Any “SEO” will tell you that it’s all about producing quality, unique content (that interests people) and generating quality, relevant backlinks. Google’s algorithm may have changed over the past 3-5 years, but this is strategy is undoubtedly a winning combination. If you couple this with a website that has a fast page load time then you’re really hitting on all cylinders. These items are all direct ranking signals, as in they directly influence your organic ranking position.
What about indirect ranking signals? Indirect signals are actions that Google will claim don’t influence rankings, but can influence direct ranking signals, and in turn improve your organic visibility. Here are some examples of indirect rankings signals and how they can influence direct ranking signals:
- Increasing social engagement: In my opinion, social engagement is a borderline direct ranking signal. However, Google has said that tweets about your business, for example, will not influence your organic positioning. Neither will the total number of “likes” you have. However, if you run a contest that draws several hundred users, and this in turn sparks sharing and social users referencing your practice, Google will pick up on that. The contest itself didn’t directly influence your rankings, but the engagement you generated from it helped influence direct ranking factors.
- Increasing average time on site: Again, this stat alone won’t boost your organic rankings. However, let’s examine this on a macro level. Let’s say that you implement a new photo gallery, such as the new TRBO WordPress photo gallery solution! This software improves your gallery, increasing your page views, average time on site, and even conversions! In turn, this can influence some direct ranking factors, especially since you’re adding new content to the site.
- Increasing conversion rates: Conversions, or web leads, are typically boosted by improving you website’s calls to action, driving more traffic, or improving the user experience, to name a few. The amount of conversions you have, whether it increases or decreases over a period of time, will not affect your rankings directly. However, the steps you take to improve your conversion rate can certainly influence direct ranking factors.
- A new partnership: Every practice should be actively looking for other local businesses to partner with. High-end salons and spas are a great place to start. These folks have the same target market as you do. Why not tap into their list and cross-promote each other? This won’t directly lead to better rankings, but let’s say you run a laser hair removal special. This generates direct email traffic and social shouts. Google may then correlate “laser hair removal” with your practice name, and that in turn can improve your rankings.
- A speaking opportunity: If you get a chance to speak at any aesthetic event I suggest you jump at that opportunity. Obviously, the act of speaking will have absolutely no affect on your organic rankings (Google isn’t there taking notes)! However, you could get additional exposure (press) from an attendee. This article links to your website as a reference. The speaking opportunity did not influence your rankings, but what came of it did.
Indirect ranking signals can positively influence your organic visibility, they’re just not sexy. Notice what the five examples above focus on: getting in front of new people (potential patients), building relationships, growing your brand awareness, and improving the user experience on your website. None of these are ever listed as line items in an SEO proposal, but they can improve your bottom line ROI much more than “traditional SEO.” Even better, they can improve your bottom line while indirectly improving your SEO!
My advice is to not get so caught up in what your organic rankings are. That’s only one piece of the puzzle, and it’s the outermost layer of your marketing funnel. SEO, or organic rankings, are just one of many initial steps toward visibility and web traffic. But there are many others. Plus, just getting people to your website is only half the battle. You need conversions to increase consultations and revenue.
If you’d like to learn more about organic ranking signals, or SEO in general, drop TRBO a line here. You can also give us a shout directly at 877-673-7096 x2.