Monday, March 23, 2015

New websites rolling out!

I have been very busy working on a a bunch of new websites for customers, and each has had it's own neat challenges and previous issues to overcome.
  • Whether it is a Wordpress website somebody else built that was hacked (IF you are going to use Wordpress, pay attention to plugin updates, and stay away from "free" plugins...), and I rebuilt -
  • Or one that was built by Hibu (What a SEO mess they made!) and now properly built (Look! No weird URL's or links to Hibu! No ongoing payments for what amounts to nothing!) -
  • Or an ecommerce website for a college friend in Canada starting a new business -
  • Or fixing a Squarespace mess for an architect (not on Squarespace anymore!) -
  • Or just helping the local Rotary out a little bit -
It has been busy! And that's not even all the builds in the last few weeks, and more to come!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The 4 "On-site" SEO Priorities (As I see them)

Search Engine OptimizationMy last post about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) companies, led to several discussions with various clients and potential clients. Most of the discussion and questions revolved around what are the SEO priorities they should be focused on, so I broke it down to 4 basic things.

The 4 "On-site" SEO Priorities (As I see them)
  1. Have the Content people are looking for - and make it quality content. Basically comes down to, how are people searching for the products/services you offer? 
    • Does your website (and all your other web content like social accounts) have the key phrases and words people actually use in their searches?
    • How often do the important keywords appear? Are they in your headings, in bullet points, in page titles, etc. Google actually "indexes" HOW the words appear, and gives them a "priority" or "ranking" depending on how important they appear to be on your website.
    • Do you have "quality pages" (ie enough words - 250 is the target minimum) - Google can't really "see" pictures, they need words to index
    • Also is it truly "Quality Content" - is it interesting? Does it contain the info people are looking for?
    • Most websites I run into really suffer because the content has not been optimized for quality or for keywords
  2. Make sure the content can be indexed by the search engines properly.
    • this is where all the meta, and schema , and behind the scenes coding junk comes in, but it is important
      • Can Google crawl your site easily?
      • Are your Meta titles and descriptions done properly?
      • What are your "tagged" headings on each page? (h1, h2, h3, etc.) Do they contain the important keywords and phrases you are trying to capture?
      • Have you used schema markup, so the search engines can easily identify your company info and product info?
  3. Have content people will visit repeatedly - Simply put, websites that have higher traffic, will always rank higher than lower traffic websites. To combat this, you create content that people will visit repeatedly, 
    • this can include:
      • "blogs" and "news" feeds
      • photo galleries
      • "downloadables" like white papers, case studies, catalogs, manuals, infographics, etc.
    • If people find the content worthwhile, they will return to the website. They will also "share" this content with others (this is where the share buttons like a "Facebook Like" button comes in)
    •  BUT people won't return for (or "share") low quality, uninteresting content
      • and if you are never adding new or interesting content, why would anybody return to our website?
  4. We are looking for "links" - the internet is a "popularity" contest, and if people like your content and link to it, you appear higher in search results
    • some of this you  do yourself - local citations, posting to social media, promoting the content you create, etc.
    • but what we really want is other websites and people linking to us - so what are we producing that gets others to like and link to us?
    • The only qualification is we only want "good links" (authoritative links) not low quality "spam links" that can actually hurt the websites ranking (hence the need for things like the "disavow tool")
To me, this is the basic list. Yes Google has somewhere around 200 ranking factors (nobody knows the exact number), but it comes down to have good content, make it easy for search engines to identify and index, and make content that you and others want to visit and share.