Basics of SEO – July 29th, 2014
This free SEO webinar was presented by Attracta on July 29th, 2014.
Joe: Thanks for joining us for today’s webinar. My name is Joe Knipp. I’m one of the SEO techs here at Attracta. Today’s webinar is intended to give you an idea of what practices you can employ to improve your website’s ranking in search results.
Every day, I speak with webmasters and business owners who are trying to get a grasp on what exactly SEO is and how they can use it to improve their business through the internet. Whether you’re a full-blown e-commerce site that depends solely on internet traffic for sales, a local business with a storefront that relies on foot traffic, or you provide a service to your customer’s location, optimizing your website for search engines can help your business grow.
So let’s get into the nuts and bolts of SEO. I like to do a quick review of the SEO elements that are important with today’s Google and trying to provide you with some knowledge and tools that show you how you can optimize your own website for search performance. I’m going to touch on the following subjects here: keyword research, on-page SEO and link-building.
First, let’s get into keyword research a little bit. Keyword research remains one of the constants in SEO. The fundamental question of SEO as it relates to your own business is what are people searching for to find my type of business or service? This is your absolute first step when considering search engine optimization. For example, if I’m an auto repair shop in Tampa, Florida, what keywords or key phrases do I want to optimize my website for? It’s probably going to be things like ‘auto repair,’ ‘auto body shop,’ ‘auto body repair,’ ‘collision repair’ and things like that. But how can I be sure which phrases or terms people are actually searching for?
This is where Google’s Keyword Planner Tool comes in. Let me type this thing just so you can get a look at here. This is the address for Google’s Keyword Planner Tool. This is the essential tool of researching keywords. This tool can provide you with insights into search volume, meaning how many people per month are searching for this phrase or term. They’ll also give you an idea of how competitive the term or phrase is in search, meaning how many websites are competing for this specific keyword, how many websites are trying to be at the top of the results for this keyword.
Another very, very useful feature of this tool is that it can provide you with keyword suggestions based on your industry and location. It can even suggest some keywords based on your website’s current content. You can type in your website and it’ll analyze your site’s content and try to dig out what keywords it finds within your existing content.
Now, of course, Google being Google, you do have to have a Google account, some kind of Gmail account and the ability to sign into AdWords to access this tool. Those are all free, though, so if you have that setup, you can get it here and you can click around a little bit.
Today, I’m not going to get into the semantics of using the Keyword Tool, but at the end of the webinar, I will provide you with the link to a page with more helpful information on researching keywords and using Keyword Planner Tool. But, again, keyword research is where it starts when it comes to SEO. You have to know what keywords you are targeting to build a proper SEO strategy.
With that in mind, let’s get into a little about on-page SEO. What can you on your website to improve its optimization for search engine? Once you’ve established what keywords you want to target for your SEO strategy, you need to make sure that these keywords are present within the contents of your site. When Google crawls your site to try to determine how to index it in search results, it analyzes your site content and try to identify any key phrases or terms that you may be trying to rank it for.
Here’s an interesting example of on-page SEO. This is a photographer’s website. This is robgreer.com. Now, he’s hiding his SEO text way here at the bottom of this page as you’ll see. When you get to his page, this is what it’s look like, but you got to scroll way, way, way down here to find his SEO text and this is actually a bad practice. You don’t want to do this. Google wants the information to be accessible to its users, doesn’t want you to try to be putting up stuff on your page strictly for search engines. It wants good, useful information for its users.
But one thing that I would say, the reason I’m bringing this up, is because this is an excellent example of an optimized text for a website. You could see here any emphasized text in your website, any time you’re bolding any text or it’s larger or it’s used as anchor text the link and this is what anchor text is, you see here ‘wedding photographer,’ it’s underlined. If I click on this, it actually opens a page, it goes to more information about a Los Angeles wedding photographer. You could see he’s using straight-up keywords as his anchor text for the different keywords that he’s targeting here, ‘wedding photographer,’ ‘portrait photographer,’ ‘event photographer,’ and so on.
What’s really good about this is as you look through it it’s like ‘Los Angeles photographer,’ that’s a keyword of the site, so he emphasized it there. He made it bold and just throughout this whole thing, you’ll see again ‘wedding photographer’ here. He made it italics and stuff like that. So this is almost a little bit over-optimized, but it gives you an idea of how can you optimize text, how can you make certain text stand out so Google would crawl it and see it as, okay, they’re trying to target this as a keyword. So, again, if I’m an auto body shop in Tampa, instead of ‘Los Angeles photographer,’ this would be something like ‘Tampa auto body,’ something like that. Just to give you an example of on-page optimized text.
