Browsing Category

SEO

Featured SEO

“Hey Moe, What Exactly Is Search Engine Optimization?”


Throughout my years of digital marketing, I’ve had plenty of inexperienced entrepreneurs spring up to me with a fresh-faced approach and a glint of hope in their eye. The future looks bright for them, especially since they have found an online niche that they believe will be profitable.

That look of enthusiasm quickly fades away when I ask them if they have a particular SEO strategy. Some may actually know what it means but don’t have a full grasp of what it can do for them.

I don’t blame them. SEO itself can be a confusing topic for discussion that can mean many different things. But luckily for you, this digital marketing consultant is more than willing to help out anyone looking for more information on the subject.

Okay, really though. What is SEO?

Search engine optimization is the process that helps websites become more visible in a search engine’s unpaid results. It’s important to also recognize that SEO isn’t a “one and done” kind of thing, either. One day’s success may be the next day’s failure because of frequent changes made to search engine algorithms. For instance, Google updates their system between 500 to 600 times a year.

Therefore, marketers must adapt their SEO practices to the frequent changes made to the search engine algorithms in order to keep their website(s) ranking. If marketers fail to make the appropriate changes to content or any other ranking factor on their website, their website may lose their ranking, or even be removed entirely.

How does SEO work?

While we all know what a search engine is – like Google, Yahoo!, or Bing – many do not know how they really work. Well, understanding all the intricacies that happen behind the scenes can definitely give you a newfound appreciation for the technological marvels that are search engines.

First, Google, or whatever search engine you use, sends out search engine spiders to gather information on all the content they can find on the Internet regarding your query. When they return to the search engine with all of the data that they have collected, they create an index. After that, the index is sifted through the algorithm to accurately match the original query.

This is literally the first two-thirds of what SEO stands for – search engines (SE).

When it comes to optimizing (the O in SEO), that is more in control of the owner of the website, be it business or personal.

In short, optimizing is something that can be done in several ways. One of the popular options is in content writing, where keywords are used to attract both traffic and search engine spiders. A few years back, loading up a blog post full of keywords was a go to in terms of SEO, but now the focus is being shifted back—and rightly so—to several other factors that encourage content to be less focused on keywords and more focused on actually being informative and valuable.

While there are fast and easy methods you can use to make a quick buck, sticking to long-term, sustainable SEO practices are much more rewarding. In order for your website to have longevity and success, you need to be able to utilize both your on-page and off-page SEO at maximum efficiency.

What is on-page and off-page SEO?

These two categories need to be working well together in order to have a successful SEO strategy:

  • On-page SEO – This refers to all of the ranking factors and variables that Google and other search engines use to look at your web page and its optimization, such as content, headlines, and page structure.
  • Off-page SEO – This method deals with link building, social media marketing, social bookmarking, the personal history of the person doing the search and several other variables that deal with your website’s reputation.

Sound a little confusing?

Think about it this way: in this particular scenario, you own a restaurant. A good example of on-page SEO would be the inside of the restaurant that features beautiful, wooden oak tables stained a rich mahogany, a sleek and clean bar area with a variety of taps and top-shelf beverages in the back, friendly wait staff, and steamin’ hot food ready within minutes.

It could be the perfect bar and grill on the inside but if it doesn’t have a solid reputation, if there’s no social gatherings happening there, no word around town, no magazine or newspaper reviews, then you won’t have a crowd coming in.

If this scenario is reversed and you have a great social presence but a raunchy interior, you won’t have good results either.

In fact, you may have more people bounce. Not, like, slang for “leave,” but a term that Google uses when people leave only after viewing one page in your website. Having a high bounce rate will bring down your page in rank, making your website less and less visible.

To be truly successful when it comes to SEO, you’ve got to have both on-page and off-page SEO working in tandem.

Search engine optimization is a huge field of study that requires a lot of time and patience to master. Luckily for you, you have a digital marketing consultant, me, at the ready waiting for your call for any additional information you need.

Featured Google Ranking SEO

Seven Reasons Why Your Google Ranking Stinks

It is an age-old question that has been pondered by many a digital marketer since Al Gore “created” the Internet:

Why isn’t my website popping up on the 1st page of Google’s results?

I know it can be pretty frustrating when you think you’ve got your SEO game down pat, or when you’ve directed traffic to your website from social media, but sometimes it may just take a little finesse.

When you’re a digital marketing consultant, you begin to see all of the little intricacies that can either make or break your site’s visibility, and you pass on that knowledge on to others that need to get their product or service noticed.

So grab a notepad, take a seat, and let’s get started.

1. Your site is brand new.

You can’t really expect quick results when you are establishing a website. It takes time for Google to index a website; it’s generally a two to three-week process before your website makes it into Google’s search results. On top of that, you won’t be ranked very high right off the back.

