Search Engine Optimization | 5 Stones Academy LIVE

Written by SuperUser Account on 8/31/2017
Search Engine Optimization | 5 Stones Academy LIVE

Class 1:

Hello everyone and welcome to our weekly 5 Stones Academy live. Over the last four weeks we've been talking about local SEO and today we're going to start talking about just regular old organic SEO to get your website to rank better in search. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is simply the process of making your website stand out as an authority to the search engines on a particular topic. There's a lot of things that we do to make that happen. Before we get too far into that, if we just look at the numbers here, when we look at the major search engines, Google with 4.5 billion monthly visits. BING with 873 million, Yahoo with 536,000, and the rest of them with about 125 million. If we look at that on a chart, you can see that Google occupies over three fourths of that chart. So as we're talking about search engine optimization, assume that we're talking specifically about Google. You know how something works on Google. What it really means is how it works on the search engines, but again, we're speaking primarily to google because Google is they 800 pound gorilla when it comes to search engines and they are the ones that you want your website to rank for the best. 

So there are two types of SEO. There's Black Hat SEO, which is bad, and there's White Hat SEO, which is good. Black Hat SEO will get you in trouble with Google. If you do Black Hat SEO, you're going to be doing things like buying back links. You'll have examples of anchor texts that just repeat themselves over and over and over. And we'll get into anchor text a little bit later. Hidden content where you do something like you put white text on a white background and you just put your keywords over and over and over so that you have a page that's full of this keyword that nobody can actually see. Keyword stuffing where you do that same thing except that you don't hide it. You have, you have content on your page where the key words are just repeated over and over and over, and they don't even make sense usually when you, when you read the content on the page. A gateway pages, a gateway page is where a page is optimized for a particular topic. And then when you go to that page redirects you somewhere else. 

And then typosquatting. Typosquatting would be an example of you buying a domain name that's very similar to like a, a really big website. Something that people would commonly misspell or they'll type it in the wrong way. Now I've got here to get your own typos because if your domain name is something where there's multiple spellings for it or a common misspelling, then you're going to want to get that. Google themselves, they own Google with an extra "o", it's really common for people to put three o's and the word Google on accident when they're typing real fast. I believe they used to have goggled.com I checked that this morning because it was an example that I always used, but goggled.com just went to an empty page. So I'm pretty sure they probably still on that, but get your own typos. 

Now, White Hat SEO is the correct way to do search engine optimization. You're not trying to trick the search engines. You do this by building very high quality content and you're going to follow all the best practices that we talk about today. 

As we get started, we're going to talk primarily about on page SEO. These are some of the things that we're going to talk about today. Title tags and meta descriptions, header tags. We're going to talk about URL structure, internal links, content layout, but we're going to start with title tags. Now, the title tag is what you would see when you're doing a Google search. This large blue text that would be at the top, that was just the title tag that is on your website. And when you go to a website, you're not actually going to see the title tag unless it shows up in the top of your browser, which it often will. It'll show up in the tab there on the browser, but you can't just go to a website and see the title tag right there on the page. It's something that is put into the code of the website. 

Now as I talk about things like title tags and meta descriptions and basically everything that we're talking about, I can't give you the instructions on exactly how to put that information into your website because there are literally hundreds of content management systems out there that all have different ways of doing this. If you're using one of the more common ones, like Wordpress being the most common CMS out there, then there are going to be tons of youtube videos out there that will teach you how to do this. Or if you're using DNN, which is the website CMS that we build in, then we would have shown you that when we train you on the website and there again will be plenty of videos out there on youtube. So the thing that you need to do is find out what is the content management system that your website is built and hopefully it is built in a content management system and you can easily do that by going into the builtwith.com and we'll put that link in the comments on the video so that you can go check that out. 

You go to builtwith.com, you put your website URL in there and it'll tell you what the content management system is that your website's built on, and then just go over to youtube and look up how to put in title tags or meta descriptions or whatever it is that we're talking about into your particular CMS. So again, title tags, that's going to be the big text at the top in each one of your search results. And then you may see that in the tab on your browser. 

Best practices with title tags - the title tag should tell the visitor and the search engine, what that particular page of the website is about. Every page of a website should have its own unique title tags. You don't want to put the same title tag throughout the website because then there's nothing that differentiates one page from another. 

Now, in most cases, to the homepage of your website is going to be the most authoritative page of the website and you're going to want a title tag there that's going to be the overall idea of what it is that you do in your business. In our case, it will either be web design or marketing. Now it should be 55 characters or less, anything longer, especially with now the mobile search results it's just not going to show up on the screen. So you want it to be 55 characters or less. And it should contain your keyword are your key phrase. 

The next thing that we're going to look at is going to be your meta description. Now the meta description, I've got it in here, but in actuality it really doesn't have anything to do with SEO. It is just one of the the meta tags that has put in while you're doing SEO. It's very related to your title tag and when you're doing a search, it's going to be the small black text that comes up. Now I say that it has nothing to do with the search results because the search engines have come out and they've said we don't use what you put into your meta description as a ranking factor, but where it does absolutely make a difference is in conversion rate optimization. So when somebody is doing a search and they see this text, that text is going to help them decide whether or not they have come across a search result that's going to help them with whatever it is that they're searching for. 

So basically that meta description should convince the person who has done a search that yes, my website is the one that you want to come to to get help with whatever it is that you're looking for. When we look at the best practices for meta descriptions, it'll primarily be seen in search results. You'll never see this actually on the page of the website unless you view the code or the source. You're going to want to use that meta to convince the searcher that your website is the ones that are looking for. And just like your title tag, it should contain your keyword. Just to elaborate on that a little bit. If somebody searches for something like they searched for "web design Hammond" for example, and our website comes up in that meta description where it shows in the search results, the words that they used in their search, where they appear in the meta description will actually be bolded. So it makes it stand out to them that this is a good result for what it is that they were searching for. 

