When I decided that I wanted to change careers and become a digital marketer I knew I had a lot to learn. I dove head first into the Search Engine Optimization deep end. I read blogs, watched videos, and listened to podcasts all in the hopes of becoming an expert in SEO. Early on in my journey, I would finish one of those blogs, videos, or podcasts initially feeling that I understood what I just consumed. However, when my wife would ask me about what I learned I would struggle to articulate it. This was the case because I was missing the forest for the trees. I would finish my video and say “Now I understand what a Title Tag is!” But when I would explain title tags to my wife I was explaining a tree and not the forest. I didn’t actually know how to improve SEO.
The Goal of SEO (or the forest) is improving a website’s rankings in search engine results with the intention of getting more organic traffic. As I was learning all of these new terms and concepts I would lose sight of the big picture goal. I could explain to you what a title tag was but couldn’t explain to you how they helped accomplish the goal. I needed a way to connect all these “trees” so I could see the “forest”.
If you read our Beginner’s Guide To SEO you may remember me talking about the pillars of SEO; Relevance and Authority. The goal of SEO is accomplished by increasing a site’s relevance and authority. What I started doing was after every single blog, video, or podcast I would ask myself, “How does this increase Relevance and Authority?” If I couldn’t answer this question I hadn’t really learned anything, and I would return to the topic until I did.
So as you are on your journey to becoming an SEO expert and you learn a new term, concept, or strategy ask yourself, “How does this increase my site’s relevance? How does it increase my site’s authority?” Answering these questions about all the various topics and strategies in SEO is vital.
Relevance refers to the degree to which a website’s content matches the keywords or topics that users are searching for. There are several places that google crawls in order to determine a web page’s relevance. Let’s look at some examples of elements of a website that Google will crawl for a plumbing company in a town called Sandy.
URLs are an address for unique resources on the internet. It is important that your URL is simple, descriptive, and has relevant keywords. It is also important that you don’t change your URL. Your URL is like the canvas that you are painting your SEO masterpiece on. If you lose your canvas or switch to a different one all of your hard work will be lost and you’ll have to start over. SEO is a long game. So make sure you pick one that you know you will stick with for the long haul.
Title Tags are HTML elements that define the title of a webpage on a SERP. More simply put, you can think of these as the title of a webpage. Google uses title tags to understand what the page is about, so they should be as descriptive as possible with your most important keywords in them. In terms of length, title tags should be no longer than 70 characters. It’s important to note that each page on a website should have a unique title tag that accurately reflects the content of the page. It’s important to note that each page on a website should have a unique title tag that accurately reflects the content of the page.
Residential Plumbing Services – Sandy, CA | Sandy Plumbers
Headings are important elements of a web page’s content structure, both for the user experience and for SEO. Headings help break up the content into more manageable sections, making it easier for users to read and understand. Heading structures go from H1, and H2, all the way down to H6 and H7. It’s essential to have targeted keywords in your H1s and H2s. There should only be one H1 on every page.
H1 – Plumbing Services
H2 – Plumbing Installations
H3 – New Constructions
H3 – Remodels
H2 – Plumbing Repairs
H3 – Leaking Faucets
H3 – Clogged Drains
Text may be the most straightforward element of a webpage that will help your relevance. Words. You need a good amount of text on every page of your site. Google wants to know that when people come to your site they are getting good information. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 500 words on a webpage. While you want a good amount of keywords it’s important to not keywords stuff. Here is an example of what keyword stuffing looks like.
Anchor text is the visible, clickable text within a hyperlink. It plays a crucial role in SEO as Google uses it to understand the context and relevance of the linked page. Using descriptive and relevant keywords in your anchor text can help improve search engine rankings and drive traffic to your website. For example, if you were linking from your home to your services page you don’t want your link to say CLICK HERE. You want it to say Plumbing Services.
Alt Text Descriptions are text snippets that are added to HTML code to provide a textual description of an image. Alt text is important for web accessibility because it helps people who are visually impaired or who have difficulty seeing images understand what an image is conveying. Google has prioritized and highly values alt text in order to make the web more accessible.
Alt Text Description: A plumber working on installing a bathtub
Authority refers to the perceived credibility, expertise, and trustworthiness of a website by Google. A website with high authority is seen as trustworthy and authoritative on a particular subject and is therefore more likely to rank higher in search results. While there are several ways to increase your site’s authority we will focus on four key factors; quality backlinks, quality content, user engagement, and time.
Backlinks are links from other web pages that go to your website. An example of this would be a photographer who is linked to by a fashion blog. Quality backlinks tell Google that other websites see your website as trustworthy, which increases your authority.
Quality Content may seem somewhat subjective. However, to determine the quality of content, Google uses a combination of algorithms and user experience data to determine the quality of content. For content to be seen as quality it should be relevant; meaning that it is relevant to the user’s search query, it should have depth; meaning it should speak to topics in depth and not just at a surface level, and it should be unique; meaning that it shouldn’t be duplicated from another page on your site or any other site on the internet.
User Engagement refers to how users engage with a website’s content. Websites that have high engagement metrics, such as longer session durations and lower bounce rates, are seen as authoritative. If once people get onto your site, they immediately leave, Google will assume that you do not have quality or authoritative content.
Time is a straightforward factor that helps you gain authority. Google wants to see websites that are in it for the long haul. My Dad used to say that half of life is just showing up. It’s the same for building authority! Make sure that your site stays live and isn’t changing what the main focus of the content is and you’ll slowly build authority over time
As you are starting your SEO journey, don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees. Come back to Relevance and Authority over and over and over. How is this affecting my relevance? How is this affecting my authority? Returning to these questions will ensure that you are seeing the big picture and not just learning fun new vocab words. As always, stay curious! You’ll be on your way to becoming an SEO expert in no time!