The 8 Elements of a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Campaign
By Ray “Catfish” Comstock, Senior Search Strategist, BusinessOnLine
In order to successfully complete all tasks required
in a comprehensive SEO campaign, it is helpful to
organize those various tasks and tactics into
relevant categories. This allows us to have an
organized approach to consistently address all
elements of an SEO engagement. It also allows us to
describe SEO in a way that people can understand,
and serves as the foundation for a consistent
process and approach to SEO as a service.
In the past, I have always divided the SEO landscape
into three categories: On Page, Off Page, and Site
On page optimization refers to aligning the
content and meta data of a Web page with the
targeted keyword phrases that the page is relevant
Until recently, this model was an accurate
reflection of the issues that need to be addressed
in any SEO campaign. But, as search has advanced and
new metrics have been developed that affect search
rankings, a new model is necessary to encapsulate
the variety of new tasks that are important to any
successful SEO campaign. Below is the new search
periodic table of the eight elements of SEO:
• Off page optimization refers to aligning the link
connectivity of the website to the keyword phrases
that are most relevant for the situation.
-Off page optimization is further divided into two
sub categories: Internal off page optimization and
external off page optimization.
• Internal link optimization is concerned with site
elements like the global navigation template and
• External link optimization is primarily focused on
third party links that point to your site and what
keywords are being used in those links.
• Site wide optimization refers to cleaning up all
the technical issues which can cause problems for
search engines in indexing and ranking your site.
Issues like URL structure, 301 versus 302 redirects,
flash, Ajax and Java script, rel tags, xml sitemaps,
and many other details make up our list of site wide
optimization rules and tactics.
2) On Page
3) Off Page
4) Site Wide
5) Universal Search
7) Social Media
Obviously, there is a lot more to the optimization
process in this new model, and that’s because a lot
has happened in the world of SEO in the last couple
of years. So, I would like to put some context
behind this new model and explain what it covers.
The first element in the new model is called
Discovery. This part of the SEO process refers to
all activities that are required to understand the
parameters and goals of the campaign. The Discovery
phase includes keyword research, competitive
analysis, understanding the business model, and a
review of the current analytics landscape—including
keyword rankings to understand as much as possible
the “current state” of the SEO campaign, and what
the goals of the campaign are moving forward.
Universal Search Optimization (USO) refers to all
activities that affect rankings for universal search
elements like video, images, news, shopping,
reviews, and local listings. Activities include, but
are not limited to: Optimizing video content and
title tags; image alt tags; shopping feeds through
Google base; and local optimization through the
Google Business Center.
Usability is a separate Web discipline that focuses
on user experience. Until recently, the correlation
between usability and SEO was implied, but not well
defined. With the recent advent of the Google
website Speed Test, and all of its associated
recommendations, the first concrete metrics that tie
usability to search rankings have been established,
and more will follow soon. It’s in the best interest
of search engines to reward sites that have superior
user experience, so you can be sure that an
increasing amount of emphasis will be put on
usability metrics going forward.
Social Media has long been a favorite tool of SEO
practitioners for link building, reputation
management, and user generated content. But, now
that real time search has become a prominent feature
of the major search engines, the subset of social
media activities that affect SEO is worthy of
special attention, and those activities need to be
part of any successful SEO campaign.
Analytics is the engine that allows you to make
decisions about your SEO campaign in terms of
understanding performance and deploying resources on
an ongoing basis. Having an understanding about the
differences in paid and organic traffic, brand
versus non-brand keyword performance, and the long
tail performance of your campaign, are a few of the
basic essentials that must be in place to
strategically run a successful SEO campaign.
---Source: Ray "Catfish" Comstock is
senior search strategist at
pioneer in the interactive marketing space with a
14-year track record of successfully leveraging the
interconnectedness of the Internet to help companies
grow their digital presence. Reach him at
or follow him on Twitter @SEOCatfish.
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