And then header tags, is going to be the third type of tag that we're talking about today. You're primarily going to have H1, H2 and H3 header tags. And I'll show you what this tag is in just a minute, you can keep going down the list with h4 and h5 and so on. The thing is, most people will use these header tags for styling the website. They use it because an H1 is going to be set to look a certain way. It's going to be a larger font, usually a different font than the rest of the website. Then your H3 is going to be a little smaller font than the H2. And the problem with that is that a header tag is really there to set the hierarchy of the content. It's going to tell the search engines how to read that content and tells the people also who were coming to the website I'm looking at the page, if it is laid out right then it will also guide them through how they should read that content. 

So if you think of your H1, or if you think of header tags in general as an outline, then the H1 would be the title of the entire outline. The H2 would be a title of a section of the outline and H3, you might be a heading over a set of bullet points. So basically, like I said, it establishes the hierarchy of that content. So there should only be one H1 per page on a website and commonly see it that a webpage, we'll have three or four H1s because the person likes the way that, that H1 looks well, it may look great, but to the search engines, it's confusing when you have all these different H1s on a page. It's okay to have multiple H2 and H3 - H1, you should only have one. Ideally the H1 should contain your keyword. 

So when we look at this page, the H1 on this page is where it says elder care services, right up at the top, it's going to be the largest text on the page. It is the title of the content, and it is what that page is about. It's about elder care services. Now, if you want to go look at your website to see where the H1, H2, H3s are the header tags where they're located on the page, there's a cool tool that I like to use now you have to use the Firefox browser for this to work. I use chrome. Chrome is my browser of choice, but when I'm doing SEO on a website, especially when I'm auditing a website, before we start an SEO project, I will switch over to Firefox and I use an add on for Firefox. It's called The Foxy SEO toolbar. I'm gonna get out of my presentation for a second and go over to Firefox and kind of show you that as it works. 

So I am on the homepage of our website right now and I'm in Firefox and I'm going to go up into my toolbar. and I'm going to open up The Foxy SEO toolbar and there's this dropdown that I'm looking at it at the top I've got another little drop down and I'm going to go down to tools and then I'm going to click on search spider simulator. Now these search spider simulator is going to show me that page of the website exactly as the search engine would see it. And you can see where we've got our slogan, the We'd do big ideas as an H2. You can see all of the content that is on that page. Now, we just launched this website. We don't actually have an H1 on our home page yet because we're about to go in and Redo all of our SEO. But this is a great way to be able to see how the search engine sees your page of your website. It's also a great way to see your image alt tags, which we're going to talk about that in a little bit too. So remember that it's called The Foxy SEO toolbar and you have to use Firefox for that to work. 

So I'm gonna switch back to my presentation and on the screen that we're looking at here was for that page before where eldercare services as our H1, and we can see that The Foxy SEO toolbar annotated with a little H1 right there. 

So there's one more type of metadata that there's a lot of a misperception on this one, and that is the keywords when people come to us and they talk about doing SEO on their website of phrase that will commonly hear from them is I want you to put the keywords in my website and that is from many, many, many years ago. The major search engines have not used the keyword metadata in quite a long time as a ranking factor in the reason why is because people used it in ways that they shouldn't and they were putting keywords into pages that weren't even about what that keyword was about. So the key word meta tag, that's the back end of your website and your CMS, you're not going to want to use that if you've got keywords in there, take them out. 

They're doing no good and there is some suspicion, I've heard from, from some of the thought leaders in the industry that having those keywords in there could actually hurt you. I'm not seeing anything factual on that yet, but definitely don't waste your time putting those keywords into the keyword metadata place in the back end of your content management system. Now where keywords are used, and we're going to talk specifically about keyword research in a couple of weeks, but where keywords are used as within the main content of your website. And we're going to get into that when we talk specifically about keywords. 

URL structure is something that's going to be another really important factor in the ranking of your website. I'm going to give you two examples here. The first one here is an example of a poor URL. Now when I went searching for this one, I put this presentation together. I did a search, then went to page 10 because I wanted to find the websites that we're not ranking well and I found this great example of a URL here that if you look at that, you don't have a clue what this website is about, much less what the page that I'm on is about. 

So now let me give you an example of a good URL. So in this case, you know exactly what this webpage is about. You know what the entire website is about. Really from looking at this URL. Well not only do you know that this page is about commercial cleaning services, but you've made it very easy for the search engines also understand that this page is about commercial cleaning services because that's what the URL is, Omegajanitorial.com, forward slash commercial dash cleaning services. So you want to make sure that your URLs look like this and not like this. In most modern content management systems, you have the option to turn on what is called a friendly URL. This is a friendly URL at the bottom. By default, many of today's content management systems are going to look like that out of the box, so go to your website, click and a couple of pages and look and see what your URLs look like. If they look like this, you need to fix it. It's hurting you. So there's some best practices. URL should be easy to read and remember, URL should explain what the page is about. Ideally, the URL should contain your keyword and you should be able to set what the URL of your page is in your content management system. 

As we talked about SEO, there's a couple of types of links that we're going to talk about. There's internal links and then there are going to be a external links and then there's going to be backlinks. An internal links is simply going to be a link from within your website to somewhere else within your website and the search engines like to see, especially on larger websites where you've built up a lot of content for blogs or do you just have a lot of pages on the site, the search engines and your readers are going to appreciate when you have a link from one place in your website to another when it's a relevant place to do so. So internal links should be used to direct the user throughout the website. You should use good anchor text and I'm gonna tell you about anchor texts in just a second. And then internal links are going to help to pass page authority from one page of a website to another. When we talk about the authority of a website, we have a couple of things. We've got page rank and then we have domain authority and then we have pages that already we're going to focus primarily on domain authority and page authority. Domain Authority is going to be the authority of your website as a whole, like in our case, 5stonesmedia.com is the domain and our domain authority is going to be specific to do with our entire website that resides on 5stonesmedia.com. Page authority is going to be the authority of each individual page within that website, so when we have one page that ranks really well and we link from that page to another, then we've told the search engine, hey, this page that we're linking to, it's important to so give that page a little more authority. 

