SEO 101: How to Generate Productive Organic Traffic
Google was added to Oxford English Dictionary as a verb in 2006. That’s right, the search engine company became an action word for the activity consumers participate in everyday. People use Google to get tips, product information, comparisons, reviews, prices, and more. Essentially, they want immediate answers and they search online to find them. The question becomes: will the answers to their questions come from your company or its competitors the next time they Google?
View Three Deep's SEO 101 Webinar to learn how to increase the amount of organic traffic to your website. And remember, SEO clicks are FREE!
Taylor: Hello, my name is Taylor Pettis and welcome today's presentation, “Intro to SEO: generate organic traffic”. As we all know Google is much more than a search engine. It’s become synonymous with searching anything on the internet. So we know people are using Google to find information they need, and they are using it a lot. The question quickly becomes, “will they find your content or your competitors the next time they Google?” Today’s presentation is designed to introduce you to SEO and we'll get this from Nate Plaunt, senior SEO strategist at Three Deep Marketing. Before I introduce Nate, I want to cover just a few housekeeping items. First of all, we hope this presentation will be both informative and interactive. To help make this interactive, please share your comments and questions in the chat area of the webinar screen. I’ll also do my best to help Nate answer the questions during the presentation so keep them coming. The next item is we are recording today and all of this will be emailed to you following the event. So if you like what you see and want share some of the cool new knowledge you have with your connections, please feel free to do so. We also have a next level SEO webinar coming up on July 30th so don't miss that event as well so after you learn everything here today you can take it to the next level on July 30. Now it's my pleasure to introduce Nate Plaunt. Nate is the Senior SEO Strategist at Three Deep Marketing a digital marketing agency located in St Paul, Minnesota. He has experience in both the in-house and agency sides of search optimization. He has a passion for all things digital and has used his expertise to assist companies from small medium size businesses all the way up to the fortune 500’s. So here is Nate Plaunt.
Nate: Alright, thank you Taylor I appreciate that introduction. Hi everybody, thank you for coming. I'm really excited to talk a little bit about SEO with you all today. Alright, so on today’s agenda, I’m going to run through real quick. Taylor did a great introduction, can't top that. For you guys, I’m going to lay out what to expect and what you can take away from this webinar. I’m going talk a little but about how search engines work, talk about what SEO actually is, some foundational on and off page SEO basics you can take away, and some tactics you can implement right away. So again here we are the presenters of today, Taylor Pettis there, he's a senior marketing manager at Three Deep follow him on Twitter at that Twitter handle and also connect with him on Linkedin via that bitly link and on the right there that is me, I am Nate Plaunt, Senior SEO strategist here and that is my twitter handle there and if you would like to learn a little bit more about SEO (...)
The recent studies done by conductor which is a leading industry SEO provider (...) 4 percent of all web traffic to the sites included in the study. In fact 79% of search engine users say that they always frequently click on the natural search results over the paid ads specifically within those results, the click through rate of the position on the first page is over 71 percent. So you can see SEO is really important to get your website ranking highly, specifically on the first page of the search engine results. Now what am I talking about the search engine results and what that looks like, let’s have a look at a typical search engine results page here and what we have.
Here in gold are the ads. These are the PPC ads that businesses is paid to be ranked highly for the search query. Then below that in purple, you have local or map results. Here, these are also organic to an extent but specifically in this presentation we're going to be looking at these organic results - the natural organic results. Here you can see the click through rate of those two results on this page.
So to sum it up again does SEO really matter? I think the answer is a resounding yes because really if you're not optimizing for search you're missing out on that high ranking and you're already behind your competition.
Alright so what to expect today. You are going to walk away with a solid understanding of how search engine operate but more importantly you're going to learn how to beat out your competition in the search engine results again I'm going to give you some actionable tactics that you can implement today on your website. Then I’m going to provide you the tools to implement these tactics.
So moving along, what did you search today? This is a pretty familiar image that most of us see typically on a daily basis. When you type a search query into the Google search bar results come up at how many the most important thing is what came up when you search. So if you take a look again at a search results page, how did Google get 18 million results in less than half a second? How does it do that? I'll tell you- that search engines - they don't actually crawl the web in real time for every query, they actually categorize the web pages in the index which is pre crawled so that they can easily retrieve these web pages and serve them up for your search query. This is really important because they're over 3.5 billion searches that happen every day on Google and of those, 15 percent are actually brand new searches that have never been searched before. So if you think about it that equals 525 million searches that have never been searched before every single day. Google and other search engines need to have a pretty good index of what’s out there in order to serve the results to answer that query. Google is just a big library of all known resources on the web and your entrance to this library is really just typing in your query to that search bar.
