15 questions about ranking factors – Yoast webinar recap

People are always talking about ranking factors. You know, the secret ingredients to Google’s magic algorithmic formula. If you know them and find a way to please these factors, you’re well on your way to that coveted number one spot — or so people seem to think. In general, chasing all these individual ranking factors is not a good tactic. Focusing on building the best site is. We thought it’d be a cool idea to play a game of “is-a-ranking-factor” in our latest webinar. Here are the results!

Haven’t watched the webinar?

If you haven’t watched the ranking factor webinar, please do. Jono Alderson gives an incredible introduction to ranking factors, why people are talking about it, and what we should be talking about. After that, Jono and Joost get to pick cards with questions about possible ranking factors. Their answers are very insightful! You can find it on YouTube and embedded below.

The ranking factor FAQ

To guide you through this minefield, we collected some of the ranking factors we mentioned on the show in this FAQ. Let’s kick things off with an answer to the question: What are ranking factors?

What are ranking factors?

Ranking factors are all the elements that search engines take into account to rank a specific page in the search results. This concerns technical considerations, content quality, site structure, links, user signals, user experience, reputation and many, many other elements. The number of factors that search engines take into account is unknown but run in the hundreds and maybe thousands.

Is user experience a ranking factor?

Joost de Valk: User experience is a ranking factor. User experience, however, is not something you can rate on a 0 to 10 scale. The problematic thing with a lot of these factors is that they’re all both direct and indirect ranking factors. If your user experience is horrible, no one will ever link to you. If your user experience is excellent, probably more people are willing to recommend you to their friends, search for you again and go back to your website. All these things tie in together.

If UX is a ranking factor how does Google determine that?

Jono Alderson: This is interesting because they’re not on your site measuring your site are they? So there’s a lot of conspiracy theories that they might read your Google Analytics or insights from Chrome, but that’s probably not true. What they are looking at when they visit your site is content, structure, speed, layout, color schemes et cetera. Not only that, but they’re also looking for those critical short clicks, bounce backs and pogo-sticking. They do check if people visit five other web sites when they visit this one. They’re analyzing their own search results. But it’s hard for them to quantify UX because they’re not there. They’re trying to work it out from the outside in.

Is word count a ranking factor?

Jono: There’s not one true answer for this. The point is, you need the right amount of content for answering the question that the user has. There’s no answer to how many words a post should need. There’s no obvious maximum and more isn’t necessarily better but more than enough is a good answer. If you can write 500 words on a topic and that feels right, then definitely don’t stop at 200. But in some cases, a short answer is what you want. 

Joost: At some point, I chose to put a minimum word count into Yoast SEO for a reason. I think most algorithms still need a bit of content to be able to determine a topic. If you don’t have enough content, then determining a topic becomes very hard. So don’t get too hung up about an absolute amount.

Is the weather a ranking factor?

Joost: If you think about this you’d say no, of course not. The weather doesn’t impact rankings. That’s true, not directly. But if you sell air-conditioning, people search differently during a heat wave than in regular weather conditions. Now, they’re looking for “ships today” or “delivered by tomorrow.” So it’s an outside factor. The weather influences the way people click. It changes their behavior and that click behavior can dramatically impact rankings quite quickly. All because of how Google works with these things. So the weather can influence rankings, but the question is can you play into it in a good way. That’s probably a lot harder, although not impossible.

Is bold text a ranking factor?

Jono: I think once upon a time somebody thought it was. People thought it was a good idea to put the keywords they want to rank for in bold because Google would  “recognize” those and deem them important. I don’t think it ever worked like that. Somehow, there are still people doing it. Maybe it correlates as being a _bad_ ranking factor. If you’re bolding your keywords instead of thinking about how to make this text good and readable, you’re probably making things worse.

Is bounce rate a ranking factor?

Joost: I think that bounce rate is a result of a lot of things happening on your site. It’s a very measurable thing and it’s one of the results of good user experience. Bounce rate is often misunderstood. There’s a couple of different things at play here. People search, then click on your website and going back to the search results and click on the next result. They didn’t find a result they liked so they bounced back to SERPs. This is called pogo-sticking and I think that is an important thing to look at.

