This is where we need to look at the whole picture 🥧
Holistic SEO is an approach to search engine optimization that takes all channels and aspects of a site’s online footprint into consideration. These channels include the quality of their content, the user experience, technical optimization, and other minor contributors that make up a site’s online presence.
It used to be that, in the early days of the internet, people could harness the power of ‘black hat’ SEO tactics: stuffing keywords, thin content that had nothing to do with the site, buying backlinks, and anything else they could think to do to push their rankings up. Google’s algorithm has kept up, though, and made it so that content that is, by its standards, ‘high quality,’ will rank above the content produced with black hat tricks. Google wants to give its users an excellent experience.
With holistic SEO, brands can more carefully align their efforts with search engines that set their algorithms up with the express purpose of bringing users the best possible experience. Those search engines will be crawling sites and determining relevance, authority, usability, security, performance, and hundreds more, and placing the ‘best’ results at the top of search queries.
The benefits of holistic SEO
With a holistic approach to SEO, website performance is improved all around. Performance boosts in any channel will have a ‘ripple effect’ on others, leading to better chances of ranking higher in search results. Holistic SEO also lends itself to an overall better user experience (UX).
Another thing holistic SEO makes easy for marketing teams is future-proofing. Search algorithms are known to update suddenly, in unexpected ways, and sometimes, drastically. An update can make or break a website’s rankings positions – however, when a site is armed with high-quality content, it’s much easier to sidestep any devastating algorithmic changes.
What’s included in holistic SEO?
Holistic SEO should comprise an effort to continuously optimize and maintain every feature of their site’s performance – nothing is compromised. A website should have good technical SEO while keeping perfect pieces of content (that’s nicely structured, too.) Visitors should be able to navigate and use the site easily and intuitively, with the knowledge that their information is fully secure.
Content is king in SEO, holistic or otherwise. Holistic SEO strategies will see content that is useful to the reader, answers questions that are relevant to the brand’s niche and purpose from the position of an experienced expert, and encourages the reader to take action in some way. While this content should be optimized with headings, images, and relevant keywords, it’s important to write content for the reader, not the algorithm.
When a site’s content is helpful and well written, it’s much easier to stay ahead of algorithm updates as they’re rolled out.
Technical SEO and UX
Technical SEO digs deeper into the code, structure, and usability of a website. A site should be easy to crawl, easy to index, and understandable to both people and search engines. Maintaining a mobile-friendly, quick-loading, accessible, organized, and error-free environment is key.
Optimizing for a navigable, enjoyable user experience (UX) is also something that is impossible to avoid when adopting a holistic SEO approach.
A lack of security can make even the most optimized of sites crash back down in their rankings, especially if customer information of any kind is at play. It’s not just algorithms – visitors may turn away from a site that they feel is in any way ‘unsafe.’
Do your pages have clear title tags? An engaging meta description? Is the URL structure appropriate? Does each page have a clear purpose? These are all on-page SEO considerations that should be touched on as part of a holistic SEO strategy while content and technical SEO are being updated with it.
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