There is an art to using SEO to optimize your blog, and it starts with humans, not bots like ChatGPT. Yes, you want to rank, but you need to go about it properly because Google knows the difference between valuable content and a keyword-stuffed blog written by an AI.
I’m excited to demystify SEO for bloggers by sharing a BlogHer conference presentation that I got to do in collaboration with my amazingly talented daughter, Chloe Spencer. Bloggers offered up their sites so we could dive in and critique them, sharing tactical, hands-on SEO tips to give them leverage over their competitors. We explain which HTML tags are important aspects of on-page SEO, why duplicate content is an issue, and how to optimize for your target keywords. If you don’t know about geeky stuff like canonical tags, RSS feeds, and the difference between keyword prominence and keyword density, you’re going to learn! We also share valuable tips on keyword brainstorming, competitor research, and internal linking. If you have a blog, or you’re thinking of starting one, you’ll find this to be a really fun and informative episode about all things blogging and SEO. So, without any further ado, here’s our presentation!
In This Episode
- [09:09] – Stephan discusses tag pages and why it is considered a mistake in SEO.
- [12:12] – What are date-based archives?
- [17:11] – Chloe Spencer explains why title tags are important aspects of on-page SEO, while Stephan talks about duplicate content. They give tips on how to address mistakes and optimize target keywords.
- [27:31] – How to make a good navigation structure? What are RSS feeds and their role in your content?
- [31:12] – What’s the difference between keyword prominence and keyword density?
- [32:07] – Stephan and Chloe discuss robots.txt, canonical tags, and 301 redirects.
- [40:26] – Why do internal links matter?
- [44:30] – What is the best keyword research tool, according to Chloe?
- [57:08] – How does Majestic work?
- [64:30] – Why do we need to use Google Search Console?
- [68:52] – Stephan shows how to check 404 errors on someone’s website.
- [70:51] – What does Chloe say about page speed?
I’m Chloe Spencer, for those who didn’t hear before. Yes. I’m Stephan’s daughter. We are father and daughter, and both SEO consultants. I’m pretty much his mini-me. I’ll just tell you, guys, a little bit about me and how I got started. I started my first business when I was 14 years old, neopetsfanatic.com.
It was a fan site for Neopets, which is a virtual pet site that was really popular back when I was a kid that I used to play on all the time. I was a huge fan of it, so I created a fan site, and I monetized it with Google AdSense ads. By the time I was 15, I was generating over $1000 a month in passive income, which was a huge amount of money to me back then. I was ranking at the very top of Google for Neopets and all the different Neopets-related keywords, and it became the most popular Neopets fan site on the Internet.
It’s been 12 years now that I’ve been doing SEO, which makes me sound really old, I guess that is what happens when you start really young; you just sound old. I’ve been doing it for 12 years, and about six years ago, I started my SEO and online marketing consulting business, and that’s what I’m doing today.
Who has a child, a niece or nephew, friends, a coworker, or somebody that they think would be a great job for them to actually be self-employed, making money, passive income, using the Internet? Exactly. You can start as young as 14. She’s 26 now, and it was a piece of cake for her. I didn’t do the work for her. I just showed her some stuff, and she did the magic herself. She had a passion, and she monetized it and used SEO to do it. I’m a proud dad.
Look at that. That’s her website back in the day. She called it the Ultimate Neopets Cheats Site because Neopets cheats was a popular keyword. Do you want to explain how you found that that was one of the best keywords to target?
Sure. I first started doing my keyword research using Google Suggest, a tool that many people don’t even think to use. It’s when you’re using Google, and you’re typing something in, and it comes up with automatic examples of beginning with the letters that you started typing in. These are based on really popular searches.
It’s great to get as many press interviews as possible and make yourself an expert in your niche. That helps build your rankings in Google.
If you start to type in shoes, fashion, cupcakes or whatever, it’s going to come up with popular searches, including the one you just started typing. That’s a great free brainstorming tool you can use just right off the bat. I realized that Neopets Cheats was really popular, more popular than Neopet Cheats because synonyms, singular, plural, it all matters. That’s just one great free tool we have right up there on the screen where you can see it’s so easy.
