SEO Tips for 2021 – How to Optimize Your Website – Part 1

In the good ole days of SEO you could buy a keyword domain, some backlinks, and rank on Google relatively easy. But with this came a manipulated search and discovery experience. Spammers took advantage of the system and would manipulate the SERPs to gain higher rankings making the search experience anything but authentic. Google continually updates their search algorithm and has responded with updates such as Panda, Penguin, BERT, and other core updates using their AI to better understand the search experience and to deliver relevant information to users.

As a result, many sites have been negatively impacted by these updates as each update may eliminate or deter a certain new strategy that is starting to manipulate the SERPs.

So, is SEO safe and should your business even attempt to improve your search ranking? The answer is yes, when done correctly, but you need to have the understanding that SEO is a long term strategy of owning your brand and online presence, building your reputation through proper PR or outreach and increasing user engagement. You can break this out into 3 segments:

1.Brand – Brand is driving everything today. This extends beyond your website. Amazon, for example, is a search engine within itself. So the question is no longer “how do I get to #1 on Google” rather it is “how do I gain brand authority” on the subjects surrounding your product or service. Think high engagement, high click-through rate, high conversion rate, high reviews. Who wouldn’t want to buy that product or service? Search engines like Google and Amazon are looking for that. Your brand may be reviewed on an authoritative site, and you may achieve some high authority referring links, but the end goal is not only to gain quality links but to drive lasting engagement and sales. The more relevant question is “what is my brand authority” on the subjects and search queries surrounding my brand’s product or service. The metrics mentioned above, along with existing data from your website and other social metrics, will help Fire Source Media determine a strategy that will work best for your brand.

2.User Experience – This can be explained as user engagement on your site or on your other web properties. Quality referring links along with user engagement on your site, your YouTube videos, and other places around the web will determine the authority of your brand and help Google determine whether or not you are an authority on the subject and worthy of a high ranking. Since link building can be easily manipulated, Google is using deep learning to determine whether user interactions with your online web presence and brand (which extends beyond your website) is seen as authoritative. This may include YouTube, Google Maps, Google My Business, etc. Yes, authoritative links still play a role but engagement is a significant driver of relevancy.

3.Relevance + Authority – The basis of all link building is ultimately relevance and authority. Are you a source of authority on the subject? That is the basic question Google is trying to answer. In simple terms, SEO is making sure your website is telling Google all that it needs to know and that linking sites are relevant and authoritative, telling Google that you are relevant and authoritative as well.

Understanding the core foundations of user engagement and brand authority is the starting block. From there we can move forward with the technical setup of your website, product or service placement, content strategy, and outreach.

In Part 2 we will look at technical setup for websites, which will need to be optimized for speed and include CRO tools even before you begin PR, SEO, or ad campaigns.

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