I'm going to show you an example of an internal link going back to that same CARE Inc. website. We have a page here that is about family support for the elderly, well within our text we have a link to the elder care services page. That page that I showed you a little while ago. Now, these words, elder care services, that is your anchor text. I could link any words on this page over to our elder care services page. The URL is careinc.com/elder-care-services. The anchor texts that I use is whatever text on this page I use to link over there. Now, because that page is about elder care services, my anchor text, it just makes sense for us to use the where it says eldercare services on the page as our anchor text. Now I talked about in Black Hat SEO, how you could have anchor text that uh, that could hurt you. Usually where that's going to be the case is if you've gone out and bought a bunch of backlinks, it used to be common practice, not so much anymore, but it still happens by people who have good intentions, but they don't know what they're doing. They will go out and buy a whole bunch of spammy backlinks. They'll go to fiverr.com and they'll pay somebody to go build them a thousand back links. And those people are going to build as backlinks by going into a whole bunch of blogs and commenting on the blogs and when they comment they're going to link back to your website. Well, if we were to do something like that for this website, and we went out there and paid for a thousand links, all of those links had the same exact anchor text. Well the search engines are going to know that didn't happen naturally. We paid for that to happen. We were trying to trick them. So we don't want that same anchor text everywhere on the web, linking back to the website now, internal links, it's not a big deal. You can use the same anchor text if it makes sense but a backlink is one that you're not going to want all that anchor text. 

Alright. And then images when I was showing you the Foxy SEO tool toolbar, I told you that it would show you your, your image, alt text. So image alt text is going to go back a ways, um, and it is related directly to a web website readers. So, um, people who are visually impaired, they will have a program that will read a webpage to them and when there's a picture, that program needs to be able to tell them what the picture is of. So they put image, alt text in place so that the website reader would know what the image was, will the search engines began to use that, uh, to find out what that page was about. So each image of your website, it's not going to be 100 percent of your images, but most of the images on your website should have alt text that describes the image. 

So here we've got a picture of chocolate donuts. Now there's two places where we want to get our keyword. One of them's going to be in the file name. So the actual name of this picture, when you save it to your computer, you want a name that picture and include your name in it. So the name of this picture was chocolate-donuts.jpg. And our alt text in this case was the best chocolate donuts and we use chocolate donuts because I'm about to pull everything that we just talked about together. Images in general file size should be as small as possible while still looking good. So you want to downsize that image. If it only needs to display at 600 pixels X 400 pixels, you don't want to have a 4,000 X 6,000 pixel image up there. If it's only going to be used on the web, you don't need to have 300 DPI, which is going to be your image resolution. You would want that for print, but you don't want that for web because it's going to slow down your website. 

The image names should describe the image and the image alt text should describe the image and ideally contain your keyword. So moving on with the chocolate donuts theme, we've got a graphic here of the perfectly optimized page. We will put a link to this graphic. This graphic was created by Moz, not by us, but Moz put this together. It's the perfectly optimized page. But the first thing that we're going to look at for this page is it shows us our title and our meta elements. So you're not gonna be able to see this real good, I understand, but the title which referring to the title tag of the page is chocolate donuts from Mary's bakery. 

The meta description is learned the three secrets to Mary's award winning chocolate donuts, get times and locations for availability and learn how to make your own donuts at home. And then the URL is Marysbakery.com/chocolate-donuts. So you can see in all three cases our title tag, our meta description, and in our URL we have our main keyword, which is chocolate donuts. And then as we get to the page itself, this is on the page, it's just that it's in the code, but when we get to the page as far as what people can see, we're going to have our H1 tag up here. This is chocolate donuts from Mary's bakery. So again, we've got our keyword in our H1 header tag and in our content we've got the word chocolate donuts and they bolded the word. 

Now you don't want to go crazy bolding your keyword all over your page, bolding and italicizing it and underline it. All three of those things will make it stand out to the search engines that this is an important word on the page, but you don't want to go nuts with it. Yeah, do it once or twice. And that's it. So just as we look at the descriptions that they give here, the content offers everything a searcher might want in a unique, high quality amalgamation. Now amalgamation, basically it's just saying that everything is laid out nicely and it's going to be user friendly for the people who are reading this webpage. Then we have clear layout, solid visuals, beautiful simple design, and they make the page easy to use and enjoy. 

So when somebody has found a page of your website, they want that page to be easy to understand. They don't want to come here and be confused by it. They don't want to come here and see an ugly page. They want a beautiful page that is laid out nicely and that is going to give them the information that they're looking for. This page includes authorship. This is actually outdated. Google doesn't do authorship anymore, so I'm gonna skip that. There are no impediments to search crawlers reaching this page are determining the canonical version now and a couple of weeks we're going to talk about canonical URLs and that'll make sense the. But when it says there's no impediments to search, basically Google's system of going out and crawling a webpage. They call them search spiders, so the search spiders need to be able to crawl the pages of your website. 

A couple of years back, I had a client that came to me and they had had someone build them, a new website. Their old website had ranked very well in the search engines and within about three months they could not be found at all. When we started looking into what was going on and I started doing an audit on it, I'm looking at the page code and I see in the page code where it says, no index. No index is a snippet of code that tells the search engines do not read this webpage. Well, the search engine can't read your webpage, they're not going to continue to include it in the index. The reason that this had been done is because while the website was being built, it was built live on the Internet, which we do that as well, but they didn't want the search engines to pick up on the website that was not finished yet. 

