Search Engine Optimization 101

Understanding the key elements of SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) can be a convoluted term. You may know it’s important, especially when looking to grow your business’s reach and credibility online, but you may not completely understand what it is. Investing in someone who is going to “improve our SEO” sounds like a great solution, but you don’t want to invest in something that doesn’t make sense. That’s why we’re going to break down the most important SEO elements and explain what Google considers the absolute best way to get your website optimized the right way.

Title Tag: This is the title of the webpage or blog post. It helps readers and search engines understand what the page is about, and it happens to appear as the link in Google search results. You can optimize the title tag by using unique titles that explain the business using its main offerings and/or location. These main business offerings may translate into the keywords used throughout your site–which we will talk about later.

example 1

Meta Tag: The meta tag is a description of the page. Like the title tag, the meta tag gives readers and search engines an idea of what the page is about, but instead of just a few concise and unique keywords, the meta tag can be one to two sentences long to provide more of a summary to the page. The meta tag also shows up under the title in Google results, as shown below. Keep both meta tags and title tags unique to individual pages while accurately describing the content of each page.

example 2

Anchor Text: When you see a clickable link that doesn’t show a “www.” URL, it’s because the URL is hidden behind what we call the “anchor text.” Anchor text is useful when linking internally to other blog posts and pages from your website, as well as linking externally to third-party sites. Having anchor text that briefly and accurately describes the link behind it can show search engines that different sites are being referenced for information and providing readers with helpful content that will answer what they sent out searching for.

example 3

Alt Text: Alt text is the written description of photos. When you go to insert a picture on a website or within a blog, there is usually a spot for “alt text.” Since search engines can only read and not see, the alt text is specifically for them, allowing the search engine crawlers to understand how the photo posted is relevant to the page or blog post it sits on. Optimizing pictures by utilizing the alt text will further optimize your website for search results.

Long-Tail Keywords: Keywords are a popular element of search engine optimization, but with the mass amount of content being created everyday, it pays to get a little more specific by utilizing long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords take the base keywords you might put in the header and titles, and infuses them with a more specific phrase or series of words that help identify the product, service, expertise, or niche. According to Yoast, an SEO software plugin, long-tail keywords receive less website traffic but often have higher conversion rates. Likelihood of appearing at the top of the search results increases exponentially by utilizing long-tail keywords.

Consistent Content: None of the elements listed above matter if you aren’t producing consistent high-quality content. Google states it themselves in this SEO Starter Guide (Page 14). The number of meta tags, alt tags, and long-tail keywords that appear on your site will be considerably lower without having a regular content marketing strategy. That’s why we know most people are paying too much for SEO. Because no matter how much effort a search engine optimizer puts their work into practice, if your website isn’t consistently creating more content full of these SEO elements, it’s going to be hard to compete with competitors who are.

Understanding the basics of search engine optimization and implementing the elements through regularly scheduled content can help your website’s growth by leaps and bounds. Nailing down those long-tail keywords through a consistent content marketing strategy is the most time-consuming part. That’s why, at Yakkety Yak, we help our clients figure out a strategy that works best for them and their SEO, and even implement it for them on a month-to-month basis. Contact us if you want your content marketing to beat out the competition.

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