So how do search engines work? Well I'll tell you in a nutshell. The search engines (Bing Google Yahoo and others) they have the spiders or crawlers or bots that they send out through the web. They crawl all available websites, all available pages and these spiders take notes on various information. These notes that they take help them to categorize these pages into easily retrievable categories or folders. How about how do they do all this? Well I’ll tell you. It's a mathematical algorithm that each search engine has to help serve up the results of the query. so google, and its algorithm, has over 200 ranking factors and these are the things that it looks at to help decide where your site rank. In addition there's roughly 10,000 sub factors and variations of the main factors to help serve the results for those queries
Bing conversely has much fewer ranking factors in its algorithm there is closer to a hundred or so and it relies heavily on various social factors in order to serve the results that it thinks its users are looking to answer. Now within Google's algorithm there are some key components today (and this is a study done by moz which is again another industry leader in the SEO vertical). 72 SEO's that were surveyed talked about what they think the most important components of the algorithm. As you can see, number one is the trusted authority of the host domain and I’ll talk about what this is. Number 2 is the popularity of a page within that domain, 3 is the anchor text of the external backlinks, and 4 is the on page keyword usage and I'm going to show how you can attack these your own website and make sure that you check all the boxes.
So within the US, the search engine market share looks like this. Google is by far the big dog here so when I talk about search engines and optimizing for search engines, most the time I'm talking specifically to Google because it is so prevalent in the US. However a lot of the same tactics apply across Bing and Yahoo and everyone else which is typically AOL and Ask Jeeves and another smaller search engine. As I mentioned before, not all results are organic results. So if you see you this Google results page here, there's only three organic results that are actually visible above the fold and it’s for that reason that it's incredibly important to get your page up there because your business depends on it essentially.
What is SEO exactly? Well if you ask Wikipedia, it's going to tell you that search engine optimization is a process of affecting the visibility of a website or a webpage in a search engines natural or unpaid search results. To me SEO is two things.
Number 1, SEO is the practice of making your website as accessible as possible to the search engines
Number 2 it is ensuring your website is it is useful and relevant to your current and prospective customers
So let's just take a look at what that looks like visually. I think about SEO as a pyramid like this and any good pyramid builder will tell you that you need to start with a foundation to get the best results. SEO 101 today in this presentation were really going to look at these foundational elements this is where we ensure that our site is accessible to the search engines. Taylor mentioned we have an upcoming webinar at the end of July SEO 201 and this is where we're going to talk to the higher levels here - the content strategy and content marketing so for now let's work on fixing your foundation and we're going to look first off at some of those technical and structural factors that you can correct in your website to get the most bang for your buck organically.
Alright so the goal here at this level of the pyramid is to ensure accessibility for the search engines and users. It is the foundation of your entire online presence, so it's critical that you get this step right. The great thing is that the search engines - Google Bing Yahoo - they're very clear guidelines for webmasters the following building sites and for the most part it is very, very similar or the same when it comes to the structural factors across all search engine. So here are the things we are going to be looking for on your site at this level.
Can your entire website be crawled? Is your website indexed by the search engines? Does your website have any errors? Is your page load time too slow?
So how can you do this?
A number of different things to look at that can help you answer those questions. Number 1 is an xml sitemap and I'll go into these in more depth in the following slides. Number 2 is an accurate robots.txt file, number 3 is google search console this is a free tool by Google that gives you tons of information about your site and I'm going to talk a little about some page speed optimization and some tactics that you can do right now if you identify where issues may lie and how to fix them.
So what to avoid here. Again in this step we're really looking at making your site as accessible as possible and so, any unnecessary hurdle for the search engines is definitely something to avoid here. And by unnecessary hurdle I’m talking about developing your site in Flash or Java Script or with URL parameters. Let me show you an example. This is a real-time example of exactly what I'm talking about. So let's take this website its weather.com, it’s my go to for when I need to figure out what the weather's going to be like during the weekend if I can get home and take the kids up to the park. I love the functionality of it. As you see to a human visiting the site, this is a pretty good experience, it’s has a lot visuals, its compelling it pulls me in, I can read topics about different weather events, that’s great. This is what humans see. This site was developed delivering its content via Java. So what do search engines see? Well I’ll tell you. search engines see this - nothing and I’ll tell you, no, this is not a glitch we didn't lose connection here, this is actually what the website looks like when you disable Java Script and this is how it appears to the search engines. As you can see this is a pretty big issue for weather.com. They are just simply not showing up in search results because Google and Bing Yahoo don't understand what's there so we're going to move forward and talk about some of those structural things where we can help the search engine understand your side a little bit better.
