Baffled by SEO and how to bend to the whims of Google? Whether you’re a small business with a self-built website or someone who head’s up the Marketing Department of a huge corporate conglomerate, navigating the world of SEO can be confusing and oftentimes difficult. Where do you start? How do you make your site an all-singing, all-dancing SEO powerhouse? Professionals from many different industries, skill levels and positions are finding out by attending EverSpark Interactive’s weekly What’s New In The World of Google Meetup. Free and open to all who are interested, it’s a quick and easy way to help develop your bag of SEO tricks.
Please join us at our next meeting on Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 from 8am – 9:30am. Please confirm your attendance by using the RSVP on the Meetup.com link below. Even if you’re not positive you can make the meeting, you can always play a little catch up with our blog recap posts. This is also a great way to review previous meetups you may have attended, and investigate some of the issues covered further.
The meetup takes place at EverSpark Interactive’s offices located at:
6 Concourse Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30328
What’s New This Week:
Dissecting Your Site: Where Do You Begin?
When EverSpark Interactive first start working for a client, it’s important to look at the metrics of that client’s website before anything. Having a benchmark can not only give you an idea of where you started, but it can also help you to discover where you should go with your site. Dissecting a site regularly helps to uncover those little problems that could become a larger issue down the road. While this sounds terrific in theory, where do you actually start when building a report of this kind? In this week’s meeting, EverSpark Principle, Jason Hennessey and SEO Manager, Steve Miller, lifted the veil on how a “6 Hour Audit” works, and take-home lessons you can start apply to your own SEO plan today.
Starting With The Basics
Before you can truly get down to the nitty gritty of a website, its important to start with a quick check of the basics. This can assist you in re-assessing what keywords you want to rank for and develop a clearer understanding of your domain registration information and any potential pitfalls associated with that. By creating a clear and concise report, you can start to develop your own benchmark for your site.
|Domain||What is your site’s domain?|
|Home Page||What is the URL of your homepage?|
|Google Webmaster Tools||If you’re not already using Google Webmaster Tools, now’s a great time to get started. This can be hugely valuable in keeping tabs on your site’s overall performance in the eyes of the search engine.|
|Bing Webmaster Tools||Although not as popular as Google’s Webmaster Tools, Bing’s Webmaster Tools are also a great way to keep your finger on your site’s pulse. If you’d like a great tutorial on using Bing’s Webmaster Tools, check out this video by EverSpark Interactive from earlier this year.|
|Google Analytics||Though it may seem slightly scary to the SEO newbie, Google Analytics is an important tool for helping to boost sales and traffic to your website. The site also features some great tutorials if you’re taking the plunge for the first time.|
|Top 3 Primary Targeted Keywords||What are the top three keywords that you feel you should be ranking for? If you’re not sure of your targets, or maybe are looking for fresh ideas, try using Ubersuggest, an excellent keyword suggestion tool.|
Once you’ve determined your target keywords, uncovering how those are currently working for you can start giving you an idea of how far you have to go to achieve your SEO goals. Some of the tools that EverSpark use have been discussed in previous meetings, and would be well worth a look if you’re seriously want to up your SEO game.
Jason’s Top Tip:
“Keeping up with how your site and SEO plan is performing doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can achieve great things for as little as $100 a month. My top picks for good tools to buy would be to start with:
SEM Rush Metrics comes into play later when you’re dissecting your site, making it an extremely valuable tool. For example, it can give you information on what keywords you’re actually ranking for and what those keywords would be worth if you were paying for them. This can give you a better idea of your site’s overall value. Additionally, it can give you a better indication regarding organic keywords, as well as who your competition for those organic terms might be.
The All-Important Domain & Server Attributes
Though it may not immediately seem hugely important, there are attributes within your domain registration information and servers that can actually damage what you might be trying to achieve with your SEO plan. Just a quick check on www.Who.is can easily give you a wealth of information that you may not have even realized about your site.
