1. Welcome and Intro
This is the intro
There are 1 lessons in this module.
Module 1: Getting Started
I hope that you are excited and looking forward to getting your website in top high-probability prospect magnet condition. I'm excited for you!
Goal of this Course
The goal of this course is to help you put more money in your pocket by teaching you how to use your website to attract your high-probability prospects.
Your high-probability prospects use the search engines to find the products and services they want. Your job then, is to convince the search engines that you are the best choice when your high-probability prospects make a search—and—that is the focus of this course. You will learn how to educate the search engines about who you are, what you do, and the target audience you want to serve.
By applying the techniques you'll learn here, you will start attracting your high-probability prospects and leave the tire kickers behind. This shift in the quality of traffic will allow you to be more productive, close more easily, and, increase your sales.
You'll learn how to write content in a way that will earn higher ranks in the search engines that, in turn, will naturally increase the traffic to your website(s) and improve the quality of that traffic.
As you complete and print out the exercises in the course, you'll be creating your Simple & Sustainable SEO System handbook. You'll have a hard copy of the repeatable formula that can be applied to all of your (or your clients') websites.
This course is not about "converting" visitors to customers. Of course, I hope that is a happy outcome of your efforts, but, the course is focused on bringing high-probability prospects — your target audience that is ready to buy — to your website. Getting the prospects to buy? That is your job. How persuasive your content is, your calls to action, and, what you use as proof of your competency to do the job they are looking for is what will convert your visitors to customers.
Throughout the lessons, you will see words that are underlined. Some, of course, are links, but, others will simply display a definition. Rolling the cursor over the words will cause the definition to pop up. Move the cursor again and the popup will disappear. All vocabulary words that appear in the lesson are also listed together at the bottom of the lesson. When you click on those terms, the definition will open in another window.
Examples are given in WordPress
Lots of the examples will be given with references to WordPress websites. That is because I work exclusively with WordPress.
The SEO information in this course is applicable to ALL websites. Website components are website components. The component 'labels' (titles, names) and physical location on your screen might be different. So, if you do not use WordPress, you will still learn valuable information, you just might need to look around your dashboard for a matching component.
The system you'll learn is repeatable
If you are a blogger and have multiple websites, once you complete the exercises for one of your websites, the system you have put in place is easily repeatable. Just switch your hat to the focus of the other website, and put the processes in place for that one.
If you are a content writer, walk through the course with me talking about you and your website. Once you complete the exercises, you'll have a simple & sustainable SEO system that you can create for each of your clients. Just switch your hat to a client's business focus and put the system in place for the work you will do for them. Do the same with the next client, and so on, and so on.
Use the system to turn yourself into a highly sought-after content writer by writing SEO-powered content for your clients; Content that earns them better ranks in the search engines and brings a noticeable increase in traffic to their websites—which provides more opportunities for them to convert visitors to customers.
No Good SEO Examples Here...
Don't look at the pages in this course for good examples of applied SEO. Since it is a pay-for course, I do not want it picked up in the search engines, and have taken actions to preclude the search engines from ranking the course pages.
For Best Results: Do new now and old later
All actions that you take on your website throughout this course WILL impact your SEO ranks.
Your website, in whatever condition it is in today, is already listed in the search engines. Because your website has already earned a rank and all actions that you take in this course will affect that rank, I'm going to ask you to move forward with caution.
If you are like me, you get excited about learning new techniques and want to use them everywhere you can as soon as you can. However, moving forward in that fashion when just learning SEO is not recommended.
Imagine a pot of home-made tomato sauce that has been simmering on the stove. You added all the ingredients in the beginning, then set it at a slow simmer in order to thicken it and develop the most flavor. If you were to add a cup of water after simmering for 1.5 hours, you would dilute the sauce and dull the flavor, and, then you would need to reduce it down again in order to recover the thickness and flavor.
SEO "value" works in a similar fashion. It is easy to dilute and dull the good SEO we have already earned. That is why I'm recommending that you move forward slowly, so that you can preserve the positive SEO your website has -and- earn the best SEO value from the additions and updates you will make during the course.
Here's suggestions for maximizing your success with SEO throughout this course.
- Follow the sequence of the course lessons.
- During the course, apply these techniques to new content (new blog posts, events, and pages) only, not to existing content. I know that you are thinking, "But I took this course so that I can add SEO to what I have already written on my website." Yes, we'll get to that. What I'm saying is, first practice the techniques and gain a better understanding of page parts and components that add value and those that don't, and what the search engines are thinking and doing. In later lessons, you will have a better understanding of the SEO techniques and what search engines do when they find changes. With that understanding and a little planning, you'll be fully equipped to confidently update existing posts and pages.
- Do not start renaming published posts, re-categorizing* published posts, removing tags from published posts, or changing URLs of published posts - until we get to the lesson that explains how to do that in a 'safe' way. The safe way is to make the changes in an order that preserves the SEO rank that you have already earned. If you make those changes before gaining that knowledge, "Page Not Found 404" errors will show up for the search engines. You'll be learning later that 404s have a negative impact on your SEO rank, and, you don't want that. There is good news though, (read the next bullet)
- * It is okay to assign a meaningful category to any published post —but— leave the other category(ies) assigned until you complete the lesson on how to change these in a safe way. And, it is okay to add a meaningful tag to a published post. Just leave the other tags intact until we get to that lesson.
- Watch for the, "This is okay to add to existing content" remark in the Task area at the end of some Lessons.
Copyright Notice and Agreement
2. How Will Your Prospects Find You?
In this module, you will define how high-probability prospects will find you when they do searches in the search engines. You’ll define up to ten terms that your prospects could use when doing a ‘blind’ search for businesses like yours. This is an important exercise because the terms you define here, influence all of the content on your website. In addition to content, these terms are the basis for all other important components like categories, tags, URLs, text links, and more, that will be used on your website. The terms you define in this lesson are the trunk of the tree that feeds your pages, posts, images, links, categories, etc. So let’s get started.
There are 7 lessons in this module.
Module 2: How Will Your Prospects Find You?
Welcome to Module 2, "How Will Your Prospects Find You?"
In this module, you will define how high-probability prospects will find you when they do searches in the search engines.
You'll define up to ten terms that your prospects could use when doing a ‘blind’ search for businesses like yours.
This is an important exercise because the terms you define here, influence all of the content on your website.
In addition to content, these terms are the basis for all other important components like categories, tags, URLs, text links, and more, that will be used on your website.
The terms you define in this lesson are the trunk of the tree that feeds your pages, posts, images, links, categories, etc.
So let's get started.
From Keywords to Search Terms
Before we get started on the exercises, let's clarify the terminology that will be used here and throughout the course.
In the early days of the Internet, companies put their websites up and got found using simple two-word phrases and single words (like business coach and chiropractor) referred to as keywords.
As more companies in the same business segment were added to the Internet, more words were added to the "keyword" in order to help each business distinguish itself...so..."keyword" became "keyword phrase" or "keyword term".
There are some industries that have always required more than a couple of words to get found. For example, the legal industry.
There are personal injury attorneys, real estate attorneys, estate planning attorneys, corporate law attorneys, employment law attorneys, general law attorneys, criminal law attorneys, and, so on. Individual law firms have always required more than a couple of words.
Keywords, Keyword Terms, Keyword Phrases, Focus Keywords, Topics, and, Search Terms are different terms referring to the same thing.
For the purposes of this course, the terms: keywords, keyword terms, keyword phrases, focus keywords, topics, and, search terms all refer to the same thing: the group of words that your prospects will type into the search box to find you.
You define what those words are. If you do not define what the words are, the search engines define them for you. Letting the search engines define your keyword phrases is risky because the search engines use programs (called bots and crawlers) to determine who you are and what you do.
Letting a program determine who you are and what you do is risky. The results of the bot's decisions never reach the rank that you can earn when you incorporate the techniques and processes you'll learn in this course as you teach the search engines who you are, what you do, and the audience you want to serve.
Throughout the course, I tend to use "keyword terms" and "search terms", but, keep in mind, if one of the others is used... it is the same thing; the group of words that your prospects will type into the search box to find you.
Generic Terms are your Target
The intention of this module is to guide your brain to focus on a certain type of keyword term, a generic term.
What is a 'generic term' ?
A generic term is a string of words like "coffee makers" and "content writers" that does not contain a business name nor a person's name.
Generic terms differ from "branded terms" in that a branded term contains a company or person's name. For example,
|Generic Term||Branded Term|
|Coffee Makers||Cuisinart coffee makers|
|Hamilton Beach coffee makers|
|Content Writers||Write in Time content writers|
|Thrive Agency content writers|
|Mary Smith content writer|
|Business Coaches||Tony Robbins business coaches|
|Brian Tracy certified business coaches|
Additional examples of generic terms are:
- Wellesley MA cosmetic dentist
- Mergers and acquisitions attorney
- Elite sports performance personal trainer
- Luxury adventure travel agent in Denver, CO
Generic terms reward you for your SEO efforts
Let's say your name is Bridget Jones and you work for an online book publisher named ACME Publishing.
If someone searches for "Bridget Jones" or "ACME Publishing", that means that they have an awareness of you (Bridget) or the company. Maybe you met him/her at a networking event. Maybe ACME Publishing sends a lot of direct mail advertisements and the searcher got the information from one of the postcards. Maybe they learned about you from a friend or business colleague. Whichever it is, typically, when a person searches for a known entity, it is because they learned about that entity from sources other than the search engines.
But if the same person searches for a generic term like "online book publisher", and, your business displays on the SERPs as one of those companies, it is highly likely that your SEO efforts – your training of the search engines – made that happen.
You know that your SEO efforts are paying off when your website is getting found for generic terms for which you had never been found before or had received little traffic.
One goal of your SEO work is to increase the amount of traffic brought to your website for generic terms.
That is not to say that branded terms are bad for your SEO. On the contrary—and—I'll talk more about that in the next lesson.
It is just that branded terms tend to have external marketing that creates the buzz and influences the search engines. So, the uncertain science of measuring SEO results becomes even more murky. It is more difficult to discern whether an increase in traffic is due to your SEO efforts, or, the branded company's marketing campaign (TV ad, oversized direct mail postcard, etc.)
More Specific Keyword Terms Work Best
The purpose of this lesson is to demonstrate how to move from very broad to very specific generic terms when defining the keyword terms your high-probability prospects will use.
The reason you want to be more specific is that there is less competition, and, longer, more specific terms will get you closer to your high-probability prospects.
