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Search Engine Optimization

Bots, Crawlers, and Spiders – are all the same thing – they collect information about every URL and then index that information in the search engine’s db. This information is then processed through a complex algorithm that ranks websites according to a relevancy formula.

3 major search engines – Google, Yahoo, and Bing

Search Engin Logos

Search Engine Results Page (SERP) – can either be paid result or organic.

  • Pay Per Click (PPC) – Company pays to be on top or side of results page
  • Organic – Natural Ranking based on site information

An SERP result displays the title tag and description tag of each web page that is relevant to the search.

What to Focus on When Optimizing Site

On-Page Optimization elements:

  • Keyword research and selection – Use the most common keywords for your industry.
  • Title tag – Keep titles less than 65 characters and include the most important keywords.
  • Example: “Brandon’s Baseball Cards – Buy Cards, Baseball News, Card Prices"
  • Description Tag – Be concise with the summary of a page. This tag doesn't factor into ranking but it displays on SERP. Visitors will use this information to determine if a webpage is relevant to their search.
  • Keywords Tag – Are used by search engines to determine relevance. Words should be separated by using commas.
  • Improving the structure of your URLs – Descriptive filenames for the documents, and photos will keep your site better organized, lead to better search crawling, and be more user “friendly” for those people that want to link to your content.
  • Navigation – Use a hierarchy in order to show information importance. Do you have enough pages around a specific topic area that it would make sense to create a topic listing page describing these related pages? (e.g. root page ‐> related topic listing > specific topic)

Instructions & Tips

Your content is the most important element of your webpage. When using any of the On-Page Optimization elements be sur they support your content and are relevant to the information on your website.

Key content elements in order of importance:

  • H1, H2, H3 – Should never be used as paragraph text. H1 tags should only be used once and used wisely. H2 and H3 denote subheadings.
  • Bold, Strong – will help search engines know what is important, but must be done subtly. To many bolded words will dilute the importance of true keywords and reduce their effectiveness
  • Image – Must have alt tags that are descriptive
  • Hyperlink – Must use title tags to provide further description of where the link is going.
Do's Don'ts
  • Accurately describe the page’s content
  • Create a naturally flowing hierarchy for pages
  • Use brief, but descriptive titles
  • Use unique descriptions for each page
  • Use mostly text for navigation
  • Choose a title that has no relation to the page
  • Use default titles like “New Page 1”
  • Use generic descriptions
  • Use lengthy URLs
  • Using excessive keywords like “baseball‐cards-baseball‐cards‐baseball‐cards.aspx”
  • Creating complex webs of navigation
  • Go overboard with slicing up content so users have to click many times to access information

Strategies to creating content

  • Use a language your visitors are comfortable with. 
  • Write in a conversational manner while still using keywords as often as possible without making the text unrealistic. Write for your visitors first and SEO second.
  • Use proper grammar and spelling.
  • Updated frequently to keep search engines visiting.
  • White Hat, Gray Hat, and Black Hat content:
  1. White Hat – Best SEO practice. 100% legitimate. Good content, proper site management and cohesive internet marketing.
  2. Gray Hat – Consists of manipulating loopholes which may or may not pay off.
  3. Black Hat – Bad website techniques that will get a site banned by search engines.

Off-Page Optimization

External Link Building – The amount of external links that point to your website are by far the most effective way  to get a search engines to notice your site.

Instructions & Tips

Each external link is a vote for your site from another site. The votes pass Page Rank. This is often called “Google Love” or “Google Juice”.

Social Media

Social media participation creates interest in your site, and interacts with visitors on a personal level. It allows for more chance to list your information on a SERP, and can also help drive traffic and links to your main site.