Holistic SEO: Improve every aspect of your website

SEO isn’t just a trick. Sure, tricks might get you ranked quickly, but they usually don’t work in the long run. In fact, they might even backfire. If you want to permanently rank well in Google, you need an extensive SEO strategy focused on every aspect of your website; the technical stuff, the user experience, the content on your website, and the security of your website all need to be in order. In other words: To keep ranking well in Google, you should develop a holistic approach to SEO. Read on to learn more.

What is holistic SEO?

If you practice holistic SEO (search engine optimization), it means you improve every important aspect of your website to make it rank higher in search engines. With holistic SEO, the ultimate goal is to make a website that fulfills its users’ needs on every level; not only by providing the right information at the right time, but also by being easy and safe to use. To reach this goal, website owners should, at least, work on the following aspects of their site:

We’ll also include resources to help you learn SEO and optimize various parts of your website at the end of this post. Do check them out!

Why a holistic SEO approach?

Google’s mission is to build the perfect search engine that helps people find exactly what they’re looking for; whether that’s the answer to “Where is Wijchen?”, a recipe for apple pie, or the best toaster. That’s why you should make your website and your marketing strategy fit this goal.

A little analogy to explain

Let’s use an analogy to explain the holistic approach to SEO. Think of working on your site’s SEO as taking a ship to a ship-building competition, with Google and other search engines as the judges. Similar to a website, a ship is big and has lots of moving parts that need to be managed. Your site design is the ship’s exterior, your content is the interior and services, and your website’s technical setup is the ship’s engine. Your goal? Appeal to the judges so they rate you highly and recommend you to people.

The ship-building competition is packed, so to get a good ranking, you not only need a great-looking ship and a fast and reliable engine, but you also need a good interior and high-quality onboard services. If you have a great-looking ship on the outside (an eye-catching design) but the interior (content) is lacking, people are less likely to want to be on that ship. On the other hand, if you have an amazing interior and onboard services, but your ship is slow and your engine is prone to issues (technical setup), people will also look for other alternatives.

As you can imagine, the judges (search engines) only give high rankings and recommend ships (websites) that meet and exceed the standards mentioned above. The judges’ mission and reputation depend on giving good recommendations, so they take this very seriously. That’s why using “tricks” to make it seem like you’ve improved your ship won’t work, because you haven’t actually improved it.

Conclusion: Improve every part of your site

By working on improving every part of the ship (website), your ship will become better across the board over time. At the same time, don’t forget that you’re not the only ship trying to be better. Others are doing the same. In a competition so fierce and packed, every small gain and improvement will add up to be significant. With that, you may get a higher ranking in the competition and receive a recommendation.

SEO tricks are of the past

Back in the early days of SEO, people could get away with doing tricks. They used to stuff keywords and internal links on pages, wrote thin and irrelevant content, or scraped content from other sites and ranked with that content. These are things of the past.

Since then, Google and other search engines have been improving their algorithms by the day. With the helpful content update, Google wants to reward sites that offer users what they’re looking for, and ‘punish’ sites that don’t meet visitor’s expectations. They no longer fall for such tricks (for the most part).

Holistic SEO is the way forward

While Google has changed its algorithm numerous times, our advice has mostly remained the same ever since we started: you have to ensure that your site is exceptionally good. Even though having a website with high-quality content, a great user experience, and up-to-date security won’t instantly improve your ranking, it’s still worth it. Because in the long run, all these improvements will definitely have a positive effect on your SEO!

You’ll get more recommendations…

In addition, overall great websites tend to get more backlinks from other websites. Plus, they also receive more social media attention. Remember the analogy about the ship earlier? This is similar to getting recommendations from other ships (websites) in and outside of that competition, which is a strong signal to search engines that your website is amazing.

… and more sales!

On top of that, people behave differently on a website that they like (they stay longer for example), compared to a website they don’t understand. Google uses these kinds of user signals to find out how people experience your site. And finally, awesome websites will also result in higher conversions. If your audience likes and understands your website, the chance of them buying your products or returning to your website is, of course, much higher.

Read more: Everyday website optimization: 6 tasks for your daily SEO routine »

SEO takes time

Understanding that SEO takes time to bear fruit is a key point in the holistic SEO approach. Since you only have so much time and resources to work on improving your site, you need to identify what you want to improve. Next, come up with a plan of attack, execute your planning, then watch the results of those changes after some time. Sometimes you make big changes, other times you make smaller ones that don’t feel so important. But over time, they will add up, which gradually turns your site into a better one.

In addition, whenever you implement a change or improvement, it takes some time for Google to notice. Then, Google needs to take these changes into account in its complex ranking algorithm. So don’t worry too much if you don’t see the results that you expect after a few weeks or even months. Just remember that it takes time, and keep on working on improving every aspect of your website to the best of your capability!

Learn SEO, the holistic way

So, where should you start? Because improving everything sounds like, well, a lot. Fortunately, there are many ways to improve your knowledge about the above-mentioned topics.

For starters, we offer a free SEO for beginners course, which is a great starting point to learn how SEO works. And if you want to put this knowledge into practice, consider trying our All-around SEO training. You’ll get lots of hands-on tips to start improving many aspects of your own site!

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Reading material

Just want to read? These beginner guides are great starting points! If you’re a bit more knowledgeable and are looking for resources to optimize various aspects of your website, we recommend checking out these articles:

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