SEO strategy involves “robots” and “spiders.” This vocabulary means the topic is scary. Plus, in digital marketing and online visibility, quality search optimization remains paramount.

Which makes it even scarier.

We’ve made higher search rankings 10 times easier.

SEO strategy boils down to two simple principles:

  1. Satisfying Google’s checklist.
  2. Satisfying your audience.

Before we outline the SEO checklist that will make Google happy, know this:

Google is an audience-centric company.

This fact has led them to the top slot of successful companies. Google ranks content based on the most relevant results. They want to satisfy the horde of consumers that use their service every day.

And they use robots and spiders to accomplish that mission. Believe it or not, fulfilling the Google algorithm is one of the easiest things you’ll do as a small business owner.

Just make sure your content has the following.

Beat the spiders and robots with this Google algorithm checklist.

We used the term “spiders and robots.” This isn’t a science fiction movie (though we’d definitely watch anything with that title.) This weird phrase simply indicates that Google sends crawlers to evaluate your content.

They are using a litmus test to ensure their users receive the most quality results. Here is what they’re looking for.

Keywords

When choosing keywords, think about your audience. Know that it’s nearly impossible to achieve high search ranking with an umbrella term, such as “apples.” Your website content would be buried.

If you use more narrowed-down, specific keywords, your content ranks higher. This is what “Asheville apple orchard” yields.

Relevancy

Say this out loud: Google gives relevant results. Translation: it’s up to you (or your professional marketer) to create relevant content.

Use this checklist to create a website and landing pages that Google deems appropriate:

  • All content must focus on a specific audience. You can count companies that cater to a general populace on one hand.

  • All content must deliver actionable takeaways. It could be simple information or a downloadable guide.

  • All content must create clicks. The deeper traffic dives into your website, the higher Google ranks your website.

  • All content must increase time spent on the page. The longer the audience spends devouring content, the happier Google becomes.

User experience

Remember MySpace?

Poor user experience effectively killed that once popular social network.

Users were allowed to stick glittery gifs and auto-played pop songs on their individual profiles. So everyone who wanted to read your profile couldn’t see the content. Then came the music promotions that took away the connection element of the website.

You don’t want to have a MySpace-esque website.

That said, Google wants your traffic to have a nice time—to get what they need. The search engine is kind of like a bodyguard in that way. So make sure your website is clean, easy to navigate, and effortless to consume.

Readability

Readability is part of the user experience equation. Your website traffic won’t dedicate the time and effort it takes to read a Russian novel. Be simple. Be direct. Say what you need to in short, impactful sentences.

The Flesch readability score made available by Yoast SEO works wonders. The tool shows you where readers will trip over your words.

Regular updates

A website that stays the same equates to eating the same dinner every night. People will get sick of it. This rule doesn’t apply only to membership-based websites.

Any website requires regular updates. Google will test your relevancy by how much fresh content goes up on your website. When that content tackles timely issues, traffic increases.

No, you don’t have to change your homepage once a month. But new lead magnets, blog articles, news items, and video updates will work wonders for your search optimization.

Device compatibility

Grab your smartphone. Type in your website URL.

How does it look?

While many website platforms include automatic device compatibility, some old-school HTML versions don’t. Mobile web traffic is higher than that of desktops and laptops.

Google knows that. And they penalize you for not having a responsive design.

Tools such as Gridset, Wirefy, Adobe Edge Inspect, Adobe Edge Reflow, and Bootstrap will fix this issue.

Meta details

You can feed the spiders and robots. Yep, you can tell Google what to scan with meta details. Web-hosting platforms allow you to fill in search engine descriptions, titles, keyword tags, and focused keywords. It’s a five-minute chore that yields greater search visibility.

The Google algorithm checklist is half of the equation.

The above checklist will serve your bottom line. Google will love you. But these pillars are the means to an end.

The real truth about organic search: it’s about human emotions. Not SEO robots that make sure you follow the rules.

Google’s technical rules still apply, but they won’t get you to page one. Your audience will get you to page one, and keep you there. And that means the content must cater to human emotion and logic.

Remember: the longer your traffic stays on the page and the more links they click, the higher Google ranks you. There is no technical hocus-pocus that enables this reality. Only human emotion.

Here are four pillars that allow you to make that connection.

Use case studies.

As you update your website content, use case studies. These content pieces highlight how you helped a client. They showcase problems, processes, and results.

But case studies also have an emotional appeal. When you tell a story, you pique interest. The audience will put themselves in the scenarios you describe. They will forecast their results and feel a sense of relief.

Vary content presentation.

Use podcasts.

Make videos.

Post blogs.

Leverage Facebook live.

Human beings love variety and choice. When you present your content in the same fashion every time, you lose an audience. No matter how good the content is.

Heighten user experience.

Responsive design means that your audience can view your website and landing pages at any time. Plus, studies show consistently that mobile users tend not to browse as much as look for specific answers.

Give them those answers—on both your traditional website and its mobile version. When you provide actionable takeaways, you leverage expertise and spread goodwill.

Your audience will like it. And so will Google.

Create digestible content.

If the audience doesn’t read content, they won’t digest it.

If the audience doesn’t digest it, they won’t engage with it.

If the audience doesn’t engage with it…

Eh, you get the point. Content that is easy to consume equals audience engagement. Here’s how you do that:

  • Use images to break up the words.

  • Integrate bite-sized sentences.

  • Headlines allow for easier content scanning.

  • Illustrate your points with videos.

OK. How do I start improving my search rankings now?”

Strategic linkbuilding is a wonderful place to start.

Google picks up on the keyword phrases you link. This makes the use of that phrase all the more powerful. Plus, it doesn’t hurt when traffic spends more time with your content and dives deeper into your website.

We’ve developed a tool that helps you do exactly that:

Click here to download your free SEO Link-Building Checklist.

No opt-in or email required.