SEO optimization: get more relevant visitors to your website

SEO optimization does not always have to be done in collaboration with a specialist or outsourced. In this article, I explain, using my own roadmaps, how you can get started optimizing SEO for your organization. Reach page 1 to stand with key search terms and generate more relevant visitors.

Table of contents show

What components does SEO optimization consist of?

SEO consists of content, technology and link building. The overarching goal is to optimize the usability of your website (which not only optimizes SEO, but also improves conversion). I like to explain the breakdown of these components and relationships between them as follows.

Content is most important for a large proportion of websites. This will be especially true if the website has less than 1,000 pages. Good technical SEO is prerequisite for good SEO. Link building is the driving force. In short, content provides the direction of SEO optimization, technology is conditional and link building is the engine.

Optimization of SEO content

At its core, SEO content optimization is all about relevance and value. It’s about understanding the questions and needs of your target audience and creating content that not only answers their questions, but helps them move forward. This means digging deeper than superficial answers, providing real, measurable value, and creating an experience that encourages them to move forward, whether that means making a purchase, subscribing to a newsletter, or taking some other desired action. See also my roadmap for this. Some facets I think about when optimizing SEO content:

  1. Keyword integration: seamless and natural integration of keywords into content.
  2. Relevance: creating content that closely matches the search intentions of the target audience.
  3. Quality: writing in-depth, informative and valuable content.
  4. Readability: ensuring that the text is easy to read and understand for all users.
  5. Uniqueness: developing original content that stands out from competitors.
  6. Use of multimedia: integrate images, videos and infographics to reinforce the message.
  7. Call-to-action: insert clear and attractive calls to action.
  8. Internal links: smart and strategic internal link structure to guide users and search engines through the site.
  9. Use of headings and on-page SEO: effective use of H1, H2, page titles and meta descriptions for SEO.
  10. Timeliness: making sure content is up-to-date.

As you can see, many of these points are not necessarily focused on SEO optimization, but more on user experience. My view here is that if you consistently deliver enough value to your visitors, Google will pick up on it and reward you positively.

SEO optimization within the SERP

Optimization of technical SEO

The technical structure of a website is the basis of all SEO efforts. It’s about creating a frictionless experience for both search engines and visitors. Technology is often the most complex part of an SEO optimization journey, but it can make or break this journey, making it vital. In technical SEO, I always initially focus on the things that not only enhance SEO, but also the customer journey. For this, see also my technical SEO roadmap. Some of the things I think about with technical SEO are:

  1. Website speed: optimization of load times to improve both user experience and performance in Google.
  2. Mobile optimization: ensuring that the website functions properly and is user-friendly on mobile devices.
  3. Crawlability: ensuring that search engines can effectively crawl and index the website.
  4. Website architecture: developing a logical, user-friendly structure that is understandable to both users and search engines.
  5. HTTPS: implementing an SSL certificate to ensure a secure connection for users.
  6. Duplicate content: identify and resolve duplicate content issues to avoid search engine confusion.
  7. XML sitemap: create and maintain an up-to-date XML sitemap to help search engines index the website.
  8. Robots.txt: ensure that the Robots.txt file is configured correctly to guide search engines when crawling the site.
  9. Structured data: implement structured data to provide search engines with additional information about page content.
  10. 404 and redirects: managing 404 errors and setting up redirects correctly to ensure a smooth user experience.
SEO optimization

Link Building

As mentioned, link building is the symbolic engine of an SEO campaign. This component is all about getting backlinks from other websites to your own site. Simply put, the more quality links point to your website, the more authority search engines assign to your website. This process helps improve a website’s online visibility by ranking higher in the search results of search engines such as Google. But it’s not just about gathering as many links as possible; the quality, relevance and context of these links are key.

An effective link building strategy requires planning, research and strategic execution to ensure that the links you obtain contribute to your overall SEO goals and strategy. It is an ongoing activity and must be done consistently and with integrity to ensure lasting results. For this, also review my roadmap for off-page SEO.

Link building (SEO optimization)

SEO optimization in a nutshell

No time for a long article? No problem. Watch the video below for a summary of this article.

For what kind of businesses is SEO optimization interesting?

SEO optimization can be of interest to all types of businesses that have an online presence and rely on search traffic to reach their target audience. It is of particular interest to companies engaged in e-commerce, lead generation, content marketing and branding.

E-commerce businesses depend on search engine traffic to sell products and generate revenue. By optimizing their website for search engines, they can increase their visibility and traffic, generating more conversions.

Companies focused on lead generation can use SEO to optimize their website and improve their search rankings. This can lead to more visitors, inquiries and conversions.

Content marketing companies use SEO to make their content more findable by search engines and reach their audience. By optimizing their content for keywords, they can reach their traffic and audience and strengthen their brand.

Branding companies use SEO to increase their visibility and strengthen their brand. By optimizing their website for search engines, they can reach their audience and strengthen their brand.

In short, SEO optimization can be of interest to any business that relies on search traffic to increase their online presence and reach their target audience.

Can something like the size of a company affect SEO optimization(direct/indirect)?

The size of a company can indeed affect SEO. In general, large companies have more resources and manpower at their disposal to focus on SEO. For example, they may have more budget to hire specialized SEO experts and produce high-quality content. In addition, large companies may have more technical knowledge to optimize their Web sites to meet search engine requirements.

