What is SEO and how do you use it?

If there’s one thing people have learned about SEO so far, it is that there are no guarantees – only good practices. When thinking “What is SEO” change is the only constant, because of the regular refinement of search engines’ ways of ranking and viewing websites.

The right mix of excellent copy writing, written code and link authority understanding are some of the practices which we’ve seen and experienced over time, giving us the opportunity to perfect the craft while keeping abreast with current changes and trends.

What is SEO?

To drive more traffic to a website, two basic approaches exist in terms of how the interaction with search engines work. The first one is organic SEO – this is the way search engines rank sites through naturally crawling the websites. This approach is virtually free. The second approach is Pay-Per-Click / Search Engine Marketing (PPC/SEM), which is more hands-on and direct. It gives more instant results through online advertising methods that lead visitors to the site after clicking on ads. Advertisers pay for every visitor based on clicks.

SEO defined

SEO is an acronym that stands for search engine optimization. SEO employs techniques and strategies to make sure a website has everything in place to ensure the highest possible ranking in the search engines. It is important to note that good SEO does not include any form of spamming. Otherwise, a site can be penalized by the search engines, or even deleted from the database, if spamming techniques are employed.

Evaluating SEO Strategies

There are four basic steps to evaluate SEO strategies, which can be repeated whenever necessary, to optimize productivity and stability.

SEO resource guide:

  1. Measuring Current SEO StrategiesBy identifying and evaluating your current strategy as well as the site’s content, code and copy, you get a better idea of where to look and where to start. To evaluate your strategy, check for the following specifics:- Your sitemap or page structure’s optimization
    – The quality of your content, including keywords in the right density
    – Your site’s proper mark-up, including human-readable URLs and correct H tags
    – Your current link authority
  2. Developing Rich Copy and CodeWriting and developing high quality and compelling copy and code include the following points:
    – CSS-based mark-ups with the right number of tables used
    – Alt tags on images
    – Developing your own SEO “cheat sheet”
    – Most importantly – making sure your content is kept together
  3. Testing the Effectiveness of Your Users’ ExperienceThis is determined by various factors, such as the number of page views, your current traffic (and sources of traffic), users’ time on site, exit pages, conversion rate and bounce rate.
  4. Making Adjustments (Based on Effectiveness Measurements)Depending on your market, this step must be repeated for a number of times – rinse and repeat. Some sites require re-evaluation only one to two times per year, while others need testing as often as once a week.

At this point, there will continually be several differences among search engines. Although Google has a big share of the search engine market – around 50% – there is no reason to disregard other strong contenders such as the Yahoo! and Bing partnership. Each engine works in a unique way, but in a nutshell, they all abide by similar guidelines. Excellent content, compliant code and smart keyword strategy will always be the basics which will give your site that push to give your website traffic results the boost that you want.

Evaluating SEO for Web Pages

We’ve established earlier how important the process of evaluating current SEO strategies is. SEO is confusing – and that’s pretty much the understatement of the year. It is one of Internet marketing’s least understood parts. Because of this, a lot of frustration often arises. It isn’t impossible to see numerous SEO efforts that result to displeased clients, only because they cannot understand it fully. Communication is key when it comes down to it.

The following steps can help mend such injuries:

  1. The Power of TangiblesCommonly, SEO strategies are measured with various keyword-related numbers and statistics. This creates the problem early on. Leading with what clients want and need to know can make a world of difference. Answer in a way that addresses questions like, “How many people visited my site?” or “How is my site’s traffic going?”Understandably, SEO strategists will show reports and analyses on traffic and user experience. The most affordable tool to do so is tracking phone numbers. At the same time, this gives very valuable information for evaluation. Recording the call details can give you an idea of what happens exactly each time a user makes a call. This is an essential indicator that must be given attention as part of a great marketing plan.
  2. Relevance of Keywords and Words, in GeneralA good SEO strategy relies on not just the optimized keywords and terms. It is given that there are a set of specific words which are optimized, but this does not mean that other words have zero relevance. This part of Internet marketing is a hugely misunderstood one. Every report you will see will keep track of keywords optimized on a given site, but not all relevant words can be tracked. Clients can get confused with this – this is why it is essential to make it absolutely clear to them. Focus on increasing the site traffic, and then each and every referenced keyword becomes relevant – not just the ones which are tracked and reported.
  3. Punctuality and ConsistencySEO strategies thrive on routine and regularity. At exactly the same day of every month, reports are generated. This method gives clients a clear picture that the strategy is paying off and on schedule, too. Many SEO companies have issues with this, which is detrimental – the mere idea of reporting is already such a complex process to explain and understand. One can only imagine the hazards that come with inconsistent and/or late deliveries – which can ultimately only lead to frustration in spite of the quality of the work.