It’s also about bounce rate in general, because there might be a certain number of people who come to your site and immediately click away because of whatever it is you have on your site, whether that is a pop-up or you have a horrible design. Fixing your bounce rate by genuinely improving your site is helpful and it will help you regardless of whether your rankings get better. 

Jono: Obviously, there are scenarios where bounce rate is fine. If you have a great article that answers the question the user has they come to read it and go away. That’s not a bad experience, because that’s what we want to happen. Plus, there’s something worth dwelling on here, which is the mental model we all have that somebody searches something and then clicks on a result isn’t how people behave. They search than change their search, they search again, they click on five different results and they see all these different brands and all these different pages and it’s that experience that decides whether they bounce and how they feel about the experience. That’s how we need to be thinking about search and optimizing. It’s not just why did they bounce from my site, but what was their experience and what role did I play in it.

Is site speed a ranking factor?

Jono: Yes, site speed is a ranking factor. Google has confirmed in various publications that site speed affects the ranking position of your site. Now they do say that’s only the case when you are very slow, so it only affects a tiny percentage. But site speed is a huge part of user experience. All research says that people prefer fast web sites. So even if site speed isn’t a huge ranking factor the experience users have of your site is. It means they’re more likely to read, less likely to bounce, more likely to link, etc. It is a huge part of user experience.

Is having a meta description a ranking factor?

Joost: The question is, does having a meta description by itself make you rank better? I don’t know whether we can answer that with a yes or no. If you’re lucky, your pages get a meta description in the search results underneath the title of your site. If you’re lucky, because in a lot of cases Google will show something else. So changing it might not directly impact what’s shown there. If it’s shown there and it’s good, it might influence the CTR from the SERPs to your website. So it might influence the number of people reaching your site, therefore, it might help your rankings overall et cetera.

Is having a progressive web app (PWA) a ranking factor?

Jono: Regarding progressive web apps, if you do it well and you take advantage of the technology, maybe that will affect your rankings, but is it a ranking factor? You might become eligible for rich results or use functionality that’s integrated into the search results. You might get the ability to book your restaurant directly from the search results, which might mean more people have a good experience, which gets you more good reviews, which might make you rank higher. It’s a technological platform, it’s not a thing that ranks you better or not but it unlocks capabilities for sure.

Can Google understand text and evaluate the quality of a text?

Marieke: I do think that Google knows what quality text is. They employ linguists. They know about language. They know that people can only have twenty words in their short-term memory, so longer sentences will be hard to read.

Joost: One of the things that our linguistic team learned while doing research, is that it’s hard to get the topic out of a text if the text is poorly written. So even if a text is more eloquent and uses more fancy words, it might actually be harder to figure out what the text is about. I think that good, readable and understandable text has a higher chance of getting Google to understand what it’s about.

Does CSS styling or the visual layout of the page influence ranking?

Jono: Google tries to understand pages like humans do. They have a famous patent called The Reasonable Surfer. Here, they look at the layout of the page and try to assess what’s what. They know that a link in a photo is probably less relevant than a link in the header. They go further than that. We know they render the page, we know they process and parse all the CSS, we know that broken layouts and hiding things impact things. So yeah, they are looking at the design. How that manifests in the system: who knows. Your CSS might impact your rankings. So if you have an ugly shade of pink as the background for your page or all your stuff is moving or half of it is invisible, that’s an issue.

Is having multiple languages a ranking factor if you offer products in more than one language?

Joost: I don’t think it’s necessarily a ranking factor. I do think that if you do all the technical stuff around multilingual SEO well and you have a page ranking well in English and you have a page in Spanish then the fact that you have an English page that hreflangs correctly to that Spanish page might be helping that Spanish page. In that case, it’s not the fact that you have multiple languages, but it’s the fact that you have multiple places in which you can rank and gather links and whatnot. Having a translated version of your website can be beneficial.

All this talk about ranking factors and no mention of links?

