7 Must-Have Ingredients to a Successful SEO Strategy

7 Must-Have Ingredients to a Successful SEO Strategy

Businesses are witnessing a transformational change because of a sea of technological advancements hitting us for over a decade. In fact, investing in these technologies is a top priority for businesses as it helps them achieve their goals and stay competitive. 

AI chatbots, for instance, are simulating human-like personalized communication, boosting customer engagement. Similarly, tools like digital adoption platforms (DAPs) are helping businesses gain crucial insights into customers’ behavior and gain a competitive edge.

SEO is another domain that has advanced significantly. Businesses are investing their resources in building a solid SEO strategy to thrive in the digital ecosystem.

SEO helps businesses achieve top rankings in Google, helping them attract quality traffic and leads. 

However, search is an ever-evolving field. When brands identify best practices to achieve top ranking in Google, a new algorithm update changes the entire game.

As per experts, Google changes its algorithm around 500-600 times a year. So, achieving top rankings becomes daunting as there are countless SEO aspects to consider. 

Whether B2B or B2C, businesses need to identify the must-have ingredients for SEO. Implementing practices that deserve the most focus can help drive quality and relevant leads that convert.

In this post, we have shared the top seven must-have ingredients that you’ll need to build a successful SEO strategy and achieve high ROI fast.

#1: Keyword Research 

Keyword research is the basic yet vital skill for a successful SEO strategy.

The goal of keyword research is to discover the intent behind search queries and the specific terms they use. It helps figure out phrases or words that people type in search engines like Google.

Identifying the right keywords for your niche has compounding effects over time. They help resolve the target audience’s queries and boost SEO rankings. But it won’t happen overnight as there are billions of websites in competition.

High bounce rates, poor conversions, and most importantly, not appearing in top Google SERPs are the major pitfalls of poor keyword research strategy. 

But once you understand users’ mindsets and build a solid keyword research strategy, the growth will be transformative. So, focus on understanding the user intent to choose the most appropriate keywords for your business niche.

Here’s how to get started.

Create a List of Topics

Start with creating a list of topics that resonate with your brand. For instance, if you sell natural makeup products, the topic categories could be –

  • Environment-friendly makeup
  • Organic makeup
  • Toxin-free beauty kits
  • Flawless skin products
  • Natural skin radiance

Try to think from the users’ perspective and come up with topic ideas that might interest and help them.

Use Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are phrases with three or more keywords. 

Here are some examples of long-tail keywords:

  • “Achieve top Google rankings” 
  • “How to rank on Google”
  • “strategies to rank on Google”

In this example, the target keyword is “Google ranking.” 

The long phrases make the keywords useful for the users and thus, have high chances of matching their search intent. As per a recent study, around 91.8 percent of searches are specifically for long-tail keywords. So, targeting the right long-tail keywords can be the best move forward.

Count on advanced tools like Ahrefs to find the most relevant long-tail keywords for your content. Here’s a screenshot depicting how easy it is to find long-tail phrases for the target keywords.

Ahrefs keyword research

Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ubersuggest are a few other popular tools that can help with keyword research.

Add Keywords in Alt Text

Alt text is a brief description of images. It helps search engine crawlers index them while allowing readers to get a context of the image until it loads. So, adding relevant keywords in the alt text can improve its value. 

For example, if you want to target the keyword – “SEO strategies” for the following image, add the term to the description so that it appears natural.

SEO process and SEO strategies

Here’s how you can create alt text for the shared image –

“An image that focuses on top SEO strategies like – link building, keyword research, content writing, and website analytics.”

Place Keywords in Headers

Adding keywords in headers helps search engines bots identify what the content is all about. Crawling headers makes it easier for them to rank the pages for search queries.

For instance, you can write “Top Key SEO Strategies” in the header (H1) and then point out the strategies in subheads (H2). These headers will help Google and readers understand the page’s content.

Further Reading: How to Create Killer Blog Titles Using Your Data, Tools & Popular Formulas

#2: Great UX Elements

User experience defines what a customer feels when interacting with a website. The more positive the users’ experience, the more will be the engagement. UX is, thus, a key to engaging and retaining users, unlocking great SEO rankings.

The success of UX design is based on metrics, such as user engagement, click-through rates, and conversions. UX adds credibility to the website, helping users access any information seamlessly.

