Basics of SEO – July 31st, 2014
This free SEO webinar was presented by Attracta on July 31st, 2014.
Joe K.: Also Jeff wasn’t able to be with us today so Greg with me.
Greg W.: Hey guys this is Greg Webb here, part of an SEO team that’s ranked over 10,000 websites in the last two years and excited to share some tips with you guys today.
Joe K.: All right we’ll be going over the basics of SEO. Then to a little bit of the on-page content and how you can optimize your content on your webpages and then Greg’s explain to you a little bit about how you can build quality links to your site to improve your rankings the search engine race.
Greg W.: All right so let’s get started.
Joe K.: All right, a few things we’re going to cover today is a little bit about keyword research. Again we’re going to be into your on-page content. What are the areas, the elements of your site’s code that you can optimize for your keywords once you determined the keywords you are targeting for your website. Then again, we’ll get into the linkbuilding a little bit.
So first real quick, what is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it’s the process of improving a website so that it will appear in the organic results of search engines. Now when I say the organic results of search engines, what I’m referring to here is, here you see, we’ve got, this is a search query for “Managed SEO Services”. Up here you see we have, these are all ads, these are paid advertising otherwise known as PPC or pay per click. Every time, all these companies are in here because they’ve paid to be displayed there.
Every time you click on that ad, they’re paying money for your click to their website. Same with over here on the right column. These are all paid ads. Below the paid ads this is where the organic search results start. This is what SEO is all about. It’s getting you found in the organic search results, the non-paid search results. Also, there is some localized terms. Google has gotten better at showing you information related to where you are, what your location is and Greg is going to explain that to you a little bit.
Greg W.: Yes, these are the localized results and I’m sure most of you are already familiar with this but the term that we using in the industry for this is just called the Google Local 7 Pack because you actually have seven results that come up, in local results. When you type in a localized keyword. Here you’ll see that we did a quick search for ‘bike shops St. Petersburg’. It’s showing St. Petersburg, Florida and based upon our location here it’s giving us the seven different top listings for bike shops nearby. Really it’s just sorting these through, which shops have the most citations that are pointing to them? How many listings they have on the web? How many reviews do they have? Google just sorts these sites according to their authority and that’s how you get the localized results. Even if you were to just do a quick search for coffee, basically it’s still going to give you localized results for coffee just because Google knows that chances are you’re looking for a local Starbucks or your neighborhood coffee shop and it’s just going to give you those results instead of giving you a list of all the different options for coffee out on the web.
Joe K.: OK so let’s get into keyword research a little bit. Keyword research is all about what are people searching to find your type of business? Again, if you’re a bike shop in St. Pete you want to make sure that within your site’s content, it makes it very clear that you are in fact a bike shop in St. Pete. Let’s take a look at some websites and I’ll show you some elements of your site’s code that need to be optimized to let the search engines know that you are a bike shop in St. Pete.
Here we have, this is a lake management company. Obviously, what they want to let people know they do is lake management. One of the most important elements of a webpage’s site that you can optimize is the page title. That’s displayed above the browser bar up here, at the very top of it. You can see his page title is, “Lake Management Aquatic Management Strategies”. He’s got his keyword in, he’s a lake management company, keywords are what’s returned in Google search queries when you saw those results, those are the page titles and the words that you search for when you search Google, they’re returned in bold. If you type in ‘lake management’ into a Google search bar, any page titles with the word Lake Management, the words Lake Management will be in bold, so that’s why it’s key to optimize you page titles.
Some other areas, any emphasized text really, any heading text, meeting any text that’s larger, you want to make sure you’re incorporating your keywords into there too. Here you can see, this is his main heading, clean, smart and effective lake management, again he’s covered lake management in that. He’s hammering on that keyword there.
Greg W.: So what are some problems that we see here?
