SEO & Search Marketing

Building your EGO

SEO is a process that requires effective planning and perpetual analysis. You need to initially set up the foundation by following perfect web development and web design standards. This ensures that your website can be optimized in the perfect manner possible to bring in results. This is where we come in; we can either assist by developing and optimizing your website from scratch or start optimizing your website post ensuring that it is developed in line with web development and design etiquettes.

One of the most pivotal factors that can easily break or make your website with respect to SEO is website responsiveness. According to Google, any website which is not mobile responsive is going to find it pretty hard to dominate the SERPs. EGO Design can be your one-stop solution to developing responsive websites. Making any site responsive is an integral aspect of our web development cycle.

Our process in building web-esteem

Keyword Research

Most SEO strategies start with keyword research. SEO pros use tools, such as Google Ads, SEMrush, and many others, to see the value of keywords. There’s search volume, the approximate number of times a keyword is searched monthly, and cost per click (CPC), taken from historical PPC bidding, which gives a clue as to the monetary value of bringing a single user to your site through a keyword.

An informational keyword such as “Detroit Tigers roster” has no CPC because the user is just looking for a baseball team’s roster. The user gets the information and leaves. “Detroit Tigers tickets” would have a much higher CPC, because the user is very likely to buy game tickets once landing on a website.

Deciding on keywords shapes the group of pages you’ll create and optimize. For a given page, don’t just choose just one keyword; it’s smart to have a list of secondary keywords that help flesh out the topic of your page. When Google evaluates pages, it looks for keywords that relate to other keywords as a clue as to how valuable your page is.

Don’t fall into the trap of always shooting for the highest-value keywords. It’s smart to have realistic expectations. Your vintage baseball card store won’t rank first for the keyword “baseball,” no matter how hard you try. A company that sells cell phones may want to rank for “best cell phone,” but a simple Google search will show that the results are mostly lists and reviews of cell phones, not a single product page. Don’t ask, “What terms do we want to rank for?” Instead, ask, “What terms should we rank for?”

On-Page Optimization

Once you have keywords to target, you can create the content of your pages. Antiquated SEO guidelines will tell you to force-feed the keyword into your content as much as possible. In an earlier time, search engines were less sophisticated, and this tactic worked. These days, Google and other search engines don’t fall for that. “Keyword stuffing” has no value. It’s a form of “tricking the search engine.” Don’t try to trick Google. The fundamental guideline is to satisfy the user’s query.

Here are some of the main elements of on-page content:

  • URL: the web address for the page
  • Meta title: the “official” title of the page, which appears in the tab at the top of a web browser and as the link in search results
  • Meta description: a short description of the page, usually 160 characters or less, appearing below the link in search results
  • H1 heading: the title as it’s shown within the page, usually in large, bold text
  • Body content: the bulk of the page’s offering, usually words, images, buttons, purchasing forms, etc.
  • Other headings: headings that separate the content, called H2, H3, H4, etc., based on their size and purpose in the page content, especially useful for long pages that cover a topic deeply

Writing SEO-friendly content can be a tricky proposition for many content writers. Google consistently urges websites to use natural language that speaks to your target audience. Use keywords liberally — it’s logical that your keyword will appear in the URL, meta title, meta description, H1 heading, and body content — but don’t overdo it. If you have a list of secondary keywords, don’t jam them into the content where they don’t belong. Even with secondary keywords, the guideline is still to satisfy the query.

Site Organization

Websites should be well organized, both for the user and for search engines. As a website manager, you want to use navigation links at the top of the pages and text links within the content to help users explore the site. All links should be placed logically, with text that is clear to the user. Links typically contain keywords that match the destination of the link, which helps your SEO efforts. One helpful guideline is to imagine a webpage with all the content removed, except for the links. Without the benefit of context, will users know where each link will send them?

Your URLs should be similarly buttoned up. Most websites use categories in their URL structure, like this:

  • www.yourwebsite.com/
  • www.yourwebsite.com/name-of-category/
  • www.yourwebsite.com/name-of-category/topic-of-page/

Ideal site organization requires solid planning from the start. Determine the main categories of the information or products you offer. eCommerce sites, in particular, tend to be very large and contain many categories. Use a URL structure that is reflective of the search intent, user experience, and keyword strategy.

