What Is Holistic SEO? Embracing a People-First Approach

Adam Steele
Nov 24, 2023
Quick navigation

Like a connoisseur savoring a fine wine, today’s search engine algorithms crave depth, richness, and complexity in a website. A trend that has nudged webmasters to look beyond the confines of traditional SEO practices and ushered in a more comprehensive approach—enter holistic SEO.

By the end of this guide, you’ll

  1. have the answer to the question, “What is holistic SEO?”
  2. be informed about the preferences Google has regarding website content,
  3. and know the components that make up a holistic SEO approach.

What Is Holistic SEO?

Holistic is the idea that an approach should consider all components of a system rather than viewing them as individual entities. When applied to search engine optimization (SEO), holistic SEO recognizes that a website’s success is the sum of many parts—technical aspects, on-page content, off-page strategies, and user experience (UX). So, at the heart of the holistic SEO philosophy, the idea is that favoring one aspect of a website without optimizing the others will imbalance a website’s SEO performance.

Learn more: Interested in broadening your SEO knowledge even further? Check out our SEO glossary, where we’ve explained over 250+ terms.

Holistic SEO vs. Traditional SEO

Traditional SEO practices are heavily centered around tackling each aspect of SEO in a silo. For example, optimizing each web page for a specific keyword. While this tactic might lead to sporadic victories, with some pages finding success in search results, it doesn’t necessarily translate to a cohesive customer journey or, most importantly, more conversions.

Contrastingly, holistic SEO embraces a big-picture approach, understanding that a website is more than just a collection of individual pages. It’s a journey for the visitor. From the moment potential customers land on a page, through the content they engage with, to the calls to action they respond to, every element is interconnected.

It’s an approach that ensures visitors aren’t just passing through—they’re being guided, step by step, toward a desired outcome.

Why Is Holistic SEO Important?

As most SEO techniques and campaigns will be centered around optimizing for Google search results, let’s see how a holistic SEO approach aligns with Google’s algorithmic preferences.

Holistic SEO Aligns With Google’s Increased Focus On User Experience

Google’s suite of search algorithms is constantly being tweaked and expanded to provide the best possible user experience. The result? Google ranks high-quality websites that are contextually relevant to search queries and demonstrates an alignment with their E-E-A-T principles (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness).

To highlight this point, Google previously stated:

“Google’s core ranking systems look to reward content that provides a good page experience. Site owners seeking to be successful with our systems should not focus on only one or two aspects of page experience. Instead, check if you’re providing an overall great page experience across many aspects.”

Aligning with Google’s UX-centered preferences by making it easy for users to find the information they need fast, a holistic SEO approach focuses heavily on cultivating a seamless user experience.

The Long-Term Benefits of a Holistic Approach Over Quick Fixes

Quick “fixes” that sometimes embrace black hat SEO practices may seem promising in the short term, but more often than not, they end in disaster. Google’s algorithms have become experts at sniffing out manipulative SEO practices and won’t hesitate to de-rank websites that employ tactics that err on the side of nefarious.

Google’s spam policy states:

“Our spam policies help protect users and improve the quality of search results… We detect policy-violating content and behaviors both through automated systems and, as needed, human review that can result in a manual action. Sites that violate our policies may rank lower in results or not appear in results at all.”

Granted, there are no quick fixes in the holistic SEO approach. But what there is is a long-term investment to achieve sustainable results. When a website is optimized for user experience, follows Google’s best practices, and is considered to be helpful, it is likely to be rewarded with a top spot on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

The Role of Holistic Seo in Crafting “People-First Content”

Holistic SEO is about understanding the broader picture of website content, ensuring that every piece of content serves a genuine purpose for the user. Google has, for a long time, emphasized the importance of creating content that is primarily for people, not just for search engine rankings.

A philosophy that aligns perfectly with the principles of holistic SEO, which prioritizes the user’s needs, questions, and journey.

Google’s People-First guide states:

“People-first content means content that’s created primarily for people, and not to manipulate search engine rankings… Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or site that would find the content useful if they came directly to you? Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge?”

Components of Holistic SEO

Let’s explore the various components of a holistic SEO content strategy:

On-Page SEO:

  • High-quality, relevant content: At the heart of on-page SEO is content. But not just any content—content that is both high-quality and relevant. It’s about understanding what your audience is looking for, targeting relevant keywords that align with search intent, and delivering it in an engaging and informative way.
  • Addressing search intent: With Google’s increasing focus on semantic search, content strategies must be focused on search intent. Whether users are looking for a quick answer, a detailed guide, or a product to purchase, your content should cater to that specific need.

Off-Page SEO:

  • Building website authority: An off-page SEO process that involves establishing your website as a trusted source of information or a leading figure in your industry. Backlinks from reputable sites, social signals, and other endorsements will significantly boost a site’s authority.
  • Ethical link-building practices: Not all links are created equal. Engaging in ethical link-building practices centered around quality over quantity is precisely what Google wants to see.

Learn more: on-page SEO vs. off-page SEO.

Technical SEO:

  • Technically sound website: A website that’s easy for search engines to crawl and index is more likely to rank higher. So, ensuring no broken links, duplicate content, or other technical SEO issues will no doubt help your content marketing efforts.
  • Site speed and mobile optimization: No more than ever, users expect websites to load quickly and work seamlessly on any device. Ranking factors like site speed and mobile optimization significantly impact user experience and SEO rankings.

User Experience :

  • Positive user experiences: Websites that embrace intuitive navigation, clear call-to-actions, engaging visuals, and responsive design will win the day.
  • Correlation between engagement and SEO: Search engines recognize when users find value in a website. Metrics like bounce rate, time on site, and page views can influence SEO rankings, underscoring the importance of providing a top-notch user experience.

Holistic SEO FAQ

Q1: What Is a Holistic Site?

From high-quality content, target audience-aligned keyword research, and page optimization, a holistic site aims to optimize for every ranking factor.

Q2: What Is the Difference Between Holistic SEO and Semantic SEO?

Holistic SEO emphasizes optimizing all website elements for a unified user experience, while semantic SEO delves into understanding the context and intent behind user queries. Semantic SEO ensures content aligns with search terms’ true meaning, whereas holistic SEO provides an all-encompassing approach to site optimization.

Conclusion and Next Steps

Loganix’s digital marketing services are designed holistically, ensuring that every facet of your online presence is optimized for success. So, whether you’re just starting out or looking to refine your existing strategy, Loganix is here to guide you every step of the way.

🚀 Explore Loganix’s suite of SEO service offerings, and let’s craft a digital strategy that resonates, engages, and converts. 🚀

Written by Adam Steele on November 24, 2023

COO and Product Director at Loganix. Recovering SEO, now focused on the understanding how Loganix can make the work-lives of SEO and agency folks more enjoyable, and profitable. Writing from beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.