Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not rocket science.  You don’t need an advanced degree to either do it or understand it.  However, a basic understanding of Third-grade math does help, because while there are countless strategies to SEO, all the legitimate ones can be easily simplified into one basic algebra expression: Message + Consistency (Content + Links) = Traffic * Conversion = Revenue.

Let’s break down this equation down to see what it is saying.  First, while the SEO industry is not technically about your marketing message, there is little point trying to do SEO on a site that is not going to convert visitors into clients.  If you are going to embark on an SEO program, you really need to start by making sure that you are selling the right message.  This starts with your branding and asking yourself the question, what are you trying to convey to your customer when they land on your site.  You should ask this question for every page of your site and also consider seriously which pages you don’t want customers landing on.  This can be just as important.  Once you have figured out what message you want to convey, the next question to ask is what do you want the visitor to do if the message is right for them.  This leads to the call to action.  If you are a service provider, this usually means giving you a call.  If you are e-commerce, this usually means adding a product to the cart.  Your message should immediately flow into this call to action.

Once you have the right message, the next step is highly repetitive.  Add content to your site and then get people to link to that content. Do this over and over and over again.  The question is what keywords to focus on and where to put this content.  Ideally, the best place to put the content is on the page that you want to be ranked for that keyword.  For example, if you own a construction company and do both electrical and plumbing work in Manhattan New York, you would want to add content focused on the keyword Plumbing in Manhattan on the page of your site.  Try to avoid adding electrical to that page because that is another keyword that can confuse the search engines with regard to what that page is really about.  If you do have to use electrical on the page to make it flow naturally, make sure to link out the keyword to an electrical-related page on your site so that the search engines know that it is a different page on your site that is most important for that keyword.

A difficult challenge in the modern age is balancing content with flow of a page.  Many sites (especially to be mobile friendly) can’t really handle much on page content.  Adding too much can cause your conversions to suffer.  This does make SEO more difficult and most SEO firms don’t really want to balance out this dilemma.  However, when you can’t get any more content on a page than is already there, you need to make sure that the existing content is perfectly optimized and then you need to continue to add content elsewhere on the site and on this other site, make sure that the target keywords are present and link to the real page that you want people to land on.  It is not as valuable as having those keywords on the right page, to begin with, but is the next best thing.  This strategy is particularly important for e-commerce SEO when most e-commerce platforms don’t really allow you to add content to the category pages where most of your customers are going to land.

Once you have added the content, you need to generate links back to your site.  This is definitely the most difficult part of SEO because you don’t have much control over the process.  In most cases, it is about sharing your content with others and asking if they like the content and would like to share it with others.  A good SEO firm probably has several partners that help in this process so that the odds of others linking to the content goes way up.  It used to be that you could use sharing sites (like article directories) to share your content with thousands of people, but it has been over 6 years since Google penalized those sites and rendered them useless.  Links are definitely the most impactful part of the equation as they are the difference between position 300 in the search engine and position 1.  Our philosophy at think big is that content on your site makes you eligible to move position in the search engines and links to your site are what get you moving higher in the search rankings.  One does not work without the other.

By adding content to your site (keywords) and linking to that content, you get increased traffic to your site and by fixing your message and making sure that the content is informative and useful, you increase your conversion rate.  More traffic and improved conversion both lead to more revenue which is the end goal of every SEO Program.