Free Basic SEO All Website Owners Should Know:
Due to the great sensitivity of Google, there are many pieces of free information I can share with you as a website owner. I’ve been doing SEO for 10 years. I will try to tell you everything that I can. If you want to dive deeper, ask me about a free in-depth analysis by emailing me.
Google has updates every single day these days. An update is a change in the way Google arranges it’s results. These updates are designed to give the browser of the web a good rich user experience. Google filters out any sites that are trying to trick their way up or that are spammy. When I started SEO, there was a lot of spam in the Google search results. The updates have changed all that. It is very important not to fall into getting red flagged by an update. Let me explain:
Panda and Duplicate Content:
One regular update (Google Panda update) is about duplicate content. What you need to know is that duplicate content is when you put content on your site that either already appears somewhere on the web or somewhere on your own site. Never, never use duplicate content. Not even a couple of sentences. For example, if one auto-glass company likes the text on a site that is from across the country and decides to use some of the same sentences, they are using duplicate content. If their competitor produces 100% clean and fresh content, the competitor with fresh content will outrank the competitor with copied (duplicate) content. Duplicate content is so bad that if you copy several pages worth of text from another site, it can actually kill your site in the search engines if Google sees it (Google almost erases the site from the search results!) It happens all the time. Always keep your content original and fresh.
Penguin and Backlinks:
Another update is Google Penguin and it is about links from other sites to yours (backlinks). When another site places a link on it’s site towards yours (a web click-able hyperlink) it is a vote that they like your site. Google uses these to assess strength and moves you up if you have a lot of backlinks. It is really important to have clean natural backlinks. A backlink is a link from another site to yours whether that link is harmful or helpful. Spammy backlinks are harmful and sometimes are acquired accidentally. They can be a big issue. All backlinks should be absolutely natural and should never by bought, negotiated, or exchanged. Google penalizes heavily for non-natural backlinks. Just ignore all link exchanges and backlink negotiations and worry about providing an over-the-top user experience. To be certain you can also have me do a free analysis.
Hummingbird and Spelling:
Another update is Google Hummingbird, which includes spelling and grammar. It is very important to use perfect spelling and grammar, as well as to provide excellent helpful content (text) on your site. Also, never stuff search terms that you want to rank for (keywords) into your content. I will talk about this more later. Keywords are the search terms that you want to come up for when other people use the search engines. Some people used to stuff the keywords into their content several times. Now with Hummingbird this is not necessary. Once is enough. For example, if a shoe store’s Title Tag is “Running and Walking Shoes” for their home page, then they only need to say the words “running shoes” and “walking shoes” once in the body of their home page. Once is plenty!
With all updates, you’re OK if you never try to trick Google even a little bit. No hidden text. No stretching the keywords. No trying to hide something. No acquiring backlinks. No doing your own reviews. Just don’t trick and provide your user with very, very valuable information and you will usually be good.
On-Site SEO and Keywords.
Your pages naturally represent keywords. Keywords are the search terms you want to come up for. For example, a running shoe store’s home page might want to come up for “running shoes”. Always start with the home page. Identify what keywords a page is representing. This is done by reading the page and seeing what it’s about. What the page is about is your keywords (examples are “running shoes” for a running shoe page in a shoe store, “business seminar” for a training company home page, etc.)
Use the keywords in your title tag.
Search for “SEO Title Tag” to learn more and find out how to change your own. Learn about your title tag. If you’re in WordPress, here is a blog post for how to change the title tag in WordPress. A good WordPress plugin is “All In One SEO“. Do some research on your title tags. They are very important. A final title tag (which should be thought about deeply) might look like “Running and Walking Shoes in our Boise Store”, just for example. That example is for a local site’s page that is all about running shoes and walking shoes. Note each page is separate. Your keywords (always 1 or 2 per page) are different for your home page than they are for your “Services” page or “About Us” page.
Use keywords in your Meta Description Tag.
Do a search for “Meta Description Tag SEO” or if you are in WordPress “How to Change the Meta Description tag in WordPress”. Again, “All In One SEO” is a good plugin in WordPress. If you are in another type of site (Joomla, Wix) just research how to do all this in your system. Call me if you get stuck.
Add the keywords once to your content.
Just once. Stick to one to two keywords per page and if you are a local site be sure and put your city in your title tag, meta description tag, and textual content of the page. Remember each page’s title tags and meta description tag are separate from every other page. Each page has separate on-site SEO.
