In 1935, Erwin Schrödinger invented a concept that would later be known as Schrödinger’s Cat. If you put a cat in a box with a radioactive substance that should kill the cat, but you never open the box, the cat is theoretically both dead and alive. Both options exist until you open the box.
Regardless of what you think about the legitimacy of this theory, sometimes we treat SEO like Schrödinger’s Cat. SEO has been put in a box, and we’ve been told that it is an incredibly complicated enigma that can never be solved. Until we open that box, we can never know whether conquering SEO is actually impossible or perfectly achievable.
At The Marketing Squad, we’ve taken the initiative to open the box for you and develop a simple way to approach SEO for our clients. It’s not rocket science, and it’s not groundbreaking, but it’s a simple and effective method that gets results.
Priorities matter when it comes to SEO. We probably all know someone who doesn’t have their priorities in order. They spend all of their time on various activities while ignoring the things that really matter. This ultimately leads to lots of wasted time. SEO isn’t much different. If you spend all of your time randomly adding keywords and phrases to places on your website without understanding what steps should come first, you’re going to get very frustrated very quickly.
So what are these priorities? Don’t worry, there are only three.
In an episode of Seinfeld titled “The Cafe,” Jerry becomes obsessed with helping the Pakistani owner of a local cafe called “The Dream Cafe,” which serves a mix of Mexican, Italian, and Chinese food. Jerry ultimately convinces the man to change the cafe to an authentic Persian restaurant, saying that he will thrive as the only Persian restaurant the city has to offer. The owner very quickly goes out of business and vows his revenge on Jerry for convincing him to go along with such a stupid idea.
Relevancy matters. If you spend all of your time trying to search for the niche services of your business to promote, chances are you’ll have a hard time ranking for SEO. Why? Because chances are those services are niche for one reason: no one is searching for them.
Succeeding in SEO is all about finding relevant keywords and topics that are being searched for by your audience. This can make very common services more difficult to rank for, which is where SEO gets its reputation for being difficult.
When an actor auditions for a show, they often need three things: a headshot, a resume, and a prepared monologue. While that may feel like a lot to bring, each item serves its purpose. A headshot allows a future reference point when making a final decision and communicates how much you care based on the quality of your photo. A resume is proof of your experience. The more roles of repute you have listed, the more trust and authority you gain as a performer. A monologue shows your ability to perform in the moment when it counts the most.
Similar to your business, all of the pieces you utilize for your marketing make a difference in your authority. How are you optimizing your website's content and design? Are you communicating your past experience in your field of expertise? How are you showing your customer that they can trust your ability to get their project done right? All of these things speak to your authority and can be optimized to increase your SEO ranking.
Have you ever been given a gift by someone, and no matter how long you look at it, you just can’t figure out what you’re supposed to do with it? You’re sure the person who gave it to you must’ve given some meaning to it, but you’re stumped.
When thinking about SEO, you always need to keep in mind what information is useful. When a reader finds your webpage or blog, will they gain any useful information or insights from it? It’s not simply about giving people random information; it’s about leading your audience to a specific answer: your business is the solution.
Now that we know what things to focus on, we begin to put these priorities into practice. There are two major areas of SEO that are necessary to optimize before you can start ranking on search engines:
This is the step where things can begin to feel complicated. But it’s not! Hard? Maybe. But complicated? No.
Let’s dive into our method for approaching each of these areas for SEO optimization.
On-page SEO refers to what your audience sees when they go to your website. It’s right there on the page (as the name implies). There are three steps we take when optimizing on-page SEO. There are many ways these can be accomplished, but at The Squad, we utilize the tools like SEMRush to get started.
As we mentioned before when discussing priorities, you need to know what people are searching for on a regular basis. The way we make those discoveries is by doing keyword research. This is where we zoom out and take a look at your entire business. What are keywords and phrases you’d like to rank for? Are there keywords that you’ve never considered that are related to your business and bringing in new traffic?