John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google recommended targeting longer terms with specific words related to the work you do really well instead of ambiguous keywords like "project manager", "cranes", "coach", and, "programming".
Trying to get found for "business coach" is very challenging. There is a lot of competition for that keyword term and you'll likely need to use a pay system to get found for that term. And—this course is about getting found through Organic means, not pay-for systems.
When you add words to "business coach", you narrow the audience. As you narrow the audience, you are actually leaning into your most-desired prospects, and, of those, the ones that are farther into the sales cycle and ready to buy. You're eliminating the tire kickers.
So, for example, "executive business coach" gets you closer to your target audience. How about these terms?
- Executive business coach Detroit
- Executive business coach for c-level females in Detroit
What would you add to this list?
Branded Keyword Terms Contribute to Your SEO
Branded keyword phrases can boost your SEO when associated with your name (or business name).
Branded keyword terms attract prospects who have done their research and are on the cusp of buying. Branded searches can help build a connection in prospects' brains between your company name and the branded product, and, sometimes, even influence the search "suggestion" phrases. You know those things that pop up when you start typing a search term?
Are you selling Peleton bikes? Myers-Briggs, DISC, or MAPP Career Assessment Tests? Korky toilet flappers? John Deere tractors? "Your Brand" toilet paper?
Think about the word crane. Are you talking about the bird? the equipment? the stationery company? If you are talking about large equipment; are you a crane rental service or crane manufacturer? How far will you travel to provide your services? Will adding geography to a search term help? How about "hydraulic crane rentals Rhode Island"?
In this lesson, you want to think about the terms that your most desired prospects will use to find you. For most businesses, the majority of the list will be generic terms with maybe a couple of branded terms, or no branded terms. Unless of course, you are Dell or Juice Plus+ or Mary Kay, or a similar business where the brand is the product.
You'll need your laptop or pens and paper.
- Download more examples of Getting Specific with Search Terms
(No exercise on this sheet. Just examples of how to get more and more specific.)
- Download this worksheet to get you focused and grounded about the work you want to be doing and the people who want that service. This is a jump-start sheet to get your brain thinking about the future.
- Download the My Search Terms - Preliminary List worksheet
- On the My Search Terms worksheet, write the preliminary list of keyword terms that you feel represent the work you want to do and that are terms that your high-probability prospects would use to find you.
- About you: What is it about the work you do that distinguishes you from the competition? Maybe you serve a niche market? Are there unique terms that you can use to distinguish yourself?
- About your audience: What words do your most highly-desired clients use to describe what you do? What is their terminology?
- Share the list with the Facebook group, and, ask for their feedback.
- Check out John Mueller's recommendations in this YouTube video. Forward to 38:55; about 6 minute listen
Test Your Keywords Terms
Once you have your preliminary list of keyword terms, it is important to test your terms to ensure that businesses like yours display when the keyword terms are used in a search. The purpose of this lesson is to have you validate that the results in the SERPs are the ones that you want and expect.
You're testing to learn whether businesses like yours display or other entities like national and local organizations display. If the results do not show businesses like yours, you need to refine the keyword term.
For example, I was searching for a client one day, and, I was not getting the results I expected–my client and similar businesses listed.
One of the traits that distinguishes my client is that she is a QuickBooks trainer and she specializes in working with startups.
Here's the real list and order I used:
- start up quickbooks trainer
- quickbooks set up for start ups
- bookkeeping set up for startups
- bookkeeping set up for startups central mass
It wasn't until the FOURTH search that the types of businesses that I expected to display were listed in the SERPs.
You'll need a device with an Internet connection and your Preliminary List of Search Terms.
- Go to Google
- One by one, enter the terms that are on your preliminary search term list.
- If businesses like yours display, move to the next term on your list.
- If businesses like yours do not display, refine the term until you see the results you want.
You are not looking for your website to display. It could, but, you haven't done your SEO work yet. During this course, you will start applying the SEO techniques your website needs in order to be listed. In the meantime, your goal is to confirm that when the term is entered, businesses with services in the same genre as yours are displayed.
Finalize your Search Terms
The goal of this lesson is to formally write up the list of keyword terms that your high-probability prospects will use to find you.
From completing the exercises in the previous lessons in this module, you now have an accurate and tested list of keyword terms that your high-probability prospects will use to find you.
This list will be used for the duration of the course. You will refer to it as the base from which all other terms come, including the topics about which you will write.
This list is the foundation on which all other SEO efforts will be based. It is the trunk of your SEO tree.
- Download the My Search Terms - Final List worksheet
- Based on your research from the previous lesson, record the top ten search terms that your high-probability prospects will use to find you.
- Upload your list to the Facebook group and ask for feedback
Categories and Tags
Now that you know the search terms your high-probability prospects will use to find you, it is time to consider the content you will be providing for them. The purpose of this lesson is to create a list of the topics that you will be writing about.
Blog posts are typically assigned categories and tags. Classifying blog posts like this has benefits for readers and as well as for your SEO.
Categories and tags are searchable.
Classifying into categories and tags enables readers to retrieve posts about the exact topic in which they have interest. This is a user-friendly feature that saves readers time since they won't have to read every blog post you have ever written to find the information they want to learn more about.
Classifying enables the search engines to retrieve posts about specific topics. Retrieving posts in this way enables the search engines to determine (and, over time, validate and confirm ) your primary focus. (See Cautionary Tale below.)
Typically, tags are subsets of categories. For example, a financial advisor might write about the category "Investments", then further classify posts with tags like "Mutual Funds", "Bonds", "Stocks", "Annuities", "CDs", etc. An elder law attorney might write about the category "Trusts", then tag the posts with "Revocable Trusts", "Irrevocable Trusts", "Minor's Trusts", "Special Needs Trusts", and, so on.
I write about WordPress. In order to help my readers quickly find the content they want, I might assign a post to the "WordPress SEO" category, then tag it with "On-Page SEO". Alternately, I might use "On-Page SEO" as my category, and tag the blog posts with "Text Links", "Writing Structure", "Word Order", etc. There is flexibility in the set up, and, I suspect that the structure of a business segment may require a broader or narrower definition.
Let's take a look at Keywords List for a fictional Financial Advisor.
Defining your Categories and Tags
Categories and tags should align with the work you do. For best results, choose three categories, and, three to six tags for each category.
Now let's take a look at your Finalized Keywords List. What do you see? The second column contains your three categories and the third column contains the three to six tags.
Voila! Now you not only have your list of Keyword Terms, you have your topics, categories, and tags!
Keep Your SEO Strong
As with your search terms, the fewer categories and tags you have, the more laser-focused your writing will be.
If you write about everything, you'll dilute the power of your SEO. If you write about specific segments in which you specialize, you will strengthen the power of the SEO and Google's conviction about you as an authority in those areas.
When you are ready to publish a post, assign the single best category to it, and, if you use tags, assign the one best tag. You will learn in an upcoming lesson the value of choosing one and only one for each.
Out-of-the-box WordPress provides categories and tags for posts only. Some theme authors have added programming code that enables you to add categories to pages as well. Page categories work the same as post categories when it comes to SEO.
A former client of mine was a personal trainer. She frequently wrote about "nutrition". Nutrition was not one of her keyword phrases, but it was a category because it was a "frequent conversation" with all whom she coached.
She wrote so many blog posts about nutrition, that over time, the search engines displayed her website in response to searches about nutrition and nutritionists instead of strength training and golf pro training, the two business segments in which she specialized.
- Review your finalized list of Keyword Phrases worksheet.
- Confirm that you are committed to all that is written on that one sheet.
- Above You Specialize In write My Categories, and above the Topics column, write Tags.
- Post your completed Keyword Phrases worksheet in the Facebook group.
3. How Some CMS may Interfere
This module is about maximizing your SEO efforts through awareness. If you are not a Content Management System (CMS) (i.e. WordPress, Joomla) user, the lessons in this module still have value. They contain information about components and behaviors that influence your rank in the search engines—so—you will learn where and what to be on the lookout for in your own website. The results of some of the automatic functionality can negatively impact your SEO rank. Some of the functionality is not within (y)our reach to change, but, we can manage other things in order to lesson the impact. Knowing what to look for and how to minimize the impact will help you keep your SEO rank on the upswing. This knowledge helps you understand the importance of writing with a plan and developing a process that is comfortable for you.
There are 3 lessons in this module.
Module 3: How Some CMS may Interfere
Welcome to Module 3, "How Some CMS may Interfere"
This module is about maximizing your SEO efforts through awareness.
You've just defined the framework for your SEO system. You know the words that your high-probability prospects will use to find you. You know the topics that you will write about in your website —and—you are excited and enthusiastic to get started.
And...I'm asking you to put the breaks on for a second. Disappointing, I know, but, I want you to be successful in an efficient way. Once you are aware of certain website behaviors, then you'll be armed with more tools in order to experience success more quickly.
If you are not a Content Management System (CMS) (i.e. WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, Joomla, Drupal, and the like) user, the lessons in this module still have value. They contain information about components and behaviors that influence your rank in the search engines—so—you will learn where and what to be on the lookout for in your own website environment.
Some of the behaviors are automatic and can negatively impact your SEO rank. Some of the behaviors are not within our reach to change, but, we can manage other things in order to reduce the impact of the automatic behavior. Knowing what to look for and how to minimize the impact will help you keep your SEO rank on the upswing.
This knowledge helps you understand the importance of writing with a plan and developing a process that is comfortable for you.
Post Titles are Powerful
Two important takeaways in this lesson:
- Each post title should be unique within the entire website.
- In WordPress, the post title gets assigned to other places that you will want to pay attention to.
Post titles (and page titles) should be unique within the entire website.
To earn the best results from your SEO efforts, and, frankly, earn the best SEO ranks for your website, each post title should be unique within the entire website. That means that you do not want a page, a category, a tag, or a custom post type (i.e. a recipe, gallery, team, portfolio) to have the same title.
Adding words like "the", "or", "some", "and", etc. to the title do NOT constitute a unique title. Those words get stripped out by the search bots.
You may choose to write about "Career Change Coach". Even though that is the core concept on which you want to focus, you will earn the best SEO results when you change the title of the post and the "point of view" of the post each time. For example,
- How to choose a career change coach
- 10 Questions to ask career change coaches
- Career change coaches: Are they really worth it?
- About Sue Ann Nivens, Minnesota Career Change Coach
- How much does a career change coach cost?
- 5 Tips to get the most out of your career change coaching
- What can you expect from a career change coach?
