Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the practice that evolves every year, is the strategy that is used to rank websites on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. SEO involves strategies both on your website and off it.
Combining content, constant updates, strategic tagging and linking, keywords, and social media has been proven to help businesses appear higher in more searches and get in front of more customers.
2018 brought us a year of learning, testing, and growing in the world of SEO.
- How do Google meta tags impact SEO and your website?
If your goal is reaching page 1 of Google and other search engines writing tags for your website is necessary. Meta tags help Google identify your website.
Make it easy for Google to find your website by writing great meta tags. When you do a search on Google the first thing you see is meta keywords, after you click enter you see a listings page. Google shows listings based on meta tags and meta keywords used throughout your website.
There are multiple types of tags you'll need to know about. The 3 most popular types of tags used are Title tags, Meta tags, and Meta description.
- Meta Keyword Tags
Meta keyword tags tell search engines what your website page is about. There are mixed feelings on choosing meta keyword tags. Many SEO experts think meta keyword tags are useless.
Some articles even say Google completely ignores meta keyword tags. Back in the day too many web developers abused meta keywords and would stuff their web pages full of them in order to trick the search engines. Google has since developed new algorithms to prevent cheaters from benefiting from this strategy.
SEO experts refer to this as keyword stuffing. I like to use meta keywords to keep me focused on writing the best content for the page. Choosing the best meta keywords helps me develop a focused effort when writing content.
- Title Tags
Title tags are the first thing you see when looking at a listings page generated by Google. At first glance you'll see a page of listings related to your search terms. What you are looking at is the title descriptions, domain name linked to displayed listings and the meta descriptions.
The best title tags are usually about 6-7 words. Title tags too short don't get clicked as much. Title tags too long don't read correctly. Using good grammar with adjectives make great title tags.
- Meta description
Below the title tag is the meta description. Meta descriptions are usually about 140 characters. Again writing with proper grammar and using adjectives make great meta descriptions.
Writing meta descriptions too long will often get cut off. That's OK if it does. However keep your meta descriptions near 140 characters for the best visual impact. Creating the best visual impact for searchers will help get your website more clicks and traffic.
Websites like Moz and Yoast are great resources for writing effective SEO driven title tags and meta descriptions.
- What are Good Habits to Improve Your SEO Ranking?
Good habits to improve your SEO ranking using title tags and meta descriptions. Revisiting your title tags and meta descriptions every 30 days is a great habit for continually improving your odds of getting to page 1 of Google and other search engines.
Google rewards you for doing the work. Google's number 1 goals is to serve its searches the best information possible. If your website truly has the best content then continually improving the title tags and meta descriptions help Google identify your website. Google responds to the activity of the searcher.
If Google searchers like your title tags and meta descriptions they are more likely to click on your website.
The first step in setting up your website content is selecting your SEO keywords. If you are a business owner, chances are you’re already using SEO to build your business online. If so, you were probably at one point asked about SEO keywords you wanted to use.
Every time someone searches for something on Google, they are using keywords. Keywords are search terms or phrases people use to find products and services.
Google wants to provide the most helpful results by displaying the most relevant website to satisfy whatever someone was searching. It does this by crawling over the content on a website and matching it with the SEO keywords that were searched.
- Do the SEO keywords need to be in my content?
Yes, there would be no other way for Google to be able to know if your website is the right one for a user if you aren’t clearly displaying SEO keywords in your content.
So, if you’re trying to rank your website for something that is NOT mentioned in your content, you’re going to be out of luck!
The content on your website is any text, image, video or anything else that adds to the user experience. There are several places on your webpages where you can add in SEO keywords. Your SEO company is probably handling updating the tags on the back-end of your website, so let’s focus on body paragraphs.
Every page on your website should focus on something specific and should also be focusing on one SEO keyword only. When you are deciding what you want your webpages to say, keep your SEO keywords in mind.
It is a good idea to write a good amount of content so that you can mention your SEO keywords several times without it seeming unnatural. Google can flag your website if it feels you are “keyword stuffing”, which is adding in keywords just to cheat Google’s SEO algorithms.
How much content is enough?