On the other hand, small businesses can sometimes be more flexible in their SEO approach and respond more quickly to changes in search engine algorithms. For example, they can respond faster to new trends and opportunities, and adapt their content to their target audience’s search queries.

However, it is important to remember that the quality of the SEO strategy and its execution are the most important factors for success, regardless of the size of the company. Even a small business can have an effective SEO strategy and compete with larger companies, provided they have the right expertise and resources to do so.

The companies for which SEO optimization is less interesting

SEO optimization can be less interesting for companies that target a very specific audience where search demand is low. For example, if a company’s potential customers are already well acquainted with their products or services and approach them directly, SEO may be less relevant to their marketing strategy. In this case, the company would probably be better off focusing on other forms of marketing, such as advertising on social media or setting up a referral program.

In addition, SEO may be of less interest to companies operating in very local markets, where their customers come primarily from the immediate area. In these cases, it may be more effective to focus on local marketing methods, such as advertising in local media or providing flyers and brochures in the neighborhood.

It is also important to consider that SEO optimization is a long-term strategy and does not produce immediate results. Companies that need quick results or seek short-term profits are better off focusing on other marketing methods.

Finally, it is important to remember that SEO is not the only way to generate online visibility and traffic. There are many other online marketing methods available, such as social media marketing, content marketing and paid advertising, that may better suit a company’s goals. It is therefore important to develop a balanced marketing strategy that fits a company’s specific needs and goals.

The impact of industry on SEO optimization

The industry in which a company operates can have a significant impact on SEO optimization. Each industry has its own specific characteristics and challenges, which can affect how SEO is approached. Here are some examples:

  1. Competition: in some industries, competition to rank higher in search engines can be very high. This means there are many companies all using the same keywords and search terms competing for users’ attention. In these cases, a company should focus on producing high-quality content and having a strong backlink profile to compete with other companies in the industry.
  1. Trends and seasonality: in some industries, search terms may depend on seasons, vacations or trends. Companies in these industries must adjust their SEO strategy to stay abreast of these changes and focus on content and keywords relevant to current trends and seasons.
  1. Consumer behavior: consumer behavior varies by industry. For example, companies selling consumer goods face a faster sales cycle than those selling investment goods. This affects the types of content and approach to SEO optimization that a company should take.
  1. Different search engines: different search engines sometimes have different approaches to SEO optimization. For example, companies targeting specific search engines, such as Bing or Yahoo, must adapt their SEO strategy to the guidelines and algorithms of those specific search engines.
  1. Local and international markets: companies operating in local or international markets must adapt their SEO strategy to local cultures, search habits and the specific requirements of search engines in those regions.

In short, the industry in which a company operates has a significant impact on SEO optimization. It is therefore important to understand the specifics of the industry and develop an SEO strategy that fits the company’s specific challenges and goals. Below I explain some of these issues further.

Are there some industries where competition is fiercer?

The most competitive industries for SEO are generally those where there is a lot of money to be made, such as e-commerce, travel, health and finance. These industries face high competition and high search demand, which can make it more difficult to rank high in search engines such as Google and Bing. Other factors contributing to competition in these industries are the complexity of the subject matter and the amount of content already available on the Internet.

Within these industries, there are also often niches where specific search terms may be less competitive. For example, in the e-commerce industry, it may be less competitive to focus on niche products rather than popular products offered by many other sellers.

While these industries can be highly competitive, this does not mean that other industries do not face competition. SEO is an ongoing battle for top search engine positions, regardless of industry. The most important thing is to have a strong SEO strategy and focus on specific keywords and audiences to achieve success.

The influence of different search engines on SEO optimization

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of optimizing a website and its content to achieve higher rankings in search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo and others. Each search engine has its own algorithms, ranking factors and guidelines for SEO, so there are some differences in how to optimize a Web site for different search engines. Here are some general tips for optimizing a website for different search engines:

  1. Research the specific ranking factors: Each search engine has specific ranking factors that affect the ranking of its search results. Therefore, it is important to understand what factors are important to each search engine and how to optimize your website to meet them.
  1. Target keywords relevant to each search engine: Each search engine has different keywords and search terms that are most relevant to users. Be sure to use keywords that are relevant to each search engine to achieve higher rankings.
  1. Customize your website for each search engine’s guidelines: Each search engine has guidelines for a website’s content and structure. Make sure your website meets the guidelines of each search engine, such as having a proper URL structure, use of meta tags and image attributes, etc.
  1. Produce unique and quality content: All search engines want unique and quality content on a website. Make sure you produce high-quality content that is relevant to your target audience and contains keywords that are relevant to each search engine.
  1. Create a strong backlink profile: Backlinks are important to all search engines. Make sure you have a strong backlink profile by obtaining links from websites with high authority and relevance to your industry.

It is important to remember that there is some overlap in how to optimize a Web site for different search engines. For example, most search engines value high-quality content and a strong backlink profile. However, it is also important to take into account each search engine’s specific guidelines and ranking factors to get the best possible results.

International SEO optimization explained

International SEO optimization is the process of optimizing a website to achieve higher rankings in search engine search results in multiple countries and languages. The goal is to generate more traffic from other countries and increase a website’s visibility to international users.