Well, when they launched it, they forgot to go in and turn off the no index, so they fell out of the search rankings and it took them a little while to crawl back. So that's a mistake that you don't want to make. So make sure that your pages are crawlable. Social share buttons, you know, the like button, the tweet button plus one button was just a little outdated, but still having the social share buttons there for people to be able to share your content easily. The more that it shared, there's a thing called social signals. We'll talk about that as well in a couple of weeks. The more that it's shared, the more importance that Google is going to see in your webpage. And then primary and secondary keyword phrases appear in prominent positions in the headline title and content, and that's basically getting back to your headline and then your content that we talked about. 

And then thanks to solidly tested responsive design. This page loads looking great on any device, screen size and browser, and that is something that has become more and more important. We're going to talk about mobile design as well in a couple of weeks. So your website should be mobile. I'm actually going to touch on that though because it's something that's really important. Google has recently was October of last year actually, they started getting more searches on mobile devices than they did on desktops. When that happened, they split up their index. So now they have a mobile index and they have just a regular search index. Well Google knows if your website is mobile friendly or not. As a matter of fact, you can go to Google and test your website through their mobile tester. And if your website is not mobile, then when somebody searches on a mobile device, they do not give you the authority that you would get if you were mobile friendly. 

So when somebody searches on that mobile device, people are depending on Google to give them the best results and Google is telling them to go to a webpage that the person's not going to be able to read that well on their phone, then they're not doing their job. So that mobile index is it, unless you just have no competition or no competition with mobile sites, your website is not going to show up on page one in the search results. And Let's face it, they say the best place to hide a dead body is on page two of Google. So it is extremely important that your website is mobile. We say mobile responsive because responsive design is the gold standard in mobile design. But we're going to get into that in some more detail in a future installment. 

So in a couple of weeks and say in a couple of weeks, because next week I'm not going to be here, someone is going to do a live stream next week that's going to be on a different topic, unrelated to this. It'll be something simple that can be covered in one week. I'll be out of town on a business trip, but when we get back, I'm going to pick up on this and that'll be in two weeks. We're going to have live stream number two. And the things that we're going to talk about are going to be duplicate content. We're going to talk about canonical URLs, we'll talk about how to use video for search, the importance of mobile. We're going to talk about page speed and how that affects your ranks and also scheme of data are structured data. In week three, we're going to get into off page SEO, primarily backlinks, but we'll talk about some other things as well. And then we're going to talk about keyword research, which that's going to be the foundation of your SEO. 

In livestream number four, we're going to talk about Google Analytics, Google Webmaster tools, and we'll talk about some other analytics tools that are really cool, like heat maps and session recordings and website visitor id. These are all things that you're going to find very interesting. So as we go through this, my hopes with it is that you'll be able to take this information. It's going to give you a really solid understanding of SEO, possibly enough to be able to go in and completely do it yourself, or at least give you the confidence to search out the tools that are going to allow you to do it yourself. Or if not, at the very least, you're going to be able to have a really good conversation with the person who's doing your SEO for you, and all be on the same page and not be completely confused by everything that they're telling you. So, stick with us on this. We're going to have, again, four sessions. Ask us questions. I will be happy to answer questions there. And, let us know how we can help you. Thank you for being here today.


 

Class 2:

Welcome to our Thursday livestream where we will continue our discussion about Search Engine Optimization. Two weeks ago we began a discussion and we talked about a lot of on page Search Engine Optimization. So if you're just catching up with us as this is the first one you're going to want to go back to the one that we did two weeks ago where we talked about on page SEO. Some of the things we talked about were title tags and Meta descriptions, header tags. We actually did not talk about content. We're saving that. URL structure, we're going to talk about canonical URLs today. We talked about internal links and content structure. These are all very important things, probably the most important things that you're going to do for your Search Engine Optimization. So today we're going to talk about duplicate content and canonical URLs. We're going to talk about the importance of mobile for Search Engine Optimization. We're going to talk about Schema data and we will talk about a video and SEO. 

So duplicate content is where you have one of two situations. Either you have two websites that have the same content on them and I don't necessarily mean exactly the same throughout the entire website. It could be that there is a blog post on a website to do the exact same content as another website. And then there's also duplicate content within your own website which is much more common, and I'll explain a little bit further on that. So Google will penalize a website that has duplicate content, but at the same time that I tell you that I tell you to take this with a grain of salt because there are some situations where that is not an issue. For example, on news websites where the Associated Press, will put out a press release and then that same article gets put out by hundreds of websites. Well, that is not an issue for Google because it's news. 

So when we have duplicate content that's across multiple websites, the search engines are going to assume that that content has been stolen. Usually they're going to attribute the content to the website who had that content on it first. So like when you're building a new website or you're building a new page on your website, one of the worst things that you could possibly do is to go search in some city that's far away for a good website and take their content and go put it on your website. And unfortunately, a lot of people do that. So you want to make sure that you don't do that. You don't want to have the exact same content on two different websites. Like I said, news websites, it's expected. Content scraper websites kind of the same, but there is no real on this. There's kind of a disconnect within the SEO community as to whether or not this is an issue. But I will tell you that on websites where we have fixed the duplicate content issues, we've watched the rankings climb. So I know for myself actually, that there is an issue with duplicate content. The best practices just to have completely unique content on your website when it comes time for a new page on your website or a new website altogether, you want to have it written specifically for you. 

