It’s Not Just Links: How to Create a Complete SEO Marketing Portfolio

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SEO is a complex beast – and while links are the most important part, they’re not everything.

Yes, we are primarily a link building company and have always stood by the fact that external links are the single most important factor in SEO. However, Google will tell you itself that there are more than 200 ranking factors – and many SEO marketers (some of them very smart indeed) have tried to figure them all out to varying degrees of success.

Even though you’ll probably never know all of the factors – and, frankly, some of them won’t matter one way or the other if you get the most important ones down pat – it will do you some good to consider what else goes into getting your site onto SERPs besides external links. And trust me, we as a company think about it a great deal too – we couldn’t guarantee the results we do based on link building alone.

Here is a brief exploration of some of the factors that may or may not be big in Google’s decisions; I’m sure we’ll explore each of these in depth as we get closer to the new year.


Keywords are the search terms that users of search engines type in, which are then compared with words in the text of the billions of sites in the engines’ indexes.

Keywords used to be the major focus of SEO, and they’re still important today. With the arrival of semantic search and the increasing “intelligence” of Google’s algorithm – its being able to detect synonyms and phrasing – keywords are less important, though using certain keywords you think your best potential customers will type in within your site text is still a good bet that will likely have at least some ROI.

Internal Links and Site Structure

Google can’t index what it can’t see – so make sure your site is well designed and that you have plenty of internal links as well as external.

Mobile Friendliness

If your site isn’t mobile friendly, it’s not going to do well in SERPs. That seems to become more true every single day, so the sooner you can make your site mobile friendly, the better.

Google itself has some tips on how best to do this. It’s rare for Google to hand out free SEO advice, so it’s best to take it when you get it.

Legitimacy & Popularity

It seems a little unfair and paradoxical, but it is 100% true that you will find it easier to get more and more exposure after your site has already become popular.

However, there is a way to ride the coattails of other popular sites while you make ready to stand on your own – and that’s getting links (yes, it often all comes back to links) from very popular, legitimate sources – the quality of links always matters more than the quantity!

You also need to make sure that your own site is 100% legitimate, and that you’re not trying to scam Google and the other big search engines – because you likely won’t get away with it, and the punishments will be harsh when you’re caught.