SEO is a discipline that aims to position web pages but at the same time doing so with the highest possible ROI (return on investment). To achieve this we must take into account hundreds of factors and we can perform hundreds of possible actions. These actions, in turn, depend on other factors (page type, competition, market, etc.) and do not always give the same result.
For all this I almost always speak of strategies and not only isolated actions, because only when we take into account all actions simultaneously is when we get the maximum return.
When we start a new project, or we are commissioned to perform the SEO of an existing one, we therefore have in front of us dozens of possible actions, hundreds of factors and thousands of possible strategies. And here comes the problem: where do I start? what am I getting better? what does this website need?
Surely if we are good SEO we will know how to do actions and improve positioning. Maybe we invest several hours in SEO onpage and many others in improving content, maybe we do some action to get user response, or we search and get some links. Surely all this adds up, but are we getting the optimal? Could we have invested our time and money in another way and made more profit?
Well, today’s post is about that.
I want to propose a formula that serves as a reference to analyze a web project (new or old) and define a strategy that provides an optimal return.
We use it systematically and it works so well for us that I have dared to call it the SEO Formula.
Like many of the things I explain in this blog, such as the user answer, the concept is so simple that it seems even basic but the difference between analyzing a project with it or without it, is noticeable and a lot.
I also wanted to publish this post because I will use it as a starting point for several articles that I will release this year in which I analyze several own projects and in which I base myself on this formula.
Although I think it goes without saying, just in case there is some very strict reader, I will say that I am obviously not going to say the exact formula of SEO. The closest thing there is to that is a very complex algorithm on Google computers (and other engines). What I offer, of course, is an approximation that I consider useful enough to call it that.
The 3 Pillars of SEO
As you know, I always try to classify and order SEO concepts and actions to be able to apply them more clearly. The way I see it most useful is through these 3 Pillars: user response, SEO onpage and link building. These pillars are the basis of the structure of the blog and will also be the basis of the ROL formula:
SEO onpage: are (almost)all aspects that have to do with our own page, both content, structural or technical.
Link building: is the obtaining by any means of External links pointing to your portal. Strictly the SEO community does not include natural links or link baiting here, but for simplicity we will call link building to “get links”.
User response: these are the aspects that Google uses to measure a user’s satisfaction with a content.
Any aspect of SEO fits within some of these 3 Pillars (if you think any doesn’t fit, we can discuss it in the comments). Some factors interfere with several of these pillars, such as:
The <title > tag: is a clear aspect of onpage SEO, but it influences the CTR you’ll have on Google and that’s user response.
A link is link building, but if this link generates quality traffic it can increase your user response.
What aspects could we include in each pillar?
This question is much better answered in the different blog blocks. However, to have a quick reference in this article, I will indicate some:
SEO onpage: Title, meta description, URL, domain, h1, h2, internal link, outgoing links, alt and title of images, responsive or adaptive web, loading speed, canonicals, tag robots, HTML errors, broken links, sitemap… you have more information in this post about factors of SEO onpage.
Link building: naturalness of links, variety of anchor texts, variety of destinations, times, context, loops and reciprocity, IPs, value of links, distance to cover, links with traffic, disavow, reinforce your links… you have more information in this post about linkbuilding factors.
User response: CTR, bounce rate, dwell time, recurring visits, brand traffic…
The SEO formula
And we come to the moment of decision-making. We have certain hours, resources or money, what do we do? what do we prioritize among hundreds of factors? Well, the answer is:
We must balance these 3 Pillars (user response, SEO onpage and link building). The optimum will be reached when none of these 3 slack, nor any highlight.
This reference solves problems such as “I put links but I do not upload” “” I add articles but it is useless“,” I have not done anything in 6 months and it has been uploaded alone“,” I have put links in 2 portals and it has only been uploaded 1” and so on with a long etcetera. In a majority of times the answer is in this formula.
All this you will see much clearer with the posts with examples, but for now you can stay with that you must analyze a project through these 3 Pillars, look for which is the weakest and strengthen it.
If we boost one pillar well above the other 2, the positioning will be improved, but to a lesser extent than if we boost the weaker ones.
And how do you translate all this into a formula? Let’s see it:
The ROL formula
We will use the following variables:
- P = positioning
- R = user response
- O = SEO onpage
- L = link building
And let’s assume that we can assign values to each variable. If we are saying that positioning is the combination of these 3 factors, a possible formula would be P = R + or + L. If we get 10 points on each variable, we would have:
P = R + O + L = 10 + 10 + 10 = 30
But if we had null user response (1) and greater link building (19), we would get the same value:
P = R + O + L = 1 + 10 + 19 = 30
Well, that’s not what happens. The correct approximation is multiplication (sign *):
P = R * O * L
In this way, if we have “30 points”, to say the least, the optimal is reached when each variable has a value of 10.
P = R * O * L = 10 * 10 * 10 = 1000
If we reduce one to raise another, we lose positioning. Example:
P = R * O * L = 1 * 10 * 19 = 190
Or even worse:
P = R * O * L = 1 * 1 * 28 = 28
As you can see in these cases, the more we balance the 3 pillars, the more performance we will bring to our effort. And as I said before, despite its simple appearance, it has some really important implications and utilities.
The formula could be complicated if we wanted to, adding logarithmic operators and coefficients to make it more similar to others that are used in SEO, such as force formulas (DA, PR, CF, etc), but I think it would not bring any utility, so I prefer to leave it that simple.
There are countless situations in which we do not understand what is happening. When this happens, try applying the formula:
“I put links on it and don’t improve”: you might have a user response much lower than your link building strength.
“I put content to you and organic traffic stays”: you may have very high onpage SEO and need more link building or more user response. For this particular case, I even made a post.
“I put a link to it and uploaded instantly”” you would have general user answer or in that section and the correct onpage. You’d miss balancing the link building and you did.
“I checked goals and internal linking and uploaded” ” you’d have the user response and link building fine, but you’d limp from onpage.
” I didn’t do anything in 6 months and suddenly my website went up”: maybe little by Little your website started to like and you gained user response, which was what you were missing.
And so we could go on with a myriad of cases. Obviously it’s not all 100% that simple. For example, in the last example there could also be a change in Google and leave you reinforced, or your competition may have been penalized, but as an initial reference I recommend keeping this formula in mind.
One case that I have observed and that I want to underline is when you do excessive link building while you have lame 1 or 2 of the other pillars. What’s going on there? In those situations you usually upload little or nothing, and you get the impression that those links are useless.
However, that force is there, doing little effect, but it is there. If you manage to upload the other pillars, not only will you upload by user response and SEO onpage, but the links will already provide their maximum value and your upload will be greater.
In next posts we will analyze several projects and see how the ROL formula serves as a guide to do so. We will see how the fact of applying it increases the ROI considerably. In the meantime, stick to the following conclusion:
Whether you’re analyzing an existing project or starting a new one, keep in mind the 3 Pillars of SEO and try to balance them to maximize the formula P = R*O*L.