- How career change coaching has evolved during Covid times
- Career change coaches in high demand as business women pivot
- Two years into Covid and my career change coaching business is booming!
These are examples of how you can write about a key concept, tag it with the same category or tag, and not repeat the title.
By the way, the key concept (career change coach) might actually equate to a major Search Term (Your Niche column) on one person's My Custom Keyword Phrases worksheet and be a Category (You Specialize In column) on another person's My Custom Keyword Phrases worksheet.
A WordPress post title gets assigned to other places (that are important because they impact your SEO rank.)
When you enter a Title for your post, WordPress assigns the post title to three components that show up in four different places.
The title gets assigned to the post title (3), the page slug (2), and the browser title (1) (aka the document title ). If breadcrumbs are enabled, the title also appears in the breadcrumb links (4).
Each location serves a purpose to the search engines, and, can be modified to present a more concise or clearer vision to the search engines, and, ultimately, to those who are searching.
For example, let's take a look at a real-life example. Yoast's page on writing great page titles for SEO.
Below is a real-life example where the assigned values have been changed. The post title is "How to craft great page titles for SEO". The Browser title has been changed to "Crafting a good page title for SEO . Yoast guide to title tag SEO". The slug has been shortened to "page-titles-seo", and, the breadcrumb remains the same as the page title.
These values get changed in order to better serve the purpose of the component. For example, the slug is short and to the point and the search engines will understand immediately.
The browser title has been changed in order to entice searchers to choose that listing. The browser title is the title that displays in the SERPs listings above the mini description of your page under the link to the page. Yoast updated this title to include the word "guide".
I'm guessing because "guide" holds a bigger promise than than a single "How to..." article. Which listing would you choose first in the SERPs? The one that feels limited or the one that has the promise of a "whole" solution?
Here's a visual: Download this PDF in order to trace the connections.
- Add a new post or page and publish it.
- Take a screen snapshot and note the URL, slug, Page Title, and Browser Title. (If you don't have a screenshot tool, write down the URL, slug, Page Title, and Browser Title.)
- If breadcrumbs are enabled,
- Display the page, then write down the breadcrumb Text.
- Roll over the breadcrumb, then write down the destination URL.
- Save this as an example. The information will come in handy as you move through the course.
The purpose of this lesson is to help you understand how duplicate content gets added, how the search engines perceive pages and duplication, and, how to manage the duplication that is in your control.
Google's view on duplicate content is:
Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content in the same language or are appreciably similar.”--- Google, https://bit.ly/GGLDuplicate
Some things we do or that exist on our websites do not add value to our SEO, but, they don't take away from the SEO either.
Duplicate content, on the other hand, not only does not add value, it detracts from our SEO efforts. Effectively, your pages enter into battle with each other.
The SEO Battle
Let's say that a search engine was very impressed with the content on one of your blog posts and was going to assign it a terrific rank in the SERPs. If there are 4 copies of that post, then each one of those copies ends up vying for that precious rank. And what ends up happening is that the search engines 'peanut butter' the SEO goodness and each copy gets a lower rank.
Not to mention the precious nanoseconds that were burned up with that comparison. Search engines have a predetermined amount of time that they are going to spend scanning a website. Which posts were not ranked because the search engine reached its time range limit doing a comparison?
Some duplicate content happens automatically. Our job is to manage and minimize the duplication.
Some duplicate content happens automatically, and that is out of our control. There are steps that we can take to minimize the impact of the automatic actions. Also, there are more technical, advanced tactics that work at another level. Those tactics require technical SEO study to employ, and, that is the next level course. Just know that there are technical options to manage this, and, in this course, we'll be focusing on tactics that are non-technical and within our skill set.
Actions and Components that contribute to duplicate content are:
- Copying full blog posts and news articles from external websites into your own website
- Writing for an external website like Forbes or LinkedIn, then publishing the same post into your own website
- Quoting someone else's blog post and copying in too many words from the other person's article.
- Replacing an old page with a new page and not properly retiring the old page
- Assigning multiple categories and tags to a blog post
- Archives - Month and Author
- Products and "faceted navigation": Line Items (i.e. t-shirts, candles) in your online store
- Technical: URL variations, codes attached, print only pages
a. Both http:// and https:// active
b. Both www. domainname.com and domainname.com active
c. Tracking code and session ids added to page name
For each post that is published, the search engines see multiple versions.
- the actual post
- the post as accessed via each category
- the post accessed via each tag
- the post accessed via each category-to-tag combination
- the post accessed via the month
- the post accessed via the author
When you assign multiple categories and/or multiple tags to a post, you effectively place your content in competition with itself.
This is the battle that I was talking about above. The content under one category:tag combination is compared to the content under another assigned category:tag combination when the search engines are trying to determine which should rank highest.
Effectively, you are diluting the SEO rank you could be earning because it is being spread over multiple category:tag combinations.
Choosing one category and one tag:
- Provides laser focus for you as you compose your post
- Helps your readers get to the content in which they have interest faster (by clicking on the category or tag to filter their view)
- Streamlines the work and reduces the confusion (is it a duplicate or not?) for the search engines' bots
Quoting articles and other posts
If quoting an article is more valuable than paraphrasing, copy no more than 20% of someone else's article into your content. Google rewards original content. Having more than 20% of external content could result in your post earning no SEO.
Products and "faceted" navigation
Products frequently present a challenge for the search engines. It is easy to end up with ten copies of a page with all the "attributes" assigned to a product. An easy example is a T-Shirt. You have the men's cut and the women's cut, all the different sizes, all the different colors, and long sleeve and short sleeve. Imagine how many combinations there are.
Faceted navigation is the term that is used to describe the wonderfully useful filtering capability we have when drilling down into the specifics of a product. Many times, the filtering is on the left side of the screen; appearing similar to a menu of options.
For example, when you buy a T-Shirt on line, and, on the left hand side of the screen, you select or click on the "attributes" (facets) that you want to see like woman's, large, green, short sleeve.
Faceted navigation can cause great challenges for your SEO. Every possible combination of facets (attributes) typically results in a unique URL.
There are ways to manage duplication with faceted navigation. They require a technical skill set.
- Do not start removing duplicate content that you have. Wait until we get to the chapter that explains the safe way to do this with minimal impact on your SEO.
- Do not write for a service or write a guest post and then post the exact article on your website. It is in your best interest to have only one copy of your content at all times.
- Do not copy the bio on your website into the bio spaces in your social media accounts. Make sure there are differences between each. (Don't put yourself in competition with your yourself. This dilutes your SEO earning power.)
- Click on the multiple categories image above to view a larger version.
- Read the title and the categories.
- Post in the Facebook group the category that is the best choice, and, let us know why you chose that category. Please use "Duplicate Content Choice" so we know to which exercise the post references.
- Make sure to be deliberate in your writing and assignment of categories and tags.
- Do what is in your control. Actively manage the instances of duplicate content.
Articles I Like
- Google: https://bit.ly/GGLDuplicate
- Moz: https://bit.ly/MOZDuplicate
- Yoast: https://bit.ly/YoastDuplicate
4. SEO Nuggets
Get your coffee. Grab a pencil and your notebook – or your laptop. Be prepared to say, ‘I didn’t know that!” over and over. This module is loaded with “truths” about SEO that will amaze you. This is the module where you will learn miscellaneous game tips and tricks like Monopoly(r) moves, poker tells, and UNO and Rumikub strategies. You know what I’m talking about—there’s the rules, then there’s the “other” rules. The search engines have bots that crawl the Internet. The bots are programs. The programs try to fit all websites into as specific a category as possible. Each search engine wants to be the best at categorizing in order to present you with the most accurate information when you do a search. Accuracy is very important to the search engines because each wants to be your number one resource (“THE” one). With that goal in mind, the bot programs check hundreds of components related to your website and social presence. In this module you’ll learn about eight of those components. I use the term “nuggets” because when you are aware and then start using them, they are “true gold” for your SEO.
There are 9 lessons in this module.
Module 4: SEO Nuggets
Welcome to Module 4, "SEO Nuggets".
Get your coffee. Grab a pencil and your notebook - or your laptop.
Be prepared to say, 'I didn't know that!" over and over. This module is loaded with "truths" about SEO that will amaze you.
This is the module where you will learn miscellaneous game tips and tricks like Monopoly(r) moves, poker tells, and UNO and Rumikub strategies. You know what I'm talking about—there's the rules, then there's the "other" rules.
The search engines have bots that crawl the Internet. The bots are programs. The programs try to fit each website into as specific a category as possible.
Ultimate Goal of each Search Engine
Each search engine wants to be the best at categorizing in order to present you with the most accurate information when you do a search. Accuracy is very important to the search engines because each wants to be your number one resource ("THE" one). With that goal in mind, the bot programs check hundreds of components related to your website and social presence.
In this module you'll learn about eight of those components. I use the term "nuggets" because when you are aware and then start using them, they are "true gold" for your SEO.
The Order of Words Matter
The purpose of this lesson is to learn that the search engines give certain words more weight when determining page rank.
In SEO, the order of words matter.
The most important words come first; in a page title*, in the page content, in a section, in a chapter, in a paragraph, in a sentence, and, in a blog post's web address.
There is one exception; the Title of a post. For that component there is a format that will carry more weight than the order of the words. You don't have to apply the format; you can stick with the order of the words.
Here's more info on the format that will outweigh the order of the words.
Post Title Exceptions
- Top 5 Questions to ask...
- 7 Tips for Choosing...
- 10 Reasons why...
- The Ultimate Guide to...
- How to...
When post titles have the format above, the search engines will perceive higher value because the content that is coming is presumably instructive. So, posts like this not only present you as an expert to your target audience, but, also, to the search engines.
Post Content Structure
A content writer writes content that entertains, informs, or educates an audience in an effort to earn trust and credibility.
New Section Title
Content writing is the process of planning, writing and editing web content, typically for digital marketing purposes.
Content writing is not just applicable to blog posts. It is a necessary action for other content formats, including: Video scripts, Email newsletters, Keynote speeches, Social media posts, Podcast titles, White papers, Web page copy, Landing pages, YouTube video descriptions
In the Post Content Structure above, the words that have the most weight, in order of importance, are: The Post Title, the New Section Title, the titles of the two sub-sections (items), and, the bold content in the second paragraph.
Then within each paragraph, the most important words come first: "Content writer writes content..", "Content writing is...".
- Download the Post Content Structure worksheet.
- Create titles for the 4 sections
- Share your Titles with the group.
