You probably know the basic components of search engine optimization, like link building, content marketing, technical SEO, on-page SEO, and keyword research. However, SEO has several key factors that are often forgotten.
Here’s a list of four small, yet critical things to prioritize.
- Patience and commitment
Many business owners want to know how long it will take to get their website to rank in the SERPs. It’s completely natural to wonder how long a process will take, but with SEO, there’s no exact timeframe. The short answer is that SEO is an ongoing process. According to SEO.co, it can take a while to get your web pages ranking high enough to see decent traffic from your efforts. It could take months or even a year (or more) to rank your site, depending on your strategy and how much effort you’re making.
For example, if you’re doing SEO singlehandedly in-between a 9 to 5 job, it will take longer for you to rank your site than someone who puts in 10 hours per week. Although, working more won’t guarantee results – you also need to perform the right tasks and have a proper plan.
This brings up the next point: planning and strategy.
- A thorough and detailed strategy and plan
Successful search engine optimization requires more than just doing some keyword research, getting backlinks, and publishing content. All of these are crucial components, but they aren’t simply things to check off of a list. Without a detailed strategy and plan to follow, you won’t get far.
You can’t publish content on a regular basis and expect to rank high just because you’ve checked that task off your list. Publishing content is part of a larger strategy that involves other SEO components, like link building, building authority in your niche, and keyword research. Each piece of content needs to be strategically created according to your strategy.
In addition to strategy, planning is perhaps the most important SEO component for a few reasons:
- You will always have routine tasks to perform, like running reports, reviewing data, and implementing changes on an ongoing basis. If you don’t have a plan for performing these tasks regularly, you’ll fall behind, and the rest of your efforts will produce watered-down results.
- A plan is a roadmap for how you’ll get to your goal. Plans are created by identifying what you want to achieve and then working backward to identify the steps (milestones) necessary to get there. Without a plan, your actions won’t be tied to any milestones and you’ll be less likely to reach your goals.
- You’ll stay on track with a plan. Successful business owners always have a plan. It’s perfectly acceptable to change your plan when necessary, but winging it isn’t an effective SEO strategy.
- Build your site for mobile visitors first
Make sure your site loads quickly and renders well on all devices, including smartphones and tablets. According to a study discussed by Retail Dive, 57% of all Google searches are performed on a mobile device. The tables have turned and now mobile is the primary way users access the internet.
The good news is that a responsive layout is all you need to satisfy both desktop and mobile users. As long as it’s created properly, a responsive website design will display the same content for all users, but it will automatically resize elements based on screen size.
Having a responsive layout is a great first step, but you also need to consider the fact that web pages rank differently on desktop vs. mobile devices. Search Engine Land has performed extensive research on this subject and found that 35% of the time, a top-ranking URL on a given domain ranks differently depending on the device.
For instance, a desktop user searching for “how to contact Company X” is more likely to type out an email, whereas a mobile user is more likely to call the company immediately. Search engines often provide results based on this difference in intent.
Build your site for mobile users first. Make sure it’s responsive and your content is relevant to mobile users. On your contact page, don’t just provide an email address; also include your phone number and address so your page is more likely to be seen by mobile users.
- Market research
Market research is crucial for SEO because you can rank on the first page for all of your keywords and phrases, but if your content isn’t relevant, you won’t get any clicks. Search results show the surrounding text of how keywords are used, and if you’re just using those words to rank for phrases, the ranking will be useless.
Perform in-depth market research to find out what people want and what problems they’re looking to solve. Create your content around your findings and use your keywords accordingly.
Stay on top of your SEO game
Don’t let your priorities fall through the cracks. Make a plan and stick to it, and if you don’t have the time, energy, or resources, hire an SEO firm to handle everything for you.