Simple SEO Steps

Simple SEO Steps

One of my favorite TV shows is The Office. There’s a great episode (well they’re all great, really) where Dwight gives updates on the latest changes in karate. Jim, his co-manager at the time, jokes that “Once a year, Dwight holds a seminar updating us on the newest developments in the world of karate. Because (as we all know), the one thing that thousand-year-old martial arts do is change all the time.” I am by no means a karate expert and have only watched a few Kung Fu movies. Nevertheless, I’m willing to bet there aren’t a lot of changes to it. The same can be said for SEO.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is really all about providing quality content to users.  At the same time, you are proving your website is not only reputable but contains value. Sure, there are updates to the Google algorithm all the time. But like karate, there is nothing earth shattering that completely changes the field of SEO.  We aren’t 110% sure exactly what Google wants to see in our sites to give us a high ranking. However, there are a few things that are the basics of SEO including some great simple SEO starting points. Let’s look at 6 of them.

  1. H1: the single most important line of text. Ideally this should tell Google exactly what the keyword is, but don’t use too many words.  Limit it to 1 per page, and have one on each page of your site. More importantly, have it very near the top of the page.
  2. Content: use 1500 words at least. Then check what competitors are doing and simply do more.
  3. Images: file name should be the keyword, optimized to load fast, and relevant to content.
  4. Videos: hosted on YouTube is great. When using video and images, remember to do  more and be better than competition. Length isn’t as important as making sure it is amazing content that people will want to watch.
  5. Meta: title and description. Include keywords, making them compelling enough to encourage people to click your site when they see it in the search rankings. Don’t go too long, Yoast will tell you when it’s too much or not enough.
  6. Page speed: if a site loads too slow, no one will wait for it. Reduce javascript, minify CSS and JS, optimize images, and lazy loading. Remember to put the most important content (the H1) above the fold.

Understanding Heading 1

Ideally, the H1 on a page should be your main keyword. If your keyword is “Furniture Store in Green Bay” then your heading 1 (H1) should be something like “Best Furniture Store in Green Bay.”

Back in the Wild West days of the Internet we used a keyword meta tag. Here, we will tell the search engines exactly what our key words need to be. Thankfully those days are long gone. Now, we use other measures to tell Google our keywords. One easy way to do this is by using the H1. The H1 is, in a way, the single most important line of text on the site. Imagine, you’ve been asked to describe yourself in 5 words. In essence, the H1 is our chance to do the same thing on the website.

Every page should have one, and only one, H1 tag. There are other heading tags that we will apply (h2 to h6), but H1 is the most important. If you have multiple heading 1 tags on a single page, this sends conflicting messages to Google. Google will then have to ponder “is the first keyword the main one or the second one?” Avoid the confusion for our dear friend Google and keep it to one H1.

The H1 should be very near the top of the site. Ideally before any paragraphs and especially before any other heading tags. At Full Scope we love to put the heading tag at the top in the hero section, just below the main site header.

Concentrating on Content

I get asked a lot “How many words should I have on each page of my site?” People always hate my answers. Sometimes “It depends” and “I dunno” are my two go to answers.

Good news is I can do some quick research and find out how many words you need. Best way to tell is to look at your competitors (who are ranking on the first page of results for the keywords you’re using), and simply count up how many words they have.

A great tool to use is https://wordcounter.net/. Simply highlight all the text on the page and copy and paste it into WordCounter.net. The website will tell you how many words are being used. From there it’s a simple matter of mathematics to figure out how many words you need on your site. If your competitors have an average of 1000 words on their home page, simply double it, and write 2000 words of QUALITY content for your website.

There are several ways you can increase content. You can add content about your company, (or the owners company), mission statements, product info, service territory, testimonials, and more are all figured into the word count.

One thing to ask yourself is, “what are the 5 most important things I wish all clients knew about my company?” Then simply write up a paragraph or two, about each item. Also, bulleted lists work great. And by no means do you need exactly 2000 words. Getting as close to it (or over) is always excellent.

Can you have too much content? Sure, especially if your site isn’t well designed. Consider designing your site in a manner that gives you the ability to add more content as you grow. With this flexibility, you should be able to create more content (words, images and videos). Thus you will keep expanding your site.