Now duplicate content within the same website. That is a much more common thing. And the thing is, is that it's typically not actually that you have duplicate content and what I mean by that is you wouldn't have two pages on your website that had the exact same content, but usually it is a site structure problem and it's usually with the url of the website. So you will have a website where either the entire website or pages within that website will respond to multiple URLs. I'm going to show you some examples of that. So if we look at the examples I've got here, we have domain.com, we have domain.com/home, we have domain.com/index.html and domain.com/default.aspx. Now these are all URLs that could lead to the home page of the same exact website, so you have one homepage that if you typed in any of these, that same home page might come up and that's a problem with the website because the website should force the url for a particular page and in the case of a homepage, I know on a website that we build the homepage just simply needs to be domain.com. We don't need a forward slash home or index.html or default.aspx or any of that. Now the content management system that you are using for your website, I say Wordpress because Wordpress is the most common content management system used. We don't use Wordpress. We use a system called DNN, but either one of these systems like Wordpress or DNN or any of the good content management systems out there. They're going to force this to have just one url, so you want to go through your website and sometimes you have to use tools to find these issues. A good tool that you could use would be Moz.com. It will show you if you have duplicate content issues within your website and sometimes you have them without even knowing it because you don't realize that your website is using a combination of something like friendly URLs and the ugly URLs like we showed on the livestream that we did two weeks ago. So again, sometimes you have to use tools to find that. 

Now a way that you can get around this, if you have a website that has a site structure problem, is by using what's called a canonical url. Now canonical url is just a piece of metadata that is put into the website. And depending on the system that you're using, there's going to be different ways that you would put this into the into that metadata. But it's basically telling the search engine, I don't care what link you used to get to this page. This is the link for that page. That is sometimes the easiest way to fix a problem with duplicate content within the same website where there's a website structure problem. Because when I put this, for example, on the homepage of our website, then the search engine now knows that this is the url that I want you to use for my website no matter what. 

One of the examples that I did not give you there is that if you have your url with the www and you also have it without it, then that causes a problem. Now certainly your website, somebody should be able to get to your website whether they use the www or not. In our case we have our website set so that it uses the www. And if you go to 5stonesmedia.com without typing in www, it's going to take you here. And it automatically puts that www in there. And that's done through a redirect. So you want to make sure that you don't have an issue with that also. So go to whatever your website's domain is and try it with the www and try it without it and see if it redirects you or if, when you get there, each time when you look up in the bar at the top of your browser, does it show the www when you typed it in or without it, when you didn't type it in. I hope I'm making that clear. 

I'm confusing myself on it honestly, but it's you want the website to respond to only one of the two and make sure that your canonical is the same as whichever one you've chosen for the website to actually be. The other thing about canonical is you can really mess up a website by using this in the wrong way. You don't want to manually put a canonical url on something like your blog page because most content management systems now, the web address never changes for that. The main blog page with the listing, it's all done dynamically. But if you put that canonical url on the blog page and then you have a blog, like in our case that might be 5stonesmedia.com/whymobileisimportantforSeo, then the canonical url for that is still going to be our 5stonesmedia.com/blog. 

And now all of our blog pages are not going to get indexed. So you have to make sure that you're using this properly. If do you have any questions about the way that you're using it in your website feel free to ask me about it, posted in the comments or whatever. The way that you can see this on your page would be to view the source of the page to know whether or not you have canonical URLs. And usually on the browser you're just going to right click somewhere on your website. And there'll be a option there that says view source. And it's going to give you a bunch of code. Well, you can use the find feature that's usually up at the top right. And if you type in the word canonical, if it comes up, then you're using canonical URLs. If it doesn't, then you're not. 

Another thing that I wanted to talk to you all about is schema data. Now schema data, or structured data, is just a way of telling the search engines what type of content you're presenting to them. So with Schema data there are probably more than a hundred different options out there for the types of Schema data that you can have. And it's just, again, it's a way of telling the search engine the type of content it is. The most common thing that small businesses going to use is going to be Schema data that is for a local business. And I'll show you an example of that and I'm going to show you some code so don't get freaked out by the code. It's a little bit easier than you would think it would be. But the first time you look at it, it could be a bit confusing. 

Now this is an example of just the information about a local business that has not been wrapped, them Schema data and it's got the name of the business, it's got the reviews, it's got the address, the phone number, the web address, the hours, the categories that it falls into, the price range in this case, and then whether or not they take reservations. Well we can help out the search engines by telling them what each little piece of this information is. And again, it's usually going to be done like on the contact page of your small business. But this is what it looks like once you wrap it with all of this data. And I don't expect you to know how to go in and do all of this, but it is something that you do need to know about. 

So when we look up here, we can see that the type of item is a restaurant listening. We've got the item prop here is the name. This one is going to be the review rating. As we continue down the page, we'll see that we're telling the search engine that here's the address and we break it down even more by showing them the street address, which you can see right here is the 1901 Lever Avenue, the address locality which is going to be the city. We can see Sunnyvale right here. And then the address region, which is going to be your state is California. And then the postal code being the 94086. So you're literally telling the search engine what every piece of this data that you're giving them is. 

And it's a great way to be able to get the proper information for your business out to the search engine. And also many of the directory listings. If you were following us on our local SEO, you know about these directory listings, a lot of the directory listings will get their information from Schema data that's on a website. They are their spiders that crawl the website. And if their schema data, then they will pull that in as the correct information for your business. So as we go down the page, we got the telephone number of the hours, the type of food that they serve because it's a restaurant and then the price. So not only do they have those for local businesses and for restaurants, but they also have this for blog posts. They also have it for videos. And I'm going to show you an example of videos that have this. You can do this for events and the search engines will actually pull all that information and they will make your listing standout when they're showing someone a search result. 

I'm going to show you that in just a second. So, Schema data, you can find out more information about Schema data at Schema.org. You can find out all the different types of information that they have out there. Another big one is going to be ecommerce. You know, an item that you would have on your website that you were wrapping all the scheme of data with the item image and the item title and the price of the item and the description of the item and you're telling the search engine again, what each piece of that information actually is when you use that Schema data. So you know, checkout Schema.org and see what all kind of options they've got there. 