Joe K.: OK. This website, where he’s making some mistakes here and I see this all the time, you see on these headings he’s got our methods, our services, our customer care, there is no real keyword value, there’s no real search value in those headings. To give you an example of another site that does those kind of things a little bit better. Here’s an attorney’s website and here he’s got corporate and business law, estate planning and probate and guardianships. Those are types of keywords that people might be searching for those types of legal services. That’s an example of properly optimized heading tags like that. Another optimized thing is you’ll see, here’s his page title. His page title is simply his name, Charles H. Stark.
Greg W.: That’s definitely not a good thing. You don’t want to just have your page title as your own personal name or even just your website. It’s a good idea to capitalize on, trying to optimize some of your keywords here in the page title, it’s a perfect opportunity for you to work those in in a natural way. Just make it have sense or excuse me, make it, have it make sense for the user that’s coming to the website.
Joe K.: Here’s an example, with this page title, unless people search for Charles Stark, they’re not, it’s not terribly likely that his website is going to pop up in search results, something that would probably be better that fits what he’s doing more, something like, he’s in Winter Park Floor, it’s a corporate law winter park Florida, that would target his target market a little bit better than what he’s got currently, his page title.
Then the thing here, site’s content, in your text content, again, you want to have the types of keywords, key phrases and Google’s trying to return the most authoritative results on a subject. What that means is how much information do you have on that subject? How many sites on the web are linking to you. Those are ways that you can build authority. I hear the analogy often that SEO’s like an election. In order to win, you have to dress the candidate properly. That’s the on-page SEO. Some of that that we just went over. The other part of it is you got to get out there, shake some hands and get some votes. Links to your site can be kind of thought of as those votes. Greg’s going to talk to you a little bit more about link building and good practices for that.
Greg W.: All right. You can’t really have a proper SEO campaign until you do what Joe just said, you have to do the on-site SEO as well as the offset SEO and backlink building. What is link building? Let’s just go over that really quickly. Basically it just means getting links from authority websites and these links send signal to Google that your website is also trustworthy and of a similar caliber of those authority websites. An idea of that is if you guys have a link that goes from the Wall Street Journal, that goes directly to your homepage, and there’s an article that’s written about your site, then that’s a very high quality link. Wall Street Journal is a very authoritative website and you’re going to get pushed up the search engines just for whatever keyword they’re linking on to your site for.
This is a sort of thing that should be performed in a regular basis. You can go out and get links yourself by either building relationships with other webmasters or you can hire a service to actually build these links for you. They can create content and then within that content they’ll place keywords that go to your website. That’s just a really great thing to do in an ongoing basis. All or your competitors are link building. If you’re skipping this part of the process you’re going to losing out on a fundamental part of SEO.
Along with that comes something that you should really watch out for. That’s called over-optimization. It’s a common mistake that lot of people make when they’re trying to do their own link building. What I basically mean by over-optimization is if you’re main keyword is ‘make money on line’ and you use that keyword way too many times either on your own site or in this case in your link building, Google is going to recognize that you’re probably trying to trick the search engines. You’re using this keywords way too many times and it’s not natural. It’s a really good practice to use a really good variation of keywords. Using a diverse mixture of all sorts of keywords so that you not just building up a trend of only ranking for the same one.
Here you’ll see that I took a screenshot of really popular tool out there, it’s called ahrefs.com. What this is used for such as kind of check how many backlinks your website already has. If you’re curious to know how many sites are linking to you, we can usually go to ahrefs, plug-in your website into the search bar and then you can get some queries that are just basically running some.
Ahrefs reports on how many links you have, what kind of link or text or what kind of keywords you’re ranking for and then it’s going to breakdown those keywords based upon how many links are pointing to your sites. I know it’s hard to see it here but I just wanted you guys to have an example of what it looks like when you do your search yourself. We just did a search for one of the sites that we showed you guys on the previous slide. Here it’s going to show all of their different keywords that they’re ranking for, St. Pete bicycles, St. Pete Bike Shop, Bike Repair, keywords like that. We see these guys are using a really good mixture of diverse keywords, that’s definitely the kind of habit that you want to get into.
