Tag : seo-defnition

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SEO made simple Part 3 – On Page Optimization

If you’ve been following Part 1 and Part 2 of the SEO Made Simple series, you should have a list of keywords ready to be integrated into the pages of your site.

There are a few on-page optimization best practices that will substantially increase your website’s relevance.

Site Title (or Title Tag)

One of the most important SEO elements. If you don’t have time for anything else, at least fix this. It’s a meta tag, meaning it’s a text element that is not visible on the webpage but provide important information to search engine crawlers. It does appear at the top of your browser window and as headline of your website on search engine results.

Best Practices: Keep within 60 characters long to avoid getting truncated on Google search results (although in the past year Google may be showing less characters.) Try to place keywords closer to the beginning of the Site Title, as order makes a difference here.

Site Title Example (use my own site as an example):

Glossary of SEO terms made simple – Part 1 | Karenchow.ca

What it looks like in the coding

Title Tag in View Source

What it looks like in Google search results

SERP screen capture

SERP Screen Capture: Meta Title in Purple

Site Description

Similar to Site Title, Site Description is also a meta data. It is not visible on your web pages but does appear below Site Title in search engine results. It provides a summary of what your website is about.

Best Practices: Keep it below 160 characters (space included). Although considered less of a ranking factor compared to Site Title, Site Descriptions are often written as advertising copy with lots of buzzwords and call-to-action. It is an opportunity to advertise as it is the next thing a user would read before deciding whether your page is relevant enough to click. Most relevant keywords should still be used here as they would be bolded and highlighted if they match what the user is searching.

Site Description Example:

Bombarding friends with SEO terms and search jargon! Yup I’m guilty. Hence I present you a glossary of SEO terminology made simple and to the point. 

What it looks like in the coding

Meta Description in View source

What it looks like in Google search results

SERP screen capture

SERP Screen Capture: Meta Title in Purple, Meta Description in Gray

Here’s a good example of what happens when your meta description gets truncated.

Heading tag

This is literally the heading of your webpage, similar to heading of any document or newspaper article. It’s the first place users and search engine crawlers read to determine the theme of the page.

Best Practices
There are divided opinions among SEO professionals in regards to whether H1 is an important ranking element (I’ve been a part of two search agencies – one couldn’t care less about leaving the h1 out, the other stressed placing the most important keyword in the H1)

My thought is, if it’s an on page element that users and crawlers would look to first before reading or crawling the rest of your page, it should include the most relevant keyword, and also be relevant to the rest of the content on the page.

On a side note: don’t you hate those Upworthy-inspired headlines that starts with “you’ll laugh…” or “you’ll cry…”. Yes, on one hand, you are able to draw readers with a catchy headline, but you’ll end up alienating readers by not delivering what you promised. (Okay…there’s my rant of the day.)

What it looks like in the coding:

H1 in View Source

H1 in View Source

What it looks like on-page:

Heading Screen Capture

Heading Screen Capture

Image Tags (or alt text)

These are names and descriptions given to images. Search engines don’t understand images as well as text. In order to increase relevance of pages and show up in Google image search, alt text needs to be created for important images that add value to readers.

Best Practices
Sure it’s another opportunity to optimize the page, so relevant keywords if applicable should be mentioned. The “if applicable” part is important, since you want to also accurately describe the image. Nothing turns off the reader more when they place a cursor over the image and the alt text that pops up has nothing to do with the image.

What it looks like in the coding:

Alt Text  in View Source

Alt Text (alt=”…”) in View Source

What it looks like in Google image search:

Example of Google Image Search

Example of “SEO- what my friends think I do…” in Google Image Search

I’m barely skimming through the basics and would really like to hear your feedback, whether you are a veteran of SEO or just recently considered doing it for your website. Part of the challenge is staying on top of all the changes and new tactics in the industry.

If you have anything to share about on page optimization or other topics, please leave it in the comments below! Would love to hear your thoughts!

 

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SEO made simple Part 1 – Glossary of SEO Terms

Forgive me. 

