. But to be successful today you must have a good SEO strategy, good content with relevant keywords. This is supported by content marketing, link building, and effective SEO so you may have a chance on search engine rankings that will result in sales.

Search engine optimization might look like the most basic digital marketing activity for your business but it actually is the most difficult. 

The rules, algorithms, and strategies are constantly changing and it is essential for you to be extremely dynamic. Google releases new updates of these algorithms as frequently as one month once. Make sure you are on top of these updates and change your SEO strategies accordingly. 

We’re listening.

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Joseph Brady is Vice President of Digital Marketing for Reliant Funding, a provider of short-term working capital to small and mid-sized businesses nationwide. He has more than 14 years of experience in B2B digital marketing, optimization, and operations, with a focus on the financial services market.   

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