Cultivating

Cultivating Your Digital Presence 

Trusted Web Design

Customized Design Solutions 

Content Creation

Eye-Catching Content Creation 📸

Digital Marketing

Fully Optimized Ad Campaigns 📊

Site to App

Site-to-App Conversion 

Analytics

Analytics Provided to Track ROI 📈

SEO: A Fundamental Breakdown

by | Apr 16, 2018 | SEO | 0 comments

The digital age truly is amazing. The rate at which new online tools can be created, refined, and improved upon is nothing short of astonishing. I vaguely remember being in second grade at my elementary school, heading to the library, and having our librarian introduce us to a new tool on the Internet that they called “Google”. At the time it was a useful way to gather facts for my dinosaur report, but beyond that it had little to no value for me. Skip ahead nearly two decades later and the popular search engine has found a way to become a part of nearly every household’s daily life.  Thanks to incredible advancements in technology most people nowadays have the Internet available to them at their fingertips from their mobile devices. In turn this has increased the traffic on search engines exponentially. In fact, after reading an article from Search Engine Land,I found that in 2015 Google hand confirmed that for the first time ever mobile searches had surpassed desktop searches, and it was only going to continue to trend this way. Google has effectively become a verb in every day conversation when people tell you to “Google it.” Internet Live Stats reports that Google processes over 40 000 search queries every second, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year.

 

Regurgitating these stats to you guys is cool and all, but what does it mean? It means that gone are the days where the yellow pages are the go-to resource when searching for a particular good or service. Businesses today are competing to be on the first page of a SERP (search engine result page) for specific search queries related to their product or business. Being an organic listing, meaning a listing that is not paid for, on the first page of a SERP is prime digital real estate for businesses.

…gone are the days where the yellow pages are the go-to resource when searching for a particular good or service. Businesses today are competing to be on the first page of a SERP (search engine result page) for specific search queries related to their product or business. Being an organic listing, meaning a listing that is not paid for, on the first page of a SERP is prime digital real estate for businesses.

In order to be on the first page of a SERP a page must meet certain criteria that enable it to rank well. This involves search engine optimization or SEO, an acronym that many of you have probably already seen. Today’s blog post revolves around giving a brief breakdown of the search engine optimization process and discussing why the various components of the process are important to your websites overall well-being.

 

Before discussing the process of creating a well optimized website we should go over how the quality of your website’s content is assessed and what determines where the pages of your website rank for specific search queries. Every search engine has bots that go on your site and crawl it, essentially “reading” it to find out what your site is about. Based on the content, structure and links on the website these bots then decide the quality of each page they crawl, and which keywords the pages should rank most highly for. Successful search engine optimization involves strategically optimizing your content with certain keywords that help to influence these bots when they are determining where to rank the various pages on your website for different keyword searches. While these bots can interpret text, they can’t watch videos, hear audio, or see images so it is important to embed these keywords in specific HTML elements on the page. We’ll now get into greater detail by` taking a look at the process of SEO:

 

The first thing to consider when optimizing a website is what type of search queries you want the site showing up for. How do you connect to the specific audience that you want visiting the website? In order to do this some keyword research has to be done. You want to compile a list of search terms that have a high level of search volume, a not-so-high level of competition on the results page, and that are relatable to the content that is on your website. There is a fine line here for sure, and this often involves going back and refining that keyword list until you find the right combination. The good news is that there are some great tools out there that show you search volume for search queries related to your website. My favorite one that I use is Google’s Search-Based Keyword Tool.

 

Once a satisfactory list of keywords terms have been put together it becomes a matter of embedding these terms in various elements on the page. These elements include the title tags, meta tags, headings, alt tags, and paragraphs. If you are working with a WordPress site there is an absolutely fantastic plugin that can be used to help speed up the process called SEO by Yoast. The great thing about this plugin is that it updates in real time showing you which elements have been successfully optimized, which are so-so, and which have not been optimized at all. One thing to keep in mind while optimizing your content is UX (user experience). When writing content solely with good search engine optimization in mind you can inadvertently create some pretty stale content. Your top priority should always be to focus on creating unique, interesting, and easy to read content for your audience first, then worry about appeasing the search bots.

