So, what is an SEO Specialist anyway? SEO is the abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization. It is our job to develop and prepare your website so that search engines such as Google can crawl and index your website without any glitches or hangups. In general there are two phases we will dive into and do our best to explain what the SEO’s job may entail in most cases. For starters we will look at OnPage SEO and OffPage SEO.
When we talk about OnPage SEO we are talking about your website, your website structure, and the content that you write for each page on your website. The first thing we generally do is perform an SEO Audit to get a firm understanding of your website. We look at OnPage factors but we also look for obstacles that may get in the way of search engines being able to crawl and index your entire website correctly.
Once we have a good understanding of your website and your companies market defining keywords we can then set out to optimize your website with best SEO practices. We encourage everyone to follow our best practices and create each webpage as if it were a thesis with great content. We will offer a basic summary of what we mean below.
Your SEO Thesis & Market Defining Keywords (MDK’s)
- Page Name – Name your page well and use the MDK in it, not just page7.html, use something like marketing-defining-keywords.html. If you are using WordPress it won’t need the html at the end.
- Title – Use your marketing defining keyword for each page once in each page title. Don’t go over 65 characters.
- Meta Description – Write a compelling AD in the Meta Description to get folks to visit your webpage.
- H1 – Heading One – Start the page content area with your marketing defining keyword or a variation of it and use the HTML H1 tag on it. Use one H1 per page. Don’t go over 156 characters.
- H1 Content – Support the H1 page topic with useful paragraph content right after the H1. Use the MDK at least once per paragraph.
- H2 – Heading Two – Use a sub topic MDK in the HTML H2 Tag.
- H2 Content – Support the H2 page topic with useful paragraph content right after the H2. Use the MDK at least once per paragraph.
- Images – Name them properly and worth a purpose, don’t just use image-7.jpg. If the page is about an SEO-Thesis then use an appropriate image for the page and name it seo-thesis.jpg. Yes, use lower case and use the dash (-) between words.
- Image Optimization – Always optimize your images “for web”. It will help folks visiting your website load each page faster if the images are optimized. Some cameras take pictures with a quality of 100 or 99. These images are extreme high quality for the web and we suggest optimizing them to 90 or below.
- H3 – Heading Three – If you have more sub topics that pertain to the page you can use them in an H3 tag but we don’t have problems with folks using H2 tags multiple times per page.
OnPage SEO Tools
- Screaming Frog SEO Spider
- SEO PowerSuite – Website Auditor
- Google Search Console (Google Webmaster Tools) & Google Analytics
- Bing Webmaster Tools
- DeepCrawl (Not Free)
Periodically check for broken links. Note: Use a few different software’s or websites to check for broken links. We consider broken links critical and we highly recommend fixing all broken links ASAP.
In General, when we talk about OffPage SEO, we are talking about other external websites (not your website). Find creative ways to use external websites to market, talk about, and link to your website. We highly recommend being socially active with all primary social network websites and connecting with folks in your niche.
Working your Off-Page SEO
- Social Networks – (Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn etc…).
- Add your company to Google “My Business” & get reviews.
- Directories – Find & add yourself to industry related directories.
- Hook up with “Related Websites” and share content or even guest blog.
- If you have a physical location & store front then make sure you submit your Universal Business Listing.
I just want to point out there are a lot of folks and SEO Companies out there that promise you a certain amount of work for a certain amount of money. All I can say is make sure you are receiving reports from them at least monthly for ALL aspects of work they are performing for you. Make sure you view them each month and verify they are performing quality work. We use the term “fulfillment” and more often than not the SEO Company is not fulfilling their obligations month after month. So, make sure you or someone in your company audits their work each month!
Reverse Engineer Your TOP Competitor’s SEO
I don’t like to go into hardcore detail about reverse engineering competitors but it has to be mentioned. Isn’t it awesome to know there are tools, websites, and software out there that you can use to drill down what your competitors are doing to win top placement in search engines? We will jump into that in a bit but lets start with the basics.
Once you know your marketing defining keywords you are going to use and you perform your OnPage SEO are you wondering why you are still not in the top 3 organic search results or even in the top 10? If that is the case and your not in the top 3 then what should you do next? Well, we believe in old school research for starters. Carve out a little time to view your top competitors website and see what they are doing. Take a look at the organic search result and really pay attention to the Title and Meta Description they are using. Do you see any similarities from the top 3 results? Visit the competitors page and read the content thoroughly. Important: Use unique titles, meta descriptions, and unique content on your page. Don’t borrow competitors exact content and put it on your website or it will be considered “duplicate content”. Make sure you write unique content for your site and pages.
Let’s check out a search and show an example for “dentist gibsonia pa“.
OK, so we browsed around the top few sites for the dentist Gibsonia, PA Google search and viewed their pages. We don’t see any duplicate titles, meta descriptions, or duplicate page content. Note, we skipped the 3rd result from yelp.
So, if we were a dentistry practice, launched a great looking site, have great content on the pages and also using synonym words such as dental, dentistry, DMD, why are we not hitting for “dentist gibsonia pa”? Oh heck, we forgot to use and sprinkle the word dentist into the page title, meta description, and content of the page. After doing the Google Keyword Planner research for the Gibsonia, PA area we see that more folks in the Gibsonia area search for Dentist/s not dental or dentistry so it only makes sense to update the page and get “dentist” into the page title, meta description and page content right! So, the lesson here is be sure to do the research and after you find what keywords folks in your area or niche use to find your services be sure to sprinkle them into your website. Be sure to sprinkle the synonyms around too. Also, be sure to follow the character length limitation rules for the title and meta description.
OK, so you updated your page and added the word Dentist to the core areas and your still only ranking #7 on page one of Google, now what? It is now time to reverse engineer the competitors that are ranking above you in search. It is not rocket science and we believe anyone can learn to do it with the proper guidance. We like to use https://ahrefs.com/ and https://moz.com/ to reverse engineer competitors. What information do we obtain and look for? We look at social metrics and where they have links. According to one of the latest Google articles links are not going to be as much of a factor but we still like to peek and find high quality links that your competitors have. Once you locate the quality links they have, when possible, you should set out to acquire the same links or consider how you are going to acquire similar high quality links like theirs. Think about it, if you pull the data from ten competitors that are above you, reverse engineer all 10, then set a pace to do what ALL 10 have done you should be in a good spot by the time you do the quality work. Skip the spammy links they have and skip the ones from crappy directory based link farms too. Once again, set a pace to complete the work over time and it will be more natural looking then paying for someone to blast 500 crappy links to your website overnight which Google will pick up on and probably penalize you for! Work for quality links, not crappy quantity.
Use search operators in Search Engines to find new potential industry niche links.
I have been working in the SEO field for quite a while now and if you need a hand or need to consult with me, feel free to give me a call (724 482-5001) to discuss your needs. I love working in this field and look forward to helping others!