Number one like I mentioned before is an XML sitemap. This is essentially a roadmap for your website that enables a search engines to efficiently crawl and index your site. As you see here this is just an example of an XML sitemap. It’s not much to look at for us users because it is not intended for users, its intended for the search engine robots. It’s an inventory of all the pages that we have and we're essentially saying “Hey Google, here are all my pages here’s were you should find them, please crawl them and index them.”
This is one of the basic files that every website should have so if you want to check on your website right now typically they're located at www.yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml. If you don't where to find it, you can start there. There are various tools that can help you generate an accurate and up to date Sitemap, my favorite is the screaming frog spider. This is a crawler that goes through your site and its output is an XML sitemap along with a plethora of other things that it finds in your site. You can check your URLs and title tags and those things like that but I really highly recommend. It’s free to download and it gives you limited information. It’s very affordable if you buy the premium version on a yearly basis. If you're using a CMS like WordPress, there are various plug in’s that can help you with this. One of my favorite is Yoast. It's a kind of an all in one SEO package. It helps with your on page optimization as well as auto-generated sitemap every time you put up a new page, it’s included in the sitemap. Really easy to use. There's other web based sitemap generators for example one of my favorites is XML sitemaps.com. Really easy to use. You type your website in, crawl through it and it spits out of an XML sitemap really really easy.
Alright, so next I’m going to talk a little bit about the robots.txt file. And this is bare bones basic necessary file. Number two, the sitemap and the robots.txt are must haves for your site. This file is a directive for all visiting bots or not just search engines but other crawlers going through websites. It is essentially tell them what url to crawl or not to crawl. So, typically, we seen this used similar to Nike here in this example, where you telling
a) user agent which is any bot or crawler visiting the site we want you to disallow these seven or eight subfolders whatever is listed there and it just helps the crawler to more efficiently navigate through your site which is really important. This is a simple text file. You can create it with notepad and upload it to your site very easy to do and very necessary. Here's a little pro tip for you guys, in Google search console there's a robot text testing too, and I’ll talk about search console in a minute here, but there's a robots.txt tester where it crawls your website and finds your robots.txt file. In here you could identify any errors or warnings that may be in that actual file as well as you can check various URLs on your page on your website to see whether or not you're allowing the search engines to crawl them.
Alright, so, Google search console. Again this is one of the most important tools in my arsenal. Formally called Google Webmaster Tools, its a free resource with tons and tons of valuable information for all website owners. It’s really easy to use. You go to that url there, you enter your website and hit click Add property and it adds it almost immediately, it’s going to prompt you to verify, you either use your Google Analytics or upload a file to your site, but almost immediately you are going to get a ton of valuable information including crawl stats, search query information any a message that Google wants to send to you about your website they send through this console so it's really important for everybody to verify their site through this tool
alright I said I was going to talk about speeds so let's talk about speed. Why does speed matter? Number one, it’s because last year for the first time ever, mobile search over took desktop search. This is a pretty big event because we are never going to go back. It doesn't go backwards were only going to be seeing more and more mobile search from here forward and that means the gap is going to widen it and fast page load speed is a critical part to optimizing mobile and this is just one example of why speed matters but if you take a look here - oh I’m sorry – mobilegeddon, Let’s talk about this for a second. This was a line in the sand that Google drew back on April 21st saying that you know from that point forward it was going to reward sites for being mobile friendly meaning that they would rank higher in the search results and so you know from a mobile-friendly standpoint or in mobile search this is well optimized mobile site. You see it gets a mobile-friendly designation which is great. Speed is a big part of that, there are obviously other factors that come in when you’re optimizing for mobile but speed is huge.
So how do you identify if you have speed issues. Well google has another tool again free to use it’s called the page speed insights and this gives you a prioritize road map on how to fix any speed issues that may be on your site. I'm going to provide at the end of this presentation the slide that has links to all the tools that I talked about and that'll be sent out with the email the later on so again you go to this URL, type your website in to search bar and it thinks for about 20 seconds comes back with speed optimization roadmap for both desktop and mobile.
