Basics of SEO – August 12th, 2014
This free SEO webinar was presented by Attracta on August 12th, 2014.
Joe: Today’s topics are going to include keyword research, on-page optimizations and building links.
Greg: My name is Greg. Just to give you guys a quick introduction, I am part of a team that has ranked over 10,000 websites in the last few years. Yeah, excited to give your guys some information today. While we are doing this, if you can just do us a favor, save your questions for the end. If you come up with any questions along the way, we are more than happy to answer them for you, but we will do a brief Q&A session at the end of the presentation.
Joe: All right, so real quick, what is search engine optimization? Search engine optimization is the process of affecting the visibility or website or a web page in a search engine’s organic or unpaid search result. What do I mean when I say organic or unpaid search results? Here we have some searches done already just to give you some examples. The organic search results are down here in this area of the page. There are going to be 10 per page in any search engine result.
These up here and this on this side over here, these are all paid adds. These companies are essentially bidding for the top spots for those keywords. Now the prices for the top spot are going to vary depending on the competition of the keywords that you are targeting your add campaign on, but this is what we are talking when we are talking about SEO. We are talking about getting you ranked in the organic listing of search results. That is right here. You do not pay every time somebody clicks in this area or search results.
Also, there is some information, there are a lot of localized keywords. Well, Google knows that okay somebody is searching for something that is, they want to find something that is in their area. Here is a search for car dealerships that gives you an example and Greg is going to give you a run down on the Google 7 pack here.
Greg: Yeah, so what you are seeing here is what we call the Google 7 pack because there are actually seven listings that come up for localized terms. Certain keywords, key phrases are going to trigger the localized results while other terms are just going to trigger the regular organic results. Here is an example. We just typed in car dealerships and we are based out at St. Petersburg, Florida. Here we have the list of the local dealerships in our area.
You are probably wondering, all right, how does Google sort these in order of top to bottom or whatever. They way that they do it is they look at a variety of signals. One of the most important things that they consider is something that is called direct recitations. Direct recitations is like a Yelp page or yellowpages.com. Any of your regular phonebooks sites are going to be these kinds of websites that store your name address and phone number.
That is the direct recitation and having lots of those is going to send signals to Google to rank your business. Here we have Maher Chevrolet. They have a 109 Google reviews. Reviews also are super important because they are going to help send signals to users that obviously you are a trustworthy business. I am sure most of you guys you do reviews before you decide on a business so don’t neglect to get good reviews. Tell your best customers to leave them.
Other kinds of keywords that are going to trigger the localized results are keywords like coffee for instance that is going to give you a list of the local coffee shops and show you where your Starbucks is down street whereas if you were type in coffee beans or something like that. That is not a localized term. That is actually going to give you a list of organic results that are ranking for coffee beans versus regular coffee shops. That is pretty much it.
Just wanted you to understand the difference between these results and the regular results that you get for basic search that the organic listings.
Joe: All right, so when you are starting any SEO campaign, the very, very, very first step of any SEO campaign is going to the keyword research. What are people searching to find my type of business or service? Essentially, what would you type in Google to find your own website? That is the step one of any SEO campaign is being aware of the keywords. Now you do want to be aware of any competition for keywords. One way to look at competition here is, you see when we have done this car dealership search, Google shows you there are about 11 million results returning for that term car dealerships.
Now again these are a little bit localized results so that is probably paired down a bit, but if you do a search for make money online you will see 4088 million. Obviously that is much, much more competitive term. That is one little indicator to you how competitive search terms is. It is not the only indicator. Google also gives you a tool called the keyword planner tool. It is a free tool on Google site, and it will basically show you how many times per month is somebody searching for this particular keyword that you have entered.
It is also give you the ability to enter your website, and Google will crawl through your content and determine what it things are the keywords you are trying to target for your website content. It will give you some keyword suggestions that way but knowing the competition level is very key to selecting the correct keywords to use for your business. Then once you have selected your keyword, one that you decide okay these are the keywords I am going to target, you need to make sure you are planning your website’s content, the content on your pages is around these keywords.
You got to make sure that these keywords exists in your content so that Google even knows to index your site for these search terms. A lot of people come to us and they want to rank for a very specific term and that word is nowhere on their website. That is very important to make sure it is in there. You also want to limit the number of keywords you target per page. Again, a lot of people come to us and say I want to rank for 50 keywords for my home page, and you don’t really have a lot of space to properly optimize one single page for 50 keywords that way.