Joost: I still feel that links are the result of other stuff you do. So if you do PR well, if you do your marketing well, if you do a lot of these things and then you get links as a result. It is important to remember that the time of getting links artificially is over. At least for the English-speaking market and maybe in a few other languages. Unfortunately, in other languages, like in Dutch, getting a ton of spammy links still works when the other sites aren’t very good. When you have strong competition it becomes impossible to rank against them.

A final note on ranking factors

When Google was much simpler, it was easy to spot the specific tactics or patterns which you could use to get ahead of the competition. You could tweak your page titles, get some more links and what not. But that’s not how it works anymore — Google is too sophisticated. The secret is to focus less on all these individual tactics and focus more on becoming the best result for your users.

Google doesn’t want site owners trying to reverse-engineer how they rank sites. They simply want better sites. They want better results for their users and that makes it harder to know what will have impact and what not. It also means that you’ll almost always benefit from improving your site. Understand your audience and solve their problems.

We don’t want to say that ranking factors don’t exist. They do exist. They’re real, but we are saying that if you’re focusing on which ranking factors you should be optimizing for you’re probably missing the big picture. You need to work on the overall quality of your website. Every one of your pages has to be awesome and there’s no faking that. You have to be the best result for each phrase you want to be found for. Getting all of that right requires a lot of hard work and a holistic approach to SEO.

The post 15 questions about ranking factors – Yoast webinar recap appeared first on Yoast.

Let us care for your site: Yoast SEO Care

As a hard-working site owner, it is often difficult to find the time to work on issues that are holding your company back. You might find that the blog posts of your competitor appear higher in search results, but you don’t know what to do about it. Or, you might discover that your site isn’t performing as well as you’d like, even after you’ve tried everything in your power.

For most people, time and lack of knowledge are the factors that limit their success. That’s why we’ve developed Yoast SEO Care. We take the most important technical tasks out of your hands and put them into the trusted hands of seasoned SEO professionals.

Let our SEO experts analyze and improve your site's SEO! »

Yoast SEO Care$ 199 - Buy now » Info

You’ve tried it all

It’s hard to figure out where something is going wrong. But, it’s even harder to discover where to make little changes that can have a dramatically positive effect on your results. You’ve tried to read up on SEO related subjects, but the information is scattered, outdated or just plain wrong. It’s difficult to cut through the bull to get to the real, actionable knowledge. Nobody has time for this, except for us: it’s our job.

What do I get out of it?

You’ve worked hard to build your business. Countless hours to make it grow, year after year. That’s something to be proud of. It takes a lot of effort to become successful. Your site is a crucial part of your business and therefore needs special attention. If you can’t find the time to work on it, or if you fear the technological side, then you need outside help.

By calling in Team Yoast, you’ll get back the freedom to work on other aspects of your business. The experts at Yoast have your back on the technical side of things. We have checked countless sites from clients big and small, from the little artisan bakery around the corner to some of the world’s leading online magazines. Not everyone can call Disney, NASA and StarWars.com their customers.

In addition to that, we know what it’s like to help people make their website better. Currently, the Yoast SEO plugin runs on more than five million sites. For years, Yoast has been helping people to get the most out of their sites and making SEO available for everyone.

This is what we do

Our experts check your site on more than 300 points. We can’t list every one on this page, but here are a couple of important focus points:

  • Technical SEO: are technical issues holding you back?
  • How does your content perform? And how to make it better?
  • Site speed: a slow site is inexcusable
  • Plus, we’ll install and configure Yoast SEO Premium

The extensive, monthly Yoast SEO Care package has even more checks, for instance:

  • Site structure: is your site and content structure correct?
  • Broken pages: customers must never stumble upon these
  • Mobile: how does your site function on mobile phones?
  • Site security: a secure site is a must-have

What you can expect

Besides the comforting feeling that a world-class SEO company is looking out for your painstakingly built site? A personal SEO expert will regularly check your site. He or she will fix issues, make enhancements and give you easy to understand advice that you can use to make your work even better. Following the check-up, your site is in perfect condition to take on any competition you might have.

Let our SEO experts analyze and improve your site's SEO! »

Yoast SEO Care$ 199 - Buy now » Info

Let’s get down to brass tacks

There are two Yoast SEO Care packages. Yoast SEO Basic Care is for site-owners who want a bit of guidance in their work. You still have to put in some work yourself. That’s fine if you have an understanding of SEO, but just need a little nudge. The monthly SEO Care packages gives our experts much more time to invest in your site, making it better in every possible way.

