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The Holistic SEO approach to SEO

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The Holistic SEO approach to SEO

Holistic SEO is an approach to SEO that incorporates all aspect of it; User eXperience, Keyword Research, Technical SEO and Mobile SEO.

Holistic SEO is an approach to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that incorporates all aspect of SEO; User eXperience, Keyword Research, Technical SEO and Mobile SEO. The goal, of course, is to get your website to rank as high as possible in the organic search of Google and other search engines. In this article, I will outline the basics of what the Holistic approach to SEO entails. We will mainly be dealing with on-page factors which are things you can do on your website to increase your ranking with Google.

What is Holistic SEO

Before we get into what Holistic SEO is, I want to be clear that I did not come up with the term Holistic SEO. As far as I know, it was the people at Yoast that came up with it.

I also want to say that I love the term and I love their approach to SEO. As they are not ever talking about stealing traffic from competition or any other competitive tactics I hear others speak of.

At Yoast, they are simply emphasizing creating an awesome website, in all aspects. Hense the term Holistic SEO. This approach really appeals to me. Rather than seeking to beat out other websites.

When we are talking about SEO, we need to distinguish between on-page factors and off-page factors. This whole post is about the on-page factors, which are all of the things you do on your website to make it rank higher in the search engines. This deals with creating an awesome website, with awesome content along with having an awesome structure on your website.

Off-page factors are the things the goes on beyond your website, such as back-links, referrals from social media, and the buzz your site is generating around the web.

Now let’s get into what Holistic SEO really means.

Why Google loves a holistic approach to SEO

What we need to realize is that organic (non-paid) top ranking in the search engines is not a quick fix. It is not a one and done thing. But it is a continuous and sometimes slow process of optimizing your website to get a higher ranking.

This means that we need to stay away from foul SEO tactics used to trick Google into thinking that a website is something that it is not. Although I will not go into them here, a couple of examples are keyword stuffing which is stuffing the content with keywords, and black-hat link building which is when a website owner buys links to get a higher ranking.

As Google is continuously updating and changing its algorithm to increasingly recognize and reward awesome User eXperience, those old tactics no longer work. And no longer do they work, they can even get you bned from the search results altogether.

How Google works

In order to fully understand Holistic SEO, we need to fully understand how Google works. And in order to understand that, we need to take a look at what Google wants – at its mission:

To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Google’s mission

Making the internet as accessible and useful as possible – that is what Google is all about. It is to this end that the algorithm behind behind Google’s search engine is continuously updated and revised. To better and better distinguish between websites that offer good user value and those which don’t.

Now, let’s have a look at the Google search engine. It consists of crawlers, an index, and a secret algorithm.

The crawlers…

or bots, or spiders as they are also called – crawl around the internet looking for and following links. When they find a link, they follow it to the page or the website it leads to, charting it and saving all the information in the index.

The larger a website is, the more visitor it has, and the more it is updated, the more often the crawlers will come back to that website – looking for updates and changes to be saved in the index.

The index…

is a huge database of all of the information Google’s crawlers have come across on the internet. All content, headers, and links on a website that the crawlers have encountered are saved in the index.

The secret algorithm…

is the formula that determines which website will rank the highest, for a specific keyword. Coming back to Google’s mission to make the world’s information accessible and useful – the algorithm is regularly updated to produce the best search result for Google’s users.

Some of the ingredients of this algorithm are known;

  • quality of content
  • site speed
  • site structure
  • linking structure

Other ingredients, Google keep secret.

This algorithm and all its updates have one purpose and one purpose only; to make the world’s information universally accessible and useful – by combating spam and by rewarding good User eXperience.

In other words, the websites that best help Google achieves its mission, are the ones being rewarded with top ranking in the Google search engine. Therefore, focusing on creating a website with awesome User eXperience is always the best way to go.

There are no quick-fixes to SEO success

Understanding all this we also come to understand that reaching top ranking in the search engines, is not done overnight. It is strenuous and continuous work. Working with all the aspects of SEO, thus Holistic SEO – to ultimately create an awesome website providing an awesome for the user.

Keyword research leading to the top ranking is built over time. Creating a website that users want to come back to and link to takes time.

And so we want to be diligent, persevering in all of our SEO efforts.

What is Awesome User eXperience?

But what is User eXperience? Well, although the concept of UX involves many factors it is in fact quite easy to explain. UX is how the individuals coming to your website, experience it. What is their overall impression of your website?

