Basics of SEO – August 7th, 2014
This free SEO webinar was presented by Attracta on August 7th, 2014.
Joe: Thanks for joining us for today’s webinar on the basics of SEO and link building. My name is Joe Knipp, I’m one of the SEO techs here at Attracta. Here with me today is Greg Web.
Greg: Hey guys, my name is Greg. I am an SEO specialist as well. I work really closely with Joe and the Attracta team in helping rank websites. A lot of experience doing this. I can’t wait to share some knowledge with you guys.
Joe: Today’s topics we’re going to get into of the basics of SEO are some keyword research, on page SEO techniques, as well as link building. Greg’s going to give you a good rundown on link building. First, what is search engine optimization? Search engine optimization is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a webpage in search engine’s organic or unpaid search results. Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about when I’m saying organic or unpaid search results. Here we have a search query in Google and you’ll see up here in this section, and down here on the side, these are all paid ads. This is commonly referred to as PPC. Every time someone clicks on one of these ads this company is paying for that click. The prices can range from pennies to, for legal terms, it gets up to seventy, eighty dollars per click just to get somebody to come to your website.
What we’re talking about with the organic results is down here. All these, these are non-paid results. To get your site into these results you need to have some things in place so that Google recognizes that your site is an authority on its subject and return it on the first page of these search results. There’s also some localized results which Greg’s going to give you a little rundown on.
Greg: These are what we like to call the Google local results, or a better term for what you’re seeing for the reviews, is the Google seven pack because there’s actually seven different local listings. The way that it works is Google’s going to retrieve whatever they think is going to be the most relevant results to what you’re searching for and list them in order of importance. They’re always going to be really close to you in your area. Here you see Joe did a search for bike shop and instead of giving us nationwide results for bike shops it’s only listing the bike shops that are close to us in downtown Saint Petersburg, Florida. Here you see that we can search through their reviews, we can open up their page for more information, but we have the listings in front of us, pretty much all the bike shops in the area that are here.
It’s very helpful when Google’s able to know which terms are going to be local terms and give you the appropriate results. Another example is if you do a search for coffee, it’s going to give you a list of all the coffee shops that are nearby, your Starbucks and what not. It’s not going to give you a list of the national brands of coffee beans, but it’s actually going to give you the physical locations of coffee shops. You’ll notice that more and more certain keywords are going to be retrieving localized results. If you have a business that has a physical location, a name, address, phone number, then that is something that you can rank on a local level. If you have any questions about that just save them for the end of the presentation and I’ll be happy to go into a little bit more detail on what you need to do in order to rank locally.
Joe: A quick little bonus tip here, once you’ve made your search, you’ve made your search for bike shop, let’s say you happen to have a business that’s a chain, you have stores all over the place, and you want to check the local results for different cities, different towns, that your business might be located in. This little search tools button, after you’ve made your search, that’ll allow you to come in here and select what exact area you are. If I wanted to find bike shops in Chicago I can type in Chicago, Illinois and now I’m getting results relevant to Chicago. Google, by default, is going to recognize your own location so if you put use my location it’ll determine where you’re at. That just gives you a little bit of a rundown on how the local organic results work and the difference between PPC real estate on the search result pages and the organic results.
The first step in any SEO campaign is keyword research. What are people searching to find your type of business or service? What words are they typing into the Google search bar to find something that way? It’s imperative that you do keyword research to know. There’s a Google keyword planner tool. It’ll show you how many times per month somebody is searching for any specific term that you type in there. It’ll also provide you with some ideas on keywords. If you just type in your website it’ll crawl through your website and try to figure out what your content’s about and give you some keyword ideas. You can even drill down the results to just your specific area. Again, if you’re a local business in Saint Petersburg, Florida you can set it as Saint Petersburg, Florida to determine how many times people are searching in your specific area for that key term.
Next is the on-site, on page, SEO, is what it’s often referred to. This is the process of affecting your page’s contents to include those keywords once you’ve determined, okay these are the keywords I want to target. You want to figure out what pages on my website do I want to target for what keywords? It’s important to know that you really shouldn’t try to target too many keywords for any specific page of your website. You want to keep it pretty … Again, if you’re a bike shop your home page should be that you’re a bike shop in whatever area you’re in. You might also want to have a page for bike repairs that goes into more detail about repairing bikes and rank that page for bike repairs. It’s important to … You kind of want to focus one or two keywords that you’re really trying to rank a specific page on your site for and then focus the content on that.
Real quick I’m going to give you some examples of some websites, show you some good and bad SEO techniques that we see all the time. Here, this is a lawyer in the central Florida area. One of the most important areas of your website to optimize is your page title. Page title doesn’t appear on your site, it appears up at the top of the tab or the browser. In this case I’m using Google Chrome so this is in the tab, it’s showing his page title. His page title is simply Charles H. Stark, P.A. There’s not really a lot of search value there unless you’re searching for his specific name. The reason it’s so important to optimize your page title for your keywords is that’s actually what’s returning here in these Google search results.
Over here, what we did, this managed SEO service search you’ll see managed SEO service is returning in bold in all of these search results. If you want to appear in search you need to make sure that your page titles are optimized for any keywords that you’re targeting. Google’s gotten really good at trying to determine what people are searching for so if there’s synonyms to words and stuff like that it’ll pick that up pretty well, but you’ve got to have a pretty good focused page title. You do have a limit on characters that will fit on a page title that will be displayed. It’s in the sixty-two to seventy area. It’s actually a pixel width more than it is a character limit. For example, if you have all capital W’s as your page title you’ll get less characters than if you had all L’s, I’s, or whatever. That’s the page title. Again, super important. This is almost … If you were going to say one thing is the most important this would be it, although you do need to have all these things in combination.
Now, any emphasized text on your website, any larger text, italicized text, underlined text, anything like that, Google gives a little bit more value to it when it’s crawling through your page and trying to determine what your page is about. These are what are called heading tags up here. Anything that’s larger on top of another section of content it’s generally going to be a heading tag. This particular website has some pretty good heading tags; corporate business law, estate planning, tax law, probate and guardianship. These are terms that people might specifically be searching for to find those kinds of businesses or services.
If we get over here to another page, this is something we see a lot. We’ll see people put our approach, our methods, our customer care. Not a lot of search value there. Actually no search value. Nobody’s going to type in our approach to find this service. This particular website is a lake management company. They clean ponds and stuff. His page title, however, does have some search value. Lake management, that’s his money keyword. That’s what he’s going after so it’s at the very beginning of his page title. Also here, this is another heading tag. This is a main heading tag. Again, he’s got lake management in there. He does have some good search value but he could probably do these heading tags a little bit better.
That gives you a little bit of an idea of on page content, what you can do to optimize your on page content for keywords and for search results. Now we’re going to get a little bit into the link building. We often hear the analogy SEO is like an election, in order to win you have to dress the candidate. That’s the on-site SEO. That’s a little bit of what we just went over on those web pages. Also, the other side of this is off page. This is getting links to your website from external websites. Links can almost be thought of as votes for your website in search results. To give you a little better rundown on search results I’m going to turn it over to Greg.
Greg: First let’s just go over what link building is. Basically when we talk about link building we’re talking about the process of actually getting links from authority websites and this signals to Google that your website is also trustworthy. If you have a link that goes to your site from a CNN article then that is a really, really high quality link. CNN is obviously a very authoritative site and has millions of subscribers and readers everyday. If Google notices that there’s a relationship between that website and your own personal website then you’re going to get bumped up on the results pages for whatever keyword you’re being linked out to. Obviously in real life you’re not going to be able to get links from CNN or Huffington Post everyday so you’re going to have to think of other ways that you can go about this link building.
Whatever you decide to do it should be performed on an ongoing regular basis. I’m talking monthly and not just you do a little bit of SEO link building one month and then you don’t do it again for two or three months. That’s not the kind of habits that you want to fall into. What you’re going to be doing is you’re actually going to be optimizing your keywords and you’re going to be doing it in a way that avoids over optimizing any one of your keywords. If your main keyword is bike shop then obviously that’s going to be the attention of most of your link building, but you don’t want to just keep using the same keyword over, and over, and over again because you’re going to build up a trend of over optimization and it’s going to be really easy for Google to see that you’re trying to pull a fast one on them. Stay away from doing that. The best practice when it comes to link building is just use a very diverse array of keywords. There’s something that’s called natural anchor text which I’m not going to go into that right now, but it’s a good idea to have a nice mixture of natural anchor text and variations of your keywords.
Hopefully that’s clear. Other ways that you can do link building, obviously you can pay a company to build links for you. Attracta does link building over here too for their clients, but it’s a kind of thing that is a little bit time consuming. A lot of people hate spending time on link building, but it’s a really important part of SEO and you should not neglect doing that.
Joe: Let’s give a quick little recap here. Again, first step of any SEO campaign, keyword research. What words are people using to find your business? This is imperative. You can’t have an SEO campaign if it doesn’t have a good keyword focus. That’s certainly the first step that you want to get into. Again, on page SEO. That would be the next thing. Once you have your keywords you want to make sure, okay what pages do I want to optimize for what keywords and then get your keywords within your page titles, within your heading tags, and then within your content in general. It’s important to note that you should never just stuff keywords into your page. Never just put keyword after keyword after keyword. Google’s taken a lot of steps to make sure that these kinds of web pages are not returned in search results.