We’re going to show you tons of tools, but this is just so obvious because you’re all using it, but you’re not thinking of this as a keyword research tool. There are localized suggestions in there, so take that with a grain of salt. You’ll see Orlando-type results in there if you’re in Orlando or LA results. Just realize that there are some localized results or suggestions in there as well. And your search history is incorporated in there, too.
If you did a search on a keyword, it’s going to show up in purple in that list.
SEO is so simple a child can do it. At least we’re going to demystify it as much as we can so that you don’t feel like you have to be a tech geek, although if you are, that’s great and helpful but not necessary.
Look at that. It’s just this virtuous cycle that comes when you start getting success. You get media attention, and you get your links, your SEO improves because you have links, and these are high-quality links, and media sites. You get on TV.
That was actually a huge part of how I became at the top in my niche. I was really getting myself out there. I started speaking when I was only 16. In fact, the first conference I ever spoke at when I was 16 was at BlogHer ’07 in Chicago.
Who was at BlogHer ’07? Anyone? No one?
One person in the back. Awesome. Nice to see you.
It’s really great to get as much press interviews as possible and make yourself an expert in your niche, and that really helps build your rankings in Google.
Make sure you get links when you get those media mentions. She was just interviewed by MSNBC this morning just out there, and hopefully she’s going to get a link in the article that includes the video embed on their site.
You got to follow up and make sure that that happens because if you don’t ask, you don’t get it. You may not get it anyway, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get it.
It doesn’t count, dad.
No, it totally counts. For SEO, it was awesome.
Here’s our agenda. We’re going to cover some blog critiques. We’re going to do that towards the end. We’re going to cover some common mistakes, that you guys will almost inevitably be making.
We’ll cover some tips and tricks and then some SEO tools. Some of our favorites there are many, and a number of them are free. That’s the great thing. Let’s start with the mistakes.
You chime in on any of the stuff that you want, but I’ll just crank through these really quickly. Tag pages. Who’s familiar with tag pages? Who’s not familiar with tag pages? Why don’t you grab a business card and we’re going to show you tag pages on your blog.The keywords in your title tag are given the most weight by Googlebot when crawling your site. Click To Tweet
Mint and Thrift. I’m going to switch networks here because I brought this little guy just to be safe. It’s a MiFi and I also have a Mevo up front. That’s my beautiful wife, the love of my life right there, manning the Mevo. That’s how we’re doing Facebook Live.
By the way, I’m just going to put a plug-in for her. This is her awesome podcast. It’s amazing. It’s called Stellar Life. On that she’s had such guests as Allison Armstrong and Dr. John Demartini, who is in The Secret. Michael Gerber, who wrote The E-Myth, some really big-name guests. Dave Asprey, the Bulletproof Coffee guy who wrote The Bulletproof Diet. Definitely subscribe to that podcast. End of commercial.
So let me show you some tag pages, and now hopefully, we are on this trustee Battlestar Galactica network. What I’m going to do here is I’m specifically going to look for a tag page. I’m going to do a Google search for a site:mintandthrift.com, and let’s see what comes up. I bet we’re going to get some tag pages.
Who knows how to do this site: search? Anyone? Here’s a great tip for you. This is a way to see all your pages or many of them. If you’ve got a large blog, then you can’t see all of them this way, but you can get maybe 700 and some results back.
Isn’t that cool? You type in site: then your domain. No space after the colon, just site:yourdomainname.com.
This is all in this little guy here, this little book, Google Power Search, but you can add other keywords. Let’s say we want to find a page about deals or let’s do something else. Let’s do coupons. Oh, no, you don’t have a single page that talks about coupons. Darn it. There’s a tip for you. Create a page that has coupons because I see shopping deals and tips. People are shopping and searching for coupons all the time. Promo codes is another one.
