How to Win at the Game of SEO

SEO strategy is like a long game of chess. To win, you must have a thorough understanding of the rules, a strategy, and know how to get the job done. Chess may be called the “game of kings”, but you don’t have to be a master to win and search engine optimization is the same way.

Developing a Long-Term SEO Strategy

SEO Strategist – First of all, there needs to be one person with an overall view of your SEO strategy as a whole. This way, you don’t have a bunch of different people all doing the same thing. If your company is large, have one person manage and delegate tasks to execute your SEO strategies.

Keep your eye on the big picture. – Just like in chess, you need to be able to look ahead several moves and anticipate what your opponents are doing. This is how you give your website that extra SEO boost from time to time. Remember, don’t do anything stupid. If it seems risky, it probably is.

Optimize for humans, not search engines. – We call it search engine optimization, but we build websites for people, right? If you keep that in mind, you’ll do fine.

Build and maintain your reputation. – Reputation is as important online as it is in the real world. One of your SEO strategies should be reputation management or you’re doing it wrong!

Be an authority! – I talk about authority a lot because it’s important. If you have no authority, everything you do will fall flat. Your SEO strategy is no different. Fill your site with helpful content and aim to be the go-to place in your industry. Having an authoritative website will make your search engine optimization a much simpler task and you will be hard to beat in the long run.

 Playbook to Win the SEO Game

The SEO game is totally winnable, and I’m sharing this playbook:

  • Play 1 – Use social media. Can you imagine a growing list of mobile-optimized websites where you can list your business and share content in all different formats totally free? It already exists! At the bare minimum, your business should be active on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Play 2 – Be an authority! – I hope I don’t sound like a broken record. Listen, you’re not going to jump online and build an authority site in a week. That’s why I put this under the long-term SEO strategies as well. While you can’t build it short-term, you need to start with this goal in mind right out of the gate.
  • Play 3 – Pull in links from authority sites. – This is a slow and steady process. Have you ever been on an authority site and come across a dead link? That’s one way to edge your way in if you have an article that fits the link and topic. If you don’t, you might want to consider creating one just for the purpose of nabbing that link real estate. Guest posting is another good way to grab those authority back links and boost SEO.
  • Play 4 – Be human. – No one wants to visit a site built for robots. I’ve seen sites online that were optimized for search engine bots. They are a mess of keywords that form articles that make no sense. They are loaded down with junk links. That’s no way to live in the search engine optimization space just to make a quick buck off some ads. In fact, it won’t work. Google will slap you with a penalty so fast, you won’t recover.
  • Play 5 – Plan for the long-term. – Even if you website is something you are just trying, build and optimize it for the long-term. If you don’t, when your business takes off, you’ll have a huge mess to clean up later.

Action Steps to Boost SEO Today

I like to include little quick start guides with posts like this that give you action steps so you can get started right away:

  1. Remove clutter from your website. Sleek and clean is a great first step to search engine optimization.
  2. Structure your content. Have H1 titles, H2 subtitles, format your copy in digestible chunks, and include links that support your content.
  3. Use keywords in all the right places including your titles and tags.
  4. Create great content. You can’t have solid SEO strategies without it.

Wrap Up

Just like chess, SEO is a game you can win. Just make sure you are using the best SEO strategies for the long haul that present you as an authority in your industry!


Local Search vs. Organic Search: How to Spot the Differences

Local search versus organic search is an ongoing question, especially for those new to Internet marketing and the online space. For a lot of people, search engine optimization is like a maze they have to get through before it begins to generate traffic for them. Spotting the difference between local and organic search is pretty obvious once you know what you’re looking for.

The Main Difference

The main difference between organic and local search is the location element. Local search is reserved for exactly that, local businesses and locations, while organic search is for a wider national or even global audience. For example. is global, so you won’t find any tags or other information that optimize this site for local. For the most part, local SEO is for physical locations for goods and services.

The Advantage of Local Search Versus Organic Search

The cool thing about local search is that your business has the ability to be front and center with other local businesses and it’s a level playing field as of this writing. I did find out recently that Google is testing ads for the Local Listings Pack (the three listings under the map in search results), but it’s not official yet.

The main advantage to local optimization is that local businesses with trusted websites can rank quite well without a lot of hassle. Organic sites don’t appear in the Google Local Listings Pack, so the competition is stripped down to just your local competitors.

More Differences Between Local and Organic Search

There are several difference between local and organic search since there are 2 distinct approaches to optimizing for each. So, aside from location:

  • SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) Position – Local and organic SEO may not achieve the same SERPs position. Even though you may be on the first page for local search doesn’t mean you will rank on the first for organic
  • Backlinks versus Citations – For organic search, backlinks are wanted to achieve a better ranking. You want other relevant authority pages to link to your website. For local, you build citations in lieu of backlinks. Citations are local listings for your business on sites like Yelp, YellowPages, Foursquare, etc.
  • The Approach – Organic SEO requires on and off page search engine optimization efforts to achieve success. It is a ton of work. However, local SEO doesn’t really start on your website, but with a Google My Business listing. From there, it’s all about citations and reviews

Which Is Best For Your Business

You may want to concentrate on one, the other, or both. It depends on the reach your business has. Let me break it down for you like this:

Organic – best for businesses with multiple locations, a national or global reach. For example, Ace Hardware needs organic SEO, but Bob’s Hardware of Kalamazoo needs local.

Local – best for businesses that operate a physical location. For example, your local boutiques, plumbers, restaurants, etc. need local SEO.

Both – Some situations do call for both. For example, if you run a graphic design agency, you want to be searchable by your local community as well as across the globe since your products are mostly digital. Another example would be a chain store like Walmart. They need to appear in the local results as well as organic.

Wrap Up

Local search versus organic search can be confusing. I hope this post will help clear it up for you. A word of caution, watch out for local companies trying to sell you search engine optimization services. Do your due diligence before you hire someone. Search engine optimization can be tedious and just as it has the power to make your business, it can also break it if some shady SEO company builds spammy links or something else Google might frown upon.

Reading a few articles like this one and this one can help you know enough to not get ripped off. Let me hear what you’ve learned in the comments!