Basics of SEO – August 21st, 2014

This free SEO webinar was presented by Attracta on August 21st, 2014.

Webinar Transcript

Joe:                 All right, thanks for joining us for today’s webenar on the SEO Basics and Link Building. My name is Joe Knipp. I’m one of the SEO techs here at Attracta. I’ve been working in web development for over 15 years, more specifically on the SEO side of things, the last four or five years. With me today is Greg Web.

Greg:               Hey, guys. My name is Greg Web. I am one of the Lead Consultants for Attracta. I’m also part of the Link Building team that has successfully ranked over 10,000 websites in the last four to five years. Looking forward to sharing some information with you guys today.

Joe:                 Basically we’re going to break down some basics, show you how you can make your website or your company more visible on the internet. Today’s topics, we’re going to include keyword research, we’re going to get into a little bit of on page optimization and then Greg is going to give you a really good run down on building links for your website. First, what is SEO? SEO is also known as search engine optimization, is the process of affecting the visibility of a website in a search engine’s organic or unpaid search results. What I mean when I say unpaid search results, here we have a search from managed SEO services. Up here on this top three listings and as well as down this right column, these are all paid results.

In Google in particular it’s called Google AdWords. Every time these ads are clicked on, this company is paying for that traffic to their site. Down here, in this section is what we’re referring to when we’re talking about SEO. This is the organic unpaid search results. You get in this results by basically just having your website set up right providing the right information to your users to appear in this areas of search results. A little bit more on this, there’s a lot of localized keywords now where it’s going to return some local results. Greg is going to give you a little bit of a run down on that.

All right, you see here we just did a search for car dealership and this is the kind of term that instead of giving you national results it’s only going to list out or not only, I should say but it’s going to first list out the local car dealerships in your area before it gets into the regular organic results. As you go down to the bottom of the page here, you have the regular results that would appear for a regular search term but when you look at the top here these seven different listings are what you call the Google seven pack. If a business has a name, address and phone number you can basically create a bunch of listings across the web for that and the more listings you have the more votes or the more authority it’s going to pass on to your website so you’re going to make higher.

You see we have this listed out in order of importance for us here. We’re in St. Petersburg, Florida so obviously the results are going to be different for wherever you are in the country or in the world for that matter. Other kinds of key words that are going to pull up localized results keywords like coffee, ice cream shop, clothing, store, just use your imagination pretty much anything that you’re looking for physical location for. Google is getting really smart, it’s going to know that you’re looking for the actual physical location and that’s the most important listings that are going to come up first. All right, we’re going to get in to some different things here but first starting off with keyword research.

Any SEO campaign is going to start with keyword research. You need to know what are people searching to find your type of business. What are people actually typing in the search box to search for your type of business or service. You do have to be aware of competition when you’re searching for keywords. Google does have a keyword planner tool, it’s a free tool. You do have to have a Google account but you can sign in to Google AdWords and they’ll show you how many times on average are people searching for your keyword ideas every month. It will also give you an idea of the level of competition. when you’re targeting keywords you want to make sure you’re not targeting something that is so saturated in search that getting to the first page would be impossible.

Sometimes that gets into longer tail keywords, longer phrases that are more specific, more targeted just so that it’s not overly competitive that you couldn’t possibly rank for it. Once you have your keywords, you do need to plan your page content around your keywords. You need to make sure that you’re including those keywords in there. You also want to limit the number of keywords you’re targeting per page. You can’t reasonably target 50 keywords for just the home page of your site. What you’re actually doing, you’re trying to rank your site in search, you’re essentially whatever that page is that your home page you want your main money keyword what is they one keyword that sums up your service is to be your focus keyword.

Then, within the other pages of your site you can get into the different aspects of your services and focus your content around that to try to rank the other pages of your site. You’re not necessarily just trying to rank your home page in the search engines, you’re trying to rank the specific page for specific keywords. That get us into a little bit of on page optimization. There are some certain areas of your websites code that are given a little bit more priority when Google crawls through your website. When their robot crawl through your website, analyze your sites code there are certain areas that they are paying stronger attention to such as page titles, heading tags and emphasized text. We’re going to look at some websites.

I’m just going to give you some basic examples of page, titles and heading tags and emphasized text. Here we have a lawyer’s website. This is a lawyer in the Central Florida area, part of Florida looks like. His page title and your page title so just so you know it’s not displayed on your pages content. It’s either going to be at the top of the tab or the top of the browser depending on what kind of browser you’re using. It might show you different things. Google Chrome for instance just shows on the tab is where the page title at. We’re using Safari, it shows you on the tab as well as at the top of the browser here.

This is his page title. His page title is simply Charles H. Stark P.A. That’s not really a very optimized page title because it’s just simply his name so unless you’re looking for this specific lawyer and you already know his name, new people aren’t necessarily going to find his website. It looks like he’s in the corporate law, business law, state planning things like that so maybe corporate business attorney Winter Park, Florida would be a better targeted keyword for his page or a better targeted page title. Because it’s actually covering some actual key terms that people might be searching for that aren’t aware of who he is. This is an example of an unoptimized page title.

