Beyond technical SEO

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We all know the bottom line: SEO is about driving relevant traffic to a Web site. Some people may assume this mainly involves manipulating search engines through the use of keywords on areas of a webpage such as the title tag, URL, headers and the body text. This is true, to an extent, and can certainly have a direct impact on search rankings. with on-page optimization, the proper use of keywords is extremely important. But let's not forget off-page factors, because there is something external to your site that has an even greater influence: high-quality back-links.

Why are back-links so important and why do search engines hold them in such high regard? Essentially, back-links are other sites referring to your site as a source of additional information. The more quality sites linking to your site, the better off you are. When I say quality, it's not necessarily the number of sites, but rather the domain importance of the sites linking to yours. It's somewhat of a popularity contest where your site gets votes through links with the higher-quality votes carrying more weight.

So, how do you get back-links? There's no easy answer and the process will differ from site to site. Of course, there are directory listings such as DMOZ and Yahoo, but you should first look at the content of the site itself. Some SEOs can get tunnel vision with all eyes on the technical elements of a Web page, and other overlooked aspects can have an impact on search rankings. These include content quality and site usability. Many times, with all attention toward traffic volume, a closer look at visitor intent can be less of a priority. The right balance of content, functionality and typical SEO elements has to be considered in order to maximize traffic while at the same time creating an engaging experience for users.

Creating good content seems obvious. The end goal of increasing conversions is always nice, but making a lasting impressing with readers increases the chances of higher search rankings. By satisfying the needs of readers, there is a greater likelihood that the site will be referred to others and therefore linked to. With good and accessible content that keeps readers engaged, a site can develop an authority that people will be more likely to trust. Develop authority content and become a resource that people deem important. By doing so, your back-links will grow and so will your domain importance. This means higher rankings and more traffic. After all, optimization is beyond the technical.

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