- Compare your titles with the ones created by others.
- Take out your finalized list of Search Terms.
- Review the list inspecting the order of the words.
- Are the most important words located first in each phrase?
- If not, and if it makes sense, switch the order of the words. Remember that when you switch the order of the words, you want to re-do your Google research to confirm that businesses like yours are what is being displayed in the SERPs when the search term is entered.
- Now take out your list of Categories. Are those words in an order that will yield best results SEO results?
- And your list of Tags? Are the most important words placed first?
The purpose of this lesson is to introduce the browser title and to inform you of the importance of the browser title.
The title that appears on a browser's frame is officially known as the Document Title. Since pages and posts are also documents and also have titles, I refer to the Document Title as the Browser Title so the brain quickly distinguishes it from a post's title.
Here's where you'll find the browser title.
Look above to the top on this screen's tab. It says "Browser Title".
When you hover the browser title with the cursor, it will expand so you can view the entire title.
The browser title is the most important SEO component
The browser title is the info that will display in the listings of search results pages. Below are the results of a Google search. I searched for "Karen Callahan Marlborough". The first listing is me, and the second is a woman with the same name who is a softball coach and well-known throughout Marlborough.
How do your keyword phrases, categories, and tags fit into this browser-title-to-Google-search scenario?
Give me a visual on how my previous work fits into this.
How long should a browser title be?
Keep the length to 10 to 70 characters. (I checked 3 reputable resources and each had a different max number: 50, 60, and 70.)
When you count characters, include spaces, separators, and names of websites. Therefore, if your website name displays after each title, then you need to deduct the number of those characters from your post's title. For example, on my Adventures Online website, I have " - Adventures Online" display after the post title. When I have a long title like WordPress Fatal Error Recovery for New Client, I shorten the browser title in order to stay within the limits. My browser title for that post is: "WordPress Fatal Error Recovery - Adventures Online".
How can I change the browser title?
There is no single answer for this question due to the different versions of WordPress, different frameworks, different themes, different page builders, and editing platforms.
Some will see a section entitled Theme SEO Settings below their post content area.
Some will have the ability to edit the browser title built into their page builder. Some will have the ability through plugins like Yoast SEO and All in One SEO. As you are editing a post, look for Document Title, SEO Title, Meta Title, or similar term.
Some might notice that they can edit the browser title in multiple places. It is important then to decide where you are going to manage the browser title. You want to manage it in one place. Avoid adding a browser title in the Theme SEO Settings section, and, then again in a plugin. Don't put the title in one section into battle with a title in another. The bots don't understand and will burn time trying to reconcile which title to use.
When you change the browser title, make sure that it is unique to every other title of page and posts in your website.
Manage Post and Page Titles
The easiest way to manage the Browser Title and not have to worry about it and its relevancy to the contents of your page, is to make sure that your post and page titles are:
- Less than or equal to 70
- All unique to the website
- Front-end loaded with your search terms, categories, and tags
Letting WordPress auto assign the browser title results in one less thing you need to worry about—and—makes you craft a clever, search-term-rich post title.
Yoast refers to the Browser Title/Document Title as the "SEO Title" inside the plugin, and as "Page Title" in its online articles.
The purpose of the exercise below is to give you a feel for the connection between the post title and the browser title. I encourage you to go back and forth and play with making changes so that you get a good feel for how one area is affected by the other. When is it affected? When it is not affected. When do you have to manually change each? What happens when you change the browser title itself?
Write your observations in your course notebook. You will want to refer to these notes when you have completed the course and you are putting everything together.
- Download the Browser Title worksheet (PDF).
- In preparation for writing a post that you have been thinking about for a while, create a new post and give it a title that is relevant to the content you will include.
- Enter a tiny sentence in the content area.
- Publish the post for the first time.
- View the post and observe the browser title. Confirm that WordPress has made it equal to your Post Title. Write your observations on the worksheet.
- Now, edit the post, and change the title.
- View the post and observe the browser title. Write your observations on the worksheet.
- Edit the post a second time, but, this time, leave the post title as it is and manually change the browser title.
- Save the post.
- View the post and observe the browser title. Write your observations on the worksheet. What happened to the post title? What happened to the browser title?
- Once you have a good feel for how the post title and browser title "play" together, go back and edit the post. Change the status to "draft" so that it does not display in your blog until you want it to .
- Go to the Facebook and ask questions about your observations. Did others have the same experience? Is there a member that you can partner with on this exercise to share all observations?
- I like this post on Yoast, How to craft great page titles for SEO
- Advanced: Download Change the Browser Title using Yoast SEO
The intention of this lesson is to explain the role heading tags have in contributing to our websites earning more SEO value.
Heading Tags are powerful SEO tools that are frequently misused. Writers tend to use them for styling content, when in fact, the real purpose for the heading tags is to add structure to a document (post or page).
Headings have greater influence with the search engines than normal paragraph text.
They are the heading 1, heading 2, heading 3, heading 4, heading 5, and, heading 6 choices on the pull down list that is found on the far left of the Classic WordPress editing bar.
They are the heading 1, heading 2, heading 3, heading 4, heading 5, and, heading 6 choices found in the pulldown and on the sidebar when using the new WordPress block editor.
Headings tags are also known as H1 - H6 (because behind the scenes, those are the actual code tags), and, headings tags indicate the importance of words in a hierarchical way
Heading tags are pre-defined to display in different sizes. H1 displays in the largest text size, and H6 displays in the smallest size. The styles and sizes are defined in a CSS file and can be overridden.
Which Heading Tag is More Important?
The smaller the number, the more important the words. This is true for your human visitors (who tend to scan) as well as for the search engine's bots.
The smaller the number, the higher SEO influence the words carry for the bots.
Typically, there is only one heading 1 in a website; the Title of the entire website (which appears on the home page). Then the title of each page is usually a heading 2. That leaves heading 3 through heading 6 to use throughout our content. Since heading tag definitions can be overridden, some website theme authors totally change the predefined versions, so, your experience on your website might not be as described here.
Heading Tags as Document Structure Indicators
Headings are used to designate different sections of an article and to highlight words that you want to make sure your high-probability prospects read. For example, beyond the page title, they are commonly used with section titles, chapter titles, and sub headings.
Look at your Post Content Structure worksheet from the The Order of Words Matter lesson. The four titles on that page were created using heading tags, and, there was a mention in that lesson about the hierarchical importance of the words on the page-and here we are discussing that.
Since heading tags carry more weight than normal text, we want to use them whenever we can while still maintaining content fluidity and integrity.
When you are writing content, as you are adding page titles, sub headings, section headings, and chapter titles, assign a heading (as opposed to just enlarging the text) to each. As you do that, think, “Who will be searching for the words in this heading?” If the answer is no one, use different words in your heading or remove the heading designation.
If they are not important words that will help you earn SEO value, don't highlight them with heading tags. (I have a habit of creating a section "Why Should you Care?" in my blog posts. It is not good practice for me to use the heading tags with that section title. instead, I should definine those words to look like a heading tag, but, not be defined as a heading tag.)
On a single page or post, you want to use the heading tags in order. That is, If you start with heading 2 as your Title and then you add a heading that is less important, use heading 3. Do not skip to heading 5.
Remember that the order of words in your headings matter, and, when appropriate, use your search term phrases, categories, and tags.
Be careful to not spam your website with too many h2s and h3s. Use the heading tags as naturally as you can.
- Hop on over to Mozilla's Developers' pages to see examples and an extended explanation of heading tags, including their use and accessibility. At a minimum, the images are worth a look.
The purpose of this lesson is to convey the importance of linking one page in your website to another.
SEO experts say that each and every post and page in your website should link to another page or post on your website.
Search engines pay attention to what they call "anchor" text. The text in a link is the "anchor" text (i.e. About Us, Services, business assessments, root canals, our in-take form, download the PDF, Click Here, Learn more). If the link is an image, the search engines look to the image's "alt" tag for the text to use as an anchor. The anchor text provides context (regarding the destination) to the search engines.
Google’s original patent states that it uses anchor text to influence rankings. (Since Google does not share information about the exact components of the algorithms it uses to determine page rank, SEO pros follow the patents that Google files in order to learn what is "important" to Google. Then a spokesperson makes an occasional comment, and you have more clues, and then the real testing starts. )
Three important takeaways in this lesson are that text links:
- Encourage readers to spend more time on your website.
- Are great vehicles for highlighting important content on your website, reinforcing the work you do, and connecting what you do (i.e. services).
- Provide context to search engines about what you do.
Text links are invitations to your audience to consume more content.
Consuming more content contributes to spending more time on your website. The length of time that visitors spend on your website and the number of pages (amount of content) that they read count toward your rank in the search engines.
The text links we are focusing on in this lesson are the words that are linked inside the content within a paragraph, not the text of your navigation (menu) system or a list of related posts.
Text links should contain words that help you get found. Therefore, they contain words from your search phrases, categories and tags.
When linking internally (from one of your pages to another of your pages), they should not include "Click here" nor "Learn more".
Keep in mind that search engines, Google at least, check other words in the surrounding area in order to validate what the text describes.
Google senior search analyst John Mueller confirms,
With regards to anchor text in general we do use it… It’s something that we do pick up. It’s a great way to give us context about a link. In particular within your website.”John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google (as quoted in searchenginejournal- See below.)
Since text links inform the search engines about context (remember the Oprah Winfrey scattergram), it is important to use meaningful words, and you already know that those meaningful words are your search terms, categories, and tags.
Click Here and Learn More as Text links
"Click here" and "Learn more" are too popular terms being used as the text for links. Using these for internal links (linking from one page in your website to another) provides no hint to the search engines about what you do and who you want to serve.
When you do not use a search term, category, or tag in your text link, you are forfeiting one of the opportunities you have to guide the search engines.
Who will be searching for "click here" and "learn more"? Is that the audience you want to attract?
"Click here" and "Learn more" are appropriate when:
- linking to an external website
- the link is the not the first to that page on the current page
For example, this is what we frequently see on a blog page:
We see the title of the post, an excerpt, then Learn more, Read more, etc. The title of each post is linked to the full version of the post. This first link to the full version of the post is the only link that will earn rank value with the search engines. All other links on this page to that exact page will not add SEO value, therefore, using Click Here, Learn More, Read More is acceptable.
When the SEO bots find a link to a page inside a paragraph, it adds "importance" to the destination page. When visitors click on that text link and spend time on the destination page, that adds even more value to the destination page. In one instance, you are saying this page has value, and, then the visitor clicking through to the page confirms that the page contains information of value to them. The search engine bots become believers, and, the destination page is likely to rise above your others in the SERPs.
