SEO Basics

SEO (search engine optimization) comprises different strategies that are associated with increasing the online visibility of your website, so that it appears higher in search rankings and receives high quality traffic resulting in more conversions.

For a more detailed examination of SEO, see: What is SEO?

Website Architecture

Website architecture relates to your website’s technical structure, which gives you the basic elements needed for SEO. These include:

  • Structured data.
  • Site crawlability, including redirects and sitemaps.
  • Security, including HTTPS.
  • URL structure.
  • Site speed.
  • Canonicalization.
  • Mobile optimization.
  • Navigation and internal links.
  • Web design and graphic design.
  • User experience.

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO incorporates search engine optimization components that are typically a lot less technical and more traditional, yet they are still extremely important. This includes elements like keywords, keyword density, descriptive URLs with keywords, and images.

Images help bring an article to life. They also contribute to SEO while also improving the user experience. Setting image title tags and alt tags are vital for ensuring that your images are optimized for SEO.

Word count can also play an important role in SEO. A page with very little text that has little or no value to visitors will not rank well in search results. However, pages that inform visitors while providing a good experience typically rank much higher.

Two other important components of on-page SEO are meta titles and meta descriptions. The meta title is the SEO title of the web page that communicates the title to search engines and should include your most important keywords. The meta description is the article description that could appear in search engine results, which should be written in a way to encourage people to click on the article and visit your website.

A good meta description:

  • Is unique and interesting.
  • Matches the content.
  • Includes the main keywords.
  • Includes a call-to-action
  • Is actionable and written in the active voice.
  • Contains a proper number of characters, which today is between 150 – 160.

Content Based on Relevant Keywords

The old saying, “Content is king” came about because content plays such a critical role in internet marketing.

In the past, content often involved stuffing keywords into pieces of text that offered little value, because it was designed to manipulate search engines. However, Google became wise to these tactics and changed its algorithm. Today, content needs to offer value. It must be original, informative and entertaining, with keywords incorporated naturally.

In order to create your content strategy, you need to consider your objectives, such as:

  • Increasing digital subscribers.
  • Lowering customer acquisition costs.
  • Increasing customer retention.
  • Increasing sales.
  • Increasing repeat sales.
  • Increasing the quantity and quality of online leads.
  • Increasing in-store foot traffic.
  • Increasing name recognition and brand awareness.

Armed with your objectives, you can outline the types of content you need to move prospects through your sales pipeline, and then determine the keywords you should use in your content to rank on search engines.

Link Building

Link building is another important facet of SEO, which is frequently ignored by businesses resulting in the failure of their online marketing.

There are three key links that are essential for SEO.

  • Backlinks.
  • Outbound links.
  • Internal links.

Backlinks are also referred to as inbound links. This is when there is a link from another website to your website. This helps to build authority. It’s like another website giving your business the thumbs up, which is seen as a positive signal by search engines like Google. However, this is only going to be the case if these links bring value to the content and are coming from websites that are of high quality.

Outbound links are the opposite of inbound. They are links from your website to another websites. For example, if you have an article with a link to Wikipedia, it is an outbound link. Outbound links to high-quality authority websites can assist in boosting your website’s ranking.

Internal links relate to links that go from one page of your website to another page. For example, you could have a link on your home page to one of your service pages. Internal links are important for several reasons. Not only do they help distribute page authority and ranking power throughout the site, they also establish an informational hierarchy for the website. They also ensure that there is a better user experience for website viewers, which can have a positive impact on ranking factors that relate to visitor behavior, such as the bounce rate.

Reviews and Testimonials

A lot of people assume that reviews and testimonials are the same, but they are not. However, they are both very important as social proof, which is a method of influencing people.

Testimonials are gathered, owned, and managed by a company. The company has complete control over its testimonials, and typically puts them on its website.

Reviews are collected and managed by a third party (e.g., Google and Facebook). A company has no control over its Reviews, because they are managed and maintained by the third party. As a result, reviews are very helpful for SEO, according to Google.

Local Citations

Local citations include the listing of the business name, address, phone number, and website on profiles and directories all over the Internet. Furthermore, the link to the website counts as a backlink, which is important for SEO.

Local citations are the foundations of local SEO, and the starting point for building an online presence. The most important local citation today is a verified Google My Business profile, which is necessary to appear on Google maps, and for the possibly to be featured on Google’s front page of search results in the local three pack.

Social Signals

Aside from the different elements that have already been mentioned, there is no denying that social signals are of huge importance today. Social signals relate to your business’ overall visibility on different social channels, for example, directory listings, bookmarks, retweets, votes, likes, shares, mentions, reviews, and maps.

A study conducted by Hootsuite concluded that there is a link between search engine rankings and social presence.

  • Social media helps to build an audience. It can help build strategic partnerships, increase the number of reviews on third party review sites and business sites, increase positive brand mentions, and increase the potential for website backlinks.
  • Social media can improve behavioral ranking signals. This is because social media enables you to build an audience that can be driven to a site in order to consume content.
  • It’s vital for ranking. Aside from the benefits that have already been mentioned, in order to rank it is essential to have a profile on some channels.

Image Building Media

Image Building Media is an internet marketing company based in Tampa, Florida, serving clients in various industries throughout the U.S.

We specialize in internet marketing, including SEO, social media marketing, website design, content marketing, video marketing, email marketing, SMS marketing, mobile web marketing, online reputation management, CRM integration, and more. We also provide consulting services, including conversion analytics.

To learn more about Image Building Media and our services, book a free consultation or contact us direct.

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Allan McNabb, COO, Internet marketing by Image Building Media

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