Lately we've taken a good hard look at our SEO here at our startup Dasheroo. Like where we can improve and how we can climb for the keywords we want to be known for. Lord knows we don't have a ton of money to pay for Google Adwords so we need to go about it the good and trusty way; have a great product and be smart about how Google looks at your site so organic rankings drive super qualified visitors.

As a result we have completely adjusted how we look at our own search engine optimization.

We decided to start with this pie chart Moz created a few years ago of what SEO experts say makes up Google's search algorithm. This chart simply focuses on key efforts that are going to really move the needle for any website. We have a small team, and a finite amount of time; SEO takes time and a whole lot of patience so we decided to bite off what would make the most sense for the amount of time we could spend.

Moz pie chart of Google Algorithm ranking.

If you believe Moz (and they're pretty darn clever) you'll see that a huge chunk of ranking factors lie in 3 areas: quantity and quality of inbound links to your domain (20.94%), quantity and quality of inbound links to your pages (19.15%) and keywords on your pages (14.94%).

So we looked at the time we have to devote to this awesome project and decided to go ahead and put our focus on those three areas. First, we headed over to Moz and SEMRush to get the baseline of what our domain authority, page authority and how many quality inbound links we had. Not only did we look up ours we we looked at our competition as well so we could track it over time. This is your domain and page rating out of 100 and it doesn't grow fast, so it's important for you to start affecting it now.

Inbound Linking

Since the quantity of inbound links made up 20.9% of Google's ranking factor we started right there. And it can't be a ton of links from random webpages that are irrelevant to your content. We focused our efforts on quality sites that have a good Moz domain authority. We use the Moz bar when we're looking at sites and if they've got a killer domain authority, they make the list.

Lesson: Getting inbound links is tough but doable. Look for directory listings for your industry. If you're a local business make sure you're link to the necessary directories like YP and Yext. If you find a quality site and they accept contributed content ask to contribute. Any way you can get an inbound link on a site that matters, go for it.

Page Level Linking

This makes up 19.15% of Google's ranking so we decided to take a good hard look at the Dasheroo website and blog. What did we find? We needed to do more linking from page to page and do some phrase linking instead of just one word linking. Instead of just linking "Dasheroo" to our blog, we link phrases like best free dashboards a business can find to our site. And we don't mind linking people off of our site, say to the Moz Bar tool page since it makes total sense for this content our readers are reading.

Lesson: Google likes to see that you're linking within your domain. They want to know that your pages are "real" and active. So be thoughtful about the action words people might click on when they read your content, don't only link from keyword to keyword and don't be afraid to link off to another site. It shows that you care about the content, not just the keywords.

Page Level Keywords & Content

Since page level keywords made up about 15% of the ranking factor we decided that we needed to focus on this as well. So we look at every opportunity we have to focus on a keyword. For us it's easy since we integrate with a ton of 3rd party applications. So even if our main keyword might be "business dashboard" not everyone searches for that. Some may need a "Google Sheets dashboard" or a "social media dashboard". So we pay this off by having specific pages under our domain for each. We have a specific Social Media Dashboard landing page where the URL reads:

The keyword exists right in the URL and we use them in the description and the content.

Lesson: Focus on your main keyword but also have a list of other keywords you know people will search on and optimize for them as well. Not everyone searches the same for the same outcome. Find relevant keywords in Google's free Keyword Planner tool. Simply search on your own keywords and see what other relevant keywords come up along with their monthly search volume. Then you can decide on what keywords to focus on next.

So where are we now?

Organic traffic to our site went up in just a month by 10%. Direct traffic (people typing our name into the search bar) is on the rise as well as people are getting to know our brand more. Our Moz domain authority went up 3 whole points and our page authority went up 3 (the more important one IMHO).

So far it's working, do you have an SEO strategy? If you don't you might want to start with this one!