Links to pages deeper in the website tend to earn more SEO value than links to your home page. When blogging at an external website, request that that website link back to a topic-related page on your website. If you don't have one, link back to your About page. Try to avoid linking back to your home page.
Throughout the course , I have been encouraging you to apply the SEO tactics learned here only to new and upcoming posts and pages. Adding meaningful text links to previously-written posts is a safe task.
- Review the last 5 blog posts you wrote. Do you see the opportunity to add a text link back to a page on your website? Ideally, a post links to a page. Second best, a post links to another post.
- Give it a try and let the Facebook group know how you did. You might even ask the members to help you wordsmith the text.
- Take a look at the articles I like:
- "Anchor Text: A Data‐Driven Guide" - https://ahrefs.com/blog/anchor-text/
- John Mueller quote is from "Google Patent Update Suggests Change to Anchor Text Signal" https://www.searchenginejournal.com/annotation-text-links/300325/#close
Appositions have SEO Value
The purpose of this lesson is to inform about a grammatical structure that search engines like because it helps them quickly understand who you are and what you do in a most concise way.
When we use two noun phrases next to each other in a clause, and they refer to the same person or thing, we call this apposition. For example, "Experienced WordPress developer Karen Callahan is now offering online courses." Experienced WordPress Developer = Karen Callahan.
Oxford says: "a relationship between two or more words or phrases in which the two units are grammatically parallel and have the same referent (e.g. my friend Sue ; the first US president, George Washington
Appositions frequently replace pronouns and phrases like, "We", "Our Firm", "I", "She".
Instead of "They", use "Virtual assistants Amy Smith and Todd Jones have received the XYZ award of excellence."
Virtual Assistants = Amy Smith and Todd Jones.
Instead of , "We have 20 years of experience adjusting clients...", use something like, "At ACME Chiropractic our experienced chiropractors have over 20 years practice adjusting clients..."
ACME Chiropractic = Experienced chiropractors
Throughout the course , I have been encouraging you to apply the SEO tactics learned in this course only to new and upcoming posts and pages. Replacing pronouns and generic noun phrases (like The Firm) to the content of previously-written posts is a safe task.
- Download the Appositions worksheet
- Brainstorm about appositions you could use throughout your website and record them on the worksheet.
- Share one or two in the Facebook group and ask for feedback.
- This is a safe tactic to apply to previously-written posts as long as you are changing content only —and not titles of posts or permalinks.
Images and Videos
The value of this lesson is learning the parts of an image and video that can be tweaked in order for the image and video to earn positive SEO value for your business.
Images and videos impact our SEO with their names, meta data, and size. Search engines do not understand images nor videos (yet); that is, they cannot reliably interpret the voice and text inside images and videos.
They can, however, read "meta" data. Meta data is the data describing the image or video. Things like: the title, the description, the caption, the keywords that are associated, the ALT tag, etc.
Are your Company Name and Tagline Readable?
If your company name or tagline is text that is inside an image, then it not readable by the search engines. If it is text that is layered on top of an image, it is readable.
How can you tell? When you view your website as a visitor would (public viewing area), you can "select" text that is readable, but, you cannot select text that is part of the image.
Try the test below.
Select the letters in the word Calm. Can you select them individually? No, you can't. That's because they are embedded in an image. You can only select the image.
In this option, the letters are able to be selected individually. (I did not invest time in integrating the exact font. The font family is immaterial to SEO.)
When letters can be selected individually, search engines can read them. Then, you have an opportunity to earn greater rank if the words are related to your work and experience (i.e. search terms, categories, and tags).
Exceptions are: Buttons that are images and might say Go!, Submit, Register, Join, etc. do not influence SEO, so, do not need special attention.
How can you add SEO to an image?
The image above is of the WordPress media image editor as it looks when an image is edited. The format of the screen changes over time, but the important point here is that the locations for adding SEO to an image are found with the image. In your CMS, you might need to look for "edit image" (even though your intention is not to modify the actual image, the data about the image (meta data) is kept with the image).
Note that I filled in the Alternative Text (ALT), the Title, and the Description.
How can you add SEO to a video?
Whether you use Vimeo, YouTube, or another video service, look for 'edit'. Typically, 'edit' will lead you to the location where you can add SEO information (the video meta data). The trick is to remember to use your search terms, categories, and tags.
The image above shows the YouTube Video Editor. (Click for larger view.) You see on the left side, there are many options for entering descriptive text about the video—and you can enter the Title and Description in the center. (YouTube also provides analytics.)
I recommend to my clients to upload videos to YouTube unless they exceed size limits or need to be protected against unauthorized viewing (i.e. a membership website or online course) Why? YouTube is owned by Google. YouTube is just one more opportunity to tap Google on the shoulder and say, "Here I am, this is what I do, and this is whom I want you to bring to me."
How can you test to see which images need your attention?
SEO Tips for Images and Videos
- Words that are valuable to you getting found should be in text, not embedded in your images. Avoid getting hung up on the precision of a design element in order to have exact spacing and coloring, especially when the words in the image can earn you SEO value.
- Fill in the meta data about the image or video: At a minimum, the "ALT tag", Title, and description.
- With all fields, remember to make them rich with one of your search terms, categories, or tags (refer to your worksheets), and that The Order of Words Matter.
- Rename images and videos to include one of your search phrases, a category, or tag; one that is related to the context in which this image is being used. Follow the guidelines in the *upcoming lesson* Naming Files.
- Resize images so that each is close to the size that you want it be when it displays. The larger the image, the longer it takes a page to load it. Page Load is an important SEO attribute. For us, page load time is unnoticeable, but for computers, the time is measurable and counts towards a post's SEO rank.
- Video Galleries: Be careful setting up a gallery of videos page. Avoid loading all the videos on a single page. Loading all the videos on one page will adversely affect the page load. Create a page with a list of the videos and a still image for each, then let the visitor click to watch one video at a time.
- This is an SEO tactic that is safe to apply to previously-written posts.
- Review your last 5 posts. Which have images? Do those images have ALT info, Titles, and Descriptions?
- Do the ALT and Titles include your search terms? Are the words in the best order to help you advance your SEO?
- Do you have videos that were previously uploaded? Log into your video service and confirm that all the meta data that can be filled in, has been filled in with search-term rich content.
Make URLs Earn SEO Value
The value of this lesson is learning which part of a URL is editable and how you can manipulate that to earn greater SEO value for your business.
What's a URL? A URL is a web page address.
Here's two examples:
Do we care about the anatomy of a URL? Not really. For this lesson, we just care about the part that is editable –and– that part has a quirky name. It is called the slug. Yep, just like the pests we find eating the veggies in our gardens.
In the examples above, "blog" and "make-urls-earn-seo-value" are the slugs, and therefore, editable.
In the example below, you see that even a URL shortening service like bit.ly allows us to edit the slug portion of the shortened URL. It assigned 3dnWKlv as the shortened URL, but below that Customized Back-Half, you see it encourages us to change that.
I use the URL shortening service of Bitly.
Here you see that it encourages users to edit the "back-half" (i.e. the slug) on the shortened version of a URL, and, Bitly points out that custom links earn 34% MORE traffic.
WordPress Users: If Permalinks in the WordPress Dashboard settings are not set to use "%postname%", you will not see the "pretty words" ("blog" and "make-urls-earn-seo-value" ), and, the slug will not be editable.
- This SEO tactic is not for previously-written posts. Do not update the slugs of existing posts or pages. You will learn later that there is a safe method to updating those—but—it is a process.
- For now, remember which part of the URL is editable.
- Deeper Dive: Take a look at Moz's article about the URL and its importance in the User Experience as well as an aid to SEO.
While you are there - Look at the Title of the post. Compare that to the title in the breadcrumbs, the URL, and, the browser title. Excellent example of browser title manipulation for SEO.
Search engines pay attention to the names of files. They use the names to help them more accurately rank your pages in the SERPs. The value of this lesson is to learn how to name your files in a way that helps you earn a better spot in the SERPs.
The filenames should be aligned with the work you do. Including portions of your search terms, or your categories and tags in the filenames will be a natural fit. These filenames "ch1-video-v3.mp4" and "dc0000093.png" do not give any clues as to the work you do nor the industry you are in, and, do not help you earn SEO value.
What files will you be naming?
- Pages and Posts (slugs)
File Naming Guidelines
When naming files:
- Do not use spaces
- Use dashes (hyphens) instead of underscores. Dashes have proven to earn higher SEO goodness.
- DO this: a-focus-search-term.jpg
- NOT this: a_focus_search_term.jpg
- Yes, you can run all the words together. BOLO for 'adult' words.
- When you run words together, it is pretty common to end up with slang words for body parts. If you end up with words that could be misinterpreted, add dashes, otherwise you could be classified as an adult-only website.
- No special characters like ampersands, percent signs, slashes
- Use all small letters
- Use your keyword terms, categories, and tags when it makes sense
- The order of words the matter
You learned in another lesson that search engines understand video and image meta data and the name of the image or video.
When you purchase an image from a public service like Bigstock, Getty Images, and Shutterstock, or receive one from your graphic designer, the filename oftentimes has version or size indicators - and - the name is unrelated to your use of the image.
Save the original image to your device with its original name. When you resize the image for displaying on your website, rename it to a context-appropriate search term, category, or tag. Renaming the file is your opportunity to add SEO.
The image that is used for this course, was purchased with the name:
I resized it and renamed it to: simple-seo-system.jpg
I still use my branding even though I do not want the contents of this course in the search engines.
Apply the same naming conventions to PDFs and the names of posts in your website.
- Renaming files is not a task that you want to apply to previously-written posts, images, PDFs, etc.
- Make note of the file naming guidelines and apply this tactic for upcoming posts.
5. Writing SEO-Powered Content
This is a tiny module with only two lessons—but—with BIG Tasks for BIG results! When you complete the Tasks in this lesson, you will have published your first, official SEO-powered blog post. “Congratulations! You can and you did!” First we’ll review the actual “physical” places where SEO can be applied. Then, we’ll take a wholistic view at the writing process. I recommend a process that requires thoughtful, strategic thinking in addition to knowing where to apply the SEO tips and techniques you have learned in this course. The goal is to use your content to attract your high-probability prospects as well as the search engines. Knowing which topics are trending for your high-probability prospects is important for attracting them… so that is where the “thoughtfulness” and “strategy” parts come in.