 

After embedding HTML elements in appropriate spots throughout the pages it is time to shift your focus to structure. There are two different type of structure to consider: URL structure, and site structure. In regards to URL structure there are a few things to remember. First, shorter URLs tend to rank better than long ones. Second, any characters besides letters or numbers (i.e. #, @, $, %) in the page URL make it harder for search bots to crawl them. Third, search bots prefer to separate words in URLs with dashes so stay away from using any underscores to separate words. If you are working with a WordPress website one setting that should be changed immediately upon starting the site is found in Settings -> Permalinks where you should select ‘Post Name’ instead of ‘Plain’. This effectively changes the slug of the URL (the portion of the URL after the domain name) to whatever the title of the page is giving it a much cleaner look compared to a bunch of letters and numbers.

 

Site structure on the other hand deals with creating a logical hierarchy for the pages involved in the website. There are a couple keys to keep in mind here. First, it is good practice to keep the number of main categories on your site’s main navigation between two and eight. When creating subcategories for each of them, do your best to balance them out so one category doesn’t have five subcategories and another only has one. Third, try to keep a shallow depth structure with your navigation and don’t bury any important pages in third or fourth level subcategories. When Google’s algorithm identifies a well-structured website it will often times reward the site by creating site links for the website on certain SERPs. Site links are great for search engine optimization, increase conversion rates for your potential customers, and give you a real leg up on your competition.

When Google’s algorithm identifies a well-structured website it will often times reward the site by creating site links for the website on certain SERPs. Site links are great for search engine optimization, increase conversion rates for your potential customers, and give you a real leg up on your competition.

This is because site links expand the size of your listing, and provide additional links to your website for the user to consider clicking on. There is no other way to get site links on an organic listing aside from having a solid site structure so it is an important aspect to be considered when putting the website together.

The last, but perhaps the most important component of the SEO process is link building. Search engine logic is such that the more trustworthy, non-spammy websites that your site is associated with the more authority your website is considered to have.  There are also some key do’s and don’ts to link building:

DO try to create links within content as this is often more effective than links on sidebars or footers.

DO attempt to link to related sites as these rank better than non-related sites.

DO try to keep the anchor text on your links limited to the search query you want that link ranking for.

DON’T link to spammy sites

DON’T only focus on reciprocal links (you link to me, I link to you) as these tend to be less effective

DON’T buy text links. If search engines catch on your website could be banned for an unspecified amount of time, sometimes for life.

 

Upon completing these various components of the process a sitemap should be created. Sitemaps are essentially roadmaps for the search bots, helping ensure that they navigate all relevant pages on your site. Sitemaps can be created in either HTML or XML file format. There are tools out there that help automate this process such as the XML Sitemap Creator. Once you have generated a sitemap it is important to submit it to Google Webmaster Tools as well as Bing Webmaster Tools. By doing this you are telling the major search engines you have content that you want to be crawled and indexed by the search bots, thus speeding up the overall process of getting your website pages crawled and eventually indexed on the search engines.

 

If you’re not careful you can find yourself going down a rabbit hole when searching SEO-related articles that are loaded with a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly some subtle nuances to following the best practices for optimization. However, search engine optimization, like most things in life, becomes easier with repetition and refinement. This blog post laid out the key fundamentals to establishing a well optimized website, and if you follow it you will be on the right track.

It should be noted, however, that at the end of the day content is king. The major search engines reward frequent activity, and if you are outputting unique and interesting content on a consistent basis while ensuring it is optimized then you are putting you and your website in a very good position to rank well.

It should be noted, however, that at the end of the day content is king. The major search engines reward  frequent activity, and if you are outputting unique and interesting content on a consistent basis while ensuring it is optimized then you are putting you and your website in a very good position to rank well.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this! If you have any question or comments leave them below and I will get back to ASAP!

 

Check out some of our other blog posts including Shopify vs. Magna: Why We are Better and The Importance of an Ecommerce Store.

 

Return to the home page here.