This is, going back to ahrefs, this is what your homepage looks like. You’ll see here that there’s a 104 backlinks that are linking to this bike shop. That’s a fairly moderate amount of links. You’ll see some of the big websites out there might even have a million links that are pointing to them. The older your site is, chances are the more links you have. Really new websites don’t have a lot of links to being with. It’s really important to start building those links from the beginning and start doing it right away because if you get into the habit of over optimizing any of your keywords, that’s really the worst thing that you can do and there’s a lot of repercussions that come out of that.
Joe K.: That’s a good point. Same thing goes to the on-site. You don’t want to just stuff your on-site with keywords. It can’t just be keyword after keyword. Again, Google wants to return the most relevant authoritative results to their users. So you got to make sure the information you have in there, you’re not just optimizing for keywords. You’re also providing users with good, solid useful information. Again, the more information you have on your subject, the more likely you are to return high in search results. It’s a combination of that and the link building that we’ve discussed that, it’s what can drive you up the search rankings. That’s like the basics of what we’ve gone over with SEO
Greg W.: So let’s just do a quick recap of the things that we covered today. Did we touch upon keyword research at all Joe?
Joe K.: Just a little bit.
Greg W.: Keyword research is something that you should not overlook as well. That’s really the first place where you’re going to start. When you’re getting on your with an SEO campaign. What we mean by keyword research is, you’re actually going out and looking for keywords that people search for on a monthly basis but these keywords aren’t way too competitive to rank for. You’ll find keywords that people might search for 3,000 times a month but the problem is sometimes it’s just like, when you get the results for that keyword, there maybe 30 million webpages that are competing for that one keyword. You probably want to avoid that and go for something a little less competitive.
Now, with keyword research, you should also do a separate keyword research for any of your local SEO and finding keywords that pull up the localized results because different, like I was saying for the coffee example, different keywords are going to trigger localized results versus regular organic results. Just a good idea to know the difference between the two types of keywords and then, you can treat ranking any localized keywords a little bit different than you are just treating regular organic keywords.
Hopefully that makes sense. I was giving you guys a really general overview of the things that you should pay attention to when you’re doing your length building and your on-site optimization. We’re going to pause now, answer any questions that you guys have. If you want us to look at your own site and use that as an example, feel free to add that to the chat and we’ll take a look at that right now.
Greg W.: All right we’re just going to wait a couple more minutes or seconds here and see if you guys have any questions, don’t be shy. Any questions are totally OK to ask. Here, looks like we’re getting one now. Will you get that in the browser?
All right. We have a question here from one of our participants, basically wants to know the differences and the packages that we offer.
Joe K.: Sure, we do offer, if all this is too much for you, we do offer ManagedSEO services. It’s a monthly Managed SEO services where we’ll, month over month continue to build links to your site. We’ll help you with any optimization on your pages. The difference is in the package art. The basic package starts at $149 a month. For a $149 a month, we’ll optimize your site for three keywords for one of the pages. Then each month we’ll continue to build links using a mixture of optimized anchor text and natural anchor text to make sure, like Greg said, we’re not over optimizing your page to try to push your website up in the search rankings. The next level up is the standard level.
The standard level, that’s basically twice as much work. You get two URLs, six keywords, but you also get a syndicated press release. The syndicated press release is a good way, we’ll put out some information about your business. It’s going to be a little bit keyword focused and it’s also going to generate some links because different websites are going to pick up this press release and link to your site. From there, there’s a $599 plan, just again, more keywords, more pages optimized. We can scale this out to whatever level, however many pages, however many keywords you want to target. We can make a plan that fits for your website.