Here are some steps you can take to optimize your website for international SEO:

  1. Research the market and competition: Before you begin optimizing your website for international SEO, it is important to understand the market size and competition in each country. This will help develop the right strategy and determine which keywords are relevant to each country.
  1. Choose the right language and domain extension: It is important to choose the right language and domain extension for the countries where you want to be active. This may mean creating a separate website for each country or using subdomains, subfolders or a language selection menu on your website.
  1. Create unique content for each country and language: It is important to create unique content for each country and language. This means translating and adapting the content to the culture and local customs of the country where you want to operate.
  1. Have a good URL structure: It is important to have a good URL structure that makes it clear for which country and language the page is intended. For example, use the country code in the URL, such as .nl for the Netherlands and .be for Belgium.
  1. Make use of hreflang tags: Hreflang tags are HTML tags that help search engines understand what language and country a page is intended for. By using these tags, you can ensure that search engines show the correct version of your page to users in different countries and languages.
  1. Build links in each country: To achieve higher rankings in each country’s search results, it is important to build links from websites in each country. This may mean finding local partners or contacting local media and influencers.
  1. Use local SEO techniques: It is important to use local SEO techniques to achieve higher rankings in each country’s search results. This could mean, for example, setting up local business listings or using local keywords in your content.

Optimizing a website for international SEO can be time-consuming and challenging, but it can also be very rewarding if done right. By taking the right steps and developing the right strategy, you can attract more traffic and potential customers from different parts of the world(1). Please also consult my international SEO guide for this purpose.

15 benefits of SEO optimization

SEO optimization brings many benefits mainly in the long run. Below are some of these benefits

  1. Higher positions in Google contribute to the total number of organic visitors. A higher position in Google brings a higher CTR. And a higher CTR brings more organic visitors.
  2. Good SEO optimization contributes to the number of (B2B) leads. With the selection of the right keywords (and their intent), targeted efforts can be made to obtain appropriate leads.
  3. SEO optimization increases conversion rates. The quality of the website and thus the user experience is also improving. This, when done correctly, has an impact on conversion.
  4. SEO provides commercial knowledge from the marketplace. Having good market research conducted by an SEO expert adds to an organization’s internal knowledge of the market. For clients of mine, I do market research often enough (including new potential markets).
  5. You are pushing the competitor down. The higher you rank with your result, the lower the competitor ranks. Fine concept, right?
  6. Optimizing the SEO is cheaper than turning on ads. The ad “drip” for leads on the website is not sustainable, SEO is.
  7. Knowledge from an SEO campaign can be applied to other channels. With SEO you find out what your target audience is really looking for, put this knowledge to use for your complete marketing strategy.
  8. SEO impacts all departments of your business. SEO optimization affects not just one department, but all of them!
  9. A high ranking in Google is sustainable. Sustainable and predictable. Are you ranking high in Google and working with a solid specialist? Then you will surely still be standing there a month from now. This predictability also drenches several layers, to predicting website conversions (and ultimately financials).
  10. SEO optimization is “free.” Of course, this only applies to those companies that do not outsource. However, I do like the idea of spending my money with a local marketing agency rather than Google itself.
  11. Be present multiple times on the search results page. The presence of multiple snippets (ad and organic) creates a 1 + 1 = 3 effect when you look at the CTR of these.
  12. SEO delivers sales. When done right, SEO produces revenue in a predictable way.
  13. SEO optimization is the driving force behind affiliate marketing. Many affiliate marketing projects fall or stand with good positions in Google. Use this channel to your advantage.
  14. Discover new features for your product or service. Use input from your target audience to find out about new features for your products or services.
  15. SEO optimization is insurance against Google’s updates. Google updates the algorithm frequently, actively optimizing the SEO (white hat) contributes to the sustainability of positions.

SEO optimization tips for Google

Getting started with SEO optimization? Use my roadmap to get the most out of this campaign.

SEO optimization tipImportance (1-100)Difficulty level (1-100)Time for implementation (1-100)
1. Conduct thorough keyword research957570
2. Provide high-quality, relevant content958085
3. Optimize meta tags and HTML structure.856060
4. Improve website speed908080
5. Build valuable backlinks909095
6. Make the website mobile-friendly908075
7. Use schema markup for structured data807065
8. Implement a clear and user-friendly site navigation structure857070
9. Monitor and solve technical SEO problems908080
10. Take advantage of social media integration806060
11. Optimize images and multimedia856070
12. Use quality internal links857065
13. Create new, relevant content regularly908080
14. Create an XML sitemap807060
15. Avoid duplicate content857065
16. Use short and descriptive URLs805060
17. Implement SSL/HTTPS.908580
18. Use responsive web design908085
19. Use breadcrumb navigation807060
20. Remove broken links856070
21. Make use of social cues857065
22. Implement a content marketing strategy909085
23. Use long-tail keywords857075
24. Optimize for voice search857580
25. Keep an eye on the user experience (UX).958590
26. Optimize for local SEO857075
27. Make use of Google Analytics957075
28. Optimize for featured snippets858080
29. Write attractive and relevant page titles856070
30. Make use of alt texts with images805060
SEO optimization tips.

What does this look like in a monthly roadmap?

Below is a simplified roadmap for a 6-month SEO optimization campaign. Note that each organization needs to create its own customized SEO strategy to get the most out of SEO. Not every organization starts at step 1 and not every organization ends at step 6.