0 Comments

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Ecommerce Online Store & The Importance of Developing One - […] Check out our latest blog posts “Shopify vs. Magna: Why We’re Better” or Search Engine Optimization: The Fundamentals. […]
  2. Google AdWords: The Bidding Process | Magna Web Services - […] the popular forms of marketing for your website which is organic search engine optimization (SEO). You can view that…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

SEO: A Fundamental Breakdown

by | Apr 16, 2018 | SEO | 0 comments

The digital age truly is amazing. The rate at which new online tools can be created, refined, and improved upon is nothing short of astonishing. I vaguely remember being in second grade at my elementary school, heading to the library, and having our librarian introduce us to a new tool on the Internet that they called “Google”. At the time it was a useful way to gather facts for my dinosaur report, but beyond that it had little to no value for me. Skip ahead nearly two decades later and the popular search engine has found a way to become a part of nearly every household’s daily life.  Thanks to incredible advancements in technology most people nowadays have the Internet available to them at their fingertips from their mobile devices. In turn this has increased the traffic on search engines exponentially. In fact, after reading an article from Search Engine Land,I found that in 2015 Google hand confirmed that for the first time ever mobile searches had surpassed desktop searches, and it was only going to continue to trend this way. Google has effectively become a verb in every day conversation when people tell you to “Google it.” Internet Live Stats reports that Google processes over 40 000 search queries every second, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year.

 

Regurgitating these stats to you guys is cool and all, but what does it mean? It means that gone are the days where the yellow pages are the go-to resource when searching for a particular good or service. Businesses today are competing to be on the first page of a SERP (search engine result page) for specific search queries related to their product or business. Being an organic listing, meaning a listing that is not paid for, on the first page of a SERP is prime digital real estate for businesses.

…gone are the days where the yellow pages are the go-to resource when searching for a particular good or service. Businesses today are competing to be on the first page of a SERP (search engine result page) for specific search queries related to their product or business. Being an organic listing, meaning a listing that is not paid for, on the first page of a SERP is prime digital real estate for businesses.

In order to be on the first page of a SERP a page must meet certain criteria that enable it to rank well. This involves search engine optimization or SEO, an acronym that many of you have probably already seen. Today’s blog post revolves around giving a brief breakdown of the search engine optimization process and discussing why the various components of the process are important to your websites overall well-being.

 

Before discussing the process of creating a well optimized website we should go over how the quality of your website’s content is assessed and what determines where the pages of your website rank for specific search queries. Every search engine has bots that go on your site and crawl it, essentially “reading” it to find out what your site is about. Based on the content, structure and links on the website these bots then decide the quality of each page they crawl, and which keywords the pages should rank most highly for. Successful search engine optimization involves strategically optimizing your content with certain keywords that help to influence these bots when they are determining where to rank the various pages on your website for different keyword searches. While these bots can interpret text, they can’t watch videos, hear audio, or see images so it is important to embed these keywords in specific HTML elements on the page. We’ll now get into greater detail by` taking a look at the process of SEO:

 

The first thing to consider when optimizing a website is what type of search queries you want the site showing up for. How do you connect to the specific audience that you want visiting the website? In order to do this some keyword research has to be done. You want to compile a list of search terms that have a high level of search volume, a not-so-high level of competition on the results page, and that are relatable to the content that is on your website. There is a fine line here for sure, and this often involves going back and refining that keyword list until you find the right combination. The good news is that there are some great tools out there that show you search volume for search queries related to your website. My favorite one that I use is Google’s Search-Based Keyword Tool.

 

Once a satisfactory list of keywords terms have been put together it becomes a matter of embedding these terms in various elements on the page. These elements include the title tags, meta tags, headings, alt tags, and paragraphs. If you are working with a WordPress site there is an absolutely fantastic plugin that can be used to help speed up the process called SEO by Yoast. The great thing about this plugin is that it updates in real time showing you which elements have been successfully optimized, which are so-so, and which have not been optimized at all. One thing to keep in mind while optimizing your content is UX (user experience). When writing content solely with good search engine optimization in mind you can inadvertently create some pretty stale content. Your top priority should always be to focus on creating unique, interesting, and easy to read content for your audience first, then worry about appeasing the search bots.

