SEO | Search Engine Optimization

Overview

SEO or search engine optimization refers to the various methods by which professionals cause a website’s domain name to become more visible in web searches, thereby increasing organic traffic to a site. For decades, Google has been the most successful at developing ranking algorithms.

Four Basic SEO Components

  • 1. Content Creation

    The most important rule to remember as you write content for SEO is called semantic branching. It refers to the words associated with your targeted keywords. Read more.

  • 2. Backlink Strategies

    One is not supposed to use backlinks. Links to your site happen naturally if web users find and reference your content. So how do you cheat? That’s a bit of a science. Read more.

  • 3. Site Health

    Above the fold content can slow page timings when users visit your site. Are you using GZIP compression, are images optimized? Are you responsive for mobile display? Read more.

  • 4. Tags & Structured Data

    Adding alt tags to images helps Google know how they relate to your written content. Using rich snippets and markup language affects social media previews and display in search results. Read more.

1. Content Creation

If you’re writing content to organically target the keyword milkshake in Google search, you would start by thinking of or looking up all of the words and phrases that frequently show up around the word milkshake on the world wide web. Words such as blender, ice cream and milk come to mind. Logical content creation is 95% of a search engine optimization expert’s job…


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Elements of SEO Content Creation

  • Semantic Branching

    Finding the right subtopic to write content on takes a combination of research and common sense. You might try a section on milkshake recipes, a post on average calories per shake or allow users to vote on their favorite flavors.

  • Title/Body Agreement

    Not surprisingly, when you declare your topic keywords in a title, you should write about that topic in the body text below. The SEO effects of title/body text agreement are quite noticeable in Serp rankings.

  • Location Cues

    If you provide a service or product that is location sensitive, provide search engines with location cues throughout the site. Use local land marks, street addresses and names to improve ranking in local search.

  • Content Organization

    For the targeted keyword milkshake, consider making milk its own folder with pages about milk that live inside that folder. This would result in possible URLs such as, mymilkshake.us/milk/skim.

2. Backlink Strategies

A hyperlink is title or body text that links to another web address when clicked. Search engines use these connections between anchors, topics and domains to help score or rank websites when users run organic searches. Imagine your odds selling milkshakes in a crowd of 100 strangers. Whatever those odds they should increase if one or two people point at you while talking about milkshakes. For similar reasons a hyperlink improves a site’s odds in search results.

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Using Backlinks to Increase Rank

  • Quality Over Quantity

    In the late 1990s, one of the SEO trends that emerged was the creation of thousands of phony backlinks generated in bulk. In theory, it looked to some search engines as though the target sites were the subject of much fuss. Those days didn’t last.

  • Building Backlink Sites

    A sure fire way to get sites from other domains to link to yours is to build them yourself. Developing authentic looking websites at other domains can be time consuming. It involves a few extra hosting and registration costs as well.

  • Social Media Links

    Using social media to your advantage takes planning, but the results are worthwhile. When you post your website’s link to Twitter, Facebook, Reddit or other social media site, search engines detect each time someone in a social network clicks through to arrive at your target site.

  • Using Paid Gigs

    Another effective means to generate back links to a site is to pay bloggers, website owners and people with popular social media accounts to talk about the topic surrounding your desired keywords. Make sure they use slightly varied anchor text to link back. To learn more about using paid gigs, continue reading.

3. Site Health

From page timings to ensuring your outbound links still point to websites that resolve, the free tools included in the Google Webmaster console are indispensable for SEO.

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Need for Speed, Responsive Display

  • Page Timings

    The load time for each page of a website can affect it’s ranking. In general you want to stay at or above the 86th percentile mark for page timings.

  • Mobile Display

    Mobile search results are slightly different than results shown on desktops. Search engines will penalize sites that fail to adapt to mobile displays.

  • Broken Links

    Using Google Webmaster Tools to check for broken links becomes more important as a site grows over time. How can you tell who is linking to your site and what happens if you move? Read more.

  • Free Google Tools

    The top three free Google tools are Webmaster, Analytics and AdWords. With them you can tag structured data, analyze user flow/demographics and advertise selectively.

4. Structured Data

The most important digital first impression is the way your website displays in search results and on social media. Using structured data allows web services to pull and display previews of a website that you can design and control.

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From Rich Cards to Open Graph Tags

  • Rich Cards

    Similar to rich snippets, rich cards use the open standard schema.org markup language to visually showcase content in four new categories: Products, Recipes, Events, and Reviews.

  • Data Highlighter

    Webmaster Tools conveniently allows web designers to select and highlight information on date, time, place, number of reviewers, average number of stars, ratings and more.

  • Image Alt Tags

    When blind users surf the web, the software used to read text content out loud also reads the hidden alt tags on each image. Google uses this same information to help determine page rank.

  • Open Graph Tags

    The OG or Open Graph library was developed by Facebook to pull essential content from a website and display it in a smaller, abbreviated form on the news feed or wall. Read more.