The content – articles, videos, apps, etc. are the most important part of the site. They draw in backlinks (links from other sites to yours) and make the site stronger. Spend tons of time making good content and make sure it’s written or shot by a person of authority if you are not an authority in your field. Any content not written by an expert in the topic is almost a waste of time. In my free analysis, I help you look at what content you might need.
Half of search results are mobile these days. If you don’t know if your site is mobile friendly, do a search on a phone and look for the words “mobile friendly” in the search results next to your site. If you haven’t made your site mobile friendly, it is top priority to do so. Click here to see Google’s take on Mobile SEO
Pay Per Click:
It is usually a good idea to do some inexpensive paid advertising campaigns, but make sure you’re not overspending (which is too easy to do). For more information (remember to be conservative at first) see adwords.google.com
This is where you sell products online. Volusion.com is one of the best carts for this. I have been doing E-commerce for a decade. The key is to create valuable content (videos and articles) that are over the top of the competition to draw people in and also to be competitive in other product-related ways. You want your site to be ten times as helpful as your competitors and to have a much more appealing design. This is key to a continuous upward movement in the search engines.
Backlinks for a purely local site are completely different. Do some searching for “Citation Local SEO” if you have a local site. This is very important. It is putting your results on all the local directories like Yelp.
All businesses want a Facebook page. You really should have a Google+ page too. Some people get a lot out of LinkedIn and even Twitter. For Facebook, post every day with very helpful information, and tell all your friends and others to like your Facebook page. There’s also great Facebook advertising options.
It’s really important to have a clean looking design (graphics). This can move you up in the search results. Have a design that is way better than your competitors. Surprisingly, this is not always expensive. Contact me for a fifteen minute consultation and ask me how to get good graphics for cheap.
Now days, speed of a site is important. Don’t overload every page with large non-optimized graphics. Keep things fast and clean.
Free Analysis: If You Want to Know More
I offer a complete free analysis of your website if you would like to know even more. Here’s the things I cover:
1. On-Site SEO Analysis and Keywords
I will use my tools to analyze the keyword (search terms you want to rank for) performance of your site along with how well each of your main pages’ SEO is done. As always, I give you suggestions as to what you could do yourself and, if appropriate, what I could do above and beyond what you would be able to do. For example, if you’ve got keywords in the wrong place, that are inappropriate, or that don’t matter in the search results I will honestly tell you up front for free. I will help you do a lot for free. If it’s bad and I know how to fix it and I think my fees would be made back for you with your sales over time, I will offer to do work for you. But I’m all about offering solutions for free too. I’m very open, honest, and helpful. There’s no guarantees, though, that should be said up front. Any SEO that guarantees you placement is probably lying pretty badly. In our work, we do our best. Sometimes it does great. Sometimes it does not. As with any good SEO, I just always do my best and don’t take on clients that I can’t help.
2. Backlink Analysis
I analyze the sites linking to you, which is a big part of site strength. I let you know how you’re doing there and I especially let you know if you’ve got anything bad going on. Sometimes people pick up bad backlinks because of an accident or mistake. It can happen to anyone. It’s important to regularly look and make sure your backlink profile (list of people linking to you) is completely clean.
3. Content Recommendations
I analyze the content, articles, video, etc. of the site and give you useful suggestions, both of what you can do and how I can help (if I can). I talk to you about who it would be best to write or shoot your content. I tell you what I see you writing about. I tell you what form I think would be best (usually video or text). Content is the most important part of the site so I spend some time on this. I also analyze your current content for performance.
4. Further Update Flags I look for any further flags to let you know about that could be a problem with Google updates. Better safe than sorry. One bad flag can kill a site these days so this is very important. Example flags are bad backlinks, duplicate content, accidentally hidden text, and lots of keywords in the wrong place or added very wrong.
I let you know how you perform for mobile if you need to know. I tell you what you can do to make the very important switch to a mobile friendly site.
If you have a local site, I analyze your citations, the local directories that have added you. This is very important for local sites. I explain in detail in the analysis. Citations, or local directory listings, are important for local SEO so I give you a full workup on this.
I give you design suggestions, and tell you where to go to inexpensively improve it. I do web design too at good prices. I designed this site. I’ve been in the business for a very long time.
8. Social Media
I analyze your social media presence, give you free suggestions, and let you know how I could help (if I can help). I spend some time assessing the strength and use of social media in your internet presence
Contact me by email (click here) or by phone at 208-860-9863 to get started.