The Only SEO Strategy You Need

The Only SEO Strategy You Need

Search engine optimization (SEO) is probably the most “esoteric” term when it comes to web development. The web is literally littered with SEO tips. Almost everyone is claiming to be an “expert” these days. There are even hundreds of books written on this topic. However, in my opinion, there’s no need for overcomplicating things. There are only several key points to implement:

  1. Content
  2. Technicality
  3. Maintenance

All three parts are important, but I think the last one is crucial in a long run. The first two are instantly implementable but the third one is doable after you have had your site for a year or two, and you already have hundreds if not thousands of live pages on it.


You’ve probably already heard the phrase “the content is king” and it is true. It means you need to publish really good content if you plan to rank higher in Google search. Good content constitutes thorough, original, useful, linkable, likable and sharable piece of information. Google has its own way of determining what’s good content by measuring thousands of signals your page sends, and you can’t possibly know all those signals or to pretend to know how they work. What’s in your power is to creatively produce useful information on the web.

Some people get bogged down in calculating the keyword density in their articles and/or employing other tactics in order to “game” the system, but I will strongly advice against that. No one knows the right keyword density, no one knows how many times your subject needs to be mentioned in the article, no one knows if you need to make certain words in bold or not, etc. In my opinion that’s ALL guesswork by people who pretend to know the inner workings of Google, but in reality they don’t. Like I said, you need to concentrate on your writing and a few other technical aspects and that’s it.


Along with the content your website needs to be technically set up. Your good content will go to waste if your website is slow for example. So, roughly you need to pay attention to the following:

If I start to write about all these in details this article will turn into a book, so you need to follow the links and do a bit of research on your own. Like I said the web is littered with SEO info, especially the technical aspect of it.


This part is about watching your website’s performance and acting accordingly. I have to note that what I’m about to describe I am personally implementing it every six months on a high traffic website (around 2 million pageviews per month) with 3000+ pages of content. The result is a noticeable increase in search traffic. Now, this might seem as an anecdotal evidence, but nothing will cost you to experiment a bit.

The very logic of this process is something similar to pruning your e-mal subscribers or even balancing your ads but instead of pruning subscribers or getting rid of junk ads you need to occasionally prune the rubbish pages from your website.

Not all pages are created equal, so some of your pages will be good, some will be subpar, some really awesome and some will be total rubbish in the eyes of Google. In the pre-2011 era webmasters were allowed to have junk pages on their websites and that didn’t affect the whole website. But the game has changed a long time ago and now if you have a sufficient number of low quality pages on your website that will ultimately drag the whole website down and it’ll affect your awesome pages too.

And there comes the maintenance. First you need to identify the pages that don’t perform well in Google search and do something about it. You have three options: you can rewrite them and try to re-promote them, noindex them, or delete them.

Identify the low quality pages

Assuming you have a list of all pages/URLs on your website (extract the list of URLs from your sitemap to an excel - xlsx file) you need to remove from that list the pages that were added to the website during the last year.

Then, go to your Google Analytics, set the timeframe for the last year (last 365 days) and hit: Acquisition >> All Traffic >> Source/Medium >> google/organic. Now, as an additional primary dimension add Landing Page.

Since sessions correspond to entrances when you combine sessions with a page level dimension the result will be a list of landing pages ordered by the volume of Google traffic (entrances from Google search). However, the data in this report will be definitely sampled, meaning wildly inaccurate and misleading for our purpose.

The obvious remedy here is to increase the report’s precision, but that wouldn’t be enough. My experience tells me that in order to achieve 100% precision, that’s 100% of the sessions in this type of report, you need to decrease the timeframe to around 15 days (instead of 365). That means you need to export around 25 excel (xlsx) reports from Google Analytics for the last year.

Now, you need to place all those 25 reports in an excel workbook and the values inside each one of them should be added up for each URL, so each URL in our list derived from our sitemap can have the total number of Google sessions (entrances) for the last year. Assuming your excel-kung-fu is very strong, by using few excel formulas you can automate this process, otherwise it’ll be a very hard labour.

It’s a hard work, nevertheless very interesting, but now you have a list of pages (minus the pages that were added during the last year) ordered by the volume of Google traffic they’ve received in the last year. By further usage of excel wizardry you can show percentages in this list, meaning how many percent each URL contributes to the total website’s Google traffic.

In my work I’ve found a staggering result that the 300 least visited pages on the site contributed to only 1% of the total website’s Google traffic, and even more staggering result that the 1500 least visited pages (half of the total pages) contributed to only 5% of the total website’s Google traffic. Practically Google thinks that around half of your pages are rubbish and don’t deserve to rank relatively high even for a long-tail keywords.

To be even more sure you can repeat this whole procedure for a timeframe of the last six months, which will be not that hard since you already have the reports, and compare the two final results. If a page is in the last 1% in both two findings that’s definitely a bad page. By doing this you will reduce the number of pages that fit in the last 1%, because some pages were doing really bad for the whole last year on average, but they were doing not that bad in the last 6 months, so you can’t find them in the both bottom 1% for the last 6 and 12 months.

Eliminate the low quality pages

As I’ve said you can rewrite these pages and try to re-promote them, noindex them, or delete them.

If the number of pages you want to eliminate is very high rewriting them isn’t an option. Even if you do it, it is not guaranteed that they will move through the ranks. You can delete them, but some of them are already shared, liked, retweeted, linked, etc. so you will end up with a lot of dead ends on your site.

One sub-solution here is to redirect them to similar pages, and that’s a good option which will require a lot of work. The redirection needs to be done very carefully. I suggest 302 (temporary) redirection. Do not redirect to your homepage or some other generic page but every redirection needs to be done carefully, pointing to a page that has a lot in common to the page that’s being redirected.

Or you can nonindex these pages, meaning instruct the googlebot to remove them from the Google index:

<meta name="googlebot" content="noindex">

This is the least painful solution and the most practical. In addition to noindexing you need to make sure these pages are not linked from prominent places on the website, like the related content below each post, the homepage, sidebar, etc. not to disrupt the googlebot, and paint a broken picture of your website.

After noindexing you can monitor the website for the next 3-6 months and see what’s happening. If the results are bad (you’ve lost more than 1% of your Google search traffic due to this move) you can always reindex the pages and somewhat restore the traffic. If there are positive results you can move on to redirection which can be also reversed if something ultimately goes wrong since it’s a 302 (temporary) redirection.

Finally, if you want to proceed with deletion of so many pages you need to be cautious since that’s a point of no return, unless you decide to restore a backup of your website.

Wrap up

I think this is the most “laborious” tutorial so far, even if it’s not that long in writing. In order to implement this you’ll need days of hard work, if not weeks.

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