Yoast SEO Basic Care

  • Price: $249 per quarter
  • Quarterly checks (4)
  • Basic checks
    • Technical SEO
    • Content
    • Indexability
    • Site speed
  • Free Yoast SEO Premium license, plus installation

Yoast SEO Care

  • Price: $199 per month
  • Monthly checks (12)
  • All basic checks, plus extended checks
    • Security
    • Site structure
    • Keywords
    • Mobile
    • Duplicate content
    • UX & conversion
    • Meta data

All these checks will be done by a Yoast expert, who will also fix issues, if any, and improve the site in general. You will also receive updates on the progress of your site, plus actionable advice that you can easily implement yourself. In the end, your site is ready to outrank and outperform your competitors!

Ready to make your site a runaway success?

Do you lack the time and skills to take your site or business to the next level? Are you often banging your head on your desk in search of the right answer to a technical challenge? Do your competitors perform better and you can’t figure out how to beat them? Yoast SEO Care can help! Call in Team Yoast and be prepared for more traffic and more sales.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimization’. It’s the practice of optimizing your web pages to make them reach a high position in the search results of Google or other search engines. SEO focuses on improving the rankings in the organic – aka non paid – search results. If you have a website and you want to get more traffic, it should be part of your marketing efforts. Here, I’ll explain what SEO is and how we approach it at Yoast.

Google’s algorithm

The rankings of these search results are determined by Google’s algorithm. Although Google’s algorithm remains secret, years of experience in SEO have resulted in a pretty good idea about the important factors. In our view, the factors in Google’s algorithm can be divided into two categories:

On-page SEO factors

The ranking of your website is partly decided by on-page factors. On-page SEO factors are all those things you can influence from within your actual website. These factors include technical aspects (e.g. the quality of your code and site speed) and content-related aspects, like the structure of your website or the quality of the copy on your website. These are all crucial on-page SEO factors.

Off-page SEO factors

In addition to on-page SEO factors, there are off-page SEO factors. These factors include links from other websites, social media attention, and other marketing activities outside your own website. These off-page SEO factors can be rather difficult to influence. The most important of these off-page factors is the number and quality of links pointing towards your site. The more quality, relevant sites that link to your website, the higher your position in Google will be.

Read more: Link building from a holistic SEO perspective »

Another off-page factor is your competition relating to the niche of your particular business. In some niches it is much harder to rank than in others. The competitiveness of your market therefore also has a major influence on your chances of ranking.

Holistic SEO

At Yoast, we practice what we call ‘holistic SEO‘. This means that your primary goal should be to build and maintain the best possible website. Don’t try to fool Google, but use a sustainable long-term strategy. Ranking will come automatically if your website is of extremely high quality. Google wants to get its users to the right place, as its mission is to index all the world’s online information and make it universally accessible and useful.

In addition to this, Google, of course, wants to make money. To achieve this, they have to make sure people keep using Google. This means that they’ll have to show people results they are looking for. So if your website is the best in your market, Google wants it to rank high in the results.

Permanently ranking well in Google demands an extensive SEO strategy focused on every aspect of your website and its marketing. The technical side, the User eXperience (UX), the content on your website: all need to be top notch. To keep ranking well in Google, you should develop – what we call – a holistic SEO approach.

Learning SEO

Our online SEO training courses teach you vital SEO skills you can apply immediately. Find out how to outrank your competition and become the best result through our training courses! Whether you’re a blogger, developer, online marketer, or own a business, big or small: we believe in SEO for everyone. We’ve got a great variety of courses, from Keyword Research, Site structure and SEO Copywriting to the more technical aspects of SEO: Structured data, multilingual SEO and Technical SEO training. There’s something for everyone, so be sure to check them out!