You really got to target. Once you decide your keywords, you got to then decide, okay, I want to target this keyword on this page and then a few supporting keywords along with my main keyword. You cannot just try to rank your website, one page of your website for as many keywords as you can possibly think of. That gets us into the on page optimization rule. Some key areas of your on page optimization are page tittles, heading tags and then any emphasized text.
Let me give you some examples of that. Got a few websites pulled up here. I am going to bounce back and forth between them when we are talking about on-page, because they have some good examples of good and bad SEO practices. So I can show you this Website is doing one thing good. This other website is doing the other thing right. Here is a lawyer’s website. When we are talking about page titles this is your page tittle. It is displayed at the top of the browser or in the tab, and each browser is going to display this somewhat differently.
Google Chrome, they only display the tabs. There is no top of the browser page tittle there. Most of them do though. They will show you this is what your page tittle is. If you click on any of your pages here the page tittle might change. Each page should have a unique page tittle. That is very important. If you, real quick, if you look at this, this is what your page tittle is what is displayed in search results here. Here we have our listing here, free SEO tools, managed SEO service. That is that particular page’s page tittle.
That is why it is so important to have keyword value in your page tittles because you see this search here was for managed SEO services, and any words that you search for in good are returned in bold in these page tittles as well as these meta descriptions. That is very, very key area of your website that you need to optimize as your page title. Again, you want unique page tittles for each page because you don’t want your own pages competing against each other for the same search terms.
Again, that is why you want to plan different keywords for different pages, what is your content going to focus on for each page? This particular example right here, his page tittle is simply Charles H. Stark, PA. It is just simply his name. That is not a very good page tittle. That is not an optimized page tittle, because unless you are specifically searching for his name, if you are familiar with this guy then you might find him typing that in but otherwise he does not have a lot of search value in his page tittle. It should probably, it looks like he does corporate and business law and things like that. It should probably be corporate attorney Charles Stark or, looks like he is central Florida or Winter Park Florida, so Winter Park Florida corporate business attorney, something like that, something that has some keyword value that somebody might actually be typing in to find it.
Over here, here is another example. This is a lake management company. They clean ponds and lakes and stuff like that. They have some keyword value in their page tittle. This is a little bit better example of a page tittle. Lake Management – Aquatic Management Strategies. If somebody were to type in lake management services, it is more likely he would pop up. He has got some keyword value in here.
Here is one more example. This is a Los Angeles photographer. Again, his page tittle starts off with Los Angeles photographer. He puts LA in there for variation in case somebody searched for LA photographer and this guy’s name and photography. That covers both photographer and photography if people type it in that way. Google is getting much better at recognizing these synonyms so you don’t have to have both versions in a page tittle, but it is just a good example of what he is trying to do there. He has covered both, the word photographer and the word photography. That gets into page tittles a little bit.
Another section of your website that you want to make sure you are optimizing is any heading tags. In code terms, heading tags are know as H1, H2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. These are the different levels of your heading tags. Your H1 tag is going to be your main heading for your page. This should be focussed on whatever your main keyword you are targeting on that specific page. Again, let us jump to somebody’s web page and give you some examples.
On this particular site, this is actually his H1 tag which is areas of experience. Again, not a lot of search value there. It does not really talk about anything that he does. There is no keyword focus to this. It is just a generic heading tag that way. When we come back over here, again here is his main H1 tag. Again, he has got his main keyword for this page as lake management. Again, he has got lake management in his main heading tag. There is some search value to it. This is an example of a little bit more optimized heading tag that way.
Then we get into the other heading tags, the H2s, 3s, 4s, 5s and 6s, stuff like that. That is this. This probably either H2 or H3 tag on this particular website. This does have some keyword value. Obviously corporate business law, people might be searching for a corporate attorney or a corporate lawyer, business lawyer or whatever. All three of these, they are actually specific key word planned heading tags, so there is good search value over there.
Jumping back to this site, this one actually does not have great search value and they are smaller, their H2 is their H3. This says our approach, our methods, our customer care, again not a whole lot of keyword value. It is okay sometimes you are going to have some heading tags that are not going to be keyword focused. It is not just about hammering the keywords. It is about providing good content to your users but when you can you do want to have something more.