Keep in mind that your website needs to be awesome not only for a desktop user but for a mobile user as well. Which means that you need to pay close attention to Mobile SEO. But more about that later.

To give you a general idea of what UX entails, I will briefly discuss some of the factors contributing to UX below.

Site Speed

As our societiy is speeding up, the speed of a website (how fast it loads) is becoming increasingly important to online users.

The longer the wait for a website or a page to load, the more likely the user is to go elsewhere.

Installing a caching plugin and optimizing (minimizing) image file size, are a couple of ways to speed up your website.

The speed of a website falls under the technical aspect of Holistic SEO.

Awesome Content

The people visiting your website most likely visit it looking for something in particular. Either they want information or they are looking to purchase.

UX is creating a website where your visitors find whatever it is that they are looking for, with ease. In other words, the content on your website needs to be relevant to the keywords you are ranking for as well as the keywords that your target population is using.

You may read more about this in the section about keyword research.

Awesome Site structure

Another element of UX is having a site structure allowing your visitors to easily navigate your website. This involves having great linking tactics (internal and external), as well as implementing breadcrumbs on your website for easy navigation.

Just like site speed, this is a part of the technical SEO.

Awesome Esthetic

An important aspect of UX is what your website looks like – the esthetics of it.

A website may have a crystal clear structure, and awesome content, but still not be a great experience for the user. What it looks like is vitally important for the overall UX.

This means the coloring, the images, and everything else that makes up the appearance of your website.

How does Google know which sites are user friendly?

Aside from the algorithm briefly explained above, Google seeks to make an educated guess as to which sites provide the best overall UX. And so Google analzes user signals such as behavioral patterns on your website such as bounce rate, returning visitors, and time spent on the website.

A website that has many returning visitors that stays on the website and that looks at several pages and posts, will by Google be awarded a higher ranking, than a website with few returning visitors and where the users are quick to leave.

What is Awesome Keyword Research?

Awesome keyword research may be described as all your efforts to choose which keywords you want to rank for. This should be an extensive list.

However, keyword research is not only about choosing which keywords a website wants to rank for. Although having chosen the keywords, is vitally important, it is of no use if the chosen keywords are not the one its potential customers are using.

And so an important aspect of keyword research is to get into the potential customers head, finding out what keywords they actually use.

There is much, much more to keyword research, but I will not get further into it here in this post. Be on the lookout for future posts though.

What is Awesome Technical SEO?

We talked before about how there are on page factors and off page factors to SEO. The technical aspect of SEO is all about the on-page factors.

Technical SEO refers to all the adjustments and improvements you do on your website, in order to get a higher ranking in the search engines.

The technical aspect of Holistic SEO entails a number of things such as; making your webpage faster, making it easier for the search engines to crawl and comprehend, taking care of any dead links (links to pages and posts that no longer exists), making sure that each page and post is unique rather than duplicated, and of course that your website is secure.

There are other aspects to the Technical side of SEO, but I will not go into them here. If you want to dive deeper into all of this I would suggest you pay a visit to Yoast.com. The guys and gals over there are really awesome at this.

What is Awesome Mobile SEO?

As more and more peoples lives revolve around their smartphone and other mobile devices it is absolutely imperative that you make your website mobile friendly, adapting it for mobile SEO.

Mobile SEO is vital as it allows you to reach the ever increasing number of people that do most of their online affairs on their smartphones.

In some ways, Mobile SEO is just like desktop SEO. Your site needs to provide awesome UX, it needs to be super fast and it needs to excel at the technical aspects of SEO.

However when it comes to keyword research, what a smartphone user is searching for may not be the same keywords as a desktop user is searching for. Which is why any website needs Mobile SEO as well as regular SEO.

And Google has and is adapting its algorithm to reward mobile-friendly websites more and more. So there is every reason to make sure that your website provides awesome UX for the increasing number of smartphone users in the world.

Conclusion

Holistic SEO is an approach to SEO that encompasses all aspects of on-page factors dealing with SEO. The key spells awesomeness; awesome User eXperience, awesome Keyword Research, awesome Technical SEO, awesome Mobile SEO.

All are equally important, and to get a good understanding of why, we need to revisit Google’s mission:

To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

In other words, our main focus should always be to create the best possible website providing the best possible experience to the user. If we do this, the ranking will, over time, come by itself.

As a freelance writer we may not need to know all of the various aspects of Holistic SEO but it imperative that we grasp the general idea of it. That we may serve our customers in the best possible way according to the vision we have set for ourselves and the mission we have given ourselves.

 

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