As we’ve stated on various pages of our website, our goal is to be as transparent as possible throughout our business engagements with our clients. Hopefully this article lifts the fog and gives our clients a basic understanding of SEO. Because, if SEO is done the right way not only will your website will show up in the top rankings on the search engines, customers will click through and take the desired action. Search engine rankings are listed in the “free” sections of the engines. These “free” rankings are also known as organic, editorial, or natural search results. Unfortunately, SEO done the wrong way can hurt your website almost beyond repair.
Whether you’re going to do SEO yourself or hire an outside firm, it’s important to know the basics of Search Engine Optimization. We’ll remove the smoke and mirrors stigma that has been related to SEO since its conception by covering the basics.
1. Identifying Keywords
The first step in the process of optimizing the content of a web site for Search Engine Optimization needs to be keyword research. It is important to determine what end users are searching for as relates to your product or service. I can seem overwhelming; like picking the perfect pebble while strolling along the sea shore.
Even if you’ve hired an outside agency to do your SEO, it’s still important for you to know what keywords will drive traffic to your website. Maybe you think that a keyword phrase is important but then after keyword research is completed we find that there is a better use of keywords for your website.
We were working with a client several years ago. The website offered advice for Haircolor. There content standard stated they must use “haircolor” as one word on their website. After we conducted keyword research we found that there are 4,400 searches per month for “haircolor” which is a pretty decent number. However, there are 110,000 searches per month for “hair color.” Based on keyword research we were able to help the marketing manager of the company make a case for using “hair color” on their website.
Choosing Keywords for Small Business
Now in the case of a small business, we’d probably recommend the keyword phrase “haircolor” as opposed to “hair color.” The reason is that with 110,000 searches per month comes a lot of competition. In the example above, this client was a heavy hitter in the hair color industry and could play competitively in the area and come out on top. For a small business, it's a lot easier to rank well for a niche phrase that people are searching for.
Internal links are when web pages link to each other within a given website. These internal links help the search engines to know what pages on you site are important. Internal linking also helps search engines crawl deeper into your website. There are several types of internal links. For the purpose of this article, SEO 101, we’ll be discussing two types of internal links: Breadcrumb Navigation and Site Maps. These two types of internal links are probably the two most common links and the easiest to understand.
A. Bread Crumb Navigation
You might be thinking to yourself, “What the heck is breadcrumb navigation?” Well, let’s break it down. A breadcrumb trail is used for people to find their way back to a certain point. Navigation can be thought of as a way to move or progress through something in a logical sequence. When we add the two together, breadcrumb and navigation, we get a breadcrumb trail that navigates us somewhere. You’ve probably seen, and used, breadcrumb navigation on a website without thinking too much about it. Here’s an example of breadcrumb navigation:
When you’re on this page, the breadcrumb navigation tells you where you are, on the page about our Search Engine Optimization services for small businesses, and provides a link for you to get back to the Resources page, the About Us page, and the home page.
B. Site Maps
You’ve probably seen a link to a Site Map at the top of a website, or more commonly at the bottom of a web page. Have you ever clicked on it? If you have you know that you land on a web page that lists links to all of the pages on a site. Sitemaps are necessary from both a usability standpoint and Search Engine ranking relevance. From a usability standpoint, the links help the end-user navigate to all of the pages on a website. Regarding search engine ranking relevance, a sitemap is link “spider food” to the search engines. It’s a map that the search engine spiders can follow to index all of the pages of a website.
What’s an alt tag or more commonly known as an image tag? They are the words you see when you hover your mouse over an image on a website. Why are image tags important? If a user is visually impaired or have the image display turned off, the image tag will display text instead of the image.
Image tags are also important to the search engines because a search engine spider can’t read an image but they can read text.
Meta Data plays an important part in search engine optimization. Some of it, such as the page title and meta description, might appear to be a backend feature of a website. Let’s dig into these two types of meta data.
A. Page Titles
Page Titles are also referred to as browser titles. If you go to a website and look at the browser tab you’ll probably see text there.
Here's an Example:
SEO 101 | Resources | Kazimier Consulting
This page title lets the user know what page of the website they are on and also helps the search engine. Most search engines use this page title for the title of the results page.
B. Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions do not display on a website, however, most of the search engines will use the meta description on the search results page.