Maybe this would say, our approach to lake management or our methods to lake cleaning, something like that just to get a little bit more keyword search value in these heading tags. That is another area of your site that you want to make sure that you are optimizing properly.
Another one that is often overlooked is emphasized text on your site. Any emphasized text on your site has a little bit of added search value. When the search engine’s web crawlers go through your website and they see the code of your site. If they see that, oh this word is bold or this word is italic or coded or whatever, they are going to know that okay this is important to this website, let us pay a little bit closer attention to that.
One this is pretty important here is you do want to use this sparingly. You can’t just, don’t just bold keyword after keyword. The most important thing you are doing with SEO is trying to provide your users with really good, really unique valuable content or useful content to them. If I am searching for a lake management company, I want good information about what this lake management company does. Not just, I don’t want to just read keyword, keyword, keyword.
Google has taken a lot of steps to make sure that people who are just stuffing keywords in their content are taken out of the search results. You do have to make sure you are not just overdoing any of these. To give you an example of some good optimized text or emphasized text usage, this is a photographer’s website. I just want to point out something he doing wrong here is he is hiding all his SEO text at the bottom of the page down here. You can see this is, when you come to this website this is what you see, and there is this big gap of white and then his SEO text is there.
That is actually a very, you don’t want to do this. Google is again trying to keep the people that are trying to trick the system, keep them out of the search results, but I wanted to show it to you, because this is a very good example of how you use emphasized text. Again, this is probably his H1 tag so again good search value there. Here, Los Angeles photographer. He has got that bolded.
Anchor text, if you are not familiar with what anchor text is, anchor text is text that links to another page. Sometimes you see click here or more information and you can click on that and it will take you to another page. That is what is considered anchor text. Here he has got anchor text to other pages within his own site. These are links within his own site to a page about wedding photography. You click on that, there is more information supporting that specific keyword. Portrait photographer, event photographer, he has got all these different pages with information about those specific services that he is providing.
He is using them all as anchor text to get to other pages. The reason this is good is because Google wants people to be able to access the information they are looking for easily. By having anchor text with his keywords in there that go to a page that provides more information about that, that is just really good, that is really good on-page SEO. Good use of anchor text. Again, you cannot stuff this in here. This is almost overdone on this page particularly, but it is a pretty good example of how they are using it.
If you just see throughout this whole thing. He has probably got this as an H2 or H3, again just emphasizing his keywords here. This is italicized wedding photographer there. He is just emphasizing his key words through all this different forms of emphasis you can place on text. Again, this might be a little bit over done but it is a really good example how you can implement on your own site that way.
That gets us into link building, and this is Greg’s expertise here, so Greg is going to give you a good run down on what you should do when you are building links for your website.
Greg: Okay, so you may be familiar already with just the term links but basically what we mean by that is getting a link from an authoritative website or just any website for that matter but you want to have links that come from authoritative website. What I mean by that is if you have a link that goes to website, and it comes from a Wall Street Journal article or a Huffington post article, that is a really good link, because those websites are very authoritative.
They have a lot of readers. They have a lot of users that go them all times, so Google rewards them with a high authority rating. That gets passed over to your website where there is a link between the sites. You can pick up a link like as a handshake between two sites. The more links that you have the better, but you don’t want to over do it and get too many links too fast because what you could possibly do is get penalized for over optimization.
What I mean by over optimization is using the same keyword or the same anchor text way too many times and not diversifying out enough. If your main keyword is car dealership, you don’t want to keep using that keyword every single time because it is going to make to look to Google like you are trying to do something fishy and you trying to, basically trick the search engine. The best way to do link building is to do it slow and steady pace.
If you are not comfortable with doing your own link building, that is totally okay. There are enough professionals out there that can get the job done for you. Don’t worry about that but definitely it is the kind of thing that you don’t want to neglect because the on site SEO that Joe explained is not going to get you ranking for all your keywords unless you do the link building too. A full SEO strategy is going to include good onsite optimization as well as really strong off site optimization and link building.
This slide is basically just summing everything up that we just covered but go over to the next one. Quality over quantity is very important. Again, there are a lot of websites where you can go out, you can buy links, thousand links for 5 dollars on the website 5 or something. That is the thing that you want to avoid. Sure it may inflate you link numbers and make it look like you have really impressive stats but those links don’t really, they are not really doing a whole lot for you because they have no authority. They are not high quality links.