Over here is another site and this is a little bit better here. This is a company that does lake management. The keyword they wanted to target was specifically lake management so the very beginning of their page title lake management, aquatic management strategies. Obviously again you don’t want just your business name in your page title because unless people already know your business you’re not going to be generating new customers just by having your business name in that. Getting into a little bit of the heading tags that we’re talking about. Heading tags are generally larger text on your site. It’s going to be a heading tag. In this particular site his heading tag is actually areas of experience.

Again that’s not necessarily a very keyword focused heading tag. Nobody is going to type in the words areas of experience to find his services. Again, something just whether it’s corporate business law his targeting, whatever he wants to target something a little bit more keyword focus in heading tag will help your SEO of your website a little bit better. Back over here on this site, again he’s got lake management in his main heading tag up here. Again, keyword focus heading tag. Now, getting down here this are also heading tags. Heading tags do have different levels that they display. They are like H1 H2 through 6 H1 is your main heading tag, you want that to be focuses on your main keyword.

In your subheadings the H2 through H6 maybe some more supporting keywords for that main keyword. Over here on this website we’re seeing his H2 tags or H3 or whichever this happen to be, our approach, our methods, our customer care. No keyword value in that. What could have potentially been better is our approach to lake management, our methods for keeping your lakes clean. Something that has keyword value is that make sense. Back over here, on this part or on this website he actually has some good keyword value in his subheading tags here. Corporate business law, somebody might type in corporate or business law to find this kind of legal service or state planning probate and guardianship.

These are actually keyword focused heading tags so these are much stronger keyword focused heading tags than the other site. Emphasized text is another area. Within your pages content you might choose to bold or italicize some words or enlarge certain words if anything is quoted or anchor text. When I say anchor text what I mean by that I’m going to pull you over an example real quick. Anchor text is text that you can actually click on to go into another page. Here’s a pretty good example of emphasized text. This is a photographer’s website. The one thing I do want to point out to you really quick is he’s hiding his SEO text down here at the bottom of his page. That’s not really a good practice. Google frowns on that.

They want people to be able to find and access the information easily. This particular page is trying to trick the search engines a little bit by including content but there are good examples of emphasized text here and that’s why I want to show it to you here. Los Angeles photographer is obviously his main keywords so here you can see it’s emphasized and then certain areas of photography. Wedding photographer, portrait photographer, event photographer. He’s using them as anchor text that actually linked to pages that provide you more information on that specific subject. That’s excellent practice for SEO. You want your users to be able to navigate through your sites content through the pages of your site very simply.

Having good link structure to your site so people can access the content in the easiest possible manner. That’s why that helps there. Also, when the search robots crawl through they’ll see that wedding photographers natural anchor text that links to another page in the site. It’s good keyword reinforcement with that kind of text. Just threw out, this whole website is a pretty good example of SEO optimized text content. It’s a little maybe over the top over done but throughout this again you see his italicized wedding photographer again, different keywords or locations are bolded but it’s really good example of this is what I can do with my on site text to just emphasize my keywords a little bit stronger.

Those are some on page techniques that you can use to improve the SEO of your website. Greg is going to give you a good rundown on link building and how you can build links to your site to increase your search engine presence.

Greg:               All right. After you’ve got your sets of keywords all picked out, you got them worked into our website very sly away but not too sly that Google is going to slap you for but now you can start on the link to link portion of the SEO. This is the second half of the SEO equation. Obviously the first half is on site, this is the off site. The whole idea is links are basically a handshake between two websites and the more links that you get the more authoritative those links are the better it is for you. The actual definition we have here is getting links from authority websites signals to Google that your website is also trustworthy.

The whole idea behind that is if you guys get a link from a popular news website such as Huffington Post or pretend you got an ESPN link that goes to your website obviously those websites are really big so it’s going to pass the authority on to your website. The more established and trusted that website is the higher authority the link will count for. Now, when you’re building links you don’t want to get into the habit of only using your main money keyword. If your main keyword is make money online you don’t want to use that so many times that it’s going to develop in over optimization trend because that’s really easy to spot. Quick fix for that is just use diverse anchor text.

Use different kinds of variations of your keyword and don’t be shy with using what we call natural anchor text. This is a really good way to keep things on set too. An example of that is using keywords like click here, more information, learn more or actually using your full domain as one of your keywords. That’s a great strategy. If guys get a link that goes from a Yelp review account to your website that’s going to be for natural anchor text. It’s just going to be for your full website as the link and having lots of those kinds of links are really good and it’s a good way to keep Google off your back. That gives you an overview of what you can do for your website to improve your SEO to get found in search engines.