Alright, so another thing that I want to talk to you about is video and how video is good for search. YouTube is now the second largest search engine in the world. It's owned by Google. You will notice that a lot of times when you were doing a search, that videos will come up in the tops of the searches, especially if you're looking for a how to do things. In many, many cases, even beyond that, when you're doing a search, video is often one of the first or second or third results that shows for whatever it is that you're searching for. So we're going to talk about self hosted video and then we're going to talk about video like on YouTube or Vimeo or something like that. So here are two examples of search results that came up when doing a search about Search Engine Optimization. 

And this one you'll notice is on YouTube and this one is on a website. Now self hosted video is really nice because when somebody clicks on that link, they're actually going to go to that website and that to YouTube. That's not always the most practical thing for you to do. You've got to have a server that's got really good bandwidth to be able to serve videos because when people are watching those videos, if they're buffering, not streaming well, they're not going to continue to watch. So I still like using something like YouTube or Vimeo, but where you can do self hosted video, that's great. The thing is, if you use self hosted video, you want to have all the little pieces wrapped in Schema data because that is why this, this self hosted video shows up exactly the same as the YouTube one does, where you've got the thumbnail of the video, you've got the date that it was uploaded, you got the duration that shows. In this case some data that was pulled from Google Plus, which is kind of irrelevant now. 

You have to wrap your video in the same information that Google wraps there's in on YouTube, which, believe me, they have, there's wrapped them Schema data. Now getting back to Schema data, it does the same thing as what we're seeing here. Where it showed a different result for the video. It'll do that same thing for an event. So like if you have any event listing on your website, if you wrap it in Schema data, when somebody does a search rather than just having nothing but text on the page, your search results will stand out because it will show you an image. If you have an image for the event, it will show you the actual dates of the event. It'll show you the description of the event, the title of the event, the location of the event, and it makes a really nice looking thing that stands out in that Google search result from all of the other results and it's going to get clicked on at a higher rate. 

So that's why you would want to use schema data. Now on video, even if you are using something like YouTube and you're not hosting on your website, doing Search Engine Optimization for videos, which is something we'll talk about in another live stream is something that's really good because when your videos get found online, then it's still will often lead people back to your website. So to go ahead and put something on YouTube and title it properly. And you know, within that video, put links back to your website or to make sure that they understand what business you're from, it's all going to help with your business being found. So don't feel necessarily like it has to be your actual website that comes up in the search results for you to see a benefit from it. And because of how powerful video is, you want to be creating videos for your business, especially how to kind of stuff. It's exactly what we're doing here. And you know, one of the reasons why we do it. 

Finally, mobile friendly. Your website pretty much has to be mobile friendly in 2017 if you want it to actually perform for you. So last year around October, Google put it out to the world that the previous quarter for the first time they had ever seen the searches that were done on mobile exceeded the amount of searches that were done on desktop devices. Now at the same time that they put that out there, they said that they were going to split their search index, so they now have a search index that is specific for mobile devices and another search index that is specific for desktop. So we know that 58%, which this was in October of last year, so I'm sure it's higher now. We know that 58% of searches are being done on mobile devices. We know that Google has a search index that is specific to mobile devices, so when somebody is on a mobile device, remember over half of the people who are searching and they are searching for whatever it is that your business provides. 

If they are on a mobile device and your website is not mobile friendly, your website is not going to come up in those search results. So you're missing out on over half of the possible searches that would be relevant to your business. So you need your website to be mobile friendly. If there are no other options, if there's not mobile results for them to show then your website may make it into that mobile index, but for the most part it's not going to happen. Now, in this search that I did right here, you can see that in the, uh, in, in the Meta description or right before the Meta description, it will say mobile friendly and you'll see the top three results show that they're mobile friendly. 

And then the last one down at the bottom was not mobile friendly. So you can tell without a doubt they're giving preference to the websites that are mobile friendly. There's also a lot of statistics out there that show that if someone goes to a website on a mobile device and the website is not mobile friendly, that they will leave and go find another website that is mobile friendly. So you instantly lose out on business when your website is not mobile friendly. It was more important than it has ever been and it's going to continue to get more and more important. 

Next week we're going to continue. As a we get deeper and deeper into Search Engine Optimization, if there's something specific that you're wanting to learn about, please leave us a comment and I will cover it if you've got any questions or anything, we will answer them in the meantime. We appreciate you being here and watching and we look forward to seeing you next week on Thursday at 11:00.


 

Class 3:

Good morning everyone and welcome back to our 5 Stones Academy livestream. This is episode three of our series on search engine optimization. The last couple of weeks we've primarily talked about things that you do on your website for search engine optimization. Today we're going to talk about backlinks, which is something that you would do off of your website, and then we're going to talk about keyword research as well. So when we talk about backlinks, what we're referring to is links that are from other people's websites or just somewhere else on the web that link back to somewhere on your website. Sometimes they link to the homepage, sometimes they link to an inside page or a blog page or something like that, or maybe to directly to a product if you're an ecommerce store. But anyway it goes, it's just a link from somewhere else on the web back to your website. 

Now not all links are created equal. The gold standard of links would be considered a .gov or .edu link. Those can be challenging to get sometimes. I know for ourselves we have been lucky enough to get some .edu links by teaching some of the classes and being involved in some of the programs that our local university and a couple of universities that aren't local. We've also been fortunate to get some .gov backlinks through some work that we've done a on some government projects where they linked from a news story or an update that was on their own website back to our website. When you can get those .edu's and the .gov's that are linking back to your website, those have a lot of authority and will in turn boost your website's authority. 