Coupon code is a really big keyword.
380MSChecklist Yeah, and you’re probably wondering, how do I know which keywords are the big ones? We’ll get to that. It’s going to be awesome. Going back just doing the regular site: search. I’m looking for tag pages.
You have a whole bunch. Look at that. Here’s the problem with tag pages. This one’s called Chambre, so that’s your tag page. If you have a tag page, it’s just basically a rehashing of the same stuff that you have on category pages, on date-based archives, and maybe even your homepage if it’s a new post, and that’s not really great for Google.
It’s when you’re using tags while creating a page, you’re creating a blog post on your site, and you’re filling in all those tags you think are going to be helpful with different keywords. Don’t do that because Google doesn’t like tag pages. Use categories. That’s what we’re talking about.
I think we’re going to get a riot going here.
I explained it better, dad.
It’s going to get worse. You can still have tag pages if you tell your WordPress blog configuration to not get those indexed. The easiest way to do that is with Yoast SEO plugin. Who uses Yoast? There’s a setting to noindex tag pages. If you want to use tags instead of just categories, that’s fine. I’ve completely eliminated tags from my blog, but you can noindex those.
I’m going to give you—I can’t just resist—one tip. This is a special moment. Say goodbye to tag pages. Goodbye. We’ll miss you. I can’t resist but to tell you a little tip that has nothing to do with SEO. Who loves seeing pop-ups? No? but you still have them because they work. But this one’s not going to work.
Let me tell you why. One, it’s a timed pop-up, and it should be exit-intent instead. As I move towards the exit, to the back button—when is the music going to stop? I don’t know—an exit-intent popup will be more effective. If you have something really valuable, some lead magnet that will entice them is much more powerful than just a newsletter sign-up like, “Oh yeah, I want another newsletter filling up my email inbox.” That’s not really a value proposition.
If you want more on this, because this is just a little aside, there’s a great Marketing Speak podcast episode all about pop-up best practices, and one of the top experts in the world on pop-ups is the guy I interviewed. His name is Syed Moiz Balkhi, and he is the founder of OptinMonster. That episode, if you’re interested in using pop-ups, which I recommend sparingly, carefully, if you do it well, it’s episode number 29. Great episode.
While I’m talking about podcast episodes, the one with Chloe Spencer is another must listen. It’s episode 24. She’s got the second most popular episode on my podcast. I’ve had like 90 episodes, and she’s number two. The only one who beat her out is Jay Abraham, the marketing legend, so I guess we can give him a pass, but that’s pretty amazing. It’s pretty cool.A tag page is a rehashing of the same stuff you have on category pages, date-based archives, and your homepage. Unfortunately, that's not great for Google. Click To Tweet
Okay, tag pages, now that we know what that is and that is a mistake. Date-based archives, who has a date-based archive? A lot of you.
Almost everyone, probably. When you have a blog, it’ll usually automatically list your archives by date so people can search August 2013, but no one is actually going to be clicking here, so I’ll let dad explain that.
Why don’t we just show it? Why don’t you grab another card. This is called management by embarrassment. This is great if you’ve got other team members in your company and they’re not doing stuff that you want them to do, you just show it off in a meeting with the boss. thesweethotmess.com. That is awesome, by the way.
What we’re looking for are date-based archives. Let’s see if we can find any. Here’s the thing. How many of you go to a blog and think, “Gee, I wonder what happened in 2015 in January?” Anyone? A couple of you.
Again, if it’s really important that you keep that, you have to noindex those because these are low-value pages. Do you remember I was showing you a tag page? We didn’t actually get past the pop-up, but look at that tag page. Do you think this is a high-value page? No. This is what Google would call thin content. We don’t want to have thin content pages. We certainly don’t want to have a lot of thin content pages.
Date-based archives are not really valuable for the keyword relevance of January 2015 or March 2016. I’m not trying to rank and Google for those keywords. A tag page is better than a date-based archives page in that respect, but they’re still typically thin content.
Let’s move on.