Here are the top elements to create a positive user experience.

Organizing Structure

It defines how well the website structure and information are organized.

Easy Navigation

This defines the art of simplifying users’ experience so that they can find information with a few clicks.

CTA Buttons

Design is useless without good content. So, while designing CTA buttons, ensure using actionable and understandable content for the button and text around it. 

Check out the following screenshot reflecting the Hootsuite’s CTA. Notice the content on the button and the text above it. Besides, the color of the button makes it attractive and engaging.

Hootsuite UX example

Here are a few more examples of text to use for the CTA button. 

  • Try Your Free Trial
  • Reserve Your Seat
  • Download Whitepaper
  • Signup Today

Page Loading Speed

This defines the time a page takes to load completely. It should be fast to ensure that users don’t leave mid-way and the bounce rate remains less. Google’s PageSpeed Insights is an excellent web application that helps speed up pages by offering recommendations for fast page speed. 

Here’s a screenshot of PageSpeed Insights depicting the performance of Neal Schaffer’s website. Notice the performance score of 92, indicating a job done well.

Google Page Speed Insights Score for NealSchaffer.com


The website should be mobile-friendly, implying it should work effectively on mobile devices as it does on a website.

Aesthetic Appeal

This boils down to images, icons, white space, and the entire design of the website. Every element on the website should be appealing and help users take action. 

Animalz is a perfect example of a well-optimized and appealing website. Check out the following screenshot to see how they have kept it simple, organized, and enticing.

Animalz simple UX example

For websites, user engagement and conversions are the ultimate metrics. Identifying users’ pain points and building a solid UX strategy can help minimize hassles.

#3: Thought-Leadership Content

The content was, is, and will remain an essential ingredient to a successful SEO strategy.

According to Google’s Quality Search Rater Guidelines, content should include the  E-A-T parameters.

  • Expertise: The content should reflect extensive knowledge of the topic.
  • Authoritativeness: The content should have high credibility.
  • Trust: The content should be trustworthy and accurate to win users’ trust.

So, to ensure content comprises all these elements, you need to create thought-leadership content that offers valuable insights to users.

Try connecting to an experienced subject matter expert for creating content with a brilliant E-A-T score. Backlinko’s blogs are the perfect example of how thought-leadership content should be drafted. While this type of content needs in-depth research and expertise, it’s worth the time. It also opens new doorways to strengthen the backlink portfolio, which is another prime ingredient for a successful SEO strategy.

Here are the best tips to create thought-leadership content.

  • Stay up-to-date on events and trends in your industry. Try using Google Alerts to know what’s trending in your industry. Check out the following screenshot to understand how this user-friendly platform works.
  • Write on industry trends that are going to bring a massive change. Include relevant keywords to make the content SEO-friendly.
  • Identify and answer the most frequently asked queries of users. Think about what new you can contribute to the answer.
  • Conduct and publish research-based content to come across as an industry leader. Back your content with accurate data and valuable insights.

Further Reading: 12 “Secrets” to Writing High Quality Content for Your Blog

The users’ engagement is defined by the time visitors stay on the website and the extent to which they interact with the site elements. The chances of conversions increase with the time spared digging for more information. Time reflects their interest in the content.

No wonder, it is crucial for achieving top Google rankings.

Internal links can ease the job to keep the users glued by providing them with helpful information. Adding relevant links to blogs or articles makes the readers’ journey simple and easy. Besides, they send signals to search engines that the content is high-quality.

Here are a few tips to make the internal linking strategy successful.

  • Create well-researched and in-depth content.
  • Add 2-3 links to relevant internal blogs or pages in 1000+ word posts. 
  • Ensure the page loads fast and has relevant infographics, videos, or images.
  • Choose anchor text that appears natural. Avoid using anchor texts like “click here,” and use descriptive phrases like “Ingredients to a successful SEO strategy.” This tactic helps Google understand the context and give it rankings.

Check out the following Neal Schaffer’s blog post on free SEO tools, for instance. Notice how they have leveraged the power of internal linking. They have used a good anchor text and added an internal link to the relevant blog.

free SEO tools internal linking example

Further Reading: Unlocking The Full Potential of Topic Clusters For Your SEO Strategy

#5: Site Architecture 

Website architecture refers to the hierarchy of pages and the way they are organized. It is the prime factor for creating a positive impression on users. Ideally, a website’s architecture should appear like the following pyramid.  