Quality over quantity is the name of the game. Again, this is very important to you just keeping your anchor text diversified. Using your keywords as anchor text, using lots of natural anchor text so this concept can be a little confusing for some people, so I will just try and explain this as best as I can, and if you have any questions again save them for end, and we will be happy to elaborate a little bit more here.
If your website is www.yoursitedomain.com that is obviously your URL but when you are doing link building you actually want to include that URL as one of your keywords because it is the same thing as if you get a link from a yellow page that goes direct to your website. There is a hyperlink, you click on that it goes to your site, and the anchor text that is used is actually just your full URL. That is what we call natural anchor text. Just it appears naturally on the web.
When you are building your own links you have to compensate for the fact that you are not doing it naturally so by using keywords like click here, more information, using your website as a keyword, that is really a good practice because it is going to prevent you from over optimizing any of your other anchor text. Just keep that in mind. I am not going to too deep into these concepts, but the most important thing that I want you to take away from this is just have very percentages of natural anchor text and don’t focus all your attention on just ranking your main keywords.
Joe: All right, so a quick recap of what we talked about here and then we will take some questions. Also, I have seen some people popping in and out, couple of people came late. This will be posted up on our website attracta.com so you will be able to review this again, if we went too fast over something to be able to take a look at this webinar again.
Again, keyword research, this is the first step in any SEO campaign. You got to know what keywords you are targeting. What are people searching to find your business or service and again Google has a keyword planner tool, it is a good tool for showing you how much search volume things are getting, things like that.
On-page optimization, this is about making sure your keywords appear in your website content. This is very important. If you want to rank for certain keywords, Google has to know that you want to rank for that and getting them on your page’s content is how to show them these are the keywords we are talking here.
Building links, this is about gaining authority. You can think of it as, the more links that are coming to your website, the more people that are willing to link from their site to your website, the more authoritative your site looks at least as far as the search engines are concerned. It is a signal of trust. If somebody is willing to link to your web page that means they trust the content on your page. That is how you are building authority there.
One way we look at it, SEO is sort of an election. In order to win, you have to dress the candidate. That is the onsite SEO we are talking about. That is getting your keywords in place, also just providing good content for the user. That is what really all this comes down to. You are trying to place keywords in your content, but you also want to make sure that when somebody comes to your website because they have searched for that keyword, you are providing them with valuable information on that particular keyword subject whatever it may be.
Then the off site SEO, this is like shaking hands and getting votes. Again, links can be thought of as votes for your website and search engines. The more authoritative sites that are linking to your website, the more, again, authority that your website is going to have, the more reason you are giving Google to place your website in their search engine listings. That is pretty much it. If anybody has got any questions they want to ask, go ahead and type into the box. We will try to answer them the best that we can.
Again, this webinar will be posted on the website shortly, couple of hours after we are done with it. It will be up there so you can view it again if you want to review anything we have talked about. If you have any questions just let us know and we will do our best to answer them.
Okay we have got a question here, good question, does paid search add any value in SEO ranking. Mostly no. The one possible exception you can get there and this pretty minor is if your adds perform well and your site gets good interaction. Another fact that Google looks at is how do people interact with your page. If everybody gets there and just immediately clicks and closes the page, you are loosing SEO value because Google figures okay, people don’t like this website, we shouldn’t return it in your search results.
The only potential value you can get out of this is if people click on your paid adds and interact with your website good but that is a pretty minimal factor. I don’t want to overstate that in any way but it is a factor, that is only correlation you can make there. Here is another question from Jeff. How do you know when you stuff or over optimize?
Greg: I will take this one. It is pretty easy to find out if you are over optimizing any of your keywords. Now there is a tool that is on the web, one of my favorite websites to use for analyzing websites it is called ahrefs.com. It is a great site because what it allows you to do is you plug in whatever the URL is into the search bar, and it generates report of how many back links that you have. It also tells you how much of your anchor text is taking up what percentages of your links.
What I mean by that is if you pull up a report of all your keywords in ahrefs, you can see a list of all the various terms that you are ranking for and then it is going to give you a percentage showing you okay this one keyword cheap car insurance, this keyword is taking up 60% of your back links. That is a clear sign of over optimization. Anything that is really over 10% of your anchor text for one keyword is over optimization. That means that you need to scale that on the link building for that one keyword.
