All About SEO
Let’s face it. You just spent time and money building your site and you want your customers to be able to find you. One of the first things that are clients will ask us when we have completed their website is, “How can I be found on Google?” The term for that is Search Engine Optimization or SEO and we’re going to break it down for you in simple terms.
How Does SEO Work?
Let’s begin with how SEO works. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. “crawl” the internet looking for information to present to people who are looking for certain things. For instance, if I’m renovating my bathroom and am in need of a contractor, I will go to google and type in words to help me find what I’m looking for, probably bathroom renovation or contractors in (name my city here).
Google takes that search inquiry and goes out to the internet and returns results that fit those words. They will crawl websites looking for words “bathroom renovation” and “contractor in (name my city here”. What that means is that if you want your website to appear in Google’s search results, you need to have those words on your website for Google to find them and return your site in its search results.
How Do I Decide What Words to Use?
In the website world, those words are referred to as “keywords”. The best place to start is to get yourself into the mind of your customer. What words will they search for when looking for the goods or services that you sell? Our customers are looking for website and graphic design and will most likely search for “web design” or “logo design” and will sometimes specify the city if they are looking for someone local.
We use those words throughout our website because that’s what our potential customers are using in their search.
You also want to make sure that they are “good” keywords and a free and easy tool that you can use to help you with this is “Google Keyword Planner”. You just need to have a Google AdWords account to get started.
Where Do I Add Those Words?
Keywords will appear in your website in different areas. They will appear in your paragraph text in the copy on your website. They will appear in the title of your website page and its description. They will even appear in alt-text on images that you have on your site.
From a content standpoint, you want to make sure that the words you are using in your copy make sense. Don’t try to “force” the usage of a keyword in your text if it doesn’t feel natural or if it doesn’t flow with the remaining copy on the page. It’s definitely a balancing act between using keywords to optimize your site while maintaining your “voice” with your words.
Another area of body text are the website headings, defined by H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6. In WordPress, you will find these titles here:
The most important heading that search engines use is the H1 heading. Elements in your page that use this heading property will be crawled first. This is followed by H2. Make sure that your most important keywords are included in H1 and H2 headings in your content.
Site Titles and Descriptions
Every page on your website has a site title and description that show up in search engine results. You want to change those elements to reflect your keywords. Here is a screen grab from Google that shows you how MavroCreative appears when you search for us.
You can see the title of the page is MavroCreative | Web Design, Branding & Graphic Design Company and the description is below. I set those two elements on my home page because those are the terms that people will use when searching for our services.
How Do I Change The Site Title and Description?
Fortunately for you, if you are following our blog or are a customer of MavroCreative, you most likely are using WordPress for your website. There is an amazing free plugin that we use on our website: Yoast SEO. This plugin makes it incredibly easy to change your page titles and description and also gives you feedback about how well optimized your page is.
We’ve made an easy to follow video tutorial that walks you through how to install and use Yoast SEO on your WordPress site.
Click the graphic below to get access!
Why Should I Optimize Images?
Images are another area that search engines crawl but your images need words attached to them for the search engines to see. These alt-tags and descriptions are also displayed for people who are visiting your website using a reader for vision impairment.
It’s so easy to optimize your images for search engines. When you upload your image to the media library, you have an area where you can change and add your alt-tag and description. If it makes sense to include the keyword in the image description, by all means, do it!
But again, don’t force the usage of the keyword of it is completely different than what the image represents. You need to remember that the description of the image first and foremost is meant to be a clear explanation of what the visitor to the site is seeing. Being able to get some SEO juice from it is a bonus!
Final Step: Submit Your Sitemap to Google
Google needs to know about all the awesome work you just did to optimize your site. Your site is sent to Google to be indexed, which basically means that Google will have all of the files it needs to properly list your website and its pages in its search results.
It’s not complicated to do but it’s something that some WordPress users may find intimidating at first. Using the Yoast SEO plugin that we reference above makes it really easy to generate your sitemap link. Our video tutorial also includes a step by step guide to how to generate your sitemap and submit it to Google.
Click the graphic below to get free access!
I hope that this post gives you the motivation to go and start optimizing your website! Once you get the hang of it, it’s not so scary and in fact it’s even fun!
Until next time!