I know it's hard to see on the slide but there's a little links showing how to fix underneath each recommendation and that is it. Exactly step by step how to fix that on your site. So if you have an in house developer, this is a great url to point them to say and think I've got some speed issues and can you help me identify and fix them. This gives them all the tools they need to fix them on the site. So with that, kinda wraps up the structural and foundation level of the pyramid. I'm going to move up and talk a little bit about the on and off page factors that are important for organic visibility in SEO,
So on and off page factors. The goal here is to demonstrate relevance in authority of your website. Now search engines are just like you- they want to stay in business. So in order to do so they need to keep people coming back and to keep people coming back they need to provide the best answers to their questions. Search engines want to provide users with search results that are relevant to their query and authoritative in nature. Building upon that solid technical foundation that we built earlier, we want to make sure that the search engines and the users are both able to fully understand what the various pages on our website are all about. Before we move forward I want to talk a little bit about on page vs off page SEO.
As the name implies, on page SEO, this refers to the factors that you can control directly on your website and some examples here are the metadata , these are like page titles, alternative image text, heading tags, different coding things, the internal links on your site, your site content, and as well as the technical and structural things that I talked about earlier. Off page SEO- this refers to factors that are typically out of your control on other websites some examples here are the inbound links coming that that you're getting from other sites, social media in terms of the amplification of your content, mentions of your brand, and local directories. If you’re a local location based business, this is really important.
Alright so what are we looking for at this level
Well, number one, are all of your on page elements page optimized? Really important for both users and search engines to understand your pages.
Are you ranking? This is great to know if any gaps in your content, or if you think you should be ranking somewhere else, or maybe we can figure out why were not.
Who is linking to you? Again another important thing to know. Backlinks are incredibly important when it comes to the organic visibility. Who is linking to your competitors? From a standpoint of competitive assessment, obviously you want to know what your competitors are doing.
So here's what we look for in terms of the on-page SEO elements and I am going to break these down in the next couple of slides for you. Here's just a list of the things we look at URL, the meta data elements and then page copy , image text things like that.
Where do those things live on a page, well let’s take a look. This is a typical product page and the page title that's right there at the top - that little tab - . What it is the main topic of the page? This page title needs to be unique, each page should have its own title and it needs to be descriptive. Also you should probably include your brand name in your page titles and at the end of them typically and not to the beginning.
Next up URL. Again this is needs to be descriptive, needs to be readable by humans and by search engines, and unique. Each page should have its own unique URL - duplicate URL is a big no no.
The h1 heading. This is again the main topic of the page it's typically we see the heading used as your font sizer as well, so most of the time you going to have the bold and words wrapped in an h1 tag and it's important that you know that this needs to be unique as well. So only one h1 heading per page. More than that and it gets confusing to the search engines as to what that page is about so 1 H1 one per page.
Next up alternative image text. We do this for the search engines because unlike human visitors, search engines cannot see an image if they crawled through this page and saw that image, they would see there was a file representing something without that alternative image text, they wouldn't know that that is a picture of cat shampoo so it needs to be descriptive and keyword rich.
Finally h2 headings this is the sub topics that fall in alignment with what the rest of the pages. so in this example the details of the product reviews on a product these are all important things to call out and then finally here page copy this is obviously an important element this is visible to both human and search engines and it gives cues about what that is about again it should be descriptive and unique and keyword rich.
I can't stress enough you need to have unique content on each page duplicate content causes so many issues so do try to write unique content for each page. Alright so let's break this down a little bit and see an example of a good page title and an example of a bad page title. So let’s look at our search query for cat shampoo. Here is an example of a good page title. And the title here is that blue letter at the very top of the result there. What the title was telling me is that that page is about cat shampoo and conditioners and it’s on pet smart. This is a great page title, its succinct, to the point it tells me that as an answer to my query and that it's coming from and authoritative source and as a result this page is ranked number one for the keyword phrase cat shampoo. Here is a not so good one: Petdiatric party animal funny Apple Cat shampoo and its cut off with an ellipses. Not only is it confusing up front I don't understand maybe that's the brand or the business name but unnecessary words party animal funny Apple those are things I am not searching for party animal funny Apple cat shampoo ever.