Conclusion

SEO is the practice of optimizing websites to make them reach a high position in Google’s – or another search engine’s – search results. At Yoast, we believe that holistic SEO is the best way to rank your website because you focus on making every aspect of your site awesome. Don’t use any black-hat SEO tricks, because eventually, this will have negative consequences for your rankings. Instead, practice sustainable SEO, with your user in mind, and you will benefit in the long run.

Keep reading: How to rank high in Google »

The post What is SEO? appeared first on Yoast.

6 steps to a successful link building strategy

Links are important for SEO. And link building should therefore definitely be part of your holistic SEO strategy. But more importantly, link building should be part of your growth strategy. Links should help generate traffic to your site directly. In this post, I’ll describe 6 important steps for a successful link building strategy, the holistic SEO way.Link building is part of your growth strategy

Link building as part of your growth strategy

Links will help your pages to rank higher in Google search results, this post explains why. That’s perfectly true. That, however, is not the only thing links do. Backlinks will also help in getting more (referral) traffic to your site via those links. When you determine your link building strategy you should keep in mind: the reason links were invented was to send you off to pages you might enjoy as well. Use link building as a strategy for the growth of your website audience and place links on sites that will actually generate traffic to your own site.

A good link, first and foremost, drives traffic to your site.

Step 1: get to know your audience

If you want your audience to grow, you need to find out how to expand your audience or how to find a new audience. You should therefore know two things: who is my audience right now and what does my ideal audience look like. At Yoast.com for example, we started out with an audience mainly consisting of (web) developers, but we aspired to reach an audience consisting of a more general group of WordPress users (whilst keeping our initial developers audience). We adapted our content to this new group of people, but in order to reach these ‘new’ audiences, links from other websites to our new (less nerdy) content were also important. You should do some research in order to get to know your audience.

Step 2: make a list of websites that appeal to your desired audience

If you have a clear picture of your present and desired audience in mind, you can make a list of websites that could possibly help you in reaching your new audience. Find those websites that already appeal to your desired audience. Links from these websites could help you to reach your new audience.

Step 3: write amazing content

In order to get other websites to link to your content, your content simply has to be amazing. And more importantly, it should appeal to the audience you’re aspiring to make your readers or buyers. Make sure your pieces and articles are well structured and nicely written.

Step 4: match content to websites

If you have written an awesome blog post, you should dive into the list you made as part of your growth strategy (step 2). Choose sites from that list that could possibly link to the article you have written. If you have a long tail keyword approach (writing about small and niche subjects) the number of websites which will be fit to link to your blog post will be small. Make an effort to find those websites that really fit the specific topic of your blog post or article. These websites will probably be very willing to link, as your blog post really fits their content. More importantly, visitors that will come to your website following that link will really be interested in the topic of your article (making chances of conversion and recurring visits much higher).

Step 5: reach out

If you’ve really put an effort in both writing content as well as finding websites that fit the content of your article, you should contact the website you would like to link to your site. Tell them about the content or product and ask them to write about it and link to it. Most people will be happy to write about your product if this means they’ll receive it for free! You can use email, but in many cases Twitter or even a phone call is a great way to contact people as well. Make sure to reach out in a personal way, never send out automated emails.

Step 6: use social media!

If your content is original and well structured, you’ll be able to reach new audiences (and get links) by using social media as well. Make sure you tweet about your blog, perhaps send some tweets to specific persons of whom you think they may like your article. Facebook is also a great way to get exposure for your articles (maybe… even promote it a bit?). And as many people like, tweet and share your articles, you’re bound to receive some more links as well.

Conclusion: link building is a growth strategy

A successful link building strategy should always be aimed to bring a new, aspired audience to your website. A (welcome) side effect will then be a higher ranking in Google. As long as you consider link building as a way to reach out to other sites in order to get more visitors from that site, you’re doing it the ‘right’ way.

Link building from a holistic SEO perspective

Link building isn’t easy. That doesn’t mean it’s rocket science, it means it takes a lot of work if you do it right. Link building done the wrong way can backfire, resulting in a ban from Google altogether. In this post, I’ll discuss our ideas about getting more backlinks: link building from a holistic SEO perspective.

Before we dive in, if you want to learn more about link building strategies and other essential SEO skills, you should check out our All-around SEO training! It doesn’t just tell you about SEO: it makes sure you know how to put these skills into actual practice!