MonthFocus areaPriorityResources neededBrief explanation
1Website audit100SEO specialist, SEO toolPerform an SEO audit and set up Google Analytics and Search Console.
2Keyword research95SEO SpecialistIdentify relevant keywords and create an SEO strategy.
3On-page SEO optimization90SEO specialist, content writerOptimize titles, meta descriptions, and content on key pages.
4Technical SEO85SEO specialist, web developerImprove technical aspects such as loading speed and mobile responsiveness.
5Content creation80Content writer, SEO specialistDevelop and optimize quality, keyword-focused content.
6Link Building75SEO specialist, PR/outreach associateStart identifying link opportunities and conducting outreach.
SEO optimization roadmap (6 months)

Beyond the points listed above the table. SEO is a monthly process that ideally you don’t stop with. After all, the competition is not standing still either. After these 6 months, it is important to establish a new strategy for the period after that.

What are the services within SEO?

By performing various services, you perform search engine optimization, or SEO. SEO consists of three components, namely: content, technology and link building.

Content. Writing relevant, useful texts of quality. It is important to write about only one topic on each page so that both Google and your visitors are not confused(2).

The texts should match the visitor’s search intent. Think about what questions the visitor wants answers to and incorporate those answers into your text. And use intermediate headings. This makes the text more readable for the visitor and also leads to better search results in Google.

It is important that each text be unique. When you make a text recur multiple times on your website, Google picks out one page it finds relevant and ignores the others. In addition, write long texts because the longer the content, the better the quality score with Google. And don’t forget to include keywords in the texts.

You can find these keywords by doing keyword research beforehand. By incorporating very specific keywords into the text, you end up higher in Google with the right target audience.

Technology. Paying attention to a website’s technology is also an important service within SEO. If you focus only on content but not on technology, you still won’t achieve a high ranking in Google. Technology means, among other things, the loading speed of each web page. This should only be a maximum of a few milliseconds. You improve the loading speed by removing unnecessary plug-ins or resizing images, for example.

Providing a mobile version of the website is also part of technical SEO. After all, people also use many mobile devices to visit websites. Furthermore, the structure of a website is important. You do this by clarifying titles and headings using headers. Website structure greatly affects your place in Google.

Mobile SEO optimization

Link building. This third service of SEO optimization is indispensable. Link building means referring links from other websites to your website. In this case, Google sees your website as a reliable source and then places you higher in the organic search results.

The quality of the backlinks does matter. This is because Google checks the reliability of the websites that link to your website. A bad website affects its ranking in search results.

Provide diversity among backlinks. Don’t let all links come from just one source. This, in turn, may be seen as spam. Link building can also be generated from your own network. Ask people within your network if they would like to post a reference to your website.

10 tips to optimize your SEO

Are you optimizing your SEO for Google? I offer ten pragmatic tips that will help you.

  1. Google the keywords. Start typing a search term in the search bar. Google immediately shows suggestions you can do something with. In addition, you will see related searches at the bottom of the first page. That way you can see which terms are searched for more often.
  2. Make sure the keyword is in your URL. Google likes it when the keyword you want to be found on is also in this URL(3).
  3. Think carefully about your page title. This is the title displayed in Google’s search results. Don’t make this title longer than 70 characters or Google will break it down. Incorporate the keyword in the title and turn it into an attractive sentence that covers the content of the page.
  4. The meta description. This is the description below the page title that you see in Google’s search results. It should not exceed 160 characters in length. Place the keyword 1 or 2 times in this description and turn it into an attractive text that covers the load.
  5. Incorporate the keyword in the headlines and interheads, but don’t overdo it. Use H1 through H6 to designate (intermediate) headings.
  6. Allow the keyword to appear multiple times in the text. By this we mean: 1.0-1.5% of total words. And make the keyword bold.
  7. Make your text long. The ideal length is 1,500 words or more. Use short paragraphs so that the text does remain readable and use headings. You will really have to go into depth with your writing.
  8. Use images. And add an “alt tag” to the image(4). This is the piece of text that appears when you move your mouse over the image. Again, incorporate the keyword into this. Do the same for the filename (.jpg) of the image. A few things I always keep in mind:
    • adjust the size of your images: large files make for a slow website;
    • Optimize image names: use relevant and descriptive keywords;
    • make use of alt attributes and make sure the content of the image matches the alt attribute used;
    • use unique images.
Optimizing the image for SEO
  1. Internal and external links. Place hyperlinks here and there in your website that point to other pages within your website. In addition, obtain links from other websites that point to your website. In fact, for Google, this is a sign that your website is relevant.
  2. Give your visitor enough reason to click through. Ensure clarity by putting your store’s address, a phone number or a contact form in a clear place. For each demographic within your ICP (ideal consumer profile), try to include a relevant call to action in the snippet in Google.
SEO optimization for different demographics

Why SEO optimization makes business sense

SEO optimization is an investment, not a cost. There are a number of reasons why investing in SEO is a good idea, working with an SEO agency, for example.

  1. Good online findability builds credibility.

What do you do when you are looking for a product or service? You start researching on the Internet. 95% of searchers do so through Google. A significant proportion of these people are more likely to click on an organic search result (SEO) than a paid search result (SEA). Those who click on an SEO result generate (proven) more conversions. This applies to both B2B markets and B2C.

