Why is it important to spread out your SEO efforts?

Why is it important to spread out your SEO efforts?

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SEO is a long game. It’s a tool meant to help you reach both qualitative and quantitative web traffic goals. As with any goal, reaching traffic targets takes time, focus, and effort; you can’t just publish a website and be done with it! But there’s more to it than adding keywords to a list.

It isn’t a one-time thing, but an ongoing process that will make your site more visible to your target audience and deliver relevant, high-value traffic to your website. Here are some tips and tricks to improve your SEO game, no matter how you play!

 

Update Frequently

While there are many different methods to increase the visibility of your website, some overarching practices benefit any SEO plan. Updates attract web crawlers that track, review, and analyze your site.

Frequent updates mean frequent tracking. The key here? Ensure the updates are necessary and relevant. Simply updating for the sake of updating may attract web crawlers, but if the content isn’t pertinent to your website, the update may be treated as negative, you may be penalized, and your search ranking lowered.

As long as the updates are relevant and high-quality, they will be counted as a positive vote towards your website, raising your ranking, which, in turn, increases your visibility!

 

 

Be Natural

There are lots of “quick-fixes” you can try to raise your search engine rank. Keyword stuffing, link farming, the aforementioned irrelevant updates, and many other practices can boost your rank quickly, but often go against search engine guidelines.

Basically, anything considered Black Hat SEO should be avoided. Again, if it’s caught by a web crawler, your website will be penalized and your search ranking lowered. 

Bot-run SEO is considered Black Hat. SEO requires real work and bots are an easy way out. Google prefers updates done by humans as there is a level of legitimacy to them. While web crawlers rank human-managed websites positively, crawlers aren’t always accurate. If you do all your SEO at once, it could be misanalyzed as “unnatural”, lowering your rank. A well-planned timeline of relevant updates not only keeps you organized, but signals to Google that a real person is behind them.

 

Give It Time

Reaching goals takes time. You have to constantly work at it. Whether it’s running a marathon, saving for purchase, or playing the bodhran, there is no immediate payoff. You have to train for a marathon, savings add up slowly, and learning an instrument requires practice. In each case, you have to put systems in place to help you reach the goal. Most importantly? You have to devote time.

The same can be said of SEO. There is a learning process. Different websites require different SEO plans and it may take a few tweaks before your plan works for you. As you edit and update your website, SEO best practices evolve and change. Some things become obsolete.

Digital industries are never static, as new technologies and innovations present themselves. You have to be able to adapt and willing to learn, constantly. Investing time, patience, and effort into achieving measurable goals will benefit your website in the long run.

 

Be Patient

As with most long-term projects, you will have to be patient in order to see the results of your SEO efforts. It may take months or it may take years. It can be discouraging to put so much work into something and not see results right away, but if you’re really investing the time and energy, little by little you’ll get closer to achieving your goals!

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Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

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Definitive Guide To SEO Terms

Definitive Guide To SEO Terms

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Search engine optimization is a beast! It’s integral to your website’s visibility, but it  isn’t just the monumental importance of SEO that makes it so monstrous. The various processes and practices, the software, the algorithms! It’s a lot to think about. With so many moving parts, it’s understandable that SEO can seem intimidating at first. 

So where do you begin? Well, a good place to start learning the language. Understanding the language of SEO is the first step in discerning the purpose behind the myriad of different processes and practices that encompass SEO.

Here is a fun, comprehensive list of common SEO terminology to help you go from confused to crushing the SEO game!

Alt-Text

In it’s simplest form, alt-text is a descriptive text associated with an image. It is one of two attributes of an image included in an IMG Tag. Alt-text has several purposes. It communicates what the image contains to search engines, it gives search engines context about your website using keyword (boosting SEO!) and can act as a stand-in for an image when it cannot display. 

Anchor Text

Anchor text includes any words highlighted within a sentence to feature a link. For example, did you know there is a hyperlink in this sentence? The anchor text is the line “there is a hyperlink”. 

Anchor text is one part of a hyperlink. The other part is the destination anchor.

Backlink

A backlink is any link on another website that link’s back to your website. They are important for high-SEO rankings as credible backlinks boost your visibility. That means the anchor text should read as relevant to the content it links (ie. your homepage, blog, article, etc.)

For example, if I write “Check out Jenna Kutcher’s blog and podcast for a detailed look at SEO”, it creates a backlink to that blog, boosting its SEO ranking. (Bonus points if you thought to yourself, “oh hey, the words “Jenna Kutcher’s blog and podcast” are the anchor text.)

Destination Anchor

Where you arrive on after clicking a hyperlink. All links lead somewhere, whether to another page, another section of a page, or another website altogether.

A destination anchor is one part of a hyperlink. The other part is the anchor text.