Let’s not forget that your SEO has to be sound.

2. Your on-page SEO needs work.

Sometimes it is difficult to keep up with the changes that SEO undergoes because of changes to Google’s algorithm. But the truth is that in order to survive in the digital marketing world, you need to be able to thrive in SEO.

When it comes to on-page SEO, crafting content will generally always stay the same. While keywords and phrases may change in ranking, you’ll still use them in roughly the same way as well.

That means that you will want to:

  1. Have static, keyword-rich URLs – Google ranks static URLs in a fairer manner within the search results page because they are indexed quicker than dynamic URLs. Also, you can’t plant your URL full of keywords when using dynamic URLs, thus making static URLs more SEO friendly.
  2. Optimize title tags, alt image tags, and headings – Alt tags and title tags amplify your content and its keywords to search engine spiders, which in turn grants you better visibility in the results page.
  3. Plant them throughout your content – The old tried and true method of placing strong keywords in a way that sounds natural within your content, along with related long tail keywords and phrases, is another surefire way of properly using your on-page SEO to its fullest potential.

Don’t focus solely on one or two keywords, though, and don’t think of writing content around what your keywords are. Instead, craft content under a general theme or topic.

This encourages your content to sound informative in a casual manner, implementing strong keywords and their related keywords in a much more natural fashion. Doing this will not only increase your ranking on each word, it will read better, improve user experience and attract more inbound links since your polished content will provide more comprehensive, expert-like information on a subject.

3. Your content isn’t up to par.

Crafting content can be a difficult process. Too little information provided within a post and your viewers will disregard it quickly. Too much can overwhelm and confuse them.

That’s why Google answered to the mountains of bad content by implementing its Panda algorithm. The algorithm enforced higher quality search results by punishing websites that produced too much “thin” content.

What is thin content? Well, it is considered in two different types:

  1. Insubstantial, low-value content – This type of content usually garners a manual action—Google’s way of demoting or removing your website as a whole—against your site if it is deemed to offer little information of value or spam.
  2. Zero-value content – This simply means your website offers no value to viewers and website visitors. Usually, there won’t be any manual action taken in this type of thin content, but it will be likely that your website will not be receiving much traffic, shares, mentions, or inbound links from other authors.

One thing to reflect upon, however, is that if your content is bad, it will ultimately set a poor impression on website visitors, meaning you can kiss those conversion rates goodbye.

4. You were hit with a manual action or an algorithmic penalty.

If you were hit with a manual action or algorithmic penalty, believe me, you’ll know it. There would be a severe, sudden drop in your rankings, which in turn would affect your organic search traffic.

That, and you’d receive a manual action notification from Google. As discussed above, this mostly happens when you produce and present thin content.

But an algorithmic penalty is different. It is usually more difficult to identify, and Google is known for updating their algorithm frequently, even up to twice a day. One thing you could do to verify this is to check the date when you suffered a drop in rank and match it to known updates. The easiest way to find that information is here.

After finding out which update caused the penalty, all you would have to do next is fix the specific problem.

5. Your website is lacking inbound links and mentions.

When you want to get your site ranked high in search engine results, you want to have a strong inbound link profile.

A strong inbound link profile consists of:

  • Links from authoritative, high-quality sites that are relevant to your topic.
  • A good number of non-linked brand mentions.
  • A decent number of quality deep links, not just to your homepage, but to internal links as well.
  • Strong relationships between sites via co-citations.

You just can’t have a high-ranking website without them.

6. Your website isn’t mobile-friendly.

If your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you are missing out on a huge piece of that delicious traffic and high-rank pie.

Fifty-seven percent of all Internet traffic comes from mobile devices like cell phones and tablets. That’s why on April 21, 2015, mobile-usability became a priority in terms of ranking factors in Google’s “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update.

And it may soon switch over to a “mobile-first index,” meaning that Google will prioritize sending search engine spiders, or crawling, mobile sites over desktop sites.

7. You accidentally blocked Google from being able to access your website.

There are plenty of ways that Google can be unintentionally blocked from being able to crawl or index your site. Usually, the error can be found in your robots.txt file.

This happens to the best of us. Some of the main occasions where this can happen are when you are launching a new site or when you are migrating your site from one domain to another.

In order to make sure that Google has full access to your site, you’re going to want to open your robots.txt file and look inside until you see something like this:

  • User-agent: *
  • Disallow: /

If you see that, that means you’ve blocked Google from your whole website. You could, however, remove this code from the file to fix it, but I would recommend recruiting an expert to do that just in case.

Speaking of which, if you need any help on getting your website optimized properly, setting up a winning website that will earn you some real money, or digital marketing consultation, contact me today at (956) 566-4998.