There are 3 lessons in this module.
Module 5: Writing SEO-Powered Content
Welcome to Module 5, "Writing SEO-Powered Content".
This is a tiny module with only two lessons—but—with BIG Tasks for BIG results!
When you complete the Tasks in this lesson, you will have published your first, official SEO-powered blog post. "Congratulations! You can and you did!"
First we'll review the actual "physical" places where SEO can be applied.
Then, we'll take a wholistic view at the writing process. I recommend a process that requires thoughtful, strategic thinking in addition to knowing where to apply the SEO tips and techniques you have learned.
The goal is to use your content to attract your high-probability prospects as well as the search engines. Knowing which topics are trending for your high-probability prospects is important for attracting them… so that is where the “thoughtfulness” and “strategy” parts come in.
Let's get going...
Where to Apply SEO
In this lesson, you'll learn the physical locations where SEO techniques can be applied, and, how to use them together to produce SEO-rich content for your target audience.
The components we are interested in are those that:
- the search engines use to measure the rank of your website, posts, and pages, AND,
- that are editable by non-techies
Search engines check hundreds of components. We are interested in the ones that are most readily available to us when we write in our blogs each day.
Which components are available to optimize?
- Browser Titles
- Page Titles
- Discussed above (Browser Titles) and below (Heading Tags) and its own section Post Titles are Powerful
- Must be unique to the website. Avoid having a post and a page and a tag and a category (or any combination of those) with the same title. Common examples are: "pet grooming", "financial planning", "business coaching", and, "resources".
- Remember that the order of words matter and that there are exceptions* to the order of words for Page Titles.
- Heading tags like page titles, section titles, sub titles, chapter titles, etc.
- Categories & Tags
- File names
- Images and Videos
- Page and Post Content (Next Lesson)
- Social Media announcements
- Download the Pre-Publish SEO Checklist and keep on file for upcoming exercises
How to Write SEO-Powered Content
In this lesson, I present the process that I use when composing a blog post. Accept this as a suggestion of a way that you might approach the writing process now that you have this added knowledge and are empowered to shift the search engine's beliefs about you and your target audience.
Writing SEO-Powered content requires a shift in our mindsets. No longer do we want to write random articles about stuff in our business. Writing SEO-powered content requires deliberate writing. It is writing with intention. Writing with a strategy.
When we write with intention, we are slowed down. We become more thoughtful. We think more strategically—and, that causes us to explore topics more deeply. The results create a more pleasant experience for our audiences.
Below, are tips, techniques, and, suggestions for writing in a way that entertains or informs our audiences, and at the same time, attracts and informs the search engines. The one thing to keep in mind is:
NOTHING beats quality content. Always write for your audience. Do not sacrifice quality content for SEO tips, tricks, and techniques.
Strive to build desirability and insatiable hunger in your audience.
Think about the most popular restaurant in your area. People wait in line for hours, make reservations months in advance, and, are happy to walk the 1/2 hour to the restaurant because there are no nearby parking spaces. When it is worth it...we do it. That's the kind of desirability you want to build.
And think about: Why is my audience going to invest time in reading this post?
- Is the audience looking to be educated for a DIY project?
- Is the audience doing research for later comparison and purchase?
- Is the audience ready to buy and looking for a link to purchase?
Get your audience's attention by telling a Good Story
One of the easiest ways to keep your audience engaged and make them want more is to tell a good story.
Over the years, I have pondered the question of whether it is possible to write with the intention of telling a good story and with the intention of adding good SEO at the same time. After all, the target audience is different for each intention.
I explore my apprehension, the pros and cons of mixing the two intentions, and even call on a professional content writer to weigh in with her opinion in order to help me come to a reasonable conclusion. You can read more in this article, Good SEO and Good Storytelling: Can we have Both? in my blog.
Writing SEO-Powered Content for your Audience
- Take out your My Custom Keyword Phrases worksheet.
- Choose the topic (far right column) you will write about.
- Choose the perspective (middle column). I am writing about this Topic as it relates to this Specialty. If the topic is listed beside more than one "You Specialize In" area, choose the specialize in "perspective" with which you will write this blog post. For example, are you writing about 401Ks from an "Investment" standpoint or "Retirement Planning" standpoint?
- Decide your intention for writing this article (blog post).
- Are you educating? Selling? Offering an opposing opinion? Commenting on a recent blog post or announcement in the news? Why are you investing your valuable time in writing this?
- Now, think about your high-probability prospects: What is your audience's intention for reading this article? Why will they invest their valuable time in reading your post?
- Enter a working title for your article. You will find that as you fine-tune your article, 95% of the time, you'll change the title, so, in the beginning invest minimal time in getting it precisely on target.
- Spill your guts. Get everything that you want to say into the post, and save it as a draft.
- Revise the draft, editing it so that it is a piece that would be acceptable to a college professor. Good story flow, proper grammar, etc.
- Save the draft.
- Now, re-read your draft article looking for opportunities to add SEO.
- Replace words with your search terms as you can. Rephrase so you can add terms in a natural way.
- Use related and similar terms like blog post, article, piece, story, write-up, etc.
- Think about how you can naturally use your business name beside the key topic (apposition).
- Add at least one link to another post or page on your website (related services, details of ongoing course, etc.)
- Review the list of areas from the previous lesson, and, add or update as many as apply in this situation.
- Assign one Category.
- Do you use tags? Assign one Tag.
- Test your SEO
- Check your post with a plugin like Yoast SEO or All in One SEO
- Compare your work to the Pre-Publish SEO Checklist you downloaded in the previous lesson
- Tweak your content based on the feedback from those tools
- At this point, I leave the post for several days to a week. I like to come back with a fresh head and read it to confirm that the final version really does match the intention.
- Publish it.
- Socialize it!
Yoast SEO and ALL in One SEO are plugins that check how well we do with our SEO techniques. They do not add SEO. They are NOT SEO. They measure OUR SEO efforts, and give us feedback with suggestions for what can/should be changed.
- Write a brand new post following the steps above.
- Once published, include a link to it in the Facebook group.
- Invite others to read it and provide their feedback.
- Do not tell them anything about your article. Let them tell you their perception of your purpose and your audience's purpose for reading it.
- Tweak the article accordingly to their feedback.
6. Measuring Success
The purpose of this module is to learn how well Google receives your SEO clues. Are you getting paid for the effort you are investing? There’s only one way to know for sure…keep track of numbers. Use metrics as your guide to where you are experiencing success and where attention is needed. If you made a change and have earned good results, then focus on another SEO technique or complete the same SEO technique for another post or page. SEO is an on-going activity where once we conquer one facet of our SEO practice, we move to the next.
There are 5 lessons in this module.
Module 6: Measuring Success
Welcome to Module 6, "Measuring Success".
The purpose of this module is to learn how well Google receives your SEO clues.
Are you getting paid for the effort you are investing? There's only one way to know for sure…keep track of numbers.
Use metrics as your guide to where you are experiencing success and where attention is needed.
If you made a change and have earned good results, then focus on another SEO technique or complete the same SEO technique for another post or page.
SEO is an on-going activity where once we conquer one facet of our SEO practice, we move to the next.
The value of this lesson is learning that:
1.) What gets measured and how is different for each business and shifts over time.
2.) For our purposes, measurements are relative, and not exact.
3.) Measurements provide proof that our hard work is paying off!
What to track differs per business
What gets measured is determined by what you, your client, or, management is interested in accomplishing. The focus will start out in one direction, and over time, will change. As it changes, the metrics that get tracked and reported will change (in order to prove success of that new SEO goal). For some, the same metrics will get captured month over month, but, the ones that get reported will change.
One purpose of monitoring the statistics is to learn how well Google interprets our SEO cues. Use the metrics to guide you to where attention is needed. If you have made a change and earn good results, then focus on applying the same SEO technique to another page/section or adding another SEO tactic to the same page.
Metrics are relative
As non-experts, when we measure our progress with SEO, we are not interested in the exact numbers; we are interested in seeing an upward trend. For example, take note of the numbers from last month. Compare those to this month's numbers. You want to see an increase in the numbers. If this month's numbers are greater than last month's you are making progress.
SEO is an on-going, continuous-improvement activity
Once we conquer one technique, having applied it to all of the places we can, we move to the next. And... we are always adding original content that needs to have SEO applied.
Numbers we Would like to see Decrease
There are certain numbers that we want to see decrease. The most obvious are:
- Bounce rate
- Visits by company name
- Visits by personal name
- Visits by domain name
- Visits for irrelevant terms ( My personal experience: How to add Notepad to your Desktop and Creating a WooCommerce Product PDF for Download)
Even though we want to see these numbers decrease, we don't want to put effort into working on "decrease".
We want to focus on "increase"; building an audience and attracting high-probability prospects, in increasing numbers, to our websites using the search terms we chose in Module 2.
As we are more successful with that, the numbers we want to see decrease will naturally decrease. Your name, the website name, and the company name earn rank all on their own, so, there is no need to put energy into those.
If you have a branded process, service, or product that you sell (i.e. Oprah's Book Club, Rachel Rae Nutrish Dog Food, Kylie Cosmetics, Mrs. Fields Cookies, John Deere Tractors, Ursula's 7-Step Process to Time Management), well, yes, you want to add that to your search terms, then work hard at getting traffic to the website by prospects using those branded search terms.
Bounce rate is a really important factor towards earning rank in the SERPs. As you are adding the SEO techniques in this course, you will likely see an increase in the bounce rate. This is caused by the adjustments to and re-shuffling of content and the addition of the highly-focused search terms. Over time, the bounce rate typically decreases to below the level it was before you started your SEO efforts.
Bounce rates of 55% and over are typical.
Having a higher bounce rate is not always a bad thing
Remember you are shifting your focus from a "general, tire-kicking" audience to a laser-focused audience of "high-probability prospects". So when tire-kickers arrive, they will notice that this website is not for them and leave immediately. When high-probability prospects arrive, they will realize that this website IS for them. They will spend more time, consume more content, and, get even closer to making a purchase.
- Have a look at this article that I like.
Deep Dive: Article by Neil Patel, Bounce Rate Analytics: How to Measure, Assess, and Audit to Increase Conversions - Quite technical, but, the illustrations are totally worth viewing.
Where are my Numbers?
The value of this lesson is gaining ideas on where to look for the numbers that you want to track to prove your success with SEO.
Where are your numbers? There is not one answer. The location of website statistics changes per website and per hosting company.