For this query, it’s not very good, too long and as a result it is ranked number 245. There is a lot of opportunity there with that result to jump up the rankings with just a little tweak with just the page title. Alright so we talked about page titles, the next thing that a search engine looks at is the URL structure of a page. Again we want this to be readable by both humans and search engines. It should clearly state what that page is about and so again for that same query, cat shampoo. Here’s a good one and its petsmart.com/cat/shampoo conditioner and then some internal categorization. But this tells me and search engines what to expect on that page is that were in the cat area of the website and then we are in the in the shampoo and conditioner area. That’s great! Perfect url structure and for that they are ranked number 1. Here is an example of a bad url structure. These guys, for that same search query this page comes up (enter url) I don't see anything in there that tells me that that's about cats or about shampoo or providing an answer to my query. search engine obviously don’t see that either because that one comes up that number 260 so you can see the differences between good and bad and start to think about that on your own website you know how is my url structure structured and is there an opportunity to to fix it up.
One more thing that we want to look at here that I didn't talk about before is the meta description. The meta description is one of those elements that we optimize as SEO’s but you don’t actually see it on the page. The meta descriptions are typically only seen and search engine results pages and they are the little snippet of text that lies in that result. its important to optimize these because these are essentially the elevator pitch for that page. If you want someone to click on your result over the result below it or above it a compelling and well written meta description that’s relevant to that search query can really help with that
So again here best practice is to write this for a human, write it for you know how would you want somebody what would you want to read about that page, was the information you want to provide about that page, how are you going to get them to click. Clearly a call to action is a great thing here you don't want to do is write one that's going on and on and on and on because it the gets cut off of with an ellipses just like that second result there.
So let's look at search engine results on both mobile and desktop device to see why it’s so important to really optimize these different on page elements. As you can see this is a desktop result, and this is again is the same search query cat shampoo. As you can see it’s a busy page, you have ads there, you have images, you’ve got shopping results and then down at the very bottom, you have got the two organic results. It pays to be up there on the page but you a lot of competition for people up click on. Not on mobile. On mobile, those are gone and you just have the results. So if you optimize well, yes you’re going to rank highly on desktop but more importantly, a query like this where you have some local intent to it and google wants to serve the result that best for the user, you’re optimizing your on page elements, you’re ranking highly, people are clicking and you’re selling product
Alright, let’s take a look at what keywords you rank for, but before I move on, let’s set some ground rules. Number one, don’t Google yourself this is not a very good representation of how you’re ranking for various search queries for a number of reasons. I told you before that you know the 200 main factors and 10,000 sub factors so a lot of these things have to do with personalization so in your own Google if you're clicking on a typical one type of results, google is going to understand that you as a user like that thing and that will rank higher than other things. Additionally for location based queries, Google changes its results every 2 miles so if you're sitting on one end of Minneapolis and you’re searching for a cat groomer and it’s going to be vastly different the other end in Minneapolis. All is based on location so don't treat this as the end all be all of how you’re ranking. What you do want to do is use a keyword tracking tool and I have included a couple my favorites here, SEM rush this is a great freemium tools with they call it. Free to get a little bit of information you gotta pay for a little bit more. And this just gives you a great visual of you ranking universe and then for those of you who are brick and mortar locations bright local is incredible tool to use because it allows you to search for specific search queries from specific zip codes and see where you rank at those locations. SO I highly recommend these two.
I am going to show you here in this slide what I am talking about here. This is Sem Rush the keyword tracking tools that we use here at 3d because you type in a domain in this case petco.com what you get is an output of where they’re ranking organically right now. You have the ability to this tool to actually create a campaign that you can monitor overtime this information is important because you have a page about you know about cat collars that are camo but you're not ranking for that term , maybe you need to do a better job optimizing to start ranking for that
Alright im going to move to off page SEO. Backlinks, anchor text within those backlinks things, and then citations or Brand mentioned out there on the web. One distinction I want to make while we are talking about backlinks there are two different kinds. Internal and external. Obviously internal are those ones that are on your site and external are those coming into your site form an external site. Both of these are really useful and important but for different reasons so specifically here I want to talk about those external back links and how they help. Essentially external backlinks are votes for the pages on your site. it’s site owner A going, “you know what , this site over here, they have great content, im going to raise my hand and vote for them with a backlink”. Generally speaking, the more links that you have from authoritative sources, the more your site is trusted and the better your pages are going to rank. Now I’ll give you an example say this is your website in the middle and you had a great write-up by the New York Times. So you got a link back to your site from that. This is a good link from and authoritative and trusted source Google likes this and he gets two thumbs up maybe you sell your products through a reseller and a link back to your site for more information on the product specific this is also a great link, its super relevant, this is the type of links that google wants to see and maybe there sin industry blog and they are talking about how your product is better than someone else’s product. This is also a really good link really relevant to what it is you provide. What you want to avoid are shady links or links from a shady site. These are links that look completely unnatural or that come from a totally unrelated site. For example maybe you sell windows but you have a bunch of links from some other sites talking about software. It doesn't make a lot of sense to Google and they actually apply filters –all search engines that filter out the sites that have a lot of these irrelevant links. If you have too many of these types of links on your site, you may even get hit with a penalty by Google which is really bad and they just remove you from the index and you have to work hard at getting back in the good graces. Avoid these links! Build your links organically through great website content, don't pay for links.