The top dot in the image represents the homepage, and the branches represent the internal pages. Leading websites like Amazon use such architecture.

A website architecture that helps users find the information fast is considered good. Whereas, a poor website architecture can impact users’ engagement. Reports state every one in two users leaves a website with poor architecture, increasing bounce rates.

Here are the top benefits of good website architecture.

  • Enables search engines bots to crawl the website with ease.
  • Encourages users to navigate the site, increasing page visits.
  • Strengthens internal linking, boosting conversions.
  • Allows users to find and understand products.

So, it’s imperative to design the website’s architecture with utmost care. It should be easy to navigate for grabbing users’ attention and thus, boosting UX and, ultimately, SEO rankings. 

Here are a few best practices to create a solid website architecture.

  • Design a simple and easy-to-understand navigation menu.
  • Keep your website URLs readable and user-friendly as they are the addresses to your website pages. Use lower case and add hyphens to separate the words. Avoid using spaces and underscores.

Here’s an example for your reference.

  • Check out the website architecture of your competitors.
  • Use breadcrumbs for ease of navigation. Here’s an example of HubSpot reflecting how breadcrumbs make it easy for users to navigate.
Hubspot breadcrumbs example
  • Create and submit an XML sitemap containing a list of total pages on the website that needs to be indexed on Google.
  • Provide access to the homepage page within three clicks. 

#6: Metadata  

Metadata refers to the data a website uses for communicating with search engines.

Simply put, metadata is the language that search engines understand. Search engine bots can’t read a website’s data, rather use the metadata and take actionable steps. Without metadata, the bots won’t understand the context of website pages.

Here’s the metadata crucial for top SEO rankings.

  • Title Tag: It is the HTML code tag that helps with creating an optimized page title. Using 50-60 characters is a good practice for creating meta titles.
  • Meta Description: It is the summary of the page’s content. A meta description of 160 characters is a good practice.
  • Headings (H1) and Subheadings (H2, H3): These are the headings on the page to guide search engines about the page’s content. 
  • Keywords: They make search engines scan the page and understand its context.

Here’s a screenshot of Google depicting how meta descriptions and title tags appear in the SERP results.

Further Reading: The Definitive 30-Step Basic SEO Checklist for 2024

Backlinks also referred to as inbound links, are the links that a website gets from an external or third-party website.

Earning a backlink from a high authority website increases the credibility of a website, boosting its ranking. So, getting backlinks is extremely crucial yet challenging. Look for the following traits while trying to get backlinks.

  • Authoritative and unique
  • Relevant to your domain
  • Non-sponsored
  • Do-follow link

Here are a few best practices to earn good backlinks.

  • Linkable Content: Create quality linkable content like blog posts, infographics, images, and others. This strategy will encourage top websites to link to yours.
  • Guest Posts: Create quality guest posts and submit them to authoritative websites to gain backlinks. Ensure they are do-follow links.
  • Reclaim Links: Connect to top websites using your brand’s name without acknowledgment. Reclaim backlinks by sending them request emails. Tools like Mention.com and BuzzSumo can help you identify your brand mentions online.
  • Blogger Reviews: Connect to experienced bloggers that might be interested in reviewing your services and products.

Use tools like CognitiveSEO for getting valuable insights into your backlinks. It can help you understand the quality of your website’s backlinks and entire SEO health. Here’s a screenshot for your reference.

cognitive SEO backlink analysis tool screenshot example

Work on removing spammy links and creating a solid backlink strategy.

Further Reading: 11 Actionable Link Building Strategies For 2024 and Beyond


Getting high ranks in search engines like Google needs a successful SEO strategy and consistent efforts. A user-focused brand website containing the shared SEO ingredients can help search engine bots discover and rank a website.

Implementing them can create an engaging website experience, boosting SEO rankings in 2022 and beyond.

So, go ahead and build a successful SEO strategy!

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Lucy Manole
Lucy Manole

Lucy Manole is a creative content writer and strategist at Marketing Digest. She specializes in writing about digital marketing, technology, entrepreneurship and much more. When she is not writing or editing, she spends time reading books, cooking and traveling.

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