What we do know is that every action taken on a server is recorded in a log. This informs us that the data needed to create user-friendly, layperson-understandable statistics is available.
Your user-friendly statistics might be viewable via your hosting account's admin panel or via your CMS' Dashboard. They are not natively supplied on the Dashboard, but, your web person may have loaded them up for you. At any rate, it is not standard.
Viewing statistics in your Dashboard is convenient, but, slows down the Dashboard's response time. If you are only looking at statistics once per month, how difficult is it to log into Google or your hosting account's admin to view them?
Server Logs and Statistical Programs
Your hosting account is kept on a web server. Your hosting company may provide statistics with your hosting package. Some hosting companies charge you a little extra for the statistics. Fair enough. It does take extra software to amalgamate the actions into layperson-readable format, and, then, those logs get stored on their server, and that takes up extra space.
Your hosting account's admin area
Many businesses use the info from the web server logs to view their statistics. No filtering is made behind the scenes and no decisions are made about legit vs non-legit visits (see Google Analytics for comparison). That interpretation is left to you.
Typically, a hosting firm will provide packages like Webalizer and Awstats that gather the raw statistics and convert them into user-friendly format.
You log into the hosting account's admin area every month to view the statistics.
Many businesses track their statistics using Google Analytics. In order to do that, a Google-assigned code is added to the header of each page behind the scenes. That code sends signals to Google that help it determine the page and the count of visits to the page.
If you choose to use Google Analytics, keep in mind that Google does not report all of the visits to your website. It uses its programs to determine what it considers legit visits, then reports on those and tosses the rest.
You log into your Google Analytics account every month to view the statistics.
Make sure that the stats tool you use allows you to isolate months or will do a comparison for you between months. For example, the tool should:
- Allow you to view this month, last month, last year, previous years,
- Provide the percentage increase/decrease month of month or year over year
- Find out what is provided to you by your hosting company in order to view the website traffic.
- Learn how to access those statistics --> Get the address, username and password.
- Practice accessing your statistics.
- Create a Google Search Console account. Steps 1 - 3 here are very helpful: https://bit.ly/3dmw0sE
- Create a Google Analytics account. Search Console will walk you to it, or, you can go directly: https://bit.ly/GglAnalytic
- Just create the accounts and access them. No need to try to understand how each tool works at this point. They all provide a ton of information, do more than they advertise, and overlap. It can be overwhelming.
What to Measure?
The value of this lesson is learning that although a plethora of metrics are tracked each month, only a select few are focused on each month. The numbers that you look at for any time period change depending on your goal.
Here's a snapshot of the numerous data views of statistics that are available to me from one source for one of my websites.
What results are you hoping to see for your recent SEO efforts during this time period?
- How much traffic did this week's Facebook Live drive to the website?
- How much traffic did my newsletter drive to my website this quarter?
- Which blog post attracted the most stay-on-site traffic during the past 6 months?
Below are hints on where to look given certain activities and intentions. You'll see that for the most part, the data source is the same, but the data "view" (see image above) is different. Over time, as you become more familiar with setting your SEO intentions and viewing the statistics, you'll know where to look to find the results you are hoping to see.
If you worked on adding text links to posts this month, you expect to see:
- An upswing in "time spent on the website" and in "number of pages viewed per visitor".
- The "destination pages" (the pages to which the text links link) received more visits (Viewed, Full List).
If you worked on adding a critical search term to pages throughout your website, then you want to look at the "terms used" (Search Keyphrases) to bring visitors to your website. You expect to see an increase of visitors brought to the website using that term.
If you completed the lessons in this course, you expect to see an increase in traffic in general, so, you would look for an increase in the total number of visits for the month (Summary).
Maybe you are working on building a loyal readership. Your goal for the month was to get visitors to return to your website. You would look at Returning Visitors (Google Analytics) in order to verify that this month received more return (repeat) visitors than last.
If you want to increase the number of newsletter sign ups, you would look at the most popular pages.
- Did the number of visitors to the newsletter sign up page increase?
- Did you receive an increase in notifications of new sign ups?
- Does the number of sign ups match the number of visits to the sign up page? If the number of visits to the page is larger, review your sign up form. Is there something on the sign up form that can be tweaked (i.e. required fields) in order to encourage the completion and submission of the form?
Are you wondering if it is time that you need to be paying more attention to how your website looks (presents) on mobile phones? If so, you'll look at the viewing percentages for mobile vs. desktop. If the majority of the viewing is coming from mobile, then, yes, it is time to ensure an efficient and pleasant viewing experiences via the limited space on mobile phones.
Did you run an ad campaign with Facebook, Google, Bing? You'll be interested in the Referring Sites and Referring Search Engines section of your stats.
You wrote a new white paper and posted it as a PDF? Then you announced it on social media. Check the Downloads section of your statistics report.
When you don't immediately receive the response you want
- Do nothing and wait a month.
- Take out your Pre-Publish SEO Checklist from Where to Apply SEO
- Go through each of the posts that you tweaked in order to solicit the response.
- Compare each post to the checklist and update as needed.
- Retest your Search Term(s)
- Go to Google Search and enter the search term.
- Are like-businesses still displaying?
- Do you need to replace the search term? Fine-tune it?
- Is there a current "hotter" topic that is overshadowing every other topic (i.e. Covid-19)? Could you temporarily shift your focus to include a perspective about/from the hotter topic?
- What are the overall statistics telling you? Was traffic brought to your website using a similar term? If the search engines are bringing you traffic on a certain relevant term, maybe this month you shift your focus to writing more content about that term?
- If you are using Google Analytics, after updating each post, request that Google re-visit it.
- Download the One-Page SEO Goals Plan
- Enter your thoughts about what your goals will be for the next quarter. Please be kind to yourself. You are just starting out.
What do I do with the Numbers?
The value of this lesson is to help you think about what you are going to do with the statistics that are available to you.
Will you formally schedule time to review and compare numbers each month? Will you be recording them in another tool (i.e. Excel, Google Sheets)? Will you simply be eyeballing them each month?
Personally, I track them in a spreadsheet on my desktop. Overall numbers on Sheet 1, then sub sheets for specific goals. (I'm a novice spreadsheet user. You may be much more creative.) I track numbers and percentage of delta.
I Log all my SEO Activities
I record everything because I never know when a client is going to ask me about statistics or activities that we have never discussed before, and, I want to be prepared (because it has happened).
I keep a log of each activity (i.e. research I do, blog posts I write, other businesses I follow) and write notes about them. For example, "I wrote a blog post with "this" search term/category as the focus." "I socialized it on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter on this date."
I keep records of likes, friends, connections, shares, thumbs up, follows and followers, reads, comments, etc.
Some of the information that I track does not add value - but - the activity (i.e. liking, thumbs up) is understood by my clients - and they ask. So I give them the numbers that they understand (that count towards Good Will) mixed with the numbers that have real value in relation to the month's SEO goal.
Formal Monthly Review
Each month I record and review. I use the statistics to guide me to where I need to focus my attention next. If I made a change and earned good results, then I make the same kind of change to another post or page—or—focus on another SEO technique.
Note: Sometimes, I am stumped about what to write about next. I use the statistics (Search Keyphrases) to guide me. Which keyphrases did the search engines use to bring visitors to my website? Are the keyphrases on my list of search terms? Should they be? If the search engines already believe that I am providing valuable content for those topics, are they topics I want to write about more frequently? For example, are the people who search for that unexpected term the clientele that I want to attract, or, should I shift my content focus in order to not attract for that search term)?
Online Tracking Tools
In recent years, I have used online tools like MOZ and Pingdom, and very early on, desktop tools called WebPosition and NetTracker to monitor progress. I really enjoyed the functionality of WebPosition, and the behavioral analytics from NetTracker, and I used both of those a lot for myself and clients.
I used MOZ and Pingdom less frequently, as I became distracted with other tasks.
Currently, I use Google Analytics with the Google Search Console so that I continue to understand what Google considers legitimate traffic, and how it responds to specific cues.
I wanted to mention the tools to make you aware that there are online tools (many more than I mentioned) that can help keep track and even make suggestions for improvement. I recommend waiting until you have a couple of years of applying SEO before investing money in any of them. I think they are too expensive and too technical for beginning SEO DIYers. However, if you are inclined, don't let me tell you, "No"!
The habits that they encourage, like reviewing frequently, making tweaks, rechecking our progress, comparing content samples, tweaking again, rinsing and repeating, are the same habits that we need when logging our progress in our home-grown spreadsheets.
The Importance of On-Going SEO
SEO is an on-going activity where once we conquer one facet of SEO, we move to the next. I like to take a continuous-improvement mindset approach.
Each time a website is evaluated by the search engines, it is compared to websites in the same business—and each time that comparison happens, there are different businesses in the sample.
Some businesses are new and just coming to the search engines' attention. Some have been around but have just started applying SEO. Some have just risen to a sophisticated level with their SEO, and, others have stopped doing business, and have fallen out of the sample.
During each evaluation there is a different "crowd" to sample, and, our rankings in the SERPs will rise and fall based on the businesses in the current sample, how well they are applying SEO, and, how well we are applying SEO.
How will you Track your SEO Progress?
So those are the tasks I do and some information about how ranking works. Now you need to decide for yourself what you want to do.
What that looks like needs to be balanced with your level of expertise, the stats that are available to you, and, the time that you can devote to your SEO monitoring.
I highly recommend that you do more than the eyeball reviews. I firmly believe in the importance of seeing for yourself how you are being rewarded for your efforts. SEO takes lot of thinking, planning, and time. Keep some end-of-month records as proof of your success so that you can continue with the SEO effort with confidence in the payoff.
Pat yourself on the back. You've got a leg up on your competition. They haven't taken this step to educate themselves about how things happen and what they can do to influence the search engines. They have a victim mindset thinking the search engines "do it" to them because they are not empowered like you and don't know how to earn better ranks.
You are already ahead. Go get 'em!
- Determine the tools you will use to record your actions.
- Set them up
- Record the numbers for last month. These are your benchmarks.
- Share your plans for SEO Monitoring in the Facebook group.
- Read the next chapter on how not to sabotage your efforts, and, Get SEOing!
7. What Sabotages your SEO Efforts?
The value of this module is to gain knowledge about very common situations that blow your SEO efforts out of the water. You have new knowledge. You’ll be working hard to improve your rank in the search engines. Be aware of the circumstances that can impede you earning all that you should from your SEO efforts.