The answer is as much as you can produce.
So, why do I need to know about SEO keywords? Unless you are paying the big bucks to have someone else create your content for your website, chances are YOU are the one writing it all. Writing your own content is a great way to personalize your business.
Not to mention, who else knows more about your business than you? So, if you’re going to spend all that time writing content to rank your website, you’re going to want it to work, right?
And even if you have some content on your website now, your SEO will always benefit from more. If you are absolutely happy with what is being displayed on your webpages and don’t want to add more content you can opt to add a blog to your website and post regularly.
Blogs are a great way to keep your website fresh with SEO keyword rich blog articles. Google will crawl your blog posts in search of keywords just like it does on your webpages. Recent, relevant and fresh content will always be favored by Google over all else and if you can get users to interact with the blogs, that is even better!
Okay, so now you’re ready to write SEO keyword focused content right?
However, don’t get upset with yourself if you aren’t perfect at it right away. Just like anything else it takes practice to write a natural sounding article while making sure you are using your SEO keywords. Building this skill can take time but it could be what sets your website and business apart from all the rest.
What better way to show that your business is the expert in your industry than by creating an abundance of content? But did you know that content has immense value in SEO? Content both on your website and distributed online helps search engines recognize your website, determine its relevance, and rank your website higher in searches.
This means that more potential customers will find your business when searching for your product or service, topics related to what you provide, and answers to their related questions.
Here are different types of content used in SEO:
Long-form articles posted on blogs (1500-2000 words)
Short-form articles posted on blogs (300-500 words)
Infographics, images, and GIFs
Written content on website pages
Social media content
Content creation keep’s your business’s website, listings, social media profiles, and online reputation up-to-date with a constant flow of new content. And Search engines reward websites that are active, reputable, and SEO and mobile optimized.
Long-form SEO blog articles that are at least 2,000 words in length have proven to be the best way to build traction online. These articles give search engine crawlers the opportunity to see that your article and website are a reputable match for a users search. Long-form article writing also helps display your level of expertise in your industry. When you become a thought leader online, not only will your online presence grow, but so will your business.
The beauty of having your articles published online is that you can constantly edit it and add to it. Say you wrote 2,000 words on your industry, and a few months later you added more context, a video, and a few more pictures. This update will allow search engines to do another crawl on your page and be a better match for users. Quality content that is heavy in useful information, SEO keywords, and multimedia is the best way to get your website ranking in search engines faster.
Releasing new content every week is a great starting point. In time, you’ll have a full library of content that can be redistribute and repurposed. Add a blog page to your website and include a variation of long and short blog articles that include your keywords and keyword phrases.
Be sure to include images and/or videos and add links within your blog.
Writing quality content is important, and you don’t even have to be a professional writer to do it. Giving your website visitors something useful to read or watch on your website will increase the amount of time people spend on your website and boost your SEO.
When writing content think about topics your customers would want to or need to know. What questions are you answering all the time regarding your services? Write about your business practices, the features and benefits you offer, and share success stories.
Here are some of the best places to share your content other than directly on your website:
Social media platforms (FaceBook, YouTube, Instagram, etc.)
Blog forums and platforms (Medium, Tumblr, StumbleUpon)
Online distribution lists
Content truly is king not just for branding, but for SEO. More content, leads to more engagement, which leads to higher ranks on Google. And when you create content be sure to share it on every medium you can think of and link it back to your website.
The goal is to create so much quality content that potential customers find your business online faster, recognize your business as a reputable source for information, and create greater brand awareness.
4. Image Optimization by Baylie Depp
The digital world is becoming increasingly visual, so the value of image optimization can’t be overlooked. Chances are, you have at least one image on every page of your website. Without the proper optimization, you’re negating a valuable SEO asset.
Image optimization can create a better user experience, faster page load times, and can improve your SEO within the traditional and image search results. While visual search technology has made some great improvements, search engine bots are still unable to identify the content of an image. Instead, they rely on the text associated with the image to understand and read it.
The Best Tips to Optimize Your Images for SEO in 2019:
- Use JPEG and PNG images.