If there is some info that is more important than others, consider moving it to a new location. You may want to show it above the fold or up high enough that users don’t need to scroll to see it.  FYI above the fold refers to being on the top half of the page.

EnticingImages

What do people associate with the most? Other people. One great way to build that connection is with images. Images provide a chance to visually showcase the brand and personality of you and your business. No two businesses are the same and your photos shouldn’t be either.

If you can’t afford to take your own photos, there are other options. For instance, you should check out pexels.com or istockphoto.com. The biggest concern using images from these companies is that they aren’t unique to your business. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a website for a company in Green Bay only to see the same group of people on another website for another company in town. This becomes the drawback when you use the same stock photos. There is an easy solution. Simply scroll back a few pages to get images that aren’t used quite as often.

Remember to optimize images so they load fast and efficiently. Recognize when to use a JPG and when to use a PNG. Additionally, image names should be keywords as well. If it’s an image of you, the business owner, it should be chris-robinson-owner-full-scope-creative.jpg. Images names like jpg01244823.jpg do nothing for SEO.  However, an image name like best-photographer-green-bay.jpg will help. Will it help a ton? No, but every little bit helps.

Value added Videos

Do you know what the second most used search engine is on the web? It’s YouTube. Videos are huge today. People would rather watch a 1-minute video instead of reading one minute worth of text.

Depending on the video, where it’s used and its intent, it might be best to host it on YouTube. Then host it directly on your site. Be aware of load time! You may have  the greatest video of all time but if it takes 5 minutes to load, no one will watch it. Now you understand why YouTube is such a great option. They load fast, and everyone is familiar with how to play the videos.

Don’t just have a video, that isn’t enough. Plan on including text as well. This does not mean you need a word-for-word transcript of the video.  Learn how to say the same content again somewhere else on the site (hey, think more word count!).

How big the video should be in pixels will depend on your design.

Finally,how many videos on a page are needed? Again, this will depend on your competitors. If they have 1, I’d recommend 2. If they have 10, you probably want close to 20. However, be sure  they are QUALITY videos. Even if it’s recorded on your iPhone, the content of the video needs to be quality.

The Mysteries of MetaData

Meta title. This is the blue text that users read in Google ranking. It shows up as the top tab of your web browser. It needs to include your main keyword which helps to define the title of the page. There is no need to put your company name first, users already know which site they’re on. When you include the main keyword, a geographical locator like city or state is added.

If your site is in WordPress, you can use YOAST to get the perfect length and content figured out for your page titles. That alone is reason enough to use WordPress.

You might need to use modifiers, such as “best” or “number 1” or “#1” or “The Ultimate” to start your heading.  The point is to do something to really grab attention on the search ranking pages.

Meta description is a short paragraph that users see under the link in Google. Again, include your keyword(s) near the beginning. The exact length can be tricky, so employing YOAST can help get the exact content and length ironed out. Creating this space heightens awareness on why your business is the best. It also demonstrates why they should click the link to go to your site. Don’t leave this up to chance! If you don’t specify, Google will grab a paragraph that they think is best. In my book that’s too risky for me. Spending a few minutes and optimizing the meta description pays off in the end.

Boosting Your Page Speed

If it takes 2 hours to get a seat at the restaurant, you’re likely going somewhere else. The same is true on a website. If it takes too long to load, people are going somewhere else.

Several things can affect load time. Right off the bat think image size and video size. Then there is quality of programming and plugins.  Don’t forget CMS. CMS or content management system is another layer which safeguards your website operating at a higher level.

WordPress is a sleek and fast loading system. If you take the time to optimize images this will speed things up more quickly.

There are also great plugins available like WP Rocket to really speed up your site. They are known for fully optimizing minor things that can produce huge returns.

Content Delivery Networks are another awesome way to speed things up. They help to leave key files at various servers around the globe which improves site loading time.

Additional page speed tools available including GTMetrix and Google Page Speed Insight. Some of the measures discussed here are technical. However,  any knowledgeable web developer should be able to spend some time and fine tune things.

In Conclusion, SEO is an important tool that every website needs to be successful.  We have shown you six reasons why you need SEO.  If this reading has been long and still too technical, this is the time to call in the experts. Full Scope Creative understands the importance of SEO and how to get you noticed.  Take a minute to check us out. We can answer all your questions and assist you to build a website that delivers.