I’m sometimes so enthralled in the search world that I get carried away with terms like “link building” and “organic visibility”, when a person asking me a simple question like “how are you”, really just wanted to know how I am without being bombarded with all these seo terms and search jargon.

To give you more context, I’m a SEO strategist (SEO = Search Engine Optimization). That’s just a fancy way of saying – I help sites gain higher rankings on search engines which leads to higher traffic, hence conversions. Although, in recent years, that job title also encompasses social media optimization, inbound marketing and overall management of all online channels. Frankly, I fear that side of my brain never quite turns off. From chatting with a local gym owner to helping my friend launch her e-commerce consignment shop, I’m always finding ways to better their online presence so more people can find out about them.

What often comes out of those conversations is me explaining away excitedly while intermittently dropping SEO terms that make little sense to most people but me. Hence I present you a glossary of SEO terminology – in laymen’s (or Karen’s) terms.

SEO:

aka Search Engine Optimization, but you already know that hopefully (from my intro). It means optimizing your site for both search engines and users alike, with increasing traffic as the end goal. There are numerous factors that go into why search engines rank sites the way they do. The reason why I brought up the search engines and users separately is because sometimes that’s where the disconnect happens. What we assume users can read perfectly, sometimes search engines may find hard to read. Optimization efforts aim to do both: making the content on your site very accessible to search engines, but also interesting enough to engage users and maybe entice them to act.

Humans vs. search engines comparison

Example taken from Moz: http://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/basics-of-search-engine-friendly-design-and-development

 

SEM:

short form for Search Engine Marketing and Paid Search. You often see Paid Ads in the form of shaded yellow right below the search bar and above the organic search results.

Paid ads in Google Search Results

Paid ads in Google Search Results

Unlike organic search results, you do need to pay to show up in paid ads.

Ranking:

This is surely the most commonly used term tied to SEO. What is often referred to here is organic search rankings, which simply means where your site is placed in organic search results in the form of 1st position, 2nd position etc. Obviously, top positions get the highest visibility and will likely entice the most clicks. In fact, a study done by an online network Chitika confirms that no.1 position in organic search gets as much as 33% of traffic, followed by 18% of traffic in no. 2 position.

Percentage of traffic by Google results position

Study done by Chitika: http://chitika.com/google-positioning-value

 

Traffic:

Traffic to a site can come from many sources. This is a simple breakdown that Google Analytics also displays (on a side note: any site owner should get access to GA as soon as they can. All GA data is only available the moment you verify the site and the GA tag is in place. )

1) Direct: traffic from a user who types in the URL directly in the browser or assesses the page through a bookmark.

2) Organic: traffic from searching and clicking on organic search results

3) Referral: traffic from referring sites that may have a “clickable link” that takes users from their sites to your site

4) Paid: traffic from paid ad sources

5) Social: traffic from social media sites

Google Analytics Acquisition Channels

Source: http://blog.kissmetrics.com/whats-new-in-google-analytics/

 

Links:

I like Moz’s analogy (Moz.com – an authority that has a lot of weight in the SEO industry and a wealth of information ): “links are the streets between pages”. If the internet is a city made up of houses (websites), links connect these houses together, hence search engines can draw up the city’s map in this analogy. Links are passed from one website to the next and that’s how search engines  understand the web of sites and their associations.

Links can also convey a ton of other metrics like trust, spam and authority. The web operates a bit like high school. The popular kid (authoritative sites) will get a lot of love from other kids in school (links from other sites). The quality of links do matter in this case. If you’re running an e-commerce site in the UK, getting thousands of links from a random site in the Philippines would’t look very legit. Actually, Google may even find that suspicious and penalize you. That’s only a small portion of what the Penguin algorithm updates hope to do- fight spam and bad link building practice. 

Google Penguin Update

Think he’s cute? …Think again!

These are all the SEO terms I want to get through for now. If you’ve made it to this point, you’re either not turned off by my cheesy analogies or you must be very interested in learning more about SEO. Keep your eyes peeled for part 2!

For the time being, got any cool things to share or any questions you want to ask? Please leave it in the comments below!

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