Not Sure Where to Begin?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, can be a daunting undertaking but it’s best served (and understood) in bite-size segments. Afterall, it’s an immensely competitive landscape that requires patience before results are obvious, as well as regular analysis and tweaking. It can certainly be tedious, but that’s where Estes Media can help. For your own understanding, here’s a high-level overview of what SEO 101 entails.
Wait . . . What Exactly is SEO?
The fundamental goal of SEO is to improve your website’s content and infrastructure to organically rank higher in search results. It’s the umbrella term for tactically ranking higher on Google by determining the keywords and keyphrases customers are asking and building a detailed strategy around them.
Title/H1 Tags and Meta Tags
H1 tags are the titles of your webpage, which act as their most prominent and influential on-page identifier from an SEO standpoint. They clearly and concisely convey the topic or theme of the page and often reflect the actual name of the page itself.
Meta tags, on the other hand, are HTML components of your webpage that offer brief descriptions of the page’s content. They’re very similar to H1 tags in terms of their content and the opportunity for keyword exposure, but you can be slightly more descriptive thanks to the higher word count.
SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is a security protocol that encrypts the information your computer transmits between itself and its destination computer. This allows it to keep data private, secure, and hidden from eavesdropping hacks, all while telling search engines that your website is secure.
Search engines need a sitemap to understand how to navigate your website and find information within it. Because Google ranks every single page of your website, sitemaps are paramount for SEO because they instruct and direct Google’s crawlers to find and index the content across your website.
Search Console/Google My Business Setup and Tracking
Search Console allows you to submit and index your sitemap with Google and allows invaluable analytical insights into your website’s performance and traffic. Google My Business boosts SEO by listing your business on all major service listings, helping with geographical searches while providing valuable backlinks.
Voice Search Optimization and Structured Data
Voice search optimization makes sure search engines are able to easily find your content when verballs asked a question, meaning Google needs to understand what your site is sharing, offering, or discussing. “Schema,” or structured data, helps Google understand the meaning of your content so it can thoughtfully match it to the most relevant customer queries.
Robots.txt are files that help manage crawler traffic by identifying the pages for Google to read and rank, ensuring all of the right pages get looked at and none of the wrong ones do. By maximizing a crawler’s efficiency on your site, your content will be better understand to appropriately matched to relevant search queries.
Keywords are the bread and butter of SEO. They clearly define your content and are identical to what’s being searched for by search engine users. They are the end-all-be-all bridge between what people are searching for and the content you provide. Targeting the right keywords has a massive effect on the traffic attracted to your website.
Backlinks are like a vote of confidence for your website’s content and its relevance. The more backlinks you have, the more credibility and authority Google will award your website, organically ranking it higher in search results.
According to Google, over half of mobile users leave a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Slow speed is a massive visitor turn-off and signals to Google that three may be an issue with your website, meaning your domain will have less authority and rank lower. Quick-loading sites maintain visitors and allow crawlers to more easily scan your site.
Competitive SEO and Content Analysis
The best way to identify strategic opportunities for your website to outperform competition is to have a thorough understanding of where and how they rank. Likewise, it’s crucial to know and understand the performance of your own content to inform the most effective changes you can make to outperform.
Performing all of the above steps diligently is the easiest way to avoid site errors. But because search engines are constantly evolving and changing their rules, it’s important to adapt to them before small issues become big problems.
Duplicate content confuses search engines, jeopardizes your website’s trustworthiness, and forces Google to rank content for you, all of which can have an adverse effect on your larger domain or page authority.
To have a comprehensive understanding of what’s working and what isn’t, you need to make a regular practice of tracking and analyzing your performance. Knowing how well your content, keywords, backlinks, and third party channels are performing are crucial to informing your ongoing SEO strategy.