Sucky title tags. Why don’t you take this one?
Sure. Title tags are one of the most important aspects of your on-page SEO. One of the most important. Who here knows what a title tag is? Show of hands. Okay, so not very many people here. You may know what it is without actually knowing. In a kind of geek language, a title tag is the title attribute in the head section of your HTML. If you don’t speak nerd, that’s okay. It is also the snippet of wording at the very top of your browser window, or if you have multiple tabs open, it’s the title of the tab. As you can see, the title of these tabs up here are the title tags.
We have this one at thesweethotmess.com: the Sweet Hot Mess, the positivity, beauty, and fashion Blog. There are some keywords in there.
That’s good. The reason why this is one of the most important aspects of your on-page of SEO is because this is one of the most prime spots for your keyword. The keywords that are in your title tag are given the most weight by Google bots when crawling your site.
Your top keywords for every page on your site should be in the title tag of each page. Each title tag for each page of your site needs to be unique, and it should be about 60 characters (including spaces) or less. Google did increase this to about 72, but it’s more or less based on pixels. This change may not be permanent, and they can still get cut off in the search results because the title tag of your page will most likely show us the title of your listing and the search results.
If someone’s typing in a keyword into Google you want to rank for, there you are on page one. The title of your listing will be the title tag of that page. You want to keep it to about 60 characters or less, including spaces, and have your top keywords for that page at the beginning of your title tag. This is the top spot, your top keywords, beginning of the title tag.
If you want to edit your title tags, you can do so using the Yoast SEO plugin, if you’re using that. I think it’s called SEO title, and you can edit your title tag for each page. If you don’t have that plugin, you can also download the plugin called SEO Title Tags, that is actually created by Stephan.
Title tags are one of the most important aspects of your on-page SEO because this is one of the most prime spots for your keyword.
He created it years ago. That’s a really awesome plugin where you can edit all your title tags in one place, as well as all your meta descriptions. Your meta descriptions are also important, but it’s not like a ranking signal.
When you put keywords in your meta descriptions, it’s not going to help you rank for that keyword, but the meta description will show up as the description of your listing. The title tag is the title. The meta description will be the description. This is to increase the clickthrough rate (CTR). You want to explain the page with good keywords, but not that you’re trying to rank for just to get people to click on it.
This plugin is really cool cause I wrote it, and it has mass edit capability, and it’s completely free. The Yoast plugin has the capability as well that they added much later after they ripped it off for me, but here’s how it works. There’s the title, which is the post name or the page name, and then you can make a custom title because welcome, blog, or homepage, for example, are terrible title tags. There are no keywords there.
You put good keywords in the title over here, and that will then show up in the title tag, which shows up in the Google search results as you see here. Here’s an example. Shop up event of the season favorites. Mint and Thrift.
That’s an example of a title tag. Sometimes Google doesn’t use your title tag if it doesn’t like it, and it will override it. A lot of times, it uses your title tag and then often, it uses the meta description, as Chloe said. Not always, but a lot of times, and it is query dependent.
Whatever keywords were typed in will change how this is displayed, but many times it’s the meta description. Mine is called SEO title tag. Here’s the website, scienceofseo.com/seo-title-tag-plugin.
Audience: You want to take questions?
Why don’t we leave it for the end? We are going to plow through. Duplicate content, do you want to say something?
You can go get through this one.
Okay. Duplicate content is bad. There you go. Did you need any more on that? Very quickly, we don’t want to have duplicate pages within our site that are the same content but at different URLs. That’s bad.
You end up competing with yourself because Google gets confused because the algorithm sees that you have multiple pages and multiple URLs, but it’s the same content. Which one is Google going to choose? It may not be the version that you wanted, and you’re not having all the link authority or link equity accumulate on the one definitive URL. You have multiples.
It’s as if Trump had a twin brother and he was also running for president. Neither would win because which one would you choose? It’s a weird analogy. We don’t want too many Trumps, and that’s basically what we want to avoid duplicate content.