Some of the different elements of your site that you want to make sure are properly optimized, the page URL. That means the address, like in this case, the URL is just robgreer.com. But if I click on ‘wedding photographer,’ you’ll see robgreer.com/html/wedding/wedding-photographer. So he’s trying to get his keywords in here as well, in his page URLs, and that’s a really good practice.
One thing to go over also, see how in between words he’s using a dash there? That’s the proper way to do this. A lot of people will use underscores as opposed to a dash, but search engines don’t recognize the underscore as a word separator because where with a dash it recognize that ‘wedding photographer’ are two different words, all that stuff.
Also, then, page title tag. If you’re not familiar what a page title tag is, page title tag is up here in the tab of the website. In this case, I got to hold my mouse over for a second for it to pop-up, his tag is ‘Los Angeles wedding photographer,’ ‘photographers in Los Angeles California,’ ‘Rob Greer.’ So, again, he’s got good keyword value in his page title. Throughout the different pages of your site, whatever that page’s subject is got to have some kind of keyword-related page title.
Because if we go to Google and we do a search for ‘Los Angeles wedding photographer,’ you’ll notice that the words that I typed in to the search results, they get returned to me in bold here. So here we got ‘wedding photography by Los Angeles,’ ‘best wedding photographers,’ this is probably saying Los Angeles, it just got truncated. These are the page titles that are returning here so that’s why it’s imperative that your page titles be optimized for your specific keywords. You’ll notice every page title on here on the first page has those keywords included, ‘wedding photographers,’ ‘Los Angeles.’ It’s not always in perfect order, but still the keywords are covered within the page title so that’s imperative. That’s one of the basics of optimizing a webpage is adding the page titles optimized.
If we go back to the title real quick, another area is called heading tags. Let’s try another page for this. Heading tags are usually larger areas of text or some kind of different font of different emphasis on the text. In this case of this website, his heading text are here. It’s corporate/business law, estate planning and tax law, probate and guardianship, those are his headline text or heading tags. Again, you’ll see a lot of times websites will use things like ‘Our Mission’ or ‘Our Services,’ or words that have absolutely no keyword value to them as a heading tags.
The appropriate way to do it is describe some services or product or business, whatever it is that you’re offering there. Have that some kind of keyword value in these heading tags. Then if you look through his actual content here, he’s just going over the different areas of each of the law that he does. But, again, if somebody is searching for this specific term, he’s got that term covered in his page’s content.
Another element that always, always, always gets overlooked on-page is alt image text. When you have an image in your website’s code, essentially, when Google crawls your website, they can see in the code that, oh, okay, there’s an image there, but a robot can’t look at the image objectively and say, what is this image about? What exactly is this image? This tag or this alt image tag is not properly optimized. You see here it’s showing Charles H. Stark PA. This is just his logo or something like that.
Image tags is a good place where you can sneak in some keywords. This guy looks like he’s in Orlando so this should probably be ‘Orlando Business Law’ or ‘Orlando Business Attorney’ or something like that in his alt image tag to include some kind of keyword value in those image tags. That’s going to explain to Google, okay, that’s what this image is about and it’s a good way to sneak some keyword value into your page’s content.
You also want to include keywords within your site’s paragraph content, but you need to make sure that the content provides visitors with useful information. In the past, people would simply litter pages with keywords in an effort to get their site rank. But these days, Google has gotten much, much better at eliminating pages that are simply stuffing keywords from appearing in the search engine results.
Google is trying to return the authority on whatever subject you’re searching for to their users. So the best thing you can do, if you do corporate business law, you want to have a page on your site dedicated to corporate business law that has good, useful information on your practices or your information or services. Obviously, if you’re an e-commerce and you’re providing products, then the kind of information you’re looking to provide is product name, model numbers, any relevant reviews of that product, any good information about that product that might be useful to your users. That’s what’s going to help you perform in search engines with that stuff.
That gets into the on-page elements of SEO. On-page elements are fairly self-explanatory, fairly simple, but once you have your on-page elements set up, you have to get links built to your site in order for the search engines to properly look you up. For some more information on that, I’m going to turn it over to my friend Greg here. He’s going to talk to you about link-building strategies a little bit.
Greg: Hey, guys. Thanks for joining us today. My name is Greg. I’ve been doing SEO for about three to four years. I’m part of a team that has managed over 10,000 sites so I’ve really seen a lot of things, a lot of trends come and go. But, essentially, I’m just going to explain what back links are and the reason why you need them.