Beyond that, you want to look for websites that have a high domain authority. It means that it is a website that it's got some presence out there and Google or the other search engines look at it and say, this is an important website. And from that website it is linking back to your website. And then we have social signals which are another type of backlink. And basically social signals are when things start popping up on social media about you. A social signal, wouldn't necessarily be just somebody posting a link on social media back to a website, but it's more about when something goes viral, if you think about a news story, for example, if something happens in the news, it tends to be all over social media really quick. So you might have something that happened an hour ago that when you go search for it, it's the top result in the Google search index. 

Well, we're not so lucky as to be able to do that in business just for the services that we offer. But when there's something that just pops up all over social media, the search engines index those social media sites, they see these links popping up all over the place and they say, oh, this must be something really important. And they will increase that to the top of their search index and show that as the top search results when you're searching for something to do with that. So social signals are important as well. So backlinks, the best practices for them is that they should be naturally occurring or at least appear that way. In other words, well I'll get into buying backlinks a minute, but you want to mix up your anchor text. I talked about anchor text in the first livestream series that we did a couple of weeks ago. 

Anchor text is just whatever the text is that links to your website. So like in our case, we wouldn't want all of our anchor texts to say website design or marketing agency. We would want that anchor texts to be mixed up. Somewhere in someone's text they might be talking about the best marketing agency in Louisiana and of course they're referring to us. So that text would then be the link to our website. You want to have links from pages that have high page rank. That's the best thing which we talked about that. So not just any old website is going to give you a good domain authority when they link to you. That's why there's edu's and the .gov's are really powerful is because usually those are websites that they have a lot of presence online. They're very powerful. 

So again, you want powerful websites linking back to you. The more powerful the website that links back to you, the more power it is going to give your website in the search results and then the best practices to not buy links. Now in search engine optimization is the common practice that links are bought. Sometimes they're purchased, sometimes they are rented. There are a lot of ways to get yourself in trouble doing that. The search engines don't want you buying links. They want these links to happen naturally. So when you go on Fiverr and you buy 500 links back to your website for $20, those are not going to be quality links. They're also not going to look naturally occurring. When over the course of a couple of weeks you got 500 new links back to your website and they all have the same exact anchor text and they're all blog comments. 

So you don't want to buy links like that. Now, even on the high end of buying links, you have to be really careful because there are these things called a personal blog networks. People will build up these PBMs as they referred to them and they will build a powerful websites in various topics and then they will make money off of them by selling links off of those websites. Now everything is fine and good until Google puts together the pieces and realizes that all of these websites that are linking back to your website are part of a personal blog network. And when that happens, now your website gets penalized by Google. So you have to be super, super careful if you're going to buy links. That's why we say the best strategy is just don't buy links at all. And certainly don't do this as a novice in search. 

If someone is going to buy links for you, you want it to be someone who knows what they are doing. We do not buy links at 5 Stones. We prefer to build your presence in the search engines by building your website up as an authority on a topic. It does take longer that way, but it is something that will never come back to bite you. Whereas buying links very well could. Stay away from those PBMs and the link exchanges. Your friends who have their website that says if you'll put a link to my website on yours, I'll put a link to your website on mine. That's a bad idea. You don't want every website that's linking to you for you to also be linking back to them. 

It's just, it's not natural. And the search engines know that these aren't naturally occurring links. So some ways to actually get good backlinks yourself would be things like directory listings and trade associations. You think of your local Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Commerce. In many cases, will have a directory of all of their listings, but then they will allow you the option to put a link from their website back to yours in their directory. Now I said don't buy backlinks and in some cases the Chambers of Commerce or the trade association will charge you a little bit to put that link back to your website. In that case, it's okay because it's not someone who's selling links for the purpose of search engine optimization, but it is something that will help you. You just think about all the trade associations that you're involved with and in some cases you might have 5 to 10 really nice backlinks that you can get from those trade associations back to your website. 

So you need to look and see are the trade associations that you're involved with, do they have a member directory? And if so, do they offer an opportunity for you to get a link from their directory listings back to your website? Great way to get a good link. And sometimes those trade organizations have some fairly powerful websites. Guest blog post. This is a situation where you would write a blog or you would hire a writer to write a blog for you that would go on someone else's website and within that blog there's a link back to your website. There's nothing wrong with this. This is a good way to build good links back to your website and you are offering that person a value in that they're getting good content for their website and look, don't try to do a crappy blog posts and get someone to put it on their on their blog. 

You want to do a really well thought out, well written blog post for that person so that they're getting value out of it. And then you get the value out of them posting that to their website and in return giving you a backlink from their website to yours. So a great way to get a backlink. Client or donor websites. So if you have clients are people that you donate to that it would make sense for them to put a link back to your website sometimes that's a good thing to do. And I'll give you an example. One of my clients that we've done a lot of search engine optimization for, they make logistics software. So what they do is they want students who are learning logistics and supply chain management to understand their software so they donate that software to the schools, the colleges that have a logistics and supply chain management courses so that their students will get used to working in their software, be experienced with it, and possibly the place that they go to work, be able to convince them to use the software that they're familiar with. 

So it's a pretty good thing. But the other thing is the college gets a lot of benefit out of this because now they're getting a software program that is thousands of dollars to use with their students for free. So sometimes the department of that college will link back to that software company's website and these are high quality .edu links. Think like University of Miami. I know as one of the people that have donated to so when they get a link like that back to their website it's powerful. So think about where in your business is that opportunity to get that link back to your website. And then of course, social signals. Now a lot of times social signals aren't good because when something just pops up all of a sudden, and it's all over social media really quick, sometimes it's bad news and and you don't necessarily want that. So social signals, if you can get that thing that goes viral, that's great about your business, then that's awesome and a great way to make your website rank much better. 