Other ways to dilute your over optimized keywords is to just do what I was saying before, diversification of natural anchor text. That is the easiest way to combat over optimization and just be very careful with getting sitewide links. May sure that you understand all links are reporting to your site. If you guys don’t have an updated report of all your back links, it is a really good idea to do that right away just to get some sort of measuring point before you really start to move forward to SEO. Again, that website is called ahrefs.com. It is a wonderful website to help you avoid over optimization.
Joe: Just to expand that a little bit from an on page point of view, I want to show you a website real quick if I can remember it. Let’s see, it might be a failed venture, here we go. Okay, this is a website that happens to be completely over optimized from an on-site standpoint. We don’t know the exact number of times you are supposed to put a keyword in your pages content, but we do know you want to keep it reasonable. If you see in here this website has the term investments in oil and gas or invest in oil, this just one page has it over a 144 times.
There are not providing a whole lot of good information to their users here. they are just simply trying to stuff the keyword oil and gas investments, and they are using it as anchor text, as emphasized text and stuff like that, so this is an example of the site that is just keyword stuffed, and they have actually, this used to rank your website #1 for this keyword, you can’t find this website in search results for invest in oil and gas. It is on page probably 20 or something. That was an example there.
Greg: Another good idea to avoid over optimization for the on-page site of things is to just use variations of your keyword. If your keyword is invest in oil then you need to think of alternative ways to say the same thing. Google is getting really good at recognizing synonyms of keywords. Any times that you use different variations of that keyword, it is basically saying the same thing in Google’s eyes. Just repeating the same word investments in oil, invest in oil, you are really not doing anybody any favors. You are hurting your website and you are not providing any value to readers.
Use variations of your keywords, just use common sense, speak in a rate and a tone that sounds like you are speaking to somebody and you are actually providing them helpful information. That is the best way to avoid that.
Joe: Okay, we got a, let me check out this question a little bit. How important is bounce rate, example user looking for specific info, goes to particular page, does the transaction and goes out, gets conversion but higher bounce rate. If you get a conversion I don’t think that counts towards your bounce rate.
Greg: No, yeah one conversion is not going to affect your bounce rate at all.
Joe: Yeah, bounce rate is somebody that comes to and you might even know this but bounce rate is somebody that comes to your website and does not view any other pages, does not interact with the pages at all. They don’t click on anything. Any kind of conversion if they actually do the transaction that should not count towards your bounce rate even if they get out pretty quick. Bounce rate is just, somebody sees the site, immediately says, no interaction with this.
Greg: It is not good whatsoever.
Joe: And just closes it out and goes and looks for another site.
Greg: Yeah, obviously a really good way to prevent people from bouncing off your web page is again just provide really good quality information to people, and if you are ranking for a keyword just make sure that you are actually providing some sort of substance for that keyword. You have some contents, some videos, pictures, things that people can interact with because if they go to your website they don’t find what they are looking for right away they are going to leave.
Just put yourself in the user shoes. What would you do if you ended up at your website, would you stay or would you leave right away?
Joe: Another question here, do comments on your site help with SEO. This is a yes and no question. The balance of it is pretty delicate. The help is going to be minimal. Any help would be minimal. If your comments happen to provide excellent information on this specific subject it can help with your SEO. It won’t necessarily hurt your SEO. Nobody can keyword stuff your comment and hurt you that way. Google is better about knowing that kind of stuff and negative SEO texts and stuff like that.
But somebody would have to provide really, really excellent information in the comment for it to really, really be helpful. That is what you see if there are certain search things where you are asking a specific question and sites like ask.com return. That is what that is. That is just a bunch of users commenting and so there can be search value in it. Again, it is going to be pretty minimal on most websites, and it is going to depend on the comment, the actual content of the comment itself. It would have to be some pretty excellent, it will have to be a pretty excellent answer that everybody can reference for it to really, really have good SEO value there.
All right, that is about it. That is all we have for today. Again, we can view this webinar on attracta.com in about a couple of hours. If all of this too much for you and you want some help with this we do have managed SEO plans, the basic level plans starts at 149 dollars a month. We will help you with the keyword research. We will help you with some on page content, get your page optimized to it can rank for the keywords you are trying to it rank for and then each month we will build the links to your site, good quality links to your website to help move it up the search rankings.
We provide you with good ranking reports that show you exactly where you are and all the major search engines which are Google, Yahoo and Bing as well as the local iterations. If that is something you are interested in, go ahead and give us a call at 888-639-8877 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for joining us.
Greg: Take care, bye.