So the next thing to talk about here is the anchor text that’s used in that link. This is another important element because it helps both search engines and users by the way understand where they are going to land when they click on that. We are conditioned as people to click on text that’s blue and underline that we all know that the symbol that this is a link somewhere. So the text used in that helps give more cues about that destination page. So as an example, if your site is about cats, the anchor text about cats would be preferable over “click here” which is very generic and nonspecific. So, obviously, you can't control what people link to you with all the time so you're going to have some of these click here and website and generic terms like that but internally you can control what the anchor text is, be specific and descriptive
Alright so I am going to move on to who is linking to you and this is important to know. I mentioned for all the reasons that you want to have great authoritative links, I also touched on why you don’t want to have bad links. Simple to do just a quick back link on your site just to see what's out there. Log into your Google search console navigate down the link to your site section and then check out both who links and what content is linked. the most they have two sections there and it's really great to just get the feel for what people are interested in your site. And now a little Pro tip here - this is going to help you to inform future content. Say you have a page and you're selling cat costumes and you have a lot of people linking to your Santa Claus costume, well maybe that this is an indication that more holiday themed content is what people are looking for and you can develop more content based on what's popular already.
Alright, so who is linking to your competitors? This is one of those things that it's always fun to dig through somebody else's sock drawer a little bit and see what's out there. You want to conduct a competitive link analysis, and to do so use a tool called open site explorer. This is another great tool by moz. It’s at that url and again ill provide these all to you guys for your use. You enter your competitors’ site into the search bar. what you do here is you dig through their backlink profile and see what's actively linking to them. Maybe they have a partnership with a local chamber or you know Sallys beauty shop down the street, you want to see where there is the opportunity. Pro tip here to identify where you can acquire some of those same links and even out that playing field so that you can get better links in addition to these links you’ll be ranking higher than your competition.
Alright and finally I want to talk a little bit about citations. These are critical for location based businesses I'm talking about those brick and mortar things like a hair salon or a plumber or auto repair shop. What these are a mention of your brand another site like a listing directory. so a listing directory is a list of things like Yelp and yellow pages and city search and it’s just an example of what those listings look like on a yellow pages.com . The important part about these is that the citations remain consistent and accurate across the citation universe this is because Google uses these to corroborate that you are exactly who you say you are and where you say you are. So Google is serving result for a user in Minneapolis, it needs to know that they result is actually located in Minneapolis and that it’s going to benefit that users query. So specifically the things to keep in mind are name address and phone number and these need to be consistent and accurate across all listings.
Pro tip here- checkup your listings use moz local this is great again free tool you type in your business name and your zip code and it pulls back all the things of you and gives you a score and form that score that you can use some different things you can click in and you can capture some missing listings and you can fix some incorrect one but consistency. It’s really important to keep this in mind if you're going through things like a move. If you’re moving a physical address you got to think about the SEO ramifications here. Maybe your rebranding that that's really important to think about okay how's it going to affect my organic visibility for local based search.
Alright, so we finished up with the presentation and I just want to review a couple of things with you before I let you go.
Number one if done right SEO is a distinct competitive advantage and to do it right you need to get the foundation right first after that you optimize your pages, optimize your off-page presence and then move up the pyramid
Now again we just talked about the foundational things in the 101 today and this is just ensuring that your site is just as accessible they can in the search engines come back for a SEO 201 at the end of next month. This is where we're going to talk about the content side of things and ensuring that your site is really answering the questions that your customers have what they need.