 

After embedding HTML elements in appropriate spots throughout the pages it is time to shift your focus to structure. There are two different type of structure to consider: URL structure, and site structure. In regards to URL structure there are a few things to remember. First, shorter URLs tend to rank better than long ones. Second, any characters besides letters or numbers (i.e. #, @, $, %) in the page URL make it harder for search bots to crawl them. Third, search bots prefer to separate words in URLs with dashes so stay away from using any underscores to separate words. If you are working with a WordPress website one setting that should be changed immediately upon starting the site is found in Settings -> Permalinks where you should select ‘Post Name’ instead of ‘Plain’. This effectively changes the slug of the URL (the portion of the URL after the domain name) to whatever the title of the page is giving it a much cleaner look compared to a bunch of letters and numbers.

 

Site structure on the other hand deals with creating a logical hierarchy for the pages involved in the website. There are a couple keys to keep in mind here. First, it is good practice to keep the number of main categories on your site’s main navigation between two and eight. When creating subcategories for each of them, do your best to balance them out so one category doesn’t have five subcategories and another only has one. Third, try to keep a shallow depth structure with your navigation and don’t bury any important pages in third or fourth level subcategories. When Google’s algorithm identifies a well-structured website it will often times reward the site by creating site links for the website on certain SERPs. Site links are great for search engine optimization, increase conversion rates for your potential customers, and give you a real leg up on your competition.

When Google’s algorithm identifies a well-structured website it will often times reward the site by creating site links for the website on certain SERPs. Site links are great for search engine optimization, increase conversion rates for your potential customers, and give you a real leg up on your competition.

This is because site links expand the size of your listing, and provide additional links to your website for the user to consider clicking on. There is no other way to get site links on an organic listing aside from having a solid site structure so it is an important aspect to be considered when putting the website together.

The last, but perhaps the most important component of the SEO process is link building. Search engine logic is such that the more trustworthy, non-spammy websites that your site is associated with the more authority your website is considered to have.  There are also some key do’s and don’ts to link building:

DO try to create links within content as this is often more effective than links on sidebars or footers.

DO attempt to link to related sites as these rank better than non-related sites.

DO try to keep the anchor text on your links limited to the search query you want that link ranking for.

DON’T link to spammy sites

DON’T only focus on reciprocal links (you link to me, I link to you) as these tend to be less effective

DON’T buy text links. If search engines catch on your website could be banned for an unspecified amount of time, sometimes for life.

 

Upon completing these various components of the process a sitemap should be created. Sitemaps are essentially roadmaps for the search bots, helping ensure that they navigate all relevant pages on your site. Sitemaps can be created in either HTML or XML file format. There are tools out there that help automate this process such as the XML Sitemap Creator. Once you have generated a sitemap it is important to submit it to Google Webmaster Tools as well as Bing Webmaster Tools. By doing this you are telling the major search engines you have content that you want to be crawled and indexed by the search bots, thus speeding up the overall process of getting your website pages crawled and eventually indexed on the search engines.

 

If you’re not careful you can find yourself going down a rabbit hole when searching SEO-related articles that are loaded with a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly some subtle nuances to following the best practices for optimization. However, search engine optimization, like most things in life, becomes easier with repetition and refinement. This blog post laid out the key fundamentals to establishing a well optimized website, and if you follow it you will be on the right track.

It should be noted, however, that at the end of the day content is king. The major search engines reward frequent activity, and if you are outputting unique and interesting content on a consistent basis while ensuring it is optimized then you are putting you and your website in a very good position to rank well.

It should be noted, however, that at the end of the day content is king. The major search engines reward  frequent activity, and if you are outputting unique and interesting content on a consistent basis while ensuring it is optimized then you are putting you and your website in a very good position to rank well.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this! If you have any question or comments leave them below and I will get back to ASAP!

 

Check out some of our other blog posts including Shopify vs. Magna: Why We are Better and The Importance of an Ecommerce Store.

 

Return to the home page here.

0 Comments

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Ecommerce Online Store & The Importance of Developing One - […] Check out our latest blog posts “Shopify vs. Magna: Why We’re Better” or Search Engine Optimization: The Fundamentals. […]
  2. Google AdWords: The Bidding Process | Magna Web Services - […] the popular forms of marketing for your website which is organic search engine optimization (SEO). You can view that…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *