Optimizing SEO

Optimizing SEO 

In this lesson, you’re expected to:
– understand the importance of your website and other owned media
– learn about the key elements that need to be optimized
– discover the need for responsive design

Importance of your Website

Your website is the foundation of your digital marketing.
 It’s the piece of real estate your business owns on the internet, where you can tell people about your product, publish original content that helps them overcome their challenges.

But building an attractive website isn’t enough. You need to make sure you optimize it so that it generates a constant flow of visitors, leads and customers.

More and more people use search engines to find information — it’s the first point of call when you have a question or you’re looking for information about something.

So, it’s important for your website to be displayed in search results so that when people are searching for something related to your company, they can click through to your website and find the information they’re looking for.

SEO is the key to getting your website discovered via search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The traditional approach to SEO involves two sets of tactics:

1) On-page SEO 
2) Off-page SEO

1) On-Page SEO 

At a basic level, on-page SEO is the strategic implementation of keywords on your website, including in page titles, headers, meta descriptions, and other elements you can see.

However it can become much more technical, looking into improve your site structure, page load speed, and the rate at which Google is able to index your website.

2) Off-Page SEO 

Off-page SEO refers to improving your website’s overall authority, which is largely determined by what other websites are linking to you.

The goal is to attract inbound links (also known as “backlinks”) from relevant, authoritative websites.

SEO in Today’s World

In the past, the goal of SEO was to impress the search engines so that they’d give you higher rankings by gaining backlinks and adding as many keywords on a page as possible — with the ultimate goal being to achieve the coveted #1 spot in the search results for one of your target keywords.

Today, search engines are smarter. They can tell the difference between spammy websites and legitimate websites that are providing relevant high-quality content.

Modern SEO is about optimizing for the searchers, not just the search engines. 

[Optional] On-Page vs Off-Page SEO: What’s the Difference?
Key Element to optimize
Here are 5 elements that you need to optimize in order to improve your SEO:

1) Page Titles
2) Meta Descriptions
3) Headings
4) Images
5) URL Structure

Let’s take a look at each of these key elements in detail.
1) Page Titles

A page title is the text you see at the top of your browser window when viewing a web page. It’s also the title of the page that is presented in search engine results.

Page titles can be found and edited in your site’s HTML. The text that is surrounded with the “” tag is your page’s title.

Here are some guidelines for coming up with effective page titles: 

– Write page titles that describe — and align with — a page’s content.

– Include relevant keywords (which should happen naturally if you follow the tip above).

– Place keywords as close to the beginning of the title as possible.

– Make it fewer than 70 characters long. (longer page titles will get cut off by web browsers and in search results)

– Include your company name at the end of the page title if there’s space.

– Use different page titles for each page of your website.

2) Meta Descriptions

A meta description is a short summary that you can write for a web page, which search engines display in search results.

These descriptions don’t count toward search engine rankings, but they are still incredibly useful for increasing your click-through rate.

When creating a description, the goal should be to write compelling copy that actually describes what’s on a page so searchers are enticed to visit your website over another that appears in the same results page.

3) Headings

If a piece of text appears larger or more prominent than the other text on a page, it’s probably part of a heading. You can verify this by checking the HTML code of a webpage and looking for text within anBoth search engines and searchers tend to pay more attention to headings compared to regular paragraph text because their larger size denotes the topic of a section.

Many readers may scan your blog post, for example, until they find a section that addresses their specific query. It’s a good idea to include keywords in your headings whenever possible.

4) Images

Images on a web page can enhance user experience. When inserting images into your website, however, you should keep in mind the following:

Don’t use images excessively
More pictures can slow down the loading of your page, thus negatively impacting both user experience and SEO — search engines take page loading time into account in their ranking algorithms.

Customize the “alt text” of an image
For various reasons, the images on your site may fail to render. To ensure that visitors can still understand the information you’re presenting in the image, customize the “alt text” attribute of an image to describe the image.

This will also help search engines understand that your image is relevant to the page, which is factored into search algorithms and will help you draw in relevant traffic from image searches.

5) URL Structure

The URL of a web page is its web address.

For example, the URL of MyLeanMBA’s blog is: http://blog.myleanmba.com/.

URL structure refers to how the text in a URL is organized, as well as how the different URLs on your website interact with one another.

When structuring your website’s URLs, there are a few best practices to keep in mind: 

Separate keywords with hyphens
For your internal page URLs, separate individual keywords with hyphens (-).

Describe what’s on the page
Structure your URLs so that searchers can easily understand what information they’re going to find. For example, if you land on a company’s products page, seeing the URL http://company.com/products/product-name will be much more reassuring than something like http://company.com/1543?/eh?.

Use 301 redirects when necessary 
A 301 redirect forwards an old URL to a new one. Make sure you do this if you change the URL of a page on your site. A common mistake is not applying a 301 redirect between yoursite.com and www.yoursite.com.

 

Benefits of SEO 

1) Natural listings are perceived as non-biased and thus have more credibility.

2) Link Building & Content Development are two initiatives that can have positive effects that last over time.

3) 60-90% of traffic on a website comes from SEO.

4) There is no cost per click as there is with PPC.

5) SEO gives better ROI than any other marketing channel.

6) SEO is useful at all stages of the purchase funnel.

What is Link Building?

Link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own. A link is a way for users to navigate between pages on the internet.

Search engines use links to crawl the web; they will crawl the links between the individual pages on your website, and they will crawl the links between entire websites.

Importance of Link Building

Links are the currency of the web. They’re so important that Google uses them to gauge the usefulness of a particular page and where it should rank in their search engine results pages (SERPs).

However, not all links are the same. Some links will increase your traffic, while others can actually reduce it.

The truth is that five quality links from authority sites will weigh more heavily in your favor than ten mediocre links from generic sites. That’s because the anchor text and external link to a particular web page is part of Google’s ranking algorithm.

[Optional] The Beginner’s Guide to Link Building
Check out this Moz article to learn more:
https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-link-building
Optimizing for Mobile

Mobile marketing can mean many things, however there is one primary message being conveyed to marketers looking to take advantage of mobile: optimization of websites for mobile viewing. 

While there are a few different options for providing a mobile web experience, such as creating a separate mobile site or launching an app, the best option — from an optimization standpoint — is using responsive design. 

A responsive website uses the same URL and HTML across all devices: desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The only thing that changes is the CSS*, which is a programming language that describes the style and formatting of a web page.

CSS allows the content on your website to adapt to different screen sizes, which means visitors always get a great viewing and browsing experience.

What’s more, Google prefers responsive design to other mobile technologies because it allows for more efficient crawling and indexing.

* CSS: Stands for Cascading Style Sheets. CSS describes how HTML elements are to be displayed on screen, on paper, or in other media.
[Optional] 8 reasons to have a responsive web design
Jim Rohn