Okay, next. No intro copy. What is an intro copy? Let’s go back to the thesweethotmess for a moment, and we’re going to go to a category page of positivity. On that page, we’re going to see if it’s just the latest 10 posts like you typically see.
Add actual text, not just links to your posts, to add value to your page.
This is a problem. It’s not really much content, it’s just the ten latest posts. If we could add some content around positivity, happiness, and staying positive or whatever, we’re going to talk about this in a way that adds value, not just keyword stuff.
Add actual text on the page, not just links to your different posts. Add text and then explain and use the keywords in that text that you want to rank for.
And make it valuable, actually useful, for the person who have read it. That’s an intro copy because then you have a stable keyword theme for the page. It’s not just whatever random stuff you pulled from your last ten blog posts that has been categorized that way.
Using someone else’s domain, if you have a blogspot.com or some other URL that doesn’t belong to you, you are wedded to them. That’s back in the day, remember when people actually had earthlink.net email addresses on their business cards? Or AOL, even worse? You can’t keep that email address active because you got all those business cards out there. Don’t use somebody else’s domain.
Lousy URLs are ones that have way too many words in them because it’s all based on the length of your blog post title, and then it’s maybe half a mile long. Don’t do that. Also, if you have tracking parameters in the URL and that sort of thing, a lot of times, that’ll get picked up, and those will create duplicate content. You’ll have multiple URLs, some without the tracking parameters, some with. Not good.
What to optimize? Your target keywords. As we were talking about before, you need to be doing keyword research. Don’t just use your gut. You need to be using tools. This is super, super important as this is going to be the game changer for your business. If you’re not using tools to do keyword research and you’re just thinking up keywords in your head of what you think people are typing in because it’s often counterintuitive, which synonyms to use, which variations of different wording to use. We’ll go into some of those tools in a little bit.
Why don’t we just quickly show Google Trends?
Since we were just looking at the thesweethotmess, let’s just quickly run with that for a moment and then we’ll pick another example in a minute for our next thing. Let’s use positivity and compare that with happiness. Anyone want to guess which one’s more popular?
Who thinks positivity? Who thinks happiness? Okay, so let’s see who’s right. I actually have no idea. I’ve never done this check. Wow, huge difference. Positivity is flatlined, nothing. We got a whole lot of nothing here. Shelby? Who’s Shelby? I feel bad for you, so I’m going to give you a book. Pass this back. She’s got it.
Positivity is not a great keyword. Happiness is way better. These aren’t hard numbers. These are ratios or percentages, but you can see there’s a night and day difference. If you were to call that category happiness and then optimize it with some intro copy that adds some text to the page, and it’s not just a list of your latest posts on that topic, that would be great.
Then we already talked about title tags.
Categories? We talked about that, too.
Yeah, we talked about that. You can take it.
URLs, short, sweet, and keyword-rich. Don’t use underscores. Use hyphens to separate words. Navigation, let’s say, just to be thoughtful in your navigation structure. Try and use good keywords, just like we showed with positivity or happiness. Happiness would be a better category and a better nav item to put into your top nav. It’s better if that’s a text link than a graphic link. Why? Because Google associates the words—it doesn’t have to be underlined—but if it’s link text or anchor text, those get associated with the page that you’re linking to.
Whether it’s a blog post, a category page, or it’s a regular WordPress page to your site, like an about me page, it’s better if it’s a text link, you can highlight part of the word and see that it’s text. It’s better if it’s keyword-rich.
RSS feed is where you are going to allow syndication of your content. It’s great to get your content out there, especially if you have a podcast.
I remember back in the day, Coca-Cola had a category or a section of their site called spill it. You had a mouse over a bottle cap to even see the word spill it. It flipped over the bottle cap, and then you could click on the spill it and wonder, what the heck am I even going to get? Then two minutes later, the page would load. It was back in the day when everything was flash-based. Make it very intuitive, and keyword-rich, and that’ll be a good navigation structure.