Google’s trying to return the authority on any specific subject. Again, if I’m a bike shop I need to have all the information I can possibly provide my users about bikes. Make it original content too, don’t copy and paste content from anywhere. Duplicate content, Google won’t know which web page should I display if there’s two web pages with the same content? Duplicate content is bad for SEO so make sure you’re writing good, compelling, unique content. That’s what Google’s trying to return to their users. Make sure that they’re finding the information that they’re searching for.
Then again, link building. Link building is as important as the rest of this. It’s hard to put any emphasis on any one of these because you really need all of these things in place to have a good SEO campaign, but gaining links from external sites. Again, quality over quantity is important. There’s a lot of people that’ll sell you a thousand links for five dollars but these aren’t going to be authoritative links. They’re not going to pass what they often call your link juice or link electricity to your website. You want to make sure that you’re getting good quality links that Google’s going to recognize as authoritative and help build your search results that way.
That’s kind of … That’s the information that we have for you here today. If anybody’s got any questions feel free to type them in the chat box and we’ll try to provide the answers. If you want to show us what your website is and have us take a look and give you some possible examples of what could be done to optimize it we’d be happy to do that as well.
Greg: Yeah, we’ll just wait a couple minutes here. Just piece together any questions you have and we’ll take them one at a time.
Joe: Okay, we’ve got a good question here from Mike. Mike’s asking how many links does it take per month to rank number one in Google search results? Greg, do you have an answer for that?
Greg: Yeah. That’s a question that is probably one of the most asked questions that I get on a daily basis. To answer that correctly there really isn’t a right amount of links that you need to build every month. You really need to just tailor whatever your SEO campaign is to be the best that it can be for your particular niche, subject, or industry. What I mean by that is if you’re trying to rank for bike shop and you notice that all the best bike shops in your area are … You take a look at their backlinks which it’s pretty easy to do, there’s a lot of tools for that, and you notice that they only have three hundred, four hundred links each per website then that’s a pretty good indication that you’re not going to need twenty-five thousand links in order to rank number one. It means that your competition is pretty middle of the road.
Now, there’s going to be certain cases where for whatever keyword that you have, it could be car insurance and you’re going up against Geico, Progressive, and AllState or something like that, these websites are going to have millions and millions of links so it just shows you that you’re going to need a lot more aggressive SEO strategy in order to get into the top for that term. Whatever your niche is just tailor your SEO campaign to be appropriate for that. Obviously there’s going to be subjects out there that are a little bit less competitive than others so you don’t have to swing for the fences every time. The whole idea is you just want to have a nice consistent flow of links every month and not go too aggressive or too overboard and build thousands of links every month because that’s just going to get you penalized by Google. To answer that question, just build links very consistently, on a monthly basis, and just tailor your SEO campaign to beat your competitors for whatever your keywords are.
Joe: We’ve got another question here from Ron. It says, how to best transfer low performing domain name to an established domain? Really if you’ve got an established domain … It’s kind of a tough question to answer. Just transferring whatever the actual pages of the website are over to that, what you probably want to do also is redirect that website, make sure that everything 301 redirects to the new domain properly so that if people are trying to get to your old pages they’re actually getting to the existing website now. That’s kind of a tough question there, what the best practice for that is. 301 redirects are definitely key. You have to make sure that any old pages that people are no longer going to or that you’re not trying to find in search that they’re not just getting a 404 error because that’ll be bad. Again, make sure that when you get your new website over to the new domain make sure your page titles and your content is optimized for search.
Is there any … Another question we have here, is there any factor of ranking a website on the number of pages a website should have to rank number one? That’s a good question. The number of pages your website has is a factor into how well your site can rank. Now, the number of pages with good unique content about your subject is the key to that. You can’t just put a ton of pages. There’s no specific number because every keyword, every business type, is going to have a different level of competition in search. Again, bike shop is going to have one level of competition. A lawyer is going to have … is much more competitive in search. As a lawyer you want to provide all possible information about the area of law that you practice on different pages throughout your site to properly have it optimized for search.
Greg: There’s no…
Joe: There’s no right or wrong answer. There’s not a specific number of pages that you need to have, but the more pages, the more unique content that you do have the more authority Google is going to believe that your site has.
Greg: Sometimes we’ll see websites that are only a page or two. I don’t really understand why you wouldn’t put more effort into building out relevant content that people would want to see because the more content you have on your website the more possibilities that you have to rank different keywords and capture the kinds of traffic that you’re looking for. Content is king. Keep writing articles and posting good videos and that sort of thing and the traffic will eventually come.
Joe: It looks like that’s all the questions. We appreciate you joining us today. If all this is too much for you we do have a managed SEO plan here at Attracta. It starts at a hundred and forty-nine dollars a month. You can either log onto the website, Attracta dot com, give us a call, or send us an e-mail at the contact information on the screen here. We appreciate you joining us today and have a great afternoon.