How does a link help your page to rank well?

Let’s first discuss why link building is important for SEO. A link to your site helps in its ranking in four ways:

  • It adds value to the receiving page, allowing it to improve its visibility in the search engines.
  • It adds value to the entire receiving domain, allowing each page on that domain to improve its rank ever so slightly.
  • The anchor text of the link and the surrounding copy is an indication to the search engine of the topic of the website and more specifically the receiving page.
  • And obviously, people click on links, resulting in so-called direct traffic.

The value of a link for the receiving page is determined in part by the topic of the page the link is on. A link from a page with the same topic as the receiving page is of more value than a link from a page about an entirely different topic. Also, a link from within an article is worth way more than a link from a sidebar or a footer. And, in general, the more links there are on a page, the less each individual link is worth.

Bad reputation

Link building has got a somewhat nasty reputation. Once people noticed that backlinks from other sites resulted in higher rankings, they began to abuse this. They got links from sites that didn’t have any topical relation with their own site. In other cases, people bought links from other sites.

These shady links polluted the search engines. That is why Google started giving penalties to companies that bought links or used links from non-related websites (Google Penguin was all about this). If you got a penalty from Google, it’d be serious: your site would disappear from the search results.

The bad reputation of link building comes from companies who were a bit too enthusiastic about shady link building techniques and got penalties from Google. Does this mean that you shouldn’t do any link building at all? Of course not!

Read more: Link building: what not to do? »

Outreaching activity

Link building is – or should be – an outreaching activity. That means that you have to contact people and ask them to write about and link to your website. Usually, you will get better results if you contact people personally. That means writing emails and press releases, making phone calls, talking about your product. If your product and content are good, there will be people who would like to write about it. Most bloggers and journalists need content, so presenting your products to them could very well make them happy too!

Link building as part of a holistic SEO strategy

Holistic SEO means that you’ll do everything to make your website the best: you should show high-quality information, provide an excellent user experience, have the fastest website and so on. Link building will get easier if your website offers a great experience, just like your products and/or services. It’s far more likely that people are willing to write about and link to such a site.

Link building should feel like a normal marketing activity and not like a trick. Do remember that link building should generate links that get your target audience to your site. Those are the people that will read your posts, subscribe to your newsletter or buy your products. Those people will make your business thrive.

Keep reading: 6 steps to a successful link building strategy »

The post Link building from a holistic SEO perspective appeared first on Yoast.

New Yoast eBook: UX & Conversion from a holistic SEO perspective

As of today, we offer a brand new eBook ‘UX & Conversion from a holistic SEO perspective‘. This eBook focuses on many different aspects of UX and Usability and gives great insights in Conversion Rate Optimization and A/B-testing. The eBook is offered for only $14 the entire month of October (after that the price will be $19).

About ‘UX & Conversion from a holistic SEO perspective’

We cover the basics, but also provide more in-depth information on User Experience and Conversion. The book consists of five sections: an introduction, a section about general usability issues, a section about usability of specific pages, a section about mobile UX and a final section about conversion research. The chapters are all written by Joost de Valk, Michiel Heijmans, Thijs de Valk and Marieke van de Rakt. The eBook consists of 128 pages, you will receive a PDF, a Kindle version and an ePub version.

eBook UX Conversion

eBook_UX_Preview_x2

Why buy this eBook

UX is important for both conversion as well as SEO. We consider UX as a very important part of a holistic SEO strategy. In order to keep ranking well in Google, you should continuously invest in decent UX on your website. Our eBook will give practical tips and useful insights in both UX and conversion.

 

Coming soon: new Yoast eBook on UX & Conversion

We are very proud to announce Cover_UX_Conversion_600_x2 the launch of our new eBook ‘UX & Conversion from a holistic SEO perspective’. It offers a holistic SEO view on both User Experience as well as on Conversion Rate Optimization. The information mostly is non-technical and can be read and understood by anyone owning or maintaining a website. The sale of our new eBook will start coming Tuesday, October 6. Early birds will get a discount: the eBook will be available for only $14 (instead of $19) this October!