Joe:                 Just a little recap. Keyword research, absolute first step, what are people searching for, what term are they typing into the Google search engine to find your type of business. Once you have your list of keywords then you can begin your on page optimizations. Including your keywords in the right places of your sites code. The search engines even know that you’re trying to rank for this pages. A lot of customers come to us and they want to rank for a specific term and when you look at their website and said, nowhere in your site’s content is that term listed. How is Google going to know that you’re trying to rank for this keyword.

How are they going to know the index or site for that? You got to make sure that your keywords are within your sites content. Now, again the key to this is you’re trying to provide your users with the best possible information on that subject for that keyword. You don’t want to just stuff keyword after keyword into your content. It needs to read naturally and you generally wanted to be helpful to the users. Google is trying to return the most authoritative results on anyone’s subject so the best thing you can do is have the most information and the best information on your particular subject to help your return into search results.

Then, the last step that Greg went over, building links. This is how you show Google that your website is popular, has good authority, the more links that point to your site the more sites it shows trust your information, your website the higher you’re into placing in the search results.

Greg:               One thing I didn’t talked to you guys about is just just how do you get links and you can obviously build them yourself. We never really talked about building them yourself but it’s a process that is pretty time consuming and labor intensive. It’s going to require a lot of strategy to build your own links. What most people resort to you and this is probably what you guys are going to want to do, just hire a company to build those links for you. You don’t have to be an SEO wiz on how the links are created but all you have to do is just have some keywords ready that you want to rank for and let the pros handle the rest.

Joe:                 Just kind of an analogy to wrap this altogether, SEO is like an election. To win, you have to dress the candidate, that’s the onsite SEO including your keywords and the necessary areas of your sites content. Also just making sure you’re providing good content that backs up those keywords. Then the second part of the off site SEO is the link building. The more links that you can get to point to your site the more authority your site is going to have the more likely Google is going to return your site in search engine results. We’re going to open it up for questions now. If anybody has any specific questions they’d like to ask for us to clarify feel free to shoot it in the question box and we’ll do our best to answer it.

If you want to show us your website, if you want to type your website in there we can take a look at it and just show you from an onsite perspective this is where you could improve or this and that. If you got any questions please type in the question box and we’ll do our best to answer them. All right, Gary Miller has a question here. Actually he’s got his website. Let me throw this into the browser and see what we got. Okay. Right off the bat, you’re in pretty good shape here Gary. Your page title, perfect. It covers San Antonio wedding photographers, Austin wedding photographers, so those must be your two markets you’re trying to target.

That’s the right thing, the one thing that I might see there is the page title might be a little bit too long. It might get truncated in Google search results. Okay, we’re on a different page of your site. This page title is definitely too long, you can only have about 65 characters. It’s not an actual character limit, it’s a pixel width limit but 65 seems to be the number that you can get away with in there. You want to make sure that your page title, each page have a unique page title by the way. I might have missed mentioning that. Otherwise your own pages would be competing with each other in search results. Each page should have unique page title and you want to keep it nice and concise about what the page is actually about.

Greg:               This page title should be specific about the galleries, just wedding picture galleries or portrait galleries would be a quick fix to that. Another suggestion is if you have the ability to get a physical address tied to this website that would open up a lot of possibilities for you to do local SEO. If you have an address that you could add to your contact page. What you can essentially do is you not only be able to rank organically but you can also rank in Google maps. Opens up the doors to a whole lot of other possibilities of people being able to find you, customers that are in your local area that just want to find someone down the street that’s professional and knows what he is doing. Just see if you can expand on that too.

Joe:                 You’re off to a pretty good start here. You do have the right things in place. It looks like this is your heading text again, you got your keywords in there. It looks like you’re providing good information about the areas you cover, the type of photography you do and stuff like that. You got some other keywords emphasized in this subheading text so you’re off a pretty good start. If you’re struggling to rank in search results with this website it’s probably a question of links. You probably need more links to your website to increase your search presence.

Greg:               Get a Yelp page set up too so when you get that address people can leave testimonials and reviews for you in Yelp. It’s a great trusted source and having a nice mix of signals from directors like Yelp and Yellow Pages, Super Pages stuff like that again it’s just going to send a lot of authoritative signals to your website and it’s just going to help you rank a lot better so quick fix for that.

Joe:                 Gary also says, “Thanks for the information.” You’re welcome. If all of this is too much for you, if it’s too much time for you and you want a company to handle this we do have manage SEO plans where it starts at $149 a month, we’ll help you optimize your site if it’s needed. In the instance of that photography page there’s not a whole lot of onsite that needs to be done but then month over month we also build links to your websites, we’ll send you ranking reports, show you what your progress is so we can help you build your search presence if that’s something you’re looking for. Go ahead and give us a contact either email address or the phone number there but otherwise it looks like that’s all the questions we have for the day. Thanks for joining us. We do appreciate your time.

Greg:               You guys have a great afternoon. We will catch you some other time.

Joe:                 Thank you.

Greg:               Thank you. Bye.