The importance of holistic SEO as a layered process is what determines the effectiveness of your campaign.
Anyone can randomly add pages of content to a website, build links and haphazardly throw a pages together in hopes of tipping the scales of relevance in their favor; however it is much more efficient to start with a model of best practices then add layers to flesh-out the skeleton of your SEO approach to reap the rewards of top 10 positioning.
Is Your Approach Keyword or Market-Centric?
There are two ways to approach SEO (1) by the keyword from the bottom up or (2) by the market from the top down. Depending on (a) the amount of time you have (b) your allocated budget (c) the amount of time you can dedicate to analysis, analytics, cultivation and management and (d) the degree of competition you are up against – sculpt the outcome of your online endeavor.
As content wars flourish between rival websites all seeking the same thing (to rise to the top), it becomes a question of the quality and volume of pages and the relevance and / or context of the semantic theme.
If you are relying on contextually supportive content to augment your money pages (which we dubbed the champion pages) there are two distinct strategies you can utilize.
The first is to layer the site with a higher post frequency and allow things such as trackbacks, social media and RSS aggregators to add a layer of peer review which facilitates a higher degree of domain authority (which you can apply through ranking credit).
Once your website has attained a suitable degree of authority, just mentioning a keyword slightly in the title, in the meta data or an an inference on the page can create corresponding ranking.
This alone (using layered pages to augment champion pages) is a deliberate strategy which showcases its development months later as any equitable investment does.
Managing the Flux
It is through managing the rise and fall of posts, keywords and internal links and balancing that with laser-like off page SEO tactics that gets individual pages across the tipping point and is responsible for acquiring even the most competitive keywords. Keep in mind, it’s not always about content or links, it is the trust a domain develops that is the crux of a long-term SEO strategy.
If you utilize the authority model for developing your website, rankings are a by-product. Over time you may note that the benchmarks you may have identified as competitive become less and less formidable as your website gains the ability to surpass other websites that were either resting on their laurels or whose freshness factor have lapsed as a result of the SERPs constantly churning in the quest for the definitive authoritative document a.k.a authority set to represent each query.
The Keyword-Centric Approach
The other tactic mentioned above (by the keyword) from the bottom up, is a more typical approach used by many businesses through PPC or SEO. They view SEO as a means to an end; yet all marketing is merely that, a path for free will and conversion to occur.
However, in this case, keywords are the path that can lead potential prospects to the appropriate landing page “if your SEO is structured properly”.
Once prospects arrive (regardless of SEO or PPC), you still need to have the cues of conversion that propose a solution or can segment users into an appropriate funnel to facilitate the most suitable objective that corresponds to that query.
Flipping the Script
Ranking from the bottom up (from a keyword by keyword basis) is ok, but there is a better way, since every phrase you assume is “the best keyword” is only another conditional modifier under the right circumstances.
Depending on your approach, tactics and expertise, you can refine an authoritative site to rank for additional keywords or take a website that only had a few select rankings and augment it with authority.
It is merely a matter of choice, strategy and SEO costs. The main thing is to measure the return on investment, what you intend to achieve (1) traffic that converts on your website or (2) traffic you broker and send elsewhere to convert, that determines which method is most lucrative for your monetization model.