These are important questions that help us brainstorm ideas and ultimately allow us to get heads down and narrow in on optimizing your content. This step affects every other part of the SEO process. It’s vital that you get it right. Have you ever followed a compass that almost points in the right direction? You get lost pretty quickly.
This can look like choosing 10-20 keywords that are in line with the priorities we mentioned earlier. You can use tools like Google-related search terms, Wikipedia articles, and even Reddit threads to flesh out your list. We use tools like SEMRush or Moz to see what kind of search volume and competition you’re up against for those keywords. All these things allow you to narrow your list down to five main keywords.
Keyword research affects every other part of the SEO process. Take your time here. Get it right.
Once we’ve established the right keywords, we can begin implementing those into content on your website. Create blogs, content offers, and new static pages on your site. Populate those pages with relevant, authoritative, and useful content using words, pictures, graphics, videos, and more. Then pay special attention to things like title tags, meta descriptions, URL conventions, and other factors search engines use to offer up quality search results. This kind of content optimization is critical. While your home page will hold the most weight, optimizing your content on other pages is still significant.
Backlinks and internal links are essential to SEO ranking. This is why it’s important to be creating content that other websites can link to and that you can link back to throughout your site. Backlinks are when one website links to another. Internal links are when you link to pages of your website from your website. Never underestimate the value of quality backlinks.
Don’t forsake optimizing the user experience on your pages. Let’s not forget, you created a website to connect with other humans, not algorithms and machines. Take a pass back through your pages and make sure your headings and subheadings logically lead your visitors through your content and the calls to action and buttons are clear and direct.
Every aspect of your website plays a part in your overall search engine optimization success. Be thoughtful and thorough as you create content.
This can be the fun and frustrating part of SEO. Once we’ve got your keywords and created quality content, we can begin tracking the results. Sometimes it can take months to see the fruit of your labor, but it’s all worth it when the leads start coming into your inbox.
Above all, you should be looking for sales leads and marketing contacts coming through your website. While many SEO experts jump to metrics like organic traffic and keyword rankings, at the end of the day, it’s all for not if your site isn’t converting visitors into qualified leads who ultimately become customers.
While leads are a trailing indicator of your SEO success, things like organic traffic, individual keyword rankings, and clicks and impressions are leading indicators that you’re on the right track. All of these work together to create a picture of where your website is winning and where it still needs improvement.
Keep your metrics out front. Make decisions based on your analysis. Celebrate the wins. Learn from the shortcomings.
Along with On-Page SEO, Technical SEO is where we optimize the back end of your website, making sure that everything has the proper settings and is able to be crawled, indexed, and ranked by search engines. This is also where those backlinks we mentioned during content creation can be added to the mix.
Technical SEO is where we use all of the tools at our disposal to build and test your website. At The Marketing Squad, we use WordPress to build your site with the use of page builders like Oxygen and Generate Press. We pair these with tools like WPRocket and SEOPress to make sure we’re aligning our efforts with best practices and to always be aware of your site's optimization quality.
To test your site’s SEO performance, we use tools like Google Page Speed Insights, GTMetrix, and, most commonly SEMRush. All of these are designed to give up-to-date results, showcasing where your website is ranking and where it may be falling short. These tools are especially useful in identifying issues with your site that are not easily discovered with the naked eye.
All the best intentions and execution of on-page SEO are for not if your site is not properly optimized on the backend.
Keep optimization in step with new content creation. One should not run ahead of the other.
At The Marketing Squad, we always strive to demystify the seemingly complicated. SEO is by far the topic we get the most questions from when it’s brought up in client meetings. We take a simple approach to it:
It quickly becomes obvious that keyword research is everything. It’s essential to take your time. Each person on The Squad plays their part in SEO for our clients. We focus on only making informed decisions and doing the things that work.
You don’t have to be afraid to open the SEO box. It can feel daunting, but when you work with a local marketing agency like The Marketing Squad, you can have our entire team at your disposal to discover the reality that SEO isn’t so complicated after all.