Yeah, the follow-up question to that was do we also suggest the keywords that we use, very good question. I apologize that I skipped over that. Yes, when you give your website we will analyze your site, we’ll try to determine, we’re going to send you some questions about your business and we’ll try to determine what it is you’re targeting and we’ll do the keyword research for you. We’ll look up what keywords are people searching each month and we’ll also make sure that we’re not trying to target something that is oversaturated that we couldn’t possibly rank. We’ll try to find good solid keywords that users are searching for and that we also believe that we can rank your site for.
Greg W.: Now just one more word about that. Just touching a little bit about the local keywords one more time just because it really is so important. Google is pulling up more local results now than ever. Usually ranking for local keywords is just a little bit easier than trying to rank for some regular organic keywords. There’s a really simple reason for that because when you do, when you have a localized keyword, you do a local search for that, the only competition that you have is in your immediate area. You’re only competing with other bike shops in St. Petersburg than compared to competing with all the bike shops across the country. It’s a little bit more quicker response with the local SEO. The only thing that we would require before we going this route is just to have a business that has your name, in essence number on your website, that’s only requirement for local SEO.
Joe K.: All right another, someone wants a little more information on keyword research. One thing that’s important, Google does have a free tool for you. It’s called the keyword planner. You do have to have a Google account to be able to log-in to this because Google is Google and they want you to use their stuff. But basically you can start searching terms. You can even just put in your website and Google will crawl your content and give you suggestions based on that. You can even drill it down to a local level. You can select your city and state or just your city your area, county, whatever. You can drill it down to any area and see how many people per month are searching from that area for those specific keywords. Also, based on your initial keyword ideas that you put in, the tool can provide you with additional keyword suggestions and show you, “OK how many times a month are these being searched for?” It’ll also show you the pay per click price. How much are people paying for those ads that they’re doing. As well as search volume each month.
We got one more question.
Greg W.: Yeah we have another question about meta descriptions and how they are treated by Google. So Joe you’re the onset expert touch upon how the meta descriptions work.
Joe K.: Meta descriptions are mainly, their importance are probably like, this is your one or two sentences to try to get the people to click on your site. It improves click through rate essentially. It’s believed that Google doesn’t really put too much weight on what you meta description is as far as your ranking factor, but once you’re appearing there, what Greg has highlighted here is what’s the meta description. The meta description is replay the status kind if a description of your website or that webpage. You just want to have some really concise information on there that shows the user that this is actually the page that they’re looking for to improve click through rate, to get users to click on your site. That’s the main function of the meta description, to explain to users what this page is about, what’s the content of this page to try to get them to click on it. That’s the purpose of the meta description.
Go ahead. One more question. One of the account managers told me about a one-time fee versus a monthly fee. Our ManagedSEO service is a monthly fee. There is not contract so you’re not tied to anything and check its effect on this. We generally ask that you give us two or three months. There’s nothing that we can do overnight to get you at the top of the search results. This does take time. It takes quite a while for Google to crawl throughout the whole web and index any changes, any updates we’ve made, any links we’ve built and stuff. It can be up to six weeks before we see any progress moving up the rankings. But once it starts going it usually, once you start seeing improvement in your rankings, we’ve start questions they’re pretty quick from that point.
Greg W. Yeah, the lake building is such a great value in the monthly fee. The monthly fee goes obviously towards building links for your website month in and month out. Having a really nice flow of links is something that we call link velocity and having a healthy link velocity is another sign to Google saying that your site is of high quality and you’re a trustworthy site for whatever subjects you are.
Joe K.: All right so that’s our webinar for the day. I appreciate you joining.
Greg W.: Yeah and we’re going to be doing these pretty frequently too so if there’s any topics that you guys would like to see us cover, maybe we didn’t really touch upon that today but feel free to just send us over your suggestions to managedSEO@attracta.com. We ‘d love take that into consideration for our future webinar.
Joe K.: Again if you are interested in ManagedSEO, go to attracta.com, there’s a managedSEO tab, you can get started right on the website or there’s a phone number you can give us a call at if you want to discuss a little bit more. Thanks for joining us today.
Greg W.: Yup, thanks a lot. Talk to you soon.