One last thing here is that SEO is not a one and done thing. Websites change products disappear maybe that websites migrations happen. So this needs to be something that is an ongoing thing as you develop new content, you make sure its optimizes as you remove content you need you to make sure that its done in the correct way and just continually move up the pyramid.
Thank you everybody appreciate your time I'm open up the questions right now
Taylor: So thanks Nate for leading today's webinar, it was very insightful, I know I’m definitely walking away here with a few more tips. As Nate mentioned, we are going to leave a few minutes here for some questions, we have about 10 or 15 minutes left, so please enter your questions in the chat field and give him a little bit of virtual applause if you will. A couple of announcements just while we have a quick second here so if you visit our site, we will be sending out a link after today’s webinar, Nate and his team are going to be offering a free SEO scan for to 20 so yes up to 20 qualified companies. So if you’re interested in seeing how your website performs in the SEO world, visit the link we will be sending out following today’s webinar. The other thing is there is a next level SEO presentation that will be July 30th I will be sending a link for that and we hope you will join us for that so, it’s one of the ways you can continue your pathway to becoming an SEO expert. while I gather some questions here there is one question I had, Nate, that came up. You talked a little bit about Google penalties say more about Google penalties
Nate: Sure, I am sure you've heard of our friendly little fuzzy animals the penguin in the Panda filters that Google applies to it search results and it updates its algorithm actually daily specifically around quarterly or maybe every 6 months or so within each both Panda and Penguin there's actually manual penalties associated websites that look to be intentionally going against guidelines. So in the case of a manual penguin penalty this deals with people they're trying to manipulate their ranking by getting a lot of shady back links a lot of these irrelevant or unnatural links may be participating in link wheels or link schemes basically a big no-no and against the guidelines. With panda this we looked at the content on the page and so where you can get dinged here is if you have a lot of thin content, or a lot of duplicated content, an example of this would be a local plumber or a local company like roto rooter where you create a whole bunch of the same pages for and just change one or two things like the location. For example, Plumbers in Minneapolis we serve Minneapolis area blah blah blah and all that duplicates thin content is going to flag that panda filter and you could get a manual penalty for that.
Taylor: Perfect, so another one, for blogging, what should I do to boost my SEO. So it sounds like this person out there is a blogger and probably looking for just a couple of quick tips to enhance their SEO.
Nate: Yeah, great question. So right there what you want to focus on is on page optimization even before that ideation of the blog. Really be informed by keyword research and I didn't talk too much to that in this webinar that's going to be talked about a pretty heavily in the 201 but if you go into the Google AdWords keyword planner and just type a head term topic into there its going to spit out a whole bunch examples of other terms that people are searching for. And that should give you an idea of something to blog about. Additionally just the Google search, the predictive search that comes up when you start typing in the google search bar, that gives you an indicator of what some popular topics are or some other popular questions that people are asking. So if you can create a blog post that’s an answer to a popular questions you’re typically going to get some pretty good traffic around that.
Taylor: That’s a great tip. So when doing SEO, do you need to build for all search engines? So it sounds there are three recognizable search engines. Do you need to build different websites for google and Bing...
Taylor: so another question how often search engine indexed websites so I think you cover the little bit that search engine index websites your presentation, but how often does this happen.
Nate: well, that’s another great question. Google crawls websites every day, however it may not crawl every page of your website every day. The best way to tell Google that you have some new content is through Google search console if you create a page or you change the content on a page there's actually an application there we can go in and submit url to Google. And right from there you can actually submitted to the index and within 24 to 48 hours Google will include that in its index. so it’s a little extra nudge or push to Google saying "hey I just created some new content and instead of you finding it on your own, I’m going to make it easy for you and just tell you it's there and then that way Google can put it in the index"
Taylor: that's perfect, so does posting the YouTube and google+ plus enhance SEO. I think that Google owns YouTube and Google+ so does sharing content there give you a little bit of an edge when playing with Google.