Alright, so if you've got any questions about backlinks, be sure to post them in the comments under this video on Facebook and we will be sure to answer you. So now we're gonna move on to keyword research, which keyword research is really bringing it back to on page optimization and the things that you would do on your website, but you need to figure out what are the words that I need to put on my website that people are searching for. So just to give you a definition, a keyword could be something like widget, whereas a key phrase would be something like red widget. So that would be the difference between a keyword and a key phrase. 

As I move forward, if I say keyword or key phrase, I'm talking about either one of these things and then a longterm keyphrase might be something like red widget manufacturers in New Orleans and these long tail phrases are the things that can really get you a lot of business because the longer the description that the person searches and the closer that matches to what you have on your website, the more relevant of a client that person probably is who's doing searching. So the long tail key phrases or where the money is. 

So the purpose of keyword research is to make sure that you're writing content using the words that your audience is searching for. I've got an example here you don't want to optimize your website for the word widgets if people are actually searching for dewhickies. And I'll show you some examples of that and why you need to really think that through. But some keyword research tools that can be used would be the Google Keyword Planner. Google Trends, Market Samurai are just regular Google Search on the most basic level. There's a lot of different premium tools that you can purchase. Most of the do it yourselfers are going to use the tools that Google already has for free. So this is an example of the Keyword Planner that is in Google and it is a free tool to use. 

You do need to have an AdWords account to access it. What the Keyword Planner will allow you to do is search for phrases that would be related to your business and it'll show you like how many people are actually searching for those words. So in many cases you're going to want the words that are searched for the most. If you're in a very highly competitive field than sometimes you want to find those words that are not the most highly searched word, but your competition isn't trying to rank their websites for it. And those would be the golden goose keywords that we like to rank for. So you know, if you've got your main keyword, like in our business, web design, well that's a word that's going to be searched for hundreds of thousands of times per day across the United States. 

But when you get into a situation where you find that, and look, I'm not telling you all what any of our golden goose keywords are because I don't want people to use them. But if you can find that golden goose keyword for your business, where maybe it's only searched for 10 times per day, but you can be the website where you outrank all of your competition because they overlooked that word. They're not trying to rank for that. Well, that is a key word that can make you a lot of money. So those golden goose keywords are great. The keyword planner is a tool that'll show you many of the words that are being searched for around your industry and you have to decide, do you want to go for that keyword that everybody is searching for and try to outrank your competition? Or do you want to really fine tune it and look down the list and find the ones that people are searching for that there's still enough searches to make it worth ranking your website for it. But your competition is not searching for that word. 

The keyword planner is one tool that will do that. Now an even better tool to be able to do that, and this is the tool that I use when I'm doing keyword research, is called Market Samurai and it will actually give you the exact numbers of how many people are searching for it. It'll show you how many other websites are competing for that keyword because they have the keyword in their title tag. How many are within the content of the website. It's just a great tool that'll really allow you to get deep into the keyword research and find those golden goose keywords. The big keywords, the ones that everybody is searching for, you don't even need to do research for those, you know those off the top of your head. And those are usually the ones that somebody comes to and you know it's an attorney and they're like, I want to rank for a personal injury attorney in four states. And it's like, okay, how many hundreds of thousands of dollars do you have to put behind the search engine optimization? Because that's what it's gonna take to get your ranking well for something like that. Now to rank locally in your own hometown, that's a different story. It can be done. To rank nationally for just a small key phrase like that personal injury attorney in such a highly competitive field. It's going to cost hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars to do that. 

Here is an example of what many of you will want to have doing the do it yourself or sort of doing your own search engine optimization and you want to do keyword research. One of the easiest things to do is just go do a search for your main keyword in Google and then scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page and here's an example of where I searched for Internet marketing and then these are some other common key phrases that are searched for a and you need to look at those and figure out is there something in there that I want to rank for? 

Now another great tool and it's a free tool, is Google Trends and I show you the picture of this because I want to show you the value of Google trends and you can just go to google.com/trends to access it. So what do you call this thing that we're looking here? We're looking at here on this slide now, I teach this class live and there've been many occasions where I passed round paper and had everybody write down what they call this thing and for this particular device some people are going to call it a thumb drive or a usb drive or a usb stick or flash drive, all kinds of different things that people call this. Well, which one do you want to rank your website for? And that's where Google trends really comes in. So with Google trends you're able to put in all of the different keywords and figure out which one is the word that most people are calling this. 

So if you can see this on the screen, the blue line is for the word thumb drives the red lines for USB drive. The yellow line is flash drive, the green line is usb stick and the purple line is usb flash drive and we can see that the trends show that usb drive is the clear winner. However, over time it has gotten closer and closer as it's become more and more broad as to what people would actually call this product. So Google trends is a really great way to go do a quick search to see what phrase are people using to find whatever product or service it is that I'm offering. It's a completely free tool, google.com/trends. I will leave you with this final thing to drive home the point of you need to know what people are searching for and this is an actual example of a case study that I read where a lot of money was being spent on ads and it shouldn't have been. 

So when we look at this picture, you need to think about what would you be searching for if you wanted to stay in that building right there. Okay, so that building, we clearly see the sign on it that says the Hilton. Right here we see a picture of the Eiffel Tower, so we know that this building is in Paris. So if these people were doing advertising, if they didn't think about it, which they didn't at first, the key words that they were trying to rank for are in their case purchase ads for were Paris Hilton. Now you think about how many people are searching for Paris Hilton that don't care anything about that hotel or the city of Paris. So really put some thought into your keywords and key phrases, especially when you're buying them, when you're doing pay per click advertising to make sure that you're not paying for stuff that is related to something completely different than what it is that you're selling. So thank you for being here with us today. If you've got any questions, make sure to post them in the comments under the video and we will be back next week where we're going to be talking about Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools, which is something that any small business owner really should be using. So I look forward to seeing you next week.


 

Class 4 - Coming Soon!

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