In summary, after determining what is SEO, the biggest key to an effective strategy for SEO for web pages is proper communication. This keeps the client’s attention and interest at all times. Evaluating from beginning to end (and in between, in regular intervals) keeps problems at bay – or at a fixable distance, giving you nothing less than a stable and productive SEO strategy. The steps and methods mentioned above can help make this possible.

There can only be one H1

H1 tags are the King of HTML tags, when it comes to SEO.

There can only be one H1

So, what is an “H” tag?  It is a tag generally used for Headings.  It comes in 6 flavors (H1-H6) where 1 is the King and 6 is not.  In fact – it is rare if you ever find someone use anything other than H1,H2 or H3.  Albeit one of the shortest tags in HTML, it is very important.  H tags are used to designate areas of importance within a page and helps draw readers AND search engines to specific areas of the page.

More than one H1 and Google will not be happy

Google gets a little testy about titles, keywords, H1’s and linking.  This article just focuses on the H tags…but know, if you try to use more than one – Google will probably penalize the page.

SEO Unique has inadvertently tested this theory.  They had a page which accidentally had 2 H1’s for a period of time…when the second was removed, the page ranked again.  it appears Google has an automatic penalty which kicks in if it finds multiples.

“As predicted a few days after I’d removed the second H1 tag the site moved from position 90+ into the top 5 . Bear in mind I’d changed absolutely nothing else at this point and just to proove it was the H1 tag causing a problem I added it back, then removed (see second arrow). As well as rankings increasing to a position I thought it should be”

Read the full story at SEO Unique – Multiple H1 Tags Can Cause Google Penalties.

 

Multiple H1 Tags Trigger Automated Google Penalty

SEO Issues: Failing to understand how Google prioritizes links

Here is a typical scenario for most websites: two links to the home page on the upper part of the site, one from the clickable logo and one from the navigation bar, the latter with the anchor “Home.” These links appear on all the pages, and make navigation easier, as they allow users to go back to the home page regardless of where they are. However, which one of those two links will Google prioritize? As we found out, this is what happens:

  • If you have only one link to a given URL, and it’s embedded in an image with an ALT attribute, Google will use it as anchor text
  • If you have two URLs in the same page, one as an image and the other as text, Google will prioritize the latter, regardless of its position or the ALT tag of the image link.

Forget about the dear old “Home” as anchor text then, and try to use a more descriptive one. Also, remember two more things when it comes to links:

  • Google prefers HTML over Javascript
  • If the first link uses the rel=”nofollow” attribute, that will block the crawling of the second one, even if it’s not nofollow.

The safe bet is to make sure that the first link to a URL is a keyword-rich text, as it will have priority in Google’s eyes on any other URL that might come further down in the page.

SEO Issues: Moving to a different URL without letting Google know

If you are moving an entire site to a new URL, what happens to all the old backlinks, and how can you avoid losing your hard-earned Page Rank? The solution is a Google tool for webmasters, called Change of Address Form, whose purpose is to inform the search engine that your site has moved. On top of that, you want to put permanent redirections (called 301) from the old pages to the corresponding ones in the new site.

The difference  between the tool and the 301 is that the first provides the information about the change at site level, whereas the latter is for single pages, but it definitely won’t hurt to use both (in fact, Google recommends it), and for two reasons:

  • The PageRank from the old URL will be passed on to the new one
  • Users that visit the old URL directly, from a bookmark, old backlinks or by typing it on the address bar, will be led to your new site, without getting the infamous “Page not found” response.

SEO Issues: Building slow loading pages

Last but not least, don’t forget that users want speed, and so does Google. A slow-loading page will affect you negatively in two ways:

  • If you use Adwords to promote your site, a high loading time will lower your Quality Score, resulting in higher Cost Per Click of your ads and a less favorable placement
  • Whether you use Adwords or not, slowness will bring you down in the rankings.

So, do you still think you don’t need an SEO guy?