Don’t want to miss the discount? Subscribe to our newsletter here!

Holistic SEO and UX

A holistic SEO approach requires an amazing website. An excellent user experience is a very large part of that. At Yoast, we’ve been giving SEO advice for quite some time now. And although Google has changed its algorithm quite a few times, most of the advice we give at Yoast has remained the same over the years. And this advice is very simple: you just have to make sure the experience users have on your site is really really good. Do not use any ‘SEO tricks’; while they might get you rank quickly, they usually don’t work in the long run and might even backfire. A holistic SEO approach focusses on all aspects that can make a website great: ease of use, high quality content, excellent site speed… and so on.

The importance of UX for SEO

In our holistic SEO view, the usability of and the UX on your website should be a very important part of your long-term SEO strategy. Having an awesome website with high quality content and a great user experience won’t instantly improve your ranking. In the long run though, it will definitely have a positive effect on your SEO! Attractive websites have a lower bounce rate and a much higher chance to receive social media attention. These are exactly the two things that make sure your website will keep ranking well.

Conversion and SEO

Awesome websites will also result in higher conversions. If your audience likes and understands your website, the chance of them buying your products or become a returning visitor is much higher.

You could improve your conversion even more by Conversion Rate Optimization. This actually is, next to SEO, a good supplementary strategy. SEO makes sure that more people find your website. A conversion strategy focuses on the visitors on your website, turning these visitors into customers. In our vision, you should always combine SEO and Conversion Rate Optimization. This means that you focus on attracting more people to your website and at the same time focus on increasing the chances that people will actually buy your stuff. That’s a double payoff!

Buy the UX & Conversion eBook!

Do you want to integrate better user experience elements into your website? Want to make your site more user friendly as part of your very own holistic SEO strategy? And optimize your conversion even further? Stay tuned and buy our UX & Conversion eBook as of October 6!

Holistic SEO: Improve every aspect of your website

At Yoast, we try to combat the notion that SEO is just a trick. While tricks might get you ranked quickly, they usually don’t work in the long run, and they might even backfire. Permanently ranking well in Google demands an extensive SEO strategy focused on every aspect of your website; the technical stuff, the user experience, the content on your website and the security of your website all need to be in order. So, to keep ranking well in Google, you should develop a holistic SEO approach. Let me explain what that is, here.

What is holistic SEO?

Holistic SEO (search engine optimization) refers to improving all important aspects of a website to make it rank higher in the search engines. The ultimate goal is to make a website fulfill its users’ needs on all levels. Not only by providing the right information at the right time, but also by being easy and safe to use. To reach this goal, website owners should, at least, focus on the following aspects of their site:

Why a holistic SEO approach?

Google’s mission is to build the perfect search engine that helps people find what they are looking for, whether that’s the answer to “Where is Wijchen?”, a recipe for apple pie or the best toaster. Making your website and your marketing strategy fit this goal is the way to go. (Which doesn’t mean that if Google says jump, you ask, how high?).

While Google has changed its algorithm numerous times, most of our advice has remained the same ever since we started. This advice is simple (which doesn’t mean it’s easy though!): you have to make sure your site is exceptionally good. Having a website with high-quality content, offering a great user experience and up to date security will not instantly improve your ranking. In the long run, though, it will definitely have a positive effect on your SEO!

Great websites tend to get more links from other websites and will also receive more social media attention. On top of that, people behave differently on a website which they like, compared to a website they don’t understand. Google uses these kinds of user signals to find out how people experience your site.

Awesome websites will also result in higher conversions. If your audience likes and understands your website, the chance of them buying your products or returning to your website is, of course, much higher.

Learn SEO, the holistic way

Sure, you say, but where to start? We understand you might feel overwhelmed by this advice. Fortunately, there are many ways to improve your knowledge about the above-mentioned topics.

For starters, we offer a free SEO for beginners course, a great starting point to learn how SEO works. If you really want to put this knowledge to practice, consider trying our All-around SEO training, you’ll get lots of hands-on tips to start improving many aspects of your own site. Just want to read? Check out these beginners’ guides to help you get started!

Read more: Link building from a holistic SEO perspective »

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