Also, use breadcrumbs. Does anyone use breadcrumbs on their blog? Okay, so very few of you. There are some great plugins like WordPress Breadcrumbs. I was thinking about WP PageNavi, but I don’t know if that provides it. I’ll have to look it up. Breadcrumbs are great, and there are plugins that do that for free.
RSS Feed is where you are going to allow syndication of your content. Some people still use RSS feed readers, but most people don’t anymore. It’s great to get your content out there, especially if you have a podcast. You need an RSS feed. That’s what makes it a podcast.
Optimize your RSS feed. Make sure that the titles are great the descriptions are great, not just for the overall blog, but for each item, each of your posts that are featured in the RSS feed.
Meta descriptions, we already talked about. Not a ranking factor, but good to do to increase the click-through from the search results. Body copy. Why don’t you say something about body copy best practices? Like keyword prominence.
Sure. Key replacement is really important in your content. There is also a really big tip. Do not stuff your keywords throughout your content as much as possible. I know that the Yoast SEO plugin has this keyword density thing where you’re trying to get the green light and make your keyword come up in your content a certain amount of times. Absolutely ignore that.
That’s called keyword stuffing. It’s actually against Google’s guidelines. You’ll get penalized for stuffing your content full of keywords. The only places you really need to put your keywords are in your title tag and your headings.
Headings are given a lot of weight by Google bots. Your headings, your subheadings, your H1, H2, or H3, put your top keywords in those. And then just a few times throughout your page copy, just so it’s natural.
Keyword stuffing is against Google’s guidelines. You’ll get penalized for stuffing your content full of keywords. You only need to put keywords in the title tag and headings.
You want to write for humans more than bots. That’s really, really important. Google recommends this beyond all other things. To write really valuable, compelling content for humans, and for your users, and do not stuff your keywords throughout your content.
Think of this in terms of keyword prominence versus keyword density. Keyword prominence is where you have it prominently, not at the very bottom, like I forgot to tell you, this whole page was about shopping deals or whatever. You start at the top with let me tell you about the shopping deals, but make it not a page that goes like this. Let me tell you about my shopping deals. I have so many great shopping deals. We have tons of shopping deals. Our shopping deals are huge. Do not do that.
Now we’re going to get really geeky with a few things. I’m going to pick a few of these, and we’re going to, for time’s sake, skip over the rest. Robots.txt, you all have a Robots.txt file, probably. Do you want to go back?
Take a picture of everything here because we won’t go through everything here.
We are going to put the slides online, so don’t worry about that. Where are we going to put them? Check my Twitter. @sspencer’s my Twitter. I will post it as soon as I have a moment because I bet I’m going to get mobbed for books at the end. As soon as I have a spare moment, I’ll post a link.
We’re going to use hellogorge.com. I like that. Robots.txt. Here’s how we’re going to do it, hellogorge.com/robots.txt. Let’s see what comes up. Check that out. You got a robots.txt file, and you didn’t even know it, Anna. And you have a bunch of disallows. But here’s where it gets really geeky, and I’m not going to go into detail. Let’s just pick one of these. Let’s do an account. Now, you got this disallowed, but what happens if I do hellogorge.com/account?
This is what I’m doing. I’m doing a site call lookup as we did before. We don’t have any problems with the account being pulled up in the Google search results, but see how we have a checkout?
Here’s what usually happens, and I don’t have time to check this across all of these, but you’ll find that many times some of these disallows actually are in Google. You’re like, whoa, I disallow it. The reason why is because disallow in the robots.txt file says “Hey, Google bot, stop coming in here.” That’s different from “Hey, Google, drop this from the search results.”
See the difference? Have you ever gone and done a Google search and you found something that said this result doesn’t have any information about it because of its robots.txt? I’m paraphrasing. Have you ever seen that?
That’s because it was disallowed with robots.txt, but it’s still on the search results. How do you fix it? You use noindex, and you do a meta robots noindex tag in your HTML, and you would remove the disallow from your robots.txt.
