As a subscriber to lot’s of SEO publications, I can assure you there’s no shortage of ideas, strategies, and “secrets” on reaching the gold standard of the #1 search result in Google.

From ‘build backlinks’, to ‘get more reviews’, to ‘publish more blog posts’, to ‘speed up your website’, to ‘make sure your site is mobile friendly’… the recommendations to effective SEO are endless.

Is SEO really this complicated?

No, it’s not!

I’d like to simplify the overarching perspective on what it really takes to increase your rankings in Google organic – and Google Maps – search results by telling you this…

Effective SEO is singular.

Meaning, there’s only one thing that rises above the noise of the endless recommendations on what it takes to increase rankings.

And that one thing (the singular thing) is authority.

What is effective SEO?

Effective SEO is all about building authority to your website for Google organic search results, and about building location authority for Google Maps search results.

That’s right… authority is the singular element that ultimately influences your success, or lack thereof, in search.

Start increasing your authority and your website / business will begin to rise quickly in Google search and maps.

Build more authority than all of your competitors, and you’ll absolutely dominate the search results.

Do nothing to build authority, and you’ll be completely absent from the mass market of potential customers who are searching for what you offer.

How to build Effective SEO Authority

This singular perspective has two equally simple perspectives on strategy, depending on if we are talking about organic (Google organic) or local (Google Maps) search results.

Building authority for Google organic: you need a portfolio of referral domains (backlinks) that collective is more authoritative than your competitors.

You can achieve an authoritative portfolio of referral domains by pursuing a strategy that achieves scale (volume) and / or magnitude (authority).

Scale means that you are building a large number of referral domains.

Magnitude means that referral domains you are getting backlinks from are highly authoritative sites and resources.

Here’s an example of scale and magnitude.

If you build 100 referral domains from DA 30 to DA 50 sites, you achieved scale because 100 referral domains is a large number of backlinks.

If you build 1 referral domain from (currently DA 92), then you’ve achieved magnitude because 1 backlinks from this site is extremely powerful.

In fact, I would argue that 1 backlink from some site like Yale would be more authoritative than 100 backlinks from low to mid range DA level sites.

Scale & Magnitude for Effective SEO

The most powerful scenario is when you can achieve both scale and magnitude.

So if you can execute a strategy that includes a large number of referral domains plus a mix of DA 90+ level sites, then you’ll achieve both scale and magnitude.

I know from experience that scale and magnitude is very hard to compete with, no matter how stiff your competitive market may be.

Read also:  25 Local SEO Tips for 2020

Building authority for Google Maps:  for effective Local SEO, you need a portfolio of authoritative citations that align perfectly with your Google My Business (GMB) listing.

Similar to referral domains build authority for organic search, citations are the secret sauce to building authority in Google Maps.

We refer to your ability to rank and compete in Google Maps as your location authority.

The more location authority you have, the higher you’ll rank in Google Maps and the more productivity your business will experience (phone calls, website visits, direction requests, reviews, etc…).

You may be wondering “what’s a citation?”.

I define a citation as a data set made up of 7 variables:

1. Your business name
2. The street address of your business
3. Your city
4. Your state
5. Your zip code
6. Your phone #
7. Your website URL

Collectively, these 7 variables are what’s called a citation.

For example, here’s a citation for our business Bipper Media:

Bipper Media Web Design & SEO
855 Gaines School Road
Suite A
Athens, Georgia 30605
(706) 363-0335

You may also notice that these 7 variables are represented in your GMB (Google My Business listing).

Effective SEO

And the key to effective citation distribution (building citations) is to ensure that your citations are a 100% match to your GMB listing.

Scale & Magnitude with Citations

The same principle of scale and magnitude holds true with your citation building strategy.

The overall authority of your citation portfolio will have a direct impact on your rankings and visibility in Google Maps.

The more competitive your market, the more authoritative your overall citation portfolio must be.

Effective SEO is Singular

This brings us full circle back to the simple, singular premise that all SEO roads lead to and that is authority.

And the single factor that matters more than everything else combined is authority.

So to put it in a simple formula: effective SEO = authority.

I hope this article is helpful.

Let me know if you have any questions!