Backlinks

Often referred to as “external links” and “off-page SEO,” backlinks are links that go from other sites to your site. Backlinks give Google a big clue into the value and reputation of your site among the rest of the online world. If other sites reference your site and are willing to send users there, your site must be pretty great. EGO offers link-building campaigns, as either part of an SEO services package, or by itself. Learn more about link-building for SEO.

SEO pros use tools, such as Majestic or Ahrefs, to look at all the backlinks your site has. Not all links have equal value. Links from authoritative, high-traffic sites will benefit your SEO much more than those from less reputable sites. Metrics such as “trust flow” and “citation flow” help calculate the total value of your backlink profile.

Google has improved its understanding of backlinks greatly in the last ten years. In more primitive times, websites successfully “gamed the system” by having their links placed on sites called “link farms.” These days, Google will easily detect this black hat SEO tactic and likely impose a manual penalty on your site, which is catastrophic to your rankings and a pain to fix.

Local SEO

For local businesses, there are some additional SEO steps to take. You’ve probably searched something like “salon” or “shoe store” and got search results for businesses in your area, conveniently giving you access to location, phone number, business hours, driving directions, and reviews.

Local SEO involves creating a Google My Business profile and making sure your business is listed on aggregation sites and social media platforms. Positive reviews can help your business appear higher than your competition. You should be consistent with your information, like location and hours. Some websites will optimize their pages to include localized keywords that help users and search engines know where your business operates. EGO has helped hundreds of companies with their local SEO. See our local SEO page for more information.

Technical SEO

The idea behind technical SEO is that users and search engines shouldn’t have any trouble finding anything on your site. Here’s a list of some parts of technical SEO:

  • Page speed: Your web pages should load quickly. Unnecessary code and excessively large images slow down the load time. SEO pros and web developers work closely together to make sure that pages load as fast as possible.
  • Sitemaps: All sites should have an HTML sitemap and an XML sitemap. Users can access the HTML sitemap, and it shows an organized list of links to the site’s main pages. In some cases, all site pages are in the HTML sitemap. The XML sitemap is strictly a list of URLs to let search engines know what pages exist on the site.
  • Mobile-friendliness: Your website should work just as well on mobile devices and tablets as it does on desktop computers.
  • Hidden files: The robots.txt and .htaccess files contain some basic instructions for web browsers to use when loading your webpage, with their own set of best practices.
  • Duplicate content: Each page should have unique content. If you have pages with the same title, for example, you’re confusing search engines as to which page it should consider ranking. Duplicate meta titles and H1 titles are a surprisingly common issue.
  • Broken links: Anytime a user clicks a link and doesn’t go to a page, that’s a bad user experience, and search engines will ding you appropriately. A technical audit should identify all 301 redirects and missing pages linked on your site.

Tracking SEO Success

One of the most common SEO problems is that businesses don’t know how well it’s working. Even savvy business people are prone to jumping to conclusions when they see changes in their site traffic, revenue, leads, products sold, or new walk-in customers. If you’re serious about SEO, you should know exactly what to track.

One of the most popular and well-reviewed SEO tools is SEMrush. Among its many functionalities, SEMrush will track rank for any individual keyword you add to your campaign. Before you create or update pages, choose what keywords you’re targeting and add them to your tracking. Depending on the website, you may want to check your rank daily, weekly, or monthly, and record the results.

You may have found that the keywords you targeted aren’t the ones actually driving traffic to the site. Google Search Console will show how many impressions and clicks your pages got for individual keywords. If you find a new keyword driving significant traffic, add it to your tracking going forward.

On a broader scale, it’s good to know just how much of your total site traffic comes from search. There are other ways people can find the site, obviously, such as typing in the URL or using bookmarks (direct traffic), or clicking a link from another site, an email, or a social media app (referral traffic). It’s also helpful to know desktop traffic and mobile traffic percentages. Web analytics tools like Google Analytics and WebTrends can segment traffic and do so much more that can help inform your SEO and digital marketing strategies.

These are just some basics about tracking SEO and site traffic. If your site needs tracking help, consider our digital strategy services.

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