Notes from Get to Google’s First Page (Intro to SEO)
On Monday, jpol0191 and I got to sit in on an SEO class presented by Edward Sturm. He started off the lesson by asking the audience if they knew what SEO was or if anyone had considered SEO “black magic”. I was partially in the latter half, given my frustration of getting my first blog featured with relevant links on a Google search of “kimpenguin”.
The class was informative and generous in resources that would help us promote our site on a Google Search. Let’s go through the key points of the class:
What is SEO?
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. If you own a website, SEO is important in helping your audience find you on the web. Your website’s ranking on a Google search is reliant on your site’s makeup, authority, and relevance. Learn more.
What is authority?
When Google scans your site, it looks for trustworthiness and authority. This includes quite a few things:
- How long your site has been live
- Direct traffic to your site
- Click through rate – whether or not it fulfilled the user’s query
- Bounce rate/pogo sticking – users sticking around or leaving to continue their search
- Backlinks – links on other sites that reference to you
- Alexa Chrome extension – shows you the number of backlinks a site contains
- Mozbar extension – shows you page and domain authority
What is relevance?
Relevance is broken down into two categories: Onsite and Offsite.
Onsite is dependent on the structure of your site with relevant keywords that the Google Search Engine can crawl through.
Keywords are strings that you can search, and there are two different kinds:
- Head – broad, exploratory
- Long Tail – more specific, often yielding less traffic with the intent of making the user sign up or purchase something
Keywords should be placed in your site’s <title> or <meta> tags and it is important to bold and italicize keywords for semantic detection. Basically, keywords help Google determine what kind of site you have so that it can deliver the best results to the user.
- Keyword Shitter
- Google Keyword Planner – primarily used by AdWord buyers
You should also include NAP Citations! NAP citations fall under both onsite and offsite SEO. NAP is short for Name, Address, Phone. When you include this information in this site, make sure that you maintain the information throughout other sites like Google My Business, Yelp, Bing, etc. There’s nothing more off-putting than inconsistent information.
Poor UX = high bounce rate
Keep in mind that the user-friendliness of your site is very important. Things to be conscious of:
- Poor mobile optimization
- Slow loading speed
If you’ve struggled with SEO, there are likely a few things that you haven’t taken into account. One of those things is duplicate content.
Duplicate content can be interpreted as a Blackhat threat and therefore deemed untrustworthy by Google. This diminishes your site’s ranking in a search which is not ideal. A remedy for WordPress web developers is the plugin, YOAST SEO.
If you don’t have offsite SEO, your onsite SEO is irrelevant. Offsite SEO is when an external site references your site. It can be invaluable in increasing visibility and your site’s overall ranking in a Google search. Reach out to journalists looking for references and information and make sure your site is structured properly.
- send a journalist 5-8 sentences
- make it a quick response
- give them a link, number, and a headshot
- Copy and paste your URL. This will populate a listing of journalists looking into your industry.
- Google Search Console
- Submit your sitemap
- Make sure that your “submitted” is as close to your “indexed”
- You can manually submit new pages as they’re produced
Hopefully these SEO notes I took in Edward Sturm’s class will help improve your website’s visibility. It certainly opened my eyes to the plethora of tools that can be used to improve my site’s feature rate on the first page and the planning needed to ensure my site’s are up to par.