The probability that a searcher will click through and proceed to purchase is highest with the organic results that appear on page #1. If your website ranks high, Google and the searcher will find your website relevant. The searcher comes to your website more often and builds trust.

  1. Local SEO is booming due to mobile website usage.

People are increasingly on the go when they search Google. Your cell phone is always at your fingertips. Mobile searches surpass desktop searches. I’m always on the go these days. Personalized search ensures that your business is on the radar of people who are near you.

Local SEO (results)

Local SEO is crucial for smaller companies operating at the regional level. Google prioritizes businesses in a specific location, because a coffee shop around the corner is more relevant than a major coffee brand 10 km away.

  1. SEO is cost-effective

You don’t approach your customers, you have what they want. SEO targets searchers who are actively looking for your products or services online. Search engine optimization produces quality leads. Potential customers find you, so no money is spent on acquiring leads.

SEO delivers performance that is measurable. You can see right away what the ROI of SEO efforts is for your business. Every SEO aspect can be tracked. Examples include increases in rankings, traffic from SEO and conversions.

  1. Search engine optimization is a long-term strategy

It is important to take a long-term view when working with a search engine optimization specialist. This way, you will benefit from SEO for as long as possible. As you gain a foothold in Google’s rankings, your online findability increases dramatically. SEO delivers long-term results.

SEO optimization | Technical SEO

SEO is an ongoing process. Why? Google’s algorithms are constantly evolving and are smarter every day. Your SEO must respond appropriately to any updates from Google.

Applying SEO: follow the roadmap

Want to optimize SEO for your website? Then start by following the step-by-step plan below:

  1. Keyword research. Based on the search intent of the searcher, Google determines where websites are displayed in organic search results. By being findable for the right keywords within your industry, you attract relevant visitors.

Through keyword research, you determine which keywords are relevant. You conduct this research using one of many tools, such as Ahrefs or SEMRush. These tools show related search terms, as well as how often they are searched for on average per month and how much competition there is for this keyword. Extract all the important keywords that match your product or service from here.

  1. Content creation. Based on the keyword research just done, you can now create content. Incorporate the chosen keywords several times in the text. The texts should be relevant and of high quality. The length of each text is also important, it should consist of at least 400 words. Use at least one web page for each search term.
  1. Link building. Using link building, you obtain links from external websites that redirect to your website. This is a very important step during your SEO optimization. After all, this gives you online authority and Google appreciates that enormously. The stronger the linking site and the more relevant it is to your topic, the more the link is worth.
  1. Structure. Make sure your website has a logical structure. This encourages Google to rank you highly in Google. Structure means a clear hierarchy of main pages and sub pages. This hierarchy is also evident in the menu and site map.
  1. Speed. This is part of technical SEO. The loading speed of the website and each web page is very important to Google. Allow for up to a few milliseconds. Otherwise, the visitor clicks away and Google puts you one spot to the bottom.
SEO optimization (technique)

Integrating SEO optimization into a marketing strategy

Many of my clients work with a holistic marketing strategy in which SEO is one of the more important channels. Integrating the SEO channel is critical to the entire marketing strategy.

How does SEO optimization affect other marketing channels?

SEO can affect other marketing channels, both positively and negatively, depending on how it is implemented and optimized. Some examples of how SEO can influence other marketing channels are:

Search ads: when a website ranks higher in organic search results, it can mean less reliance on paid search ads to generate traffic to your website. On the other hand, using search ads can also help give your website more visibility and strengthen the brand, which can lead to more organic traffic.

Social media: social media channels can be used to share links to the website to generate traffic to the site. By sharing valuable content on your website that is easy to share on social media, you can attract more traffic to the site and increase visibility.

Email marketing: Once you have built an email list, you can notify your subscribers of new blog posts, products or services you offer on the website. This can help generate more traffic to the site and increase audience engagement.

Content marketing: content marketing and SEO are closely linked. By creating high-quality content optimized for search engines, you can rank your website in search results while providing value to your target audience.

PR and link building: getting external links to the website can improve SEO performance. By developing a PR strategy and obtaining links from other websites, you can increase your website’s visibility and authority.

And the channels that are close together, SEO and SEA?

SEO and SEA (Search Engine Advertising) can affect each other in different ways:

  1. Keyword research: the same keyword research needed to optimize SEO pages can also be used to set up an effective SEA campaign. By looking at the keywords the target audience is searching for, you can ensure that SEA ads are displayed to people looking for your products or services.
  1. A/B testing: by testing both SEO and SEA, you can see which keywords, ad headlines and landing pages produce the most effective results. This information can then be used to optimize strategies and improve ROI.
  1. Brand awareness: having your SEA ads displayed at the top of search results can increase brand awareness of the company. This, in turn, can lead to more organic traffic to the site, as people are more likely to click on links to websites they have already heard of.
  1. Cost containment: SEA ads can be expensive, especially if you target competitive keywords. By improving SEO performance and ranking higher in organic search results, you can better manage your SEA budget by relying less on paid ads.
  1. Using data: by analyzing the results of your SEA campaigns, you can gain insight into the keywords that are performing well. This information can then be used to improve the SEO strategy and optimize the website for these search terms.

In short, SEO and SEA can positively influence each other through shared keywords, A/B testing, brand awareness, cost control and use of data. It is important to merge the two strategies to increase your online visibility and drive more traffic and conversions to the website.

Trends for SEO optimization in 2023

The point of SEO optimization is to continually optimize it. Again in 2023, there are a number of SEO trends that Google sees as important. I highlight them for you:

  1. Core Web Vitals: this becomes an important ranking factor for Google in Google’s algorithm. Core Web Vitals consists of:

Largest Contentful Paint: this measures the perceived loading performance of web pages. This is the time it takes for the largest element of the web page to appear. Such as an image or a video. The limit set by Google is 2.5 seconds. Does it take longer? Then this has implications for your ranking in Google.

First Input Delay: this is the time it takes for the browser to respond to the first interaction. Interaction means, for example, clicking on buttons, on the menu button or filling out forms. Google’s limit is 100 ms.

Cumulative Layout Shift: this measures the time between normal image and a “layout shift. These are observable layout changes that are loaded later, such as images, advertisements or special fonts.

  1. Google Passage Ranking. This is a piece of text, a paragraph, from a particular website that answers the question a searcher asks Google.
  2. Visual Search. This involves looking up something through a visual image. Upload a photo and Google returns results.
  3. SERP Features. SERP implies Google’s results page. It is important to stand out in this. This can be done by: including a keyword in the URL, modifying the meta title and meta description, adding structured data to the content or adding visual content.

Why is SEO optimization focused primarily on Google?

Search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo use bots to “crawl” the Web. This means: searching a Web page through search engine software, or “bots.” These bots explore the Web page to index its content.

So why is SEO primarily focused on Google and not Yahoo or Bing? Google is the most widely used search engine in the Netherlands today. Nearly 40,000 searches are performed on Google every second. That’s 3.5 billion searches a day and 1.2 trillion searches a year. This number is growing by the day.

SEO optimization Google Focus

In fact, in September 2020, 97.37% of all Dutch people used Google as a search engine. Compared to Bing and Yahoo: Bing’s market share in 2019 was only 4.69%. For Yahoo, it was even less, at 1%.

Nevertheless, all the SEO optimizations you perform work about the same as with the other search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo. This is in contrast to SEA. With SEA, you pay to one search engine, for example Google, in order to get a high ranking in search results. Therefore, this means that you also only get a high ranking in Google’s search engine.

The moment you perform SEO optimizations, you not only land high in Google, but probably in the other search engines as well.

Optimize SEO yourself?

Become an SEO specialist yourself! Invest in SEO expertise and easily do SEO yourself. SEO is free. You pay no advertising fees. Optimize your SEO and rank high in Google’s organic search results yourself.

SEO is not difficult. All you need is a solid strategy. Basically, search engine optimization boils down to this:

  • Understand the underlying search intent of your target audience;
  • create unique and quality content;
  • Optimize the technical side of your website;
  • Improve authority through link building;
  • Optimize the structure of the website.
SEO optimization of website structure

Winning in Google? Start optimizing SEO.

Fortunately, you don’t have to do SEO all by yourself. I reach out to you with smart SEO tips and tools. As an SEO specialist, I monitor updates and changes from Google daily. I am happy to share this knowledge with you.

I am the owner of an SEO agency in the heart of Rotterdam. With years of experience as lead SEO specialist for several A-brands, as SEO author for the biggest trade magazines, trainer and coach of development and marketing teams, I now share my experiences, methods and secrets.

Ralf van Veen is #1 SEO freelancer and SEO consultant as seen below (practice what you preach).


Questions about SEO optimization

I get a lot of questions about optimizing SEO. Below I answer the most common ones.

Is SEO optimizing in a competitive market possible?

I often get asked this question. Is optimizing SEO, with results, possible in a competitive market? You can recognize a competitive market by the following.

  • There are more than 5 competitors who have been optimizing for SEO for more than 3 years.
  • The first 10 results on a keyword are relevant to your own offering.
  • The number of referring domains from competitors is growing monthly.

When it is a competitive market, the question is whether your own resources can stand up to it. Do you have an SEO specialist in the company or do you outsource SEO? And how much budget do you have for this? This determines whether you can compete against the competition.

As a business owner, you want customers to come to you. So you want to capture that online market so that they are directed to your very website. This can only happen when that your SEO is in good shape, which is why SEO optimization is a wise choice in this. You should then leave this to a specialist so that you can be sure it has a chance of success.

A good keyword research, a comprehensive analysis and then have all the points that are needed optimized. Good content and maybe even blogging? A good specialist will make every effort to ensure that you can enter the competitive market. If that’s what you see and you’re eager to capture that place, then you know what options are out there and then it’s up to you to figure out what your budget is and whether you’re going to outsource.

What are important components in SEO optimization?

There are hundreds of factors that factor into SEO. Some of these are more important than others. Some of the more important components are listed below.

  • The Web Core Vitals. A number of website speed components, such as the LCP and FCP, are important in ranking in Google.
  • The quality and quantity of content.
  • The number of inbound (and qualitative) link entries to the website
  • The full user experience. From the search results page to conversion.
  • Website structure.
  • The page titles of key landing pages.

As you can see, there is a lot involved in SEO optimization of your website. It is not that one point is addressed and then everything works as it should. It’s really about addressing all aspects in the right way. This is best done for you by an SEO specialist. Good content is very important, visitors should see it as added value.