This is why we don’t go into this area. Should we just skip it all? This is making my brain sort of hurt stuff. You’re like, no, my website’s screwed up. I don’t even know how. Here’s the thing. If you have a disallow, you’re telling Googlebot, don’t go in here. But Google already knows the page exists a lot of times, so it’s still going to keep it in the search results. It’s just going to stop visiting. That’s why you need to use noindex instead.
If you want to learn how to do it, just Google it, noindex. Just one word. With the Yoast SEO plugin, there’s a way to just bulk noindex a bunch of pages like the tag pages and the date-based archives. Also, if you have a plugin that emails this post to a friend or a printer-friendly version, those should not be on the search results either. Noindex is your friend, not disallowed. Got it? Cool.
XML Sitemaps. This is something that Yoast provides, and this is a list of all the URLs of your site or of your blog. I’m not going to go into that because we are going to cover some sites. Pull up some of your blogs.YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google. It's a great platform to be on and utilize for your business. Click To Tweet
Canonical tags. This one’s important, so I will mention and show it off. Do you want to grab another card? Let’s use careercontessa.com. We’re looking at canonicals, and they’re like, what? Canonical what? We’re going to do this.
We’re going to go to the homepage, careercontessa.com, and I’m going to view the source. Who goes to view page source and views the HTML? You guys are all geeks.
Geeks get books. Actually, I don’t know if everybody’s going to get a book because this is a really big room full of people that the fire marshal’s not happy about. He’s watching you on the Livestream.
Now I’m going to view source, and we’re looking for canonical. What is a canonical? That means that you’re telling Google that this is the definitive source version of that piece of content.
The homepage could exist at multiple URLs, but that URL that you specify is the correct main canonical version. And you don’t have a canonical tag. That’s a missed opportunity. What if somebody goes to a career contessa without the www? Does it redirect? If it does, that’s good because now you’ve eliminated an opportunity for Google to potentially treat your home pages as two duplicates of each other.
I’ll jump in on that one. If you don’t have a redirect set up from your non-www version of your URL, say example.com and your www.example.com, then it’s being split up, and potentially all of your inbound links that are pointing to those two different versions of your URL can be actually split in half. This is really important that you set up a redirect.
Usually, when people set up the 301 redirects, you may have heard that it signals a permanent redirect, whereas 302 redirect signals a temporary redirect, there have been some new studies about 302 redirects actually being better. We’ll get into that a little bit.
You can do either or just for the sake of getting a redirect in place, and you can do that with a plugin, like you’re on WordPress. You can download a redirect plugin, or you can just set up a redirect from the www version to the non-www, or vice-versa. It doesn’t matter, whichever one you prefer.
Does anyone use a redirection plugin? A redirect plugin? Do you know what the name of it is? Redirection. Easy. This is the study that I’ll just show you so you can jot it down for later. Fascinating analysis shows that a 302 redirect is actually better for SEO nowadays than a 301.
Crazy, right? Because for years, Google and SEOs have all been saying 301 is the correct type of redirect to use. Here this study, which is really fresh, came out late last year shows—it’s a legit study—that 302s are actually better.
Google has gone on record to say that 302s also pass PageRank. They pass link authority just like 301s, but in this study, they found that the context of the link is transferred for a longer period of time.
In other words, remember I said the anchor text? If you have anchor text that says click here, you’re telling Google the page over there is all about click here. Google takes those underlying words and associates them with the page you’re linking to.
Anchor text matters when it comes to links. You want good keywords near anchor text instead of saying click here or read more.
Yeah, especially when we’re talking about you linking to your own stuff.
Internal links matter, not just external links, because external links are a huge pillar of SEO. You want to build up your link authority, so all your inbound links are really, really important, and you want to build links from really authoritative, trusted sites. You need to be building up those links. Internal links also matter—the anchor text of how you are linking to other pages on your site matters.
Steve, that’s from Google, who says that basically any redirect—301, 302, 307—all pass page rank, and you don’t lose page rank depending on which one.