A JPEG image will maintain its quality better than any other format when it’s compressed or resized. JPEG is the most popular photo type in the digital space and is perfect for forming quality images in small file sizes.
PNG images are good for handling transparency. They are often used for logos, as the image appears small, but the resolution is very high quality.
- Use optimal file size without losing quality.
Large images are the main cause of slower loading times, which can hurt your SEO and user experience. Reducing your site’s image files through resizing and compression can help immensely.
Your overall image size should not be much larger than you actually need (i.e., the width of your webpage). You can use Adobe Photoshop’s “Save for Web” functionality, tools like Pixlr and PicMonkey, or there are a number of resizing plugins available on Wordpress.
- Add descriptive captions.
This is an SEO best practice. The caption is the text that appears right below the image, explaining what you see in the picture. The description provides more context for search engines to understand your image (aside from the alt text). Just remember not to force the caption when it’s not needed.
- Name your images for SEO.
Creating descriptive, keyword-rich file names is critical when it comes to SEO. Typically, your images will have file names like “IMG_120917” or something similar. This does not help search engines understand your image. If you sell organic skin care products, name your lotion image “vanilla-organic-body-lotion” instead.
- Write SEO-friendly Alt text.
Alt tags are the text alternative to images when a browser can’t properly read them. Similar to the title, the alt tag is used to describe the content of an image file. Alt text is also required under the American Disabilities Act, as it is used for individuals who are unable to view images themselves.
5. Social Media by Charlotte Oliva
What are the SEO benefits of social media? Social media is a gray area when it comes to SEO. There has been no definite answer as whether it has an effect on Google rankings or not. In 2014 Matt Cutts referred to the relationship as a correlation but not necessarily a causation.
If you dig through Google to try and find an answer, you’ll be faced with ambiguous explanations, riddled with maybe’s and what if’s.
The relationship might be blurred, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. If we take Matt Cutts word for it (I definitely would), social media needs to lend a helping hand to your main SEO strategy.
When using social media for your 2019 SEO strategy:
Create value, don’t make noise:
Create content around topics people actually care about. If you’re creating content to fill up your blog space, then you’re wasting your time. If you’re not invested in providing real value to your readers, why should they invest the time to read your blog?
Don’t assume what your audience likes to read, do your research. There are a handful of tools like ahrefs and Buzzsumo that assess trending topics, the top ranking pages for those topics and the social signals for the pages.
Write content people will want to share:
By using the marketing tools mentioned above, find the top 5 trending topics and choose one to rewrite, but make sure to add your own twist. Add a personal thought, ask a question or make a prediction, anything that will make the readers want to engage in conversation.
When you promote trending content on social media, do a little research into how others are talking about the topic. What hashtags are they using? Who are they tagging? Are people asking questions or stating their opinion?
This will help you to understand what language to use and strategies to take for that particular trending topic.
Join online conversations:
Don’t recreate the wheel. There’s a high chance your industry of choice has a handful of great social platforms and/or online forums where a valuable conversations are already happening.
Find where your audience is online and dig a little deeper to find conversations related to your chosen topic. Join the conversation, comment when necessary, answer questions and be a thought leader in the space.
Don’t be shy to link back to your website or blog, but use your honest judgement and ask yourself “is this a natural backlink?”.
Monitor social signals: These are the measurements of a webpage’s social media activity such as shares, likes, engagement and reach. These might be taken into consideration when a search engine weighs the value of an article.
For example: If an article you’ve written garnered a lot of social media interaction, it shows Google:
You increased website traffic from your social media post.
The article is providing value to readers.
This tells Google your content is a valuable resource. Relevancy and value-added content is heavily weighted with Google rankings. They have yet to admit social signals have an effect, but with all this information laid out in front of us, it’s clear to see that if it’s not being used now, it will be used in the very near future.
In conclusion, SEO is changing the way businesses connect with customers and the way consumers find businesses.
Businesses have to be more than just a product or service, they have to be a source of information if they want to soar to the top of Google, be thought leaders in their industry, and outshine competitors.
We’d love to answer your SEO questions and help you get ahead of your 2019 marketing plan.