SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the practice of using a mix of both paid and organic techniques to direct people to your website through search engines. We will not go over all of these techniques as the list is quite exhaustive, but I will go over some of the ones that I feel are important and ones that I use in my professional (and personal) life to try and stay ahead in this content-saturated world.
Before we get into the details, I want to take a few moments and dispel a myth for those of you not familiar with the SEO world. This myth is usually targeted to the business owners, CEO’s, and leaders–usually through catchy Facebook ads and videos that SEO optimization is just a “quick fix!”. You may have seen some of the videos, ads, or websites. Though they may look tempting, most of these are scams. After doing a quick search, here is an example of one website that promises quite a bit.
Now, I’m not saying all of these sites are scams, but before you commit to paying for a service, as with anything, you will need to do plenty of research. Ask yourself: Is this business legitimate? Look for reviews or see if anyone else you know has tried the service. If the business is telling you it can get you results instantly, it is probably best to stay away.
So where do you start? First, it’s good to see where your website stands from Google’s point of view. Google uses an algorithm that is updated each year as well as throughout that year to reward websites for following certain guidelines. Google has released a couple of these updates called, “Panda” and “Penguin” and in fact, the website MOZ does a great job updating these items in real time. Along with providing you with excellent and up to date data, MOZ has great search engine results page (SERP) analysis tools and their website scans keep you up to date on changes you can do to make Google happy.
Most of the changes are small, but knowing these changes and staying ahead is part of the game!
Below are just some of the things I monitor to continually try and help Mittera’s website and Google performance.
- Fresh and Updated Blog Content: Blogs are a great way to continually update and refresh your site on a weekly (or more) basis. Google wants to know your site is legitimate and using long form blogs on your site is a great way to demonstrate your website is being updated consistently with fresh and informative content. What this means is Google not only wants to see this content—it wants to see A LOT of it. As Neil Patel states, “The majority of blog posts published are 500 words or shorter. You can stand out in the noise by putting an extra 1,500 words worth of work.” He’s right, and if you see all of the tests done from that link, you can see that people value this content. Not only will Google give you a better ranking, if you are a leader in this industry, posting a 500-word blog just doesn’t cut it anymore. According to Google, users expect long form content from leaders in the industry.
2. Social Media: Within the last few years, Google has started allowing social media profiles in search results. Although Google has said that social media does not directly affect your ranking on the site, it does so indirectly. So, why do we need it? Well, having a certain number of likes and having a social media account isn’t all of the sudden going to get you into search results, but having a consistent content strategy that uses links, keywords, and great content can. When content, links, and blogs are shared it can have a very positive effect on results when users are searching. As Stone Temple states:
This tip is something all Marketing Directors should implement when developing their social media presence. As you grow and build a following, using those links and content can have a direct impact on your overall SEO strategy.
3. Site wide SEO: We could probably spend another 20 pages on this topic, but I want to give a bird’s-eye view on items I look for on the back end of a website to make sure we are using best practices to get Google’s attention.
- Keywords: Over time, Google has been putting less emphasis on keywords and focusing more on quality content. This prevents developers trying to trick the algorithm by using keyword stacking in blogs and copy on a website. Using keywords organically in posts and content is what Google is looking for.
- Alt Image Tags: All images on your site should have a title and an in-depth description of the image. This is not only for the visually impaired, but you are basically showing Google that you not only spent the time naming and describing these images, but that you want Google to know exactly what these images are so they can show up in image results as well. This is another way to get people to your site and rank higher in image results.
- Mobile Friendly: Having a mobile friendly site is another factor in good SEO practices. You’ve seen them. The sites that aren’t optimized for tablets and smartphones. These sites are hard to navigate and will get a lower ranking in results than those that are. Having a mobile friendly or “responsive website” is just another must have to ensure your site is Google’s good graces.
All of the practices listed above are ways to develop your SEO presence with Google organically. Another way to directly target searched keywords is Google AdWords. This is something I use in tandem with my organic SEO work to maximize PAID exposure on certain keywords and searches. We have had some great results using both in order to ultimately funnel traffic to our website and attract interest from potential clients. You can get started with AdWords here if you would like more information!
Although more information could be included on all of the Google SEO factors, this is just a fraction of what I am working with on a daily basis to ensure Mittera is using best SEO practices. If you would like help with your business or want to learn more, give us a call. We would love to discuss your options and how we can continue to Tell Your Story!
-Dustin Damitz, Marketing & PR Manager | MITTERA