They want to know more about a product or service, and they can do that through the right information. Through blogging you get to connect with your visitors, they come back because it’s relevant and you keep posting some news. But the website must also be easily accessible, it must be clear what they can find where. So from the basics it should already be good and then you build it step by step, or even better you let an SEO specialist who knows about it do that.

Is SEO optimization worth the investment?

SEO is free. However, you do need to invest in gaining knowledge yourself when you start optimizing your own website. You should see SEO as an investment in your business, rather than an expense. The position you obtain in Google is a long-term position. Just as you don’t just get high in Google, you won’t just drop once you stop investing in SEO.

It really is true that SEO is well worth the investment, and why? For starters, competitors will also do everything they can to make sure they rank first in the search engines. But you also want to be there and make sure that customers come to you to purchase a product or service.

In this story then, SEO is very important, because who is in what position and who can maintain that position? If you know more about SEO, then you also know that you need to invest in it. It takes time and energy, but you can accomplish much more there. You can also outsource it all, which will involve costs, but it will pay for itself. If investing in SEO gets you more customers, that’s more sales.

Why is SEO better than SEA?

Organic positions you don’t buy, you earn them. SEO is more cost effective than SEA. A one-time investment is all it takes to get started with SEO. In the case of SEA, you pay for every click on your ad. You may generate a lot of visitors, but they also cost more.

Organic traffic does not dry up when you decide to stop investing. Research has shown that a higher percentage of searchers click on organic results. This is because organic results exude reliability. Some of the advantages of SEO over SEA are:

  • SEO is for the long term. SEO ensures a long-term, steady stream of quality visitors.
  • SEO exudes reliability (unlike ads).
  • SEO optimization contributes to the user experience of the website.
  • SEO increases conversion rates.

As an entrepreneur, what matters is that you are going to achieve and build something in the online marketplace for the long term. For that, SEO is a better choice. It also increases reliability. It is also a process that will continue continuously, because you have to keep optimizing everything SEO.

Think of good texts, information for visitors, making sure links work properly and that there are no error messages on the site, all contribute to a good search engine ranking. That’s exactly what you want to achieve, that takes time and effort, but that’s going to get you somewhere. It’s all about giving visitors a positive experience on your website, which is why good structure, navigation, is key. A process you will be working on day in and day out, or you will outsource it, and then you will see good results quickly.

How long does it take to achieve search engine optimization success?

If you focus on low-hanging fruit first, you will quickly achieve results. During the workshop I will show you how to do this. Effective SEO depends on several factors. This includes how many adjustments you make and how structurally you proceed. In no time at all, you will be performing SEO yourself. The big advantage is that it will benefit you for a long time.

How long it takes to achieve success depends on a number of factors

  • How much experience do you have within SEO?
  • How much time do you have for SEO optimization?
  • How long has your website been in existence?
  • What is the quality and authority of your website?

Depending on the above factors, it takes 6 to 14 months. Within this period, you will see the first returns from SEO optimization. Does it take longer? If so, chances are something went wrong in the process.

There is no specific answer to this question. After all, it is different for everyone from when you are going to achieve success with search engine optimization. It also depends on where that already places you. So if you have already done some things and are already findable, the goal is to become even more findable.

This might then take a little more time than if it hasn’t been done yet and you just want to become “findable. Therefore, it is different for each situation, but you can get good results and even in the short term. You are then going to set yourself new SEO goals each time that you are going to work on, or outsource. Connecting the dots is a process that can continually achieve new successes.

What components does search engine optimization consist of?

Search engine optimization consists of roughly 3 components. Technical SEO, SEO content and link building. Below I explain them.

  • SEO content: this covers the content (textual and visual) on the website. SEO content actually determines the direction (or targeting) of the SEO journey.
  • Technical SEO is everything that happens under the hood. Technique is conditional for good positioning.
  • Link building (off-page SEO) is obtaining links from other websites. These links determine the authority of the website.

Therefore, all three parts must be worked on when it comes to search engine optimization. It is then up to you to decide what you want to do or whether you would like to learn it all yourself, i.e. first master all the knowledge and then apply it in practice, or whether you would prefer to outsource it.

Good texts are very important anyway, with the right keywords and then with real added value for visitors. They want to know what they can do with you and what you have to offer them. Therefore, this should be reflected on the site anyway, just as there should be no error messages, everything should work properly so that visitors have a positive experience when they come to your site and are happy to return.

What is the cost of the search engine optimization course?

The current fee for the search engine optimization course is a total of €99. You will receive the invoice for the course fee after payment. After the course, you’ll know all about SEO. Included in the course is:

  • 6 hours of footage divided into manageable chunks;
  • The ability to watch the training back whenever and wherever you want one year after purchase;
  • A comprehensive checklist for the purpose of optimizing your content;
  • A complete technical SEO checklist that helps you optimize the technical side;
  • relevant case histories from various industries.

You now know what the cost is and then you also know that you get a lot in return. If you are eager to learn a lot about SEO, this is a good step and you can take the first steps on your own from here. It’s nice to have visuals so you can also look at everything at your leisure and it’s immediately clear what I mean by that.

You don’t have to go through it all at once, you have the ability to watch everything back so you can take the course at your own pace. Right when you have the time and attention to do so. Need to refresh yourself if you haven’t done anything SEO for a while? All possible with this search engine optimization course.

When is it wise to hire an expert for SEO optimization?