There are 5 lessons in this module.
Module 7: What Sabotages your SEO Efforts?
Welcome to Module 7, "What Sabotages your SEO Efforts?"
The value of this module is to gain knowledge about very common situations that blow your SEO efforts out of the water.
You have new knowledge. You'll be working hard to improve your rank in the search engines. Be aware of the circumstances that can impede you earning all that you should from your SEO efforts.
Common Items that Sabotage your SEO Efforts
The value of this lesson is to gain awareness of common things that detract from your ability to earn the most from your SEO efforts, and, effectively, sabotage your SEO efforts.
You're taking this course, so, you are interested in earning the best results for the time and effort you put in. I want you to avoid taking two steps forward and one step back.
One thing I have experienced with students is a zealous enthusiasm, sometimes mixed with a little confusion about how exactly these techniques are applied.
Some things that will impede your ability to earn the best SEO value from your efforts are:
Multiple topics on the same page
Keep your focus clear. Focus on one topic (search term) at a time. In our content, oftentimes, we can't avoid mentioning other topics that are a natural fit for our businesses.
When other topics are introduced, fit them into the content naturally. Also, in order to boost your SEO value, you'll want to link them to a post on which that term is the focus.
Following the writing process recommended in Module 5, will help you avoid writing content with more than one prominent topic.
Inconsistency between the browser title, the page title, and the slug
Keep your focus clear. Focus on one search term (topic) at a time. The slug, page title, and browser title do not have to be exact matches. You can change each of these. The goal in changing them is to clarify for the search engines, not to introduce related terms.
For example, the slug does not need the connecting words that a page title needs; like "to", "and", "some", "a", "of", etc. Connecting words don't hurt anything, but, they do not add value either.
You might want to shorten the browser title that (in WordPress) gets loaded with the full page title so that when your post is listed in the SERPs, the important words display for your audience.
Real Life Example
Below are three SEO components from one page.
The company is a firm in a big city that creates indoor and outdoor architectural designs in multiple sectors including recreational facilities (i.e. buildings and their surroundings, but, not sports fields).
The search engines will struggle to figure out exactly how to rank this page. Should it use the Browser Title, Page Title, or, Slug?
Sports and Recreation Facilities Architects in City - Company Name
Ugly and unhelpful slugs, text links, and, filenames
The URLs below do not add value to your SEO. Search engines are quite fond of human-readable URLs.
- https://programs.karen-callahan.com/?p=128 and
- Click here and Learn More <-- Who is searching for these terms?
These filenames do not add value to your SEO, and, that is lost opportunity.
- kcallahan seo services-final.pdf
See Naming Files for the best way to earn SEO from your filenames.
Duplicate content was covered in Module 3, How Some CMS May Interfere
What causes your pages to load slowly? Details are in the next lesson.
Page 404 - Page Not Found
How do Page 404s happen? Details in the upcoming lesson Page 404s
- Review the Real Life example above that highlights the inconsistency between the browser title, page title, and slug. What would you recommend to the owner? (Need a refresher? Post Titles, Browser Titles, URLs and Slugs)
- Take the Quiz, then post your recommendation in the Facebook Group.
Slow-Loading Web Pages
Web pages that take a long time to display (fully paint on our screen) are considered slow-loading pages.
Sometimes it is obvious to us that a page is taking a long time. Other times, from our perspective, the pages are loading fine, but, behind the scenes, they are burning up unnecessary time. We don't notice, but, the bots that are measuring this stuff do, and, assign "slow" to the loading page.
What slows down pages when loading?
- Page Not Found (aka Page 404s) (see next lesson)
- Images that are too large
- Videos that are too large
- Podcasts that are too large
- Pages that contain too many images or too many videos (galleries & portfolios)
- External Services
- Embedded social media blocks (below)
- Social Media share buttons (below)
- Duplicate Content
If your page loading speed is slow, that negatively impacts YOUR SEO. Some of the slow-loading page situations require very technical remedies. Those are covered in the advanced course and 2-day intensive. Here we focus on the situations that are within our management and technical level.
External Services - Embedded social media blocks
Embedded social media blocks are those sections on a website (usually the home page, sometimes the footer on every page) where the company's status and social interactions are displayed (i.e. latest Tweets, Instagram posts, Pinterest, and, Facebook status).
When a web page loads, it connects to the external website(s) (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) and retrieves the posts and other data (friend and follower counts) before the rest of your web page displays for your audience.
If there is a delay getting to the social media website, say high volume traffic on the Internet or the social media website is temporarily down, your web page won’t display quickly, and, may even "time out".
You know that spinning thing on the browser? That's a time out signal. The social media website IS available, but, there is something causing the website to not respond to the browser's request to display. When you have those types of live connections to a social media website that isn't loading, your web page won't load.
If the connection is good and lightening fast, your web page will still not start displaying until all of that data from the social media website is gathered, prepped and ready for display.
It is okay to link to those websites, but, try to avoid displaying live content or live counts on your website.
Your take a away is an awareness of how you construct pages.
- Build a video gallery using still images that visitors need to click in order to view each video.
- Do not auto play audio or video on any page. Always allow/let your prospect choose.
- Resize your images before uploading.
- Replace live links to social media blocks that show your latest posts with still snapshots. Then, link the snapshots to your social media accounts.
- Use a simple Social Media Share plugin. One that does not display current counts of likes, reads, nor shares.
- Track reads and shares behind the scenes using your metrics.
- Test your website for Page 404s on a regular basis. Fix them.
- Display one of the following in the browser: a post you have been working on during this course, your home page, picture gallery, video archive, about us page
- Select and copy the URL
- Test its page speed in one of the below:
- Pingdom — https://tools.pingdom.com/
- Google — https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
- GTMetrix — https://gtmetrix.com/
- WebPageTest — https://www.webpagetest.org/
- Keep this information as a benchmark, and, provide a summary report to the Facebook group.
Deeper Dive: Articles I like
- WPBeginner - How to Properly Run a Website Speed Test (8 Best Tools); technical topic, beginner-friendly
- Kinsta - A Beginner’s Guide to Website Speed Optimization - a look into the neuroscience, statistics, & technology in a lay-person friendly way. In a hurry? Search the article for "External Services"
Page Not Found (aka Page 404)
If you use the Internet, undoubtedly you have run across a "Page not found" or two. A browser issues an error with the error number 404 when a page is not found. Oftentimes, page not found is referred to simply as a 404.
As a visitor, one 404 is annoying. It happens.
Several 404s on your website will raise a prospect's awareness. They'll be thinking it's sloppy and their subconscious will be wondering if your work is sloppy.
Page 404s are detrimental to building SEO good will with the search engines. They slow the search engines down. Vital search engine time is wasted and less of your content is reviewed, validated, ranked.
Note: Before a search engine visits a website, it already knows how much time (nanoseconds) it will spend on the website. When it runs into a Page 404, it will start running other tests to determine whether the website has been abandoned or not. (No search engine wants to list old, outdated websites on its results pages.) The time it takes to run those tests burns up the time that it had allotted to ranking your web pages. Fewer pages get reviewed and ranked.
Page 404s happen when:
- Pages are deleted (i.e. events, employees, retired service)
- Pages URLs (slugs) are changed
- Posts are re-categorized; one or more categories removed
- Posts are re-tagged; one or more tags removed
- The author of a post is changed
- A new website is created and the page names change
- Pages are moved from one domain name to a different domain name
- Security is added to a page. Since security was added, the http: was changed to https: at the website, but, the search engine has the http://mydomainname.com/my-web-page in its index. To a search engine, http://mydomainname.com/my-web-page and https://mydomainname.com/my-web-page are two different pages.
How to Avoid 404 errors
- NEVER delete a page before adding a 301 Redirect.
- NEVER remove a category before adding a 301 Redirect.
- When security is added, have your webmaster add a global 301 redirect of http: to https:
- Add a 301 Redirect before deleting and renaming, and after, adding security. It is a simple process.
- Upload a Redirection plugin (i.e. For WordPress users, one easy-to-use option is a plugin called "Redirection". See image below. )
- Display the page you want to redirect
- Copy the URL and paste in a scratch note
- Display the page you want visitors to see instead
- Copy that URL and paste in the same scratch note
- Log into your WordPress Dashboard
- Go to Redirection and enter the OLD page, then the address of the new page (cut and paste them in from the scratch note).
That's an SEO Wrap!
Congratulations...You made it!
First, thank you for taking the Simple & Sustainable SEO System course. I hope that the tips and techniques you learned here help you accomplish the shift you want to see in your business.
Whether you are applying SEO to your websites or those of your clients, the process is the same. If you printed out and completed all of the worksheets, and kept those with your free-hand homework, you now have an entire system for applying what you learned to any website that comes across your path.
Use the same system for each client (or website you own). Now, you have the advantage of knowing a lot of the rules and truths about SEO, and, will only need to focus on filling in the terms that are specific to the industry and do some strategic thinking and research regarding the high-probability prospects for the website to which you are adding SEO.
Remember that you have 12-month's access to the course and lifetime access to the Facebook Group. Feel free to continue to be active in the Facebook group. As a former student, your actual experience, input, and questions will be invaluable to the newbies.
Course content will be updated as the SEO industry changes. Video and audio content will be added as well as more downloadables over time (as we move out of Covid-19 restrictions).
For those of you who want to continue working on your SEO in a structured way, and feel that you will be more successful with guidance and support from me as well as other participants, I offer a 90-Day SEO Challenge. The intention of the Challenge is to help you set up a system for your SEO work so that you continue with the good practices and progress you have learned and achieved during this course.
The Challenge begins in a couple of weeks. It is purposefully scheduled to follow this course so that you can keep up the momentum of your SEO work. In the Challenge, we'll set up a formal weekly plan for applying the SEO tactics you have learned, you'll execute to the plan and report progress to the participants (via a Zoom meeting) weekly, and review your statistics 3 - 4 times in the 90-day period. You'll gain practice in what to do when you see success and what to do when you do not see that.
The Challenge is for practicing your SEO skills, building the SEO habit, and holding yourself accountable. I hope you'll consider joining me on that journey. Learn more about the SEO Challenge.
In the meantime, I am here to answer your questions. Shoot me an email at: email@example.com
8. Course Review
This is where the students take the survey about the course
There are 1 lessons in this module.
It is important to me to create awesome courses that everyone wants to take. Towards that end, I request that you kindly take the following survey, and provide me with honest feedback so that I can continue to improve the course, and make it irresistible!
Thanks in advance.