What is SEO?
Before we dive into terms, let's first define SEO, or search engine optimization, as the process of driving traffic to your website through “organic” search results on Google, or any other search engine. One of the benefits of organic search is that it’s a free method of driving traffic, compared to paid ad search.
Google predominantly uses their own algorithm to determine where in the “pecking order” sites rank on their engine. Google regularly sends spiders (metaphorical of course) to scan websites, which provides better data about how each website is performing. They look at certain aspects of your site, like:
- Types of content you create
- Types of website links you're using
- Keywords you place in your content.
This data helps sites perform better or worse on search results, so it's vital that you analyze the type of content you create. If some of these terms are a bit over your head, don’t worry, we will cover SEO terms shortly.
What are the benefits of SEO?
As I stated before, SEO is cost-efficient for companies, small or large. Depending on whether you count productive time spent creating and upgrading content as a cost of SEO, it could be free! With budgets becoming tighter, companies are looking for new ways to gain traffic, leads and money. Companies should invest a portion of their marketing time to SEO, as how you perform on Google can either hurt or help your brand success.
6 Key SEO Terms
Here's a list of important key terms you should know for your success with SEO!
ALT text is used as a description for your images within your site’s HTML (see HTML definition). Google sees ALT text, but not the image and humans see the image, but not the ALT text. When placing images in your site, or your content, be sure to place ALT text on your image. If it’s a picture of a cat, you could write “Orange Tabby Cat,” as the ALT text.
Anchor text is the text that links to another web page from your current page. It is underlined and usually dark blue. This helps Google understand where you are being directed if you click on the link. Always make sure your anchor text is clear and relevant to the directed page.
You might already know what a blog is, but did you know blogs are absolutely crucial in proper SEO implication? A blog is chock full of important vocabulary and possible authoritative links that could help your site rank better.
If you offer travel packages and tours, create a blog about different destinations. This will both help your SEO goals, and also help bring people to your site by offering them something fun exciting and hopefully relevant to read. If you have downloadable offers, this is a perfect place to link to those. Include links to reputable, trustworthy sources of knowledge in your blog. Be careful though, because not all links are good links, and linking to not-reputable sites can hurt your SEO efforts.
HTML & CSS
HTML and CSS are very similar, but each has distinct differences. HTML and CSS are the coding behind your website. When you build a website, it’s predominantly built using these two website markup languages. HTML includes ALT text and anchor text, along with other things. Make sure your HTML is clean as possible, so Google can breeze through your site and pick up the important data. CSS, or cascading style sheets, is more of the layout coding, which includes the headers, colors and other style properties.
Keywords are quintessential to SEO. Without keywords, SEO truly wouldn’t be what it is today. Keywords are words that you can place in your anchor text, and throughout your content. The spiders I’ve been referencing pick up and add those keywords to their data. Using that data, the algorithm decides where you rank in a search result. You want your content to have keywords in it, but not be overflowing. Use one keyword a maximum of 5 times throughout a page.
You can use a string of “long-tail keywords,” for example, if you are writing a blog about “The Best Things to See While in Salzburg.” Some long-tail keywords you’d include in this blog could be “sites to see in Salzburg for tourists” or “tourist attractions in Salzburg.” You could also target using “short-tail keywords,” like “Salzburg” or “Salzburg attractions.”
The big difference between short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords is that short-tail keywords generally have higher search volume, but more competition. Long-tail keywords have lower search volume, but less competition and a higher conversion rate. Learn everything you need about short and long-tail keywords by clicking here.
Finally! We talk about the spiders. Spiders or “web crawlers” are an automated script that browses through the world wide web. They scan, dissect and collect data that Google uses to see up-to-date content that is being created. When spiders look at your pages, they look at the words within the page (that’s why keywords are important) and where the words were found.
White Hat vs. Black Hat (Good vs. Bad)
White hat is an SEO term that means you are engaging in good SEO practices that focus on the human audience and completely follow search engine rules. Black hat is an SEO term that means you’re using aggressive or bad SEO practices that don’t follow search engine guidelines. We’ll walk through a few scenarios below that are considered white or black hat.
#1: Make sure your site’s URLs can be easy to read for humans, because the easier they are to read for humans, the easier they are to read for spiders. When you create a page and need to create a custom URL, you could write what your topic is about in your URL. If your blog post is about the top 10 things to see in London, you could make your URL www.yourwebsite.com/top-10-things-to-see-in-london. This way it’s clear for spiders and humans to see what you are writing about. – White Hat
#2: Do not keyword stuff! Keyword stuffing is the process of trying to fill your content withcertain keywords as much as possible. This is a big no-no. Keyword stuffing can potentially get you banned from Google, because it sees it as an unfair practice and feels it can makes your content unreadable. – Black Hat
#3 – Exclude stop words into your URL. Stop words include words such as “and,” “or,” “but,” “of,” “the,” “a” and so on, and are not important to your URL. In fact, they can actually make your URL less readable. If you want your blog title to be your URL, remove stop words from it to allow the URL to flow better. For example, if you are writing a post about “The best times of the year to travel to Europe,” your URL could be “www.yourcompany.com/blog/best-times-to-travel-to-Europe.” This lowers the URL length but still gets your point across. – White Hat
#4 – Don’t post duplicate content on your site. Duplicate content is content that appears more than once on the internet. Google itself determines what exactly it thinks “duplicate content” is, but it’s essentially seen as a form of plagiarism. Google has a strict policy against duplicate content and punishment is almost certain, usually in the form of bad marks against your site’s credibility, or your created page won’t rank. - Black Hat
Do you need assistance applying SEO to your current marketing strategy, contact Milwaukee marketing agency, Accelity Marketing.