The KC eCommerce Meetup recently gave me the opportunity to speak on SEO basics for small business owners. In this presentation, I provide a brief history of SEO and cover the top three areas for optimization:
- Site Structure
- How spiders evaluate the relationship between your pages
- On-Page Factors
- How spiders evaluate your page content
- How spiders evaluate the relationship between your site and other sites
The slides feature brief overviews of each subject, actionable next steps, as well as links to relevant reading. Enjoy!
SEO Overview – Why do search engines exist?
How Google Search Works
Before Google became what it is today, websites were only accessible via direct visits. Google created spiders to find sites and index them into their proprietary “database”. From there, Google continually adds programs to their algorithm which do their best to match user query intent with the sites in their index. All while fighting spam.
Outside of providing great user experiences, our goal for SEO is to help Googlebot better understand our site. Resulting not only in higher ranking on targeted topics, but also higher visibility across related topics.
First, get Googlebot to crawl your whole site.
Googlebot crawls from your site by jumping from page to page. While moving between pages and indexing, Googlebot attempts to make inferences about your site structure while deciding how many pages to crawl. The two big questions asked are: “Is it easy to navigate?” and “Is the content worthwhile?”
Facilitate navigation through siloing. Most sites end up being siloed through the top navigation menu. Remember, users see your site differently than bots. Download screaming frog (it’s free), crawl your site, and view results in tree mode to see how bots structure your site.
Next, optimize for Googlebot’s understanding of page content.
While moving between pages and indexing, Googlebot attempts to make inferences about your site’s content. The two big questions asked are: “What is this page about?” and “What search queries would it be relevant for?”
What’s this page about?
Some concepts will you need to understand. The first is a title tag, which includes an exact keyword phrase, near the beginning if possible, with a maximum of 60 characters. Similarly, a meta description includes an exact keyword phrase, with a maximum of 160 characters. A URL also includes exact keyword phrases, excluding stop words and numbers. An H1 includes an exact keyword phrase. In your body copy, you will want to ensure the keyword phrase fits into the blog post organically around two times, and preferably in the first paragraph. You. should shoot for your body copy to be around 300 words total. In alt text for images, be sure to mention some version of the keyword phrase. The image should also have a useful title (not DSC0012.jpg). Screaming frog will analyze these factors for you, and similar software includes Majestic, Moz, Ahrefs, etc.).
Finally, get some street cred.
Once Googlebot finished crawling your site, it looks for links (to and from) other sites. Google sees links to your site as a vote of confidence, kind of like recommending a friend to your favorite restaurant. There is a cornucopia of ways to build links to your site. Some of the more passive ways include links to any pre-existing social accounts to your site, and ensuring your content is easily sharable (with social share buttons/Pinterest share optimization). Submit your business info to online directories (natively or with Moz Local). If you had to pick one native listing, I’d go for Google My Business.
I know what you’re thinking… and yes the original presentation featured gifs… and yes I can send it over upon request!