The on-page SEO is extremely important from the standpoint of it signals to Google how to find your website, what terms, what keywords are you ranking for, and those keywords should obviously be on your website. Well, link-building takes this whole approach one step further and the whole idea behind it is you basically want to get links from authoritative sites that are for your keywords. If you’re a plastic surgeon in San Diego, it’s a really good link if you have links to your site from the Mayo Clinic or something like that, something that’s in your niche that’s related to your website and then, obviously, the actual link is for your keyword.
This is the kind of thing that needs to be performed on a monthly basis. You need to be going out and either building relationships with a lot of authoritative website to get links, or you need to basically hire a service to build these links for you. It’s definitely something that everybody can do on their own, even if they wanted to create their own back links, but the amount of work that’s involved, it scares a lot of people away so that’s why it’s such a popular thing for people to outsource.
There’s a few things that you want to pay attention to when you’re doing back links. Obviously, you want to take into consideration your keywords that you’re trying to rank for so ‘plastic surgeon San Diego’ would be your keyword in this case. If that’s what you’re trying to rank for, you don’t want to get into the habit of building too many links for that one specific keyword. It’s a really good practice to diversify your keywords or your anchor text and get links that it goes through your website for variety of keywords. So not only ‘plastic surgeon San Diego,’ but maybe ‘nose jobs San Diego’ or ‘Southern California facial surgeon’ – related keywords to your big-money term, but that is you know why you use these keywords and diversify them and use them in a natural way so that you’re not building up too many links go into your site for a single term.
That’s basically the whole idea in a nutshell. Again, this is something that should be performed month in, month out. You should just get an idea as to what kind of links your competitors have that’s a really good first step before you start any SEO campaign. Just do some competitive research. There’s a lot of free tools that you can use. Just thinking an idea as to what are the leaders in your industry, what do their websites look like, number one, but what kind of links do they have go into their sites? Do they have 10,000 back links or do they have 200 links from a variety of sources? That would just give you an idea as to the competition level for your industry and then you can tailor in an SEO strategy to fit into that.
Hopefully, that makes sense. I don’t want to get too deep into this, but again, the whole idea is you want to get a lot of links to your site, which is just I guess another term for that is just getting votes for your website. I like to use the analogy of a presidential election and when it comes to SEO, the on-page SEO is actually dressing the candidate, making a candidate look good for the public. But it’s also very important to actually go out, shake hands, get votes, campaign, and that’s really when the vote comes in. So you’re not going to have a really balanced SEO campaign unless you address both sides of information.
That’s it. Again, I’m Greg and at the end, we’ll take some questions if you have any questions.
Joe: All right. That’s pretty much the information we have for you today. If anybody has got any questions, feel free to type in the chat bar. We’ll try to address that. If you want to show us your own website, put your own website in the chat bar. We can go over some on-page SEO about your site.
If you’re looking for a managed SEO service, somebody to handle this for you, we do offer that. You can contact us. I’m going to put this in the chat bar here. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can provide you some information on the services that we offer. But if anybody has got any questions, feel free to type them in the chat box and we’ll do our best to answer them for you.
All right. Danny has got a site here we’re going to take a look at. Oh, one second. Sorry, Danny. This looks like an e-commerce site here. I’m not sure what this is, books, gifts and stuff like that. You’re trying to sell these products. Here’s your page title essentially, ‘C&A Inspirations.’ Unless somebody knows what C&A Inspirations is, it doesn’t really have a whole lot of search value. That’s where, if you look over here under your logo, it says ‘Catholic Books, Gifts and Church Supplies.’ That would be a pretty good page title because that’s the kind of term somebody might search for to find these products that you’re selling.
One other thing I’d like to do is show you an example of another e-commerce site that has some SEO text worked into their page. Just give me a second. Let me see if I can get this right. This is a site Zordaar. Now you’ll see it’s similar, they have their products here that you can click on and purchase. But here in the middle of this page, there’s all this text content. All this text content, he’s targeting certain things like ‘Deal of the Day’ and ‘Discount Coupons India’ so he wants somebody to type in ‘Discount Coupons India’ and find his site or ‘Deal of the Day India’ or ‘online shopping,’ ‘online discount shopping.’ You see how he’s got these in his heading tags and stuff like that.
Within your own site content, if you can work some good keyword-rich informational text for your users into this content, it’s going to be much, much more likely that your site would return in search for the types of things that you’re looking to search for. Hopefully, that’s helpful information for you.
If anybody else has any other questions, we’d be happy to answer them. Or, if you want to show us your site, we can take a look at it. I think that’s probably it for the questions. Again, I’m going to type in the email address you can reach us, talk to us at. If you want any more information on SEO services we offer, just send us an email there and we’ll provide you the best information we can. Other than that, I appreciate you guys joining us today and hopefully, we provided some information for you. Have an excellent afternoon.