Each website has unique needs – meaning its own semantic and topical signature, its own content and indexing cycles, its own rhythm for rankings (the keyword ebb and flow) and exists at varying stages of development.
Before delving too deep into this vein of thought of custom services vs. packages, two things matter (1) the extent of the SEO service or (2) the SEO package.
Precision or Volume?
SEO involves multiple stages and there are fundamental activities in each stage that can expedite long-term authority if the website is nurtured appropriately. Sometimes a website needs volume (volume of links, citation or content) and other times it requires precision (to unlock or optimize a variable that is creating friction).
We have identified these stages into 3 categories for the sake of definition- (1) a new site (2) an existing site (that has stalled out) or lacks proper SEO and (3) a large or aged e-commerce or content based site that lacks proper SEO.
In other words, there is no reason to pull out the bazooka and kill a fly with a new website, nor are brute force SEO tactics required for a larger website that may simply need finesse and a slight navigation overhaul to cross the tipping point.
Moderation and balance must be tempered to facilitate the most effective results within monetary, time or ROI constraints when considering ranking objectives.
Which Phase/Cycle is Your Website In?
A website can transcend its present cycle / holding pattern by providing it with the antidote to inertia “what it needs, when it needs it”, to cultivate a strong online presence over time as a result of producing domain authority (which is the real purpose of SEO).
The amount of time required depends on (1) the market (2) the range of keywords (3) the competition (4) the on page elements and (5) how much off page optimization is required to cross the tipping point of relevance.
Getting pages to rank for specific keywords only occurs once you have (a) appeased the necessary on page or on site requirements and (b) crossed the relevance thresholds necessary to surpass other websites who also share similar characteristics of relevance who are currently ranking for those target keywords.
This requires (1) proper planning and resource allocation (2) consistency and (3) tracking and analysis to augment real time execution.
A properly managed time-released campaign is difficult to stop from “rising the to top” since the causation can either ebb from within the site (as a result of proper cultivation of links, content or trust) or from other websites providing links to your web pages.
The imperative factor here is “authority” (both at the domain and page level) is what is responsible for catapulting pages into the top 10 search results; which is why the first objective of an SEO campaign is to set this process in motion.
The Three Stages of Websites and SEO
There are 3 stages of websites and SEO, (1) new site with no history (2) existing site with some SEO or SEO objectives or (3) a large site that needs to harness the power of its authority.
Each can succeed under the proper conditions, it is merely a matter of each website or rather phase needing something to offset its inherent inadequacies of handicap.
Stage 1: The Brand New Website
A brand new website has different needs than a website that has aged or been online for a year or longer. While a website can be optimized at any stage, it is better to do things right the first time and set the stage for search engine success sooner rather than later.
What are the needs for a new website?
- Proper site architecture and taxonomy.
- Defined landing pages.
- Internal link continuity.
- Fresh structured content based on a topical theme.
- Link citation (links from authoritative sources).
We have an ideal solution for new websites named SEO Local from our SEO Packages page.
Stage 2: Existing Websites Lacking Optimal Structure or Links
Websites that have been online yet lack optimal elements require a very unique type of optimization to (a) gain traction through revamping pages, navigation, content and links prior to those collective pages working in unison toward a series of asynchronous keyword / ranking goals.
Sites of this category require:
- An assessment of the site or pages present authority and rankings
- Revisions to the site architecture, navigation, page templates, content or internal links
- Deep links from a variety of sources to gain (a) citation and (b) acquire rankings
Reviving websites in the category require a consistent approach backed by gradual on page and off page adjustments.
- Time released content
- Concentrated inbound links to pages other than the homepage
- Promotion of the website across multiple mediums
In addition to adding a content management system to administer fresh content, you need to simultaneously gain traction through citation from various sources (such as one way links, article marketing, social media and RSS feeds).
Considerations such as link velocity (the rate in which a website gains or loses links), link loss (excessive outbound links on multiple pages), duplicate content (having a high percentage of pages that lack focus or distinction), link diversity (links from multiple websites rather than just a few) and market focus (if a clear keyword target of cluster of keywords are selected).
The ultimate objective of SEO is to develop authority (meaning your website is a resource for quality education content on a topic or top notch commercial appeal as a result of other websites linking to yours).
Both methods spawn rankings as a result, hence cultivating web page or domain authority is the prime directive of the collective SEO efforts. In other words, an effective SEO package should work holistically and on multiple nodes of relevance simultaneously.
We have an ideal solutions for this category of site called “SEO Market Master” available from our SEO Packages page.
Stage 3: Large Site Lacking Focus or SEO Tactics
This is common for commercial websites such as shopping carts or websites that house thousands of pages across multiple topics. Keep in mind that search engines rank PAGES not websites, so, it’s important that each page serve a purpose (1) to rank for a keyword or (2) to provide ranking factor to another preferred landing page.
Sites such as these require:
- Sitemaps (xml, ror and html) to aid indexation (getting pages in search engines and ranking).
- The addition of sub folders, subdomains, navigation blocks (to funnel link-flow from other strong pages) and a stable inbound link program.
- Canonicalization (minimizing duplication across categories, tags, content).
- Removal of parameters from URL string (from tracking code, dynamic elements) using 301 redirects, Asapi rewrites – to create “pretty URL’s” that search engines can digest and index.
- Removal of 404 errors (broken links)
- Enhanced load time, a slow site is a low site (as site speed has an impact on rankings) and users.
- Volumes of content (time-released) and based on a topical theme to increase the sites (on page) relevance score and footprint.
The larger the website, the more structure is required in providing a tiered navigation schema that keeps critical pages designed to push link-flow and traffic further into the website. The stronger each page is, the more prominent and capable of ranking it becomes.
If you have a site that lacks a champion page or category, then search engines can essentially ignore all of the pages (unless you implement some type of hierarchy through links, content and citation).
While there is no typical package available for a site of this nature (this definitely is in the custom category of services), you can still set the foundation and target a narrow array of keywords and put legacy pages to work to aid ranking objectives.
When SEO Packages are Not Enough
Robust websites of this caliber require custom SEO solutions or SEO consulting to lay out a series of action-items for an in-house team to execute over time.
The take away is – there is no cookie cutter approach to SEO, but there are fundamental stages that you can cultivate a website with to get it to the next stage of optimization or domain authority.
Ingredients include a healthy mix of:
- RSS Aggregators and RSS Syndication (to rebroadcast content to a larger audience).
- Social Media Exposure.
- One Way Links from Themed Websites.
- Revisions to On Page Structure.
- Keyword Research and Content to Provide Topical Continuity.
- Links, Links and More Links
Getting to the top of search engines requires strategy, structure, persistence and hard work. Regardless of which type of SEO package or program you implement, the hardest part is getting started.
The next obstacle in an SEO campaign is “sticking with it” and being patient for all of the layers of optimization to settle and transform the website into an authoritative domain. Authority equates to a website capable of ranking for keywords of any magnitude over time with the right approach, budget, relevance and popularity.