SEO Basics Made Simple: Despite The Hype

Search Engine Optimization - SEO isn't just 'tricks of the trade' for getting found on the web. It's how to present your copy across your entire website. Treating SEO as a baseline goes a long way to ensure that everyone - new, returning visitors, and search engines - find and grasp your website content. 

Basically? SEO is: 

1) distinct sentences infused with keywords and descriptive phrases usually placed in specific 'fields' on your site.  
2) the same injected throughout the copy on each of your web pages.

Today, search engines look at various elements involving your website to return you in searches (SEO descriptions, backward links, fresh content, mobile friendly, traffic, social media presence...) Initially, you're found - among other factors - by how well a search engine understands the content on your pages - thus, understands you. 

Think of SEO as a website’s foundation.
’Structured copy’ is your online brick and mortar.

Attached below: simple spreadsheets to help capture SEO across your entire website and in social media

KEYWORDS

Keywords have been around forever. They are descriptive words and short phrases that identify you by terms, skills, niche, industry, location, and other indicators. Examples: Squarespace, Web Design, Website Builders, Websites, Content Curation, Wix, Facebook, Wix, Twitter, Social Media, New York City.... the more specific, the more honed, the more these help you and your website be understood. 

SITE DESCRIPTION

Every website has a behind the scenes site description: two to three sentences that describe you - as much as your website. While one sentence may only show up on a Google snippet, the description can be longer, as Google scans this description and 2+ helps search engines understand you more than just a displayable search result snippet. (Succinct elaboration is key.) 

PAGE DESCRIPTIONS

Every page can have an SEO page description. In most cases, you use this to define the overall content on the page - versus the entire website. The same approach applies: the first sentence encapsulates the content on the page - remaining sentences support. Again, while only 1 sentence (depending on length) will show up in a Google 'snippet' - you can use 2 or 3 sentences to help search engines distinguish one page from the next. 

Pages: Headings and Copy

Headings 

Headings do matter. Heading 1 is usually reserved for page titles. Heading 2 and 3 are more structurally helpful in identifying paragraph content but also aid SEO when keywords or phrases are infused.  

Content 

From Panda to Hummingbird, Google continues to focus on text on the page - more than ever.  Search engine algorithms - like the company in general - are focused on quality content.  

Search Update Impact On SEO & Content Strategies: Staying Ahead With A Focus On Quality

Since Google was first launched in 1998, the company has been continually refining its search algorithm to better match users with online content. Over the years, many algorithm updates have targeted spammy and low-quality content in an effort to surface this content less frequently in search results.

The bottom line is that focusing on quality content and the user experience really is the best way to ensure your search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing campaigns are update proactive rather than update reactive.

Google's mobile-friendly algorithm boost has rolled out

Google has fully rolled out the second version of the mobile-friendly update today. Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller announced it this morning on Twitter, saying, "The mobile changes mentioned here are now fully rolled out." Google gave us a heads-up in March that they are preparing to boost the mobile-friendly algorithm in May, and clearly, that has finished rolling out today.

If you are not mobile-friendly, or if you want to ensure that you are, check the Google mobile-friendly tool, and check Google’s mobile guidelines. It is never too late to benefit from this mobile-friendly algorithm; it is real-time based on how fast Google crawls your pages.

SEO SNAPSHOTS: NEW WEBSITES | EXISTING WEBSITES

These spreadsheets capture SEO descriptions, relevant SEO page content, and keywords - all in one place. It's a great idea to organize these descriptions so you can see the whole picture - across your entire site, throughout your social media accounts. 

If moving an existing site to a new one, Existing Websites helps store and refine your existing SEO. Simple Excel spreadsheets, nothing fancy. Because SEO expands across multiple website pages and into social media - these spreadsheets come in handy to store, review and edit SEO. When you're ready - simply copy and paste them into your website or social media. 

Basically, you're crafting - then refining - 2 to 4 distinct description sentences - once for your entire site (site description), and then for each page (page descriptions). You're also looking at all relevant copy on each page to reinforce keywords and descriptions. The last field in the spreadsheet is for keywords - to make sure you're incorporating them across everything.