Doesn’t the word “Holistic” fill you with an eye-rolling sense of disenchantment? When most people use the word “Holistic,” they are usually talking about a bowl of green soup from a hippy-styled corner shop or a crystal from a boho market stall. However, the holistic approach to SEO is one of two legitimate paths you can take to rank your website up the search engine results and you won’t have to pray to Mother Earth for it to work.
What Is Holistic Search Engine Optimization?
There are two types of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). There is the more traditional type of SEO where people plan their keywords correctly, gather social media shares, fill out meta tags, and so forth. Then there is holistic SEO where the webmaster still has a content and traditional SEO plan, but the plan is developed over the years to accommodate the user. It is a more user-focused type of SEO.
Fox News called it “Search Experience Optimization” where the user’s experience is put ahead of traditional SEO values. A simple example may be that your primary keyword for a blog post is “comfy sweaters.” You may use Yoast and it tells you that you have not used the keyword enough times in your headers.
Traditional SEO would demand you find a way to insert the words “comfy sweaters” into more of your headers. Holistic SEO suggests you leave it out. This is because adding the keyword may damage the user experience, (especially if it is crow-barred into the text in an ugly manner).
Google Has Changed Radically Over The Last Ten Years
The issue these days is not with SEO methods or rules, but people’s understanding of how SEO works. Since the Google Hummingbird update and the subsequent Hummingbird iterations, Google has stopped using its traditional method of search engine indexing and ranking. Its traditional methods were to count backlinks, measure keywords, and count social media shares, etc.
Nowadays, Google ranks websites upwards based on their popularity. They use big data that is mined from
• the use of their search engine
• the Google AdSense platform
• the Google Ads platform
• big data mined from YouTube
• big data collected from Chrome users.
These days, if your website is popular, it will reach the top of the search engine results even if it fails to maintain traditional SEO values.
Isn’t Holistic SEO A Search-Unfriendly Method?
Holistic SEO is less about counting metrics or getting the correct keywords. It is more about appealing to the user and making the user experience better. However, in many instances where you make the user experience better, it makes your traditional SEO worse (in theory at least).
For example, you may wish to show off all the new dresses you designed in a lovely collage or montage on a web page. But, your SEO optimization tools tell you that you need at least 300 words, at least one header and so forth.
Taking a holistic view would ignore such advice and simply show the pictures. This may seem very search-unfriendly, but if your web page becomes popular, then Google will figure out who likes it and will start ranking you up in the search engine results when potential fans run a search.
Does This Mean That Traditional SEO Is Useless?
Traditional SEO is very important and do not let any online articles try to convince you otherwise. It is very important to the success of a website, “BUT” it can never take priority over user experience.
You should work to fulfill every traditional SEO guideline you can…unless it interferes with the user experience. Use traditional SEO and all your other traffic generation methods, but the user experience should always take priority over them.
For example, a common SEO value is that the spelling and grammar should be of a high quality, and this is something you should strive for…unless it would damage the user experience. Such as if you are writing fan posts for a cartoon where the kids talk in abbreviations. You may be writing things such as:
“Obvz it’s totes inapprope, but 100% LOLs.”
Writing sentences in such a manner would violate most traditional SEO guidelines, but if it fits with what your user wants, and if it enhances the user experience given the esoteric nature of the subject, then guidelines must be broken.
Traditional And Holistic SEO Should Be Used Together
Always focus on the needs of the user first, which is what holistic SEO is all about, but do whatever you can to follow traditional SEO rules in other circumstances.
Traditional SEO is still very important because it influences
• how Google finds your website
• how other search engines find and index you
• how online apps, web crawlers, and website search bots find your website.
Even things such as affiliate advertising, social media traffic, and guest posting are important because they shine a light on your website, which helps to make it more popular. After all, what is the point in chasing the needs of your users if you never have any users in the first place?
Backlinks from other websites used to be important because they were counted by Google. Now they are just as important because they shine a light on your website so that other people notice it.
When you add local SEO to the mix, your SEO strategy should prove even more powerful.
The Proof Is In The Doing
Taking a traditional SEO route is fine, and you will rank up the search engine results if you continue over a long period of time. However, you can take the holistic route and still achieve success.
Google may not count your backlinks from guest posts, forum, comment sections anymore, but each time the linked page is re-crawled, so is your linked web page and maybe your entire website.
There are also many online tools, apps, spiders, bots, and crawlers that use Google-indexed links to find new content like yours.
Finally, the links from other websites will drive traffic to your website, and even if the traffic is only a small trickle, it still adds to your overall popularity over the years; especially if new visitors also decide to link to you or share your content on social media.
Holistic SEO Works As Well As Traditional SEO
What is holistic SEO going to do for you? It is going to help you rise through the search engine results. What startles most is how taking the holistic route works. If you have any tools for automating SEO that gives you red warnings about your web pages, you may become uncomfortable. Such discomfort needs to be put aside and the user needs to come first. Try it yourself, and you will see how your website still climbs up the search engine results.
Do you want to improve your SEO and integrate it directly in your website design? Please check out my range of web and SEO services.