DoFollow Link

A link that signals to web crawlers to follow it. When a web crawler follows a DoFollow Link back to your website, they track the link as a vote of quality (also known as Link Juice!). All links are Do-Follow by default unless they are given a NoFollow attribute. 

Domain Name

A name unique to each website. For example, my domain is marissawaitecreative.com.

Duplicate Content

The inclusion of two different pages on your website containing similar content. This can affect SEO ranking negatively, as web crawlers may penalize your website for repeating content. 

Engagement

How visitors interact with your website. High user-engagement, for example, can be considered when visitors actively engage with your website, doing things like exploring your website, clicking on links, reading content, and following calls-to-action. 

Keywords

Keywords are the main descriptive words and phrases related to your website and its content. So, for example, if you created a comprehensive list of important SEO terms, your main keyword might be “SEO terms” or “SEO terminology”.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI) 

A quantitative measurement that expresses how a website is performing. KPIs provide data that serves to ameliorate your website. A common KPI is web traffic, ie. the number of unique visits to your site. Other examples include conversion rate, number of return visitors, number of call-to-action click-throughs, length of time spent on site, etc.

 

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)

A process used to define secondary keywords relevant to your content. These are words that occur naturally and often in relation to your main keywords. For example, if your keyword is coffee, LSI terms might include ”bean”, ”mug”, ”latte”, as they are words related to the topic.

Link Building 

Link building is the process through which your website gets backlinks. It can occur naturally/organically, when another website intentionally backlinks to yours, or actively, through deliberate efforts, like publishing content on other sites. 

Meta Description

A short description of a given page, as shown in search engine results. The meta description text should include keywords and be relevant to the page and its content but does not have to be included on the pages itself. If no meta description is specified, the search engine may display a section of content pulled directly from the website instead.

Meta Keyword

A list of your main keywords and key phrases. 

Meta Tags

Meta tags express the purpose of a website to a given search engine. Some examples of meta tags include title, keywords, meta description, etc.

Natural Links/Organic Links

All backlinks your page acquires naturally/organically. When another website links back to your website by their own volition, that backlink is a natural link. 

NoFollow Link

The opposite of a DoFollow Link, a NoFollow Link signals to web crawlers to ignore certain links. This prevents the link from being counted as a vote of quality.

Off-page SEO

Actions taken to improve SEO that are external to your website. Example: link building.

On-page SEO

Actions taken to improve SEO that are internal to your website. Example: keyword quality and density, relevant titles, relevant tags.

Organic Search/Organic Search Results

An organic search is the action of putting a search query into a search engine. Organic Search Results are the first results (excluding ads) that appear. 

Note: ads may appear above Organic Search Results but are not included.

PageRank

A Google algorithm that estimates the value of a given website based on website importance, credibility, and quality.

Sandbox Index/Supplemental Index

A secondary index of websites that are not shown in the main search results. New websites and low ranking websites are placed “in the sandbox” until their SEO rankings are considered worthy of appearing on the main results page.

Search Engine

Software that locates information on the internet through the input of search queries and keywords. Google, for example, is the most popular search engine.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The process through which to improve a website’s search ranking. SEO encompasses a vast array of different parts (hopefully made clear by this list) that work to increase ranking. From the use of keywords, to variable tags, to backlinks, and more, SEO is invaluable to increasing the visibility and credibility of your website.

Slug

A slug is a section of the URL of a given page, containing keywords specific to that page. It should be short, sweet, and related to the content. It is used for easy navigation, to categorize the page, and to differentiate it from the original homepage URL.

Title Tag

A tag that expresses a page’s purpose to a given search engine. Simply put, it’s the title presented to a search engine.

Traffic

Traffic is the number of visitors landing on your website. A high-traffic website has a lot of visitors, and while you want your site to have a lot of traffic, other important factors weigh into SEO rankings, such as bounce rate (whether or not a visitor stays or bounces from your site) and engagement.

Web-Crawler

Also known as a bot, crawler, or spider, a web-crawler is a piece of software that reviews web content for a search engine, in order to give the website a search ranking. It explores website’s, reviewing all content, including audio, visual, and text content, keywords, tags, and the various web pages and links related to a website

Web Host

The digital space in which your website is stored. All websites have to be located somewhere (not just inside the computer, Hansel!)

Definitive guide to SEO terms

And there you have it! SEO can seem daunting, but once you’re comfortable with the terminology, you can start moving forward to make your website the best that it can be.   

If you really want to up your SEO game, take a peek at my free SEO for blogging guide here to help get you started!

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Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

Are You Creating Quality Content To Boost Your SEO?

Are You Creating Quality Content To Boost Your SEO?

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Search engines love regularly updated websites. Fresh, relevant content indicates that your site is “alive”, catching the notice of web crawlers. The more frequently a site is updated, the more often it is indexed, which in turn affects its search engine ranking. But excessive updates and an abundance of content mean nothing if the content isn’t high-value. As with many things in life, its a matter of quality over quantity.