It may be wise to hire an SEO expert if you notice that your website is not ranking well in the search results of search engines, such as Google. This could be evidenced, for example, by the fact that your website is not attracting much traffic, or that the traffic you are getting is not relevant to your business.

There are a number of situations in which hiring an SEO expert is definitely recommended, such as:

  1. You have little to no knowledge of SEO and/or online marketing. If you don’t know how SEO works and how to optimize your website for it, an SEO expert can help you understand this and develop the right strategy.
  2. You’re facing a Google penalty. If your website has been penalized by Google because of spammy link building or keyword stuffing, for example, an SEO expert can help you undo this penalty and rank higher in search results again.
  3. You have launched a new website or your website has undergone a major update. In this case, it may be wise to hire an SEO expert to ensure that your website is SEO-friendly and that all key elements are properly optimized.
  4. You’ve already put a lot of time and effort into SEO, but you’re still not seeing results. If you’ve invested a lot of time in SEO but still haven’t gotten the results you expected, an SEO expert can help you figure out what’s going wrong and how to improve.

All in all, hiring an SEO expert can help you make your website more findable in search engine results, generate more traffic and ultimately generate more sales for your business.

Are SEO optimization results sustainable?

The sustainability of SEO optimization results depends on several factors. In general, the results of SEO optimization are more sustainable than paid advertising, for example, because organic search traffic keeps coming as long as you keep ranking.

However, there are a number of factors that can affect the sustainability of SEO results:

  1. Search engine algorithm changes: search engines, such as Google, are constantly working to improve their algorithm to provide users with better search results. This can lead to changes in the way websites are ranked and thus affect your SEO results.
  2. Competition: competitors may improve their SEO strategies and achieve higher rankings in the search results, which may push your position.
  3. Technological changes: technologies change rapidly and the way people search and find information may change. For example, the rise of voice search may affect the way search queries are formulated and processed.
  4. Changes in your own business: changes in your own business, such as a change in your products or services or a change in your target audience, can affect your SEO results.

So it is important to develop a sustainable SEO strategy that focuses on providing valuable and relevant content for your target audience, building quality backlinks and optimizing your website for search engines. This way, you can increase the likelihood that your SEO results will be sustainable and remain so, even if changes occur in the future.

Is it possible to use SEA to boost SEO optimization?

Yes, it is possible to use SEA (Search Engine Advertising) to boost SEO optimization. SEA is a paid form of online advertising where you place ads in the search results of search engines, such as Google. This can help generate more traffic to your website and increase the visibility of your website.

There are several ways SEA can contribute to the SEO optimization of your website:

  1. More traffic to your website: SEA can help generate more traffic to your Web site even if you are not yet ranking well in organic search results. This can help your website get more backlinks and social media shares, which will help your website build authority and rank higher in organic search results.
  2. More insight into keywords: SEA can also help you understand more about which keywords are relevant to your target audience. By advertising on certain keywords, you can see which keywords bring the most traffic to your website. You can then use these insights to optimize your SEO strategy.
  3. Better CTR: By deploying SEA, the ads can generate a higher CTR (Click Through Rate), which in turn can affect the organic search results. In fact, a higher CTR signals to search engines that your website is relevant and valuable to users, which can help improve your website’s SEO score.

However, it is important to note that SEA by itself does not directly affect your website’s organic search results. However, it can help you generate more traffic, increase the visibility of your website and gain a better understanding of relevant keywords, which can ultimately help improve your SEO optimization.

What happens if I stop investing in SEO optimization?

If you stop investing in SEO optimization, chances are you will eventually get less organic traffic to your website and possibly your rankings in search engine results such as Google will drop.

This is because SEO is an ongoing process that requires you to keep working on optimizing your website and content. If you stop SEO optimization, you stop adding new content and improving the usability and relevance of your website, which can ultimately lead to a decline in the quality and relevance of your website in the eyes of search engines.

In addition, your competitors may also continue to invest in SEO optimization, achieving higher rankings and attracting more traffic to their websites. This can weaken your competitive position and reduce your market share.

Therefore, it is important to keep investing in SEO optimization regularly to keep improving your website and rankings and remain relevant to your target audience and search engines. If for whatever reason you decide to stop SEO optimization, it is important to keep in mind that this could lead to a decrease in your organic traffic and rankings.

Is SEO optimization suitable for any type of website?

Basically, SEO optimization is suitable for any type of website, be it a blog, an e-commerce website, a local business website or a large corporate website.

The goal of SEO optimization is to make the website more findable in the search results of search engines, such as Google, by improving the relevance, quality and authority of the website and content. This is important for almost every website, as it can help attract more traffic to the website and increase its visibility and authority.

However, it is true that some websites benefit more from SEO optimization than others. For example, if you have an e-commerce website, SEO optimization can help make your product pages more findable in Google’s search results, allowing you to generate more traffic and sales.

For local business websites, SEO optimization is important to be found locally and attract potential customers to the physical location.

For blogs and informational websites, SEO optimization can help generate more traffic to the website and increase its authority by producing quality content and generating backlinks.

In short, SEO optimization is basically suitable for any type of website, but the extent to which it contributes to the success of the website depends on the type of website and the goals you want to achieve.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
Five stars
My clients give me a 5.0 on Google out of 75 reviews

I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 27 March 2024. The last update of this article was on 22 November 2023. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.