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Reverse Engineering the SEO Formula

Andrea Schultz
by Andrea Schultz on Aug 10, 2016 2:35:03 PM

What if I told you that search engine optimization isn't as complex as it may seem?  That there is a simple formula to follow that guarantees success?  You'd say, "Andrea, you're absolutely crazy"! Ok, so yes, you're right, I'd have to be crazy to make a statement like that. There is no "simple formula" that guarantees SEO success. The opposite is true, instead of a formula, there's an entire Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors with different weights for each attribute and that's still really only scratching the surface of the search engines' complex algorithms.

With that all said, search engine optimization can be simplified at the top-most level in regards to what your brand should ensure are part of your SEO and complete online marketing strategy. Let's dive into the formula shall we?

Successful SEO Formula


Quality Content

To start, you must first open your mind in regards to content. This is no longer just website content or blog posts.  Content your brand produces needs to come from a variety of sources and in diverse formats.  Blogs, images, videos, podcasts, interactive tools, website pages, community forums, etc. The content your brand produces has to be engaging to your target audience, and it should be worthy of them sharing it for you.  If users are reading and just leaving, well then that content isn't as high quality as it could be.

Just as important as the engagement of the content is relevance.

  • Are you writing for your audience?
  • Using the keywords they would search for?
  • Does your content answer your audience's questions?
  • Does your content solve their problems?

If you said no to any one of those, then you have some work to do.


Website Usability

Now this is a LOADED section of SEO and can lead you on so many twists and turns. It's also commonly lumped into Technical SEO (which happens to be my favorite) but let's stay top line here.

  • Mobile
    • If you're website is not mobile friendly, responsive and doesn't work on almost all devices, get it on the to-do list as a high priority! With more searches done on mobile than desktop, there's no excuse.
  • User experience
    • A search engine's number one goal is to provide searchers the best results possible. If a user clicks on a listing and immediately comes right back to the search engine, it's obvious to the search engine that listing did not provide the user the experience they were looking for.
      • Does your website guide visitors through to the desired end goal?
      • Is the navigation easy to follow?
      • Does your website provide users with the information they are looking for? The tools they need? And the items they desire?
      • How many broken links are users hitting?
      • And the big one, would you trust your website?


  • Architecture
    • All the quality, engaging content in the world won't do your brand much good if the search engines can't find it. How your website is setup on the backend and the technology used can put a screeching halt to any organic success. From crawlability to security to URL structure and redirects, there are countless factors that can make or break your website that fall into this category.




"Trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair." This quote holds true in life and in the eyes of search engines. If they do not consider your website trusted or authoritative, even if you do everything else right, this will hinder your brand's success. The history and trust of a domain and website are critical to your brand's long term success. There's a reason that experienced SEO agencies will fight tooth and nail 99% of the time for you to keep your current domain.  On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you've participated in black hat SEO, especially when it comes to linking, that trust from the search engines can take what seems like an eternity to earn back.


LinksLink building meme

Yep, links are still an important piece of the puzzle. Though once gamed, earning quality links to your website is still critical in earning a valuable organic search presence. The way you obtain and find those quality links is a time commitment that is well rewarded. But, as mentioned earlier, you must take extreme caution with links.  DO NOT PAY SOMEONE TO BUY LINKS FOR YOU! Instead focus on:

  • Quality over quantity
  • Earning links from trusted and respected websites
  • How diversified your backlink profile is
  • Whether or not a local search presence is important to your brand
    • There's a whole other discussion on local link building you should be having with your online marketing team!


Social Reputation

Social media is not a fad. It's not going away anytime soon. You actually need it. Your brand's social reputation can help (or hurt) your organic SEO efforts.

  • Is your brand active on the channels your audience is active on?
  • Is your audience engaging with the social content you've created?
  • Are you actively growing your reach?
  • Are authoritative figures in your industry or target audiences sharing your content?
  • Are other people sharing your content?

And the list goes on. 

There you have it. The formula for search engine optimization success. It's simple yet unbelievably complex.  All of the above factors (and the hundreds more) play a role in earning organic search visibility.  Some carry more weight than others but those exact formulas are something that the search engines haven't provided, but one that all SEO professionals (including myself) would love to know!


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Andrea Schultz
Written by Andrea Schultz
Andrea is the VP, Online Marketing at E-Power and works to integrate and organize the pieces of the puzzle to carry out highly effective programs for our clients. As an account lead, she runs the day to day programs for a number of our clients, but she is our team's sounding board, chief problem solver and all around organic guru, working hard to ensure all of E-Power's clients benefit from her experience and expertise.

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