Nate: Well, yes and no. haha. The answer to that if actually if you were logged into your Google+ and you have a lot of followers and your followers are logged in they like to serve that content that’s shared by their followers to the followers with Google. They understand that you have a relationship with the people on that platform so that relationship should carry over to the search results. And so that times this is actually the personalization factor again in one of the sub factor were looking at. If you were connected with somebody in your circles and they have a business you're searching for a product and they sell it there going to know to serve that webpage up in the search results and it doesn't stop there the creepiest thing about Google is that if you have a Gmail account, it understands who you’re emailing with back and forth and if those people have a website and they are selling a product you’re going to get results from them too. So it’s the constant personalization that Google wants you to get the best result possible. In terms of YouTube, it doesn’t necessarily help you in google organic search but creating a video content that’s compelling will show up in organic result in so it's another opportunity for you to get more real estate in the search engine results
Nate: I love this one right here. so why should you SEO when I can do paid to advertise`
Nate: Well again great question, paid advertising and SEO are very similar to renting versus owning. So if you want to live downtown in a ritzy apartment and have all the fix-ins you can do that and you’re going to pay a premium price and once you're done paying for that, it’s gone. You no longer get that traffic, you no longer get that benefit. SEO is really doing those honey do list around the house. It’s painting the outside it's updating your windows its adding ceiling fans. it’s the boring kind of unsexy stuff but once you're done, you have that equity in your site that is really a going to pay dividends for years to come so hope that helps answer that question there
Taylor: so, we have just enough time for maybe one or two more. This is actually one of the questions that I had so. What are some. Let me say it this way. What are some of the most common errors you see in SEO?
Nate: As Taylor mentioned, we do an SEO scan, and if you would like us to do one on your website, they are free of charge, we'll do it for you and from those scans, some of the most typical errors that we see on have to do with parameter use in the urls, dynamic characters underscores all search engines prefer hyphens over underscores as a separator. Additionally page titles being duplicated - sometimes when you create a new page, you just copy and paste the template on your website and people don’t know they copy and paste everything so they get duplicates of page titles, Meta descriptions, heading tags and all that stuff. it’s just the little things here and there on the on-page. Additionally, if we are talking about structural things, 404 errors are big thing and I didn't really talk about that in this presentation but these are when you go to a page in a website and it says page not found it’s a dead end for users, it’s a dead end for search engines. We want to eliminate these on your site. Frequently this is something that gets away from website owners which is okay but we just have to redirect to a new url. So 404 Errors, duplicate page titles, and improper url structure.
Taylor: The last question we have time for here it's related to Googles last update and i know you talked a little bit about it , but, what are some of the results since mobile update?
Nate: Initially update came out of the first couple weeks after there was wasn’t a lot of results, there wasn't a lot of change because Google said this is a rolling update you’re going to see some changes down the road now two months later. we're starting to see some shake ups there word is good on this one, where they are saying hey for mobile queries, again this only affects mobile, it doesn't affect your desktop rankings or your desktop organic visibility, it affect your mobile visibility. Those sites that did not optimize for mobile or did not create a mobile presence, if they are missing one, are really actually underperforming what they used to do. Or conversely the sites that do have mobile presence are way outperforming some of the other ones. They did a study recently and they were monitoring like 10000 keywords to watch for what happens from this mobilegeddon and there was a 50% shake up in the top 5 over that time period of two months since it’s been released or so. Yeah, we're starting to see some big results. my professional advice to you as an SEO is get a mobile site, it’s the way of the future and it’s how people are searching and it will never go back to just desktop.
Taylor: Wow, that’s great insight. Thank you so much for sharing everything today, I think that’s all we have time for, I know there’s a couple of questions we didn’t have a chance to get to but please do contact Nate i know that he'll be more than happy to respond via email or via Twitter but thank you again for taking time to spend with us here we really appreciate it we hope that you will check out the email we send out as a follow up. We will include some great links from Nate also recording this presentation in case you want to share with your friends. Also don’t forget about our presentations coming up on July 30th, and we hope you’ll continue your pathway to becoming an SEO Expert. Thank you again for your time and thank you Nate for presenting
Nate - Thank you
About the Presenter:
Nate Plaunt, Senior SEO Strategist at Three Deep Marketing will present SEO 101. He has over nine years experience on both the in-house and agency sides of Search Engine Marketing. Nate strives to help good companies become even better by devising and implementing impactful digital strategies rooted in organic search optimization. Outside of agency life, Nate is active in the organic search community – formerly with DFWSEM and currently with MN Search. Follow Nate on Twitter for great insight on search engine optimization – or contact Three Deep to see how he can help increase productive organic traffic to your website.
View the next webinar in the series. SEO 201: Optimizing Content and Strategy
Appendix - Tools Mentioned in SEO 101