What is high-quality content? 

High-quality content is content that is current, relevant, informative, engaging, and valuable to your audience. Keeping these factors in mind when developing content can help you achieve higher search engine rankings and draw more traffic to your website.

It needs to be current.

When it comes to web content, there is little value to be found in redundancy. Following a set format and staying on topic are key to your brand, but recycling old information over and over becomes cumbersome, for reader and writer alike. Your readers want to know what is happening now!

Sharing breaking stories and industry news is a start, as they can be linked to high-traffic sources and include many keywords, both of which can increase site visibility to web-crawlers. Plus, it keeps your readers up-to-date!

But if news isn’t on brand for you, well-researched, topical, timely posts might be more your style. The key is to make it stand out! What new information can your site offer that can’t be found anywhere else? And if it can be found elsewhere, how is your content different? Another big tip to stay current: keep up with best practices!

Challenge: Choose three subjects related to your blog and brainstorm five different blog titles on each topic. That’s 15 opportunities for new content!

 

It needs to be relevant.

What is your focus? Whatever content you deliver should be relevant to your website, your brand, the services or products you offer, and the information you share. Many of us have looked for recipes online, only to have 50 paragraphs of story to wade through before the actual instructions. If it isn’t the information your audience is seeking, it can be needless.

Making the desired content the main focus allows readers to find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently. This can build trust with your audience, as you deliver results without all the song and dance. That being said, it’s a sweet way to personalise a blog and connect with readers, if that is in line with your brand. A consistent brand identity is reliable and easy to recognise.

Content should parallel and support your website objectives. Posting for the sake of posting will serve neither you, nor your readers. While it may boost visibility, if the content doesn’t satisfy demands, scrap it!

Challenge: What is your website’s core message? Compare it to past content, old and new. Does it fit with your brand-identity? Write down what works and what doesn’t, what feels genuine, and what was just for a self-imposed word-quota?

 

It needs to be informative.

Think about what you are presenting. Is it a story? A lesson? A how-to guide? What sort of information are you sharing and why is it important? High-quality content should serve the interests of the target audience, whether they are looking to learn and develop new skills, market products and services, gain confidence, or keep up-to-date with current affairs.

A fundamental aspect of quality content is accuracy; fact-checking and research are essential. This benefits your readers foremost, but it can also be a great asset to you. Linking posts to reliable sites and credible info can increase the chance of your site being indexed, along with its search ranking.

More importantly, it positions you as an authority, building trust between you and your readers. And a strong, trusting relationship is key!

Challenge: Make a list of reliable resources you can link to. This can be authorities on different topics, blogs you follow, people you look up to, your preferred news sites, etc. The list goes on! Keep them handy for inspiration, information, and linking in the future. Some of my favourites are:

Jenna Kutcher

– Neil Patel

Amy Porterfield

 

It needs to be engaging.

What could be worse than a boring blog? Well, many things! But you can avoid boring blogs. Simply don’t read them. That is great for readers, but not so much for you. Appealing to an audience is paramount to quality content. This doesn’t mean every sentence has to be electrifying.

A concise set of instruction is much more practical than a heavily-worded how-to guide. If it needs to be simple, keep it simple. But don’t be afraid to step outside the box when appropriate. A comprehensive blueprint will prove more useful than a loose list of parts.

Know your audience well so you can implement a content strategy that meets their needs. Captivate your readers; excite and inform them! That’s what makes your website memorable and brings readers back.

Challenge: Choose a topic and brainstorm five different ways to present the idea. Don’t just write a list though; research and develop your ideas. Change up your tone, present a cool infographic, conduct an interview, the list goes on.

 

It needs to be valuable.

The most integral part of your site is what it offers. What does it provide to your audience? Be it knowledge, news, lessons, or entertainment, it was created with an intention in mind and should serve a purpose for both you and your readers.

Content should be in line with your site’s objective. That’s not to say you can’t veer off the beaten track now and then. A diverse line-up of topics can grow your following and allow for a wider range of keywords to be dispersed through your content. But use your discretion with keywords. Only include when necessary, natural, and relevant.

Of equal importance is to avoid excessive posts and updates. It’s easy to get carried away, but a few high-value posts have more worth than many frequent updates. What is integral is finding the balance!

Challenge: Brainstorm ways in which your content could change or evolve. What new avenues could prove valuable to your current audience or diversify your followers, while still staying true to your brand-identity?

 

In Conclusion 

Without content, a website is just a blank page. You can add as much as you want to it, but if  the components don’t enhance the overall value, it’s just dead weight. Don’t let it drag you down! Be discerning with your content.

You might have to experiment a bit before you find something that resonates with you and your following. Try things out and see what works for you.

Once you have a strategy for creating and delivering high quality content, the regular and valuable updates to your website will continue to improve your search engine rankings.

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Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

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