SEO | DEMYSTIFIED
A closer look at how you can improve your websites search results, using easy methods that benefit all areas of your biz!
In case you're wondering what SEO is or why the heck it matters to your business, this post is for YOU. Being able to create content for your site under a cohesive brand all while marketing to your defined target audience is something that will take you years to master. But here's some good news... SEO really isn't so hard! It's a combination of PLANNING + CONSISTENCY + STUDYING. Let's dive in to the details, and before you know it you'll be feeling confident and carefree about your websites search engine health.
SEO IS NOT A ONE CLICK SOLUTION FOR SEARCH ENGINE PRESENCE.
WHAT IS SEO?
SEO stands for "Search Engine Optimization." These terms refer to how well search engines (like Google and whatever the heck the other ones are, who really cares anyway it's all about the goog's. JK, you should index with as many search engines as possible!) are able to read and "index" the information on your website into nice, easy-for-a-supercomputer-to-understand bits of information that can ultimately be translated into a search result. Using SEO as a tool is important because you really, REALLY want search engines to be able to find and understand your website and it's content. After all, you're working so hard on it.. the least Google could do is take notice and give you that first page spot!
PLANNING + CONSISTENCY + STUDYING.
Utilizing SEO requires using this magical recipe of steps.
- PLANNING - Use your "30" keywords & set categories.
- CONSISTENCY - Post regularly and don't forget to tag!
- STUDYING - Look at the analytics data.
THIS is where that keyword list (don't know what I'm talking about... you can find that info HERE) that you worked so hard on is going to really come in handy. Tape that sucker to the wall and use those words allllll the timeeee. There used to be a practice called "keyword stuffing" where you could use your one main tagline over & over & over & over again across your site to make it easier for Google to see what you were all about. BUT, times have changed, Goog's smartened up, and now we have to use REAL descriptions and a consistent, healthy sized base of keywords to get our point across to the internet.
1) IMAGE TAGS & CATEGORIES
One if the easiest ways to build in your keywords is to "name" your images what they actually are, and use keywords where possible. You do this (in Squarespace) by clicking the "gear / settings" icon on your images, and typing a name &/or description. It may seem tedious but it works! Goog's can't see what images are about unless they're tagged with text. In blog posts, you can both tag & categorize your POST as well! Tags can be whatever you want them to be (as long as they're relevant to your content) while Categories should be a narrower selection of ideas. Once you've created your category, your readership can use them to search across your blog. So keep your category count between 5-10, ideally.
2) REGULAR CONTENT POSTING
Having a blog and posting content at least once every week or two (if not more!) shows search engines that you're a REAL business, you know what you're doing and you're constantly creating new content for your clients or readership. Blogs are also tag and categorizable, which means more bang for your buck! Remember to name the images you use in your blog and you'll be on top of the SEO game for sure!
3} CREATING RELEVANT CONTENT
You can have a blog, but what good does it do you if people don't come and READ it?! A great way to ensure that you're driving traffic to your site is to create content worth looking at. Be very intentional about your posts, speak directly to your audience and don't be afraid to give industry secrets to get people in the door! We're all just out here learning, and if you can help someone LEARN something about what you do, then they'll trust you & your brand even more! Creating a loyal following based on genuine articles is a great way to enhance your internet presence and show the google bots that you are the best in class.
4) USING MOBILE (AMP) PAGES
Using mobile friendly or "amp" pages is a GREAT idea, because most people are searching and finding sites on mobile devices! Don't believe me..? Go check out you analytics page, and scroll down to the "operating system & browser" section to get a rude awakening. Make sure that your mobile site looks as good as your desktop one, and you're sure to have happy readers and good search results. You can enable "amp" pages in your settings, and view your site in mobile mode from the top of the page while in editing mode. How neat is that?! Thank's Squarespace.
5) FILL OUT BUSINESS CRITERIA
Make sure that you've filled out the proper areas on your site that detail your business info! This is so important and SO overlooked! Google pulls your search info DIRECTLY from the biz info areas on the backend settings of your site. You'll need to use your business name, tagline, hour of operation, location and contact info. If something changes, make certain that you update your biz info too, so as not to confuse customers or Google.
*6) BONUS: RESIZING IMAGES
Okay, so here's a freebie! Google (and let's be honest, the rest of the world that hates to wait for a site to load) rewards users who optimize their images and icons to a size that loads quickly. If google crawls (yes, that's the real term) your page and the page loads really slowly because of hugeeeee images, too many images or an excruciatingly long 4K HIGH DEF YOU MIGHT AS WELL REALLY BE THERE video, you probably need to make some changes.
My FAV tool for resizing images quick and easy is called JPEG Mini, it can be found on the App Store on Mac products. It's an app that you drag and drop images into, and it resizes them for you in seconds. VOILA! I generally resize to the "Large" size, and store them in a separate folder called "web optimized" or even just "opt" for short. This helps distinguish between high-res files and web sized ones. You can do this any which way that you choose, but that's my method!
You should REST EASY.
You should also know that there's no perfect formula for 100% effective all-the-time SEO practices. You can't type in 5 keywords in one special place and expect to pop up on the first page of Google after one week. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time, practice and education to begin unpacking the tools of SEO, and really using it to your advantage. The truth is that Google is a black box, meaning that we don't know everything about how they run or what they prioritize.
Here's what we DO know... Google likes:
- Regular posting
- RELEVANT keywords (not stuffing!)
- Use of Google's tools (like analytics data, google business & mail)
- Maintaining proper and updated information
- Image tagging & naming
- Mobile friendly sites
- Sites & pages that load QUICKLY
PHEW. Good job y'all. Now it's time to start putting all of this knowledge to work. Go forth, and make your websites run better. Or, PAY ME TO DO IT FOR YOUUUUUU. Yes, that's an option.