|Domain & Server Attributes|
|IP Address||This can easily be obtained by Googling “find my IP address”|
|Name Servers||Name servers are essentially where your site is hosted. It’s important to check the name of your name server to insure that it doesn’t have any negative connotations for Google. For example, the word “SEO” in a name server can raise suspicion with webspam.|
|Status||The status essentially is set by the registrar and arranges for some changes to be automatically rejected. Common entries you will see here include: clientDeleteProhibited, clientRenewProhibited, clientTransferProhibited, clientUpdateProhibited.|
|Domain Registration Date||The date you first registered the domain. Older domains can often get an SEO boost as they are seen as more of an authority.|
|Domain Expiration Date||The date that your domain is currently set to expire.|
|Registrar||Your registrar is the agency you used to register the domain. For example, GoDaddy, Yahoo or even Whois.|
|Number of Domains on Same IP Address and Obvious Bad Neighborhood Domains||If you’re hosting multiple domains from one IP address or don’t own your own server, failing to take a deeper look can cause multiple problems. Did you know your site might be judged right along with other domains hosted on your server, good or bad? By using Majestic SEO’s Neighborhood Checker, you can determine the company you keep and if you need to move. Additionally, you can ensure that there is no additional competition trying to rank for any particular keywords you’re aiming for.|
Ensuring that your users have a good experience while using your site and that it’s not impossible for Google to thoroughly crawl it can have a huge impact on how your site is viewed from an SEO-standpoint. Moz.com actually has a great piece on how page speed can impact SEO, and some of the factors that might be slowing down your site. One of the most frustrating things for users is a slow-loading page. In fact, many users will easily leave your site and go in search of a possible competitor if you’re not able to deliver a quality page speed. Additionally, Google will only spend so long attempting to index and crawl your page. If you’ve noticed that certain pages on your site aren’t indexing, there may be a problem with your actual page speed and the search engine’s ability to crawl it.
Google Developers Page Speed Insights can deliver a huge wealth of information when it comes to learning more about how your website is performing and how to rev up its engines. Using a color-coded system of red, yellow and green, you can easily tell where your page ranks when it comes to speed. Additionally, this handy tool also gives you top suggestions for improving your ranking and useability. Additionally, it’s a good idea to ensure that your videos are tagged correctly for Google to index them correctly. You can easily pick up the best practice tagging methods by using Schema.org.
Bringing It All Back Home & Getting The Best of Local
Getting the right results for local searching has been a top topic in many of the EverSpark meetups over the past few weeks. This was a particularly hot topic for the SMX Advanced Conference You&A with Matt Cutts, where Cutts expressed that he felt Google could do a better job of reaching out to business (you can read more on EverSpark’s recap blog post here). Essentially, “local” has been on everyone’s lips this year. However, between Google and all the other search engines and listings pages you need to use to gather those all-important citations, where do you start?
One of the highest recommended tools from Steve Miller for local was Bright Local. Featuring a local search rank checker, citation checker and other additional useful tools and reports, this handy site can easily put you in the driver’s seat of your local SEO plan. Try watching their welcome video to get a better idea of what’s on offer. If you like what you see, you can try it free for 30 days.
It Actually Is A Popularity Contest
Nofollow links. Dofollow links. Referring domains, page rank and social media footprints. No matter how you slice it, it all adds up to your site’s popularity. Even if you think you’ve got a great site with killer content, ultimately it comes down to a numbers game: how many visitors you have and how many quality backlinks you’ve gathered. The easiest way to discover this is to pay a visit to meetup favorite Ahrefs.com.This was also mentioned earlier as one of Jason’s top tips for quality information on your site at a very low cost. Through this tool you can find out domain rank, URL rank, the current domains that are referring to you (including valuable .gov and .edu links), as well as how many are nofollow and dofollow. While in the past nofollow links weren’t considered terribly valuable as they didn’t pass page rank on to your own site, they actually do pass what is known as trust rank. Increasing your trust rank can be extremely helpful in your SEO plan.
While you’re looking at those links, it’s also a good idea to see where and who they’re coming from. For example, if you’re a small dental office in Georgia, USA, getting a link from a gambling site in Russia is probably not going to do you any favors with the search engines. Quality, rather than quantity, is now the name of the game. When using Ahrefs.com, it’s a good tactic to look at not only what your best links are, but what your competition’s best links are and focus on them. By investing more time in the quality links, you will see a better impact on your overall SEO.
For Next Week…
Both Jason & Steve will continue their run-down of how to do a 6 Hour Audit, including social media and other measurements to give you the best idea of what’s happening with your site, how to prioritize tackling problems and other important elements to making the perfect SEO plan. Be sure to RSVP — you won’t want to miss this!