Best Practice

SEO - The Basics!

Not sure what a semantic core is? Fear not!

Below is a brief overview of what a SEO program would entail. As you will see over time, an agency that can accomplish everything on the list would need a team with various skills, including back-end web programming, keyword analysis, content editing, PR outreach, web design, and social media knowledge - this level of expertise can become expensive quite quickly. Another factor to consider is that some of the tasks need to be executed on a regular basis, while others may be a one time adjustment, or far less frequent. Lastly, it is not a simple linear execution of tasks. Several of the tasks listed are best done in parallel or in an iterative fashion. 

Elements of SEO Program

1) Evaluate Website Structure 

2) Keyword Analysis 

3) Semantic Core Development 

4) On-Page SEO 

5) Technical SEO 

6) Page Experience 

7) Local SEO 

8) Business Directories 

9) Backlinks 

10) Content Publishing 

11) Social Media Engagement 

12) Landing page / Home Page

Website Structure Evaluation, Keyword Analysis, and Semantic Core 

The first three tasks are typically executed in parallel. Website structure is analyzed to determine your product and services groupings. Similar groups of products or services with the same top-level keywords would need a top-level page that you initially bring users to. If you have more than one group of products that require different sets of keywords, it is best to structure your website so that there is a natural landing page for each group of similar products or services.  

For each of the product groupings a keyword analysis is conducted. There are hundreds of keyword options and combinations. To determine your keywords, you have to consider a number of factors including keywords your pages already rank for, keywords your competitors rank for, overall competitiveness of keywords, search volumes, and search intent of users. 

To create a semantic core, each set of keywords and synonyms is aligned to a specific URL. This can be done for a single landing page, your homepage, or every URL on your website. Many times, each URL is also analyzed to ensure that keywords are not scattered unnecessarily and that you take advantage of unique keywords throughout your website. For more info on the semantic core, read: What is a Semantic Core?

The website structure typically dictates the keyword groupings, however the website structure can be modified if the keyword analysis reveals significant opportunity. The semantic core is developed based on the targeted pages in your website’s structure and keyword groupings. Developing a semantic core can be costly - that why it’s important to optimize your most important pages first. 

The semantic core is implemented by editing and optimizing the on-page content and metadata of the targeted webpages, including page titles, descriptions, H1 tags, URLs, image file names and ALT image text. 

On-Page SEO, Technical SEO and Page Experience 

The implementation of the  semantic core is considered part of On-Page SEO.  On-Page SEO is an umbrella term that includes keyword analysis and implementation, and semantic core creation and implementation. Technical SEO the processes of editing and optimizing the on-page content, the HTML metadata of the targeted webpages, including page titles, descriptions, H1 tags URLs, image file names and ALT image text. Technical SEO. includes hundreds of automated SEO checks, run by an on-page SEO audit tool. It now also covers the analysis and remedies of Page Experience

Page Experience is a subset of technical SEO and  was rolled out in 2021 by Google as a ranking factor. It primarily focuses on core web vitals (performance on desktop and mobile), https (site security), and the absence of intrusive interstitials (pop-up ads).  These are done in parallel to achieve search engine optimized websites and pages. Conducting one without the other will suboptimize your results. 

Local SEO - If you are a business servicing a specific geographic area, you will also need to consider Local SEO. Local SEO starts with the same elements previously discussed with attention focused on local search intent keywords. Local search involves use of terms  such as  “near me” or “city name” in combination with certain keywords. 

Additionally, much of Local SEO is considered off-Page, meaning activity conducted outside of your website. Off site factors include; optimizing your Google Business Profile, discovering and building out citations in local business directories,  using your standard Name, Address and Phone (NAP), seeking press coverage, creating local backlink opportunities, gaining new reviews on a consistent basis, and having an engaged social media presence. Your local SEO efforts start with examining web structure, performing keyword analysis, and creating your semantic core. 

Backlinks are the main off-site activity for businesses that are not local, i.e. Businesses that do not serve a local geographical area. They are links on other websites that link back to yours. All websites seek to be mentioned and linked to by other sites.These are all called backlinks. Having a credible website with a high Domain Authority (DA) with links to your website will increase your websites domain authority. Strong backlinks also benefit local seo. 

There are SEO service companies that specialize in just finding and placing backlinks for your website. However, there are good ways and bad ways of gaining backlinks. The bad ways are called “black hat” keywords, and can get you penalized by search engines, potentially wiping out all your other SEO gains. Basically paying for a link and not paying someone to find and pitch your content to link to is considered “black hat” and could get you penalized. 

Content on your website should be driven by your keyword strategy, and is one of the top factors responsible for driving traffic to your site and increasing your rankings. Along with your on page content and FAQs for long tail keywords, a blog is the most effective method of continuously publishing meaningful content that helps your prospective customers stay informed and entertained.

Social Media Engagement of your content is one of the most obvious benefits of growing and using your social media accounts for your business. Link building, brand awareness and trustworthiness are additional benefits. There is a bit of debate in the SEO field  on whether social media engagement is a ranking factor for search engines. But one thing is true - Google indexes tweets and social media pages, and returns them in their search engine results page. 

Landing page - many small businesses direct most of their users to their home page. The home page of a small business is their digital storefront. People often times assume that their homepage is a landing page. A landing page in the SEO world is a page specifically designed for a call to action, and is typically used in conjunction with a campaign, such as a sale, a product release, or promotion of a specific piece of content. Many small businesses do not use landing pages on a regular basis and depend on their homepage to engage customers. 

You need to think about what you want people to specifically do once they land on your homepage.  Should they visit another page, contact you, get directions, place a pickup order or make a purchase? Whatever your primary call to action is, it needs to be clear, easy and engaging. 


A fully outsourced SEO service can cost a considerable amount. And, while you could opt to do it yourself, it requires expertise that you may not have. Many small business owners prefer to hire SEO specialists as needed.’s platform integrates all your marketing platforms into a set of intelligent dashboards with integrated SEO tools to provide you the insight on which specialist to retain based on performance. Cruxdata partners with proven experts so that you do not have to find experts through trial and error. This allows a business owner to hire experts for the required services as needed and only pay fees for deliverables - not expensive overhead. If you need help hiring professional SEO help, checkout our blog  How to Hire an SEO Agency or Freelancer for some quick tips and best practices.

Preston Derrick