External links are a huge pillar of SEO. Build up your link authority from really authoritative, trusted sites.
Canonical tags will help you to tell Google this is the canonical, definitive version of the page. If you, for whatever reason, can’t use a redirect and you want Google not to get confused about which version to use, it doesn’t hurt to have a canonical tag. It’s not necessarily going to be obeyed because it’s only treated as a hint by Google, but you should do it. So that’s canonical.
Redirects, we’ve covered. Schema.org markup, we’ll save that if we have time at the end of the Q&A. Just ask us that question about schema.org. Optional excerpts, this is really cool. You can use optional excerpts in WordPress instead of the more tag. Who uses the more tag?
What that means is you’re taking maybe the first two paragraphs or first X number of words, whatever, and using that as the excerpt across date-based archives, category pages, and the homepage until it falls off into the archives. The problem with that is duplicate content.
What if you used optional excerpts, which are supported in WordPress? You might have to display it. I’d pull it up if we had time, but maybe in the Q&A, we can do that. You can see optional excerpts as a feature that you can display in the WordPress admin. When you’re editing a post, or you’re writing a post, you can see that there’s an optional excerpt.
You handcraft something. Make something unique that is a teaser that makes people want to click to read that blog post. That’s coded into your WordPress theme so that if an optional excerpt is defined, it uses it everywhere but the permalink page. It’ll use it on category pages, on the homepage, and on date-based archives everywhere.
Then the permalink page, which is the actual blog post, is unique. It’s not the first two paragraphs all over the place across your blog, and reused and becomes duplicate content. Pretty cool. That’s an optional extra. If we have time, we can pull up some examples of this.
Pagination. It’s good to have good Pagination, not just next and previous links but actual page numbers, allowing us faster transfer of page rank into deeper pages of your site. You have a lot of pages in a category. WP-PageNavi is a great plugin.
It’s nice to have a good pagination, not just next and previous links but actual page numbers, to allow faster page rank transfer into deeper pages of your site.
Related posts. There’s YARPP (Yet Another Related Post Plugin). There are others out there, but that’s one that I use. Does anyone else use YARPP? Just a few of you. I like having related posts. Who goes to Amazon and sees people who bought this also bought these things, and you go check those things out. Wouldn’t you like to have that thing on your blog? Yeah, and it’s great for SEO too. These are great interlinkages in between different relevant blog posts within your blog.
Then I already said noindex junk pages like date-based archives and tag pages. Okay, we already covered this.
We covered that. Essential tools. Soovle is a really great keyword brainstorming tool. Soovle.com is a great free keyword brainstorming tool. What it will do is work like Google Suggest. When you’re typing in something, it’ll come up with a whole bunch of popular searches, including those letters that you just started to type in. It won’t just give you what’s popular on Google, but YouTube, Yahoo, eBay, Amazon, and Answers.com. It’s really great to use.
By the way, we didn’t know YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google. YouTube is a really, really, really great platform to be on and utilize for your business.
Who knew that? Who knew that YouTube was number two? Not Bing, not Yahoo. Awesome. You guys rock. Look at this. Isn’t that cool? It would be a lot faster if we are on a fast internet connection, but start typing your keystrokes, and it pulls from Google, Bing, Yahoo, YouTube, Answers.com, Amazon, and Wikipedia, all simultaneously.
You can get a whole bunch of ideas. It won’t give you data on popularity search volume, but it’s a good keyword brainstorming tool.
You can click on these things and go directly to that search engine. There are Amazon suggestions, and auto-complete suggestions. If I were to click on one of these, it would take me right to the search results for that keyword in Amazon. That’s Soovle. Who’s heard of that before? Almost nobody, and it’s free.
Nobody knows, so use it.
Tweeted it @sspencer and @ChloeSpencer.
Another one is answerthepublic.com. This is another really great free keyword brainstorming tool, and we’ll pull it up here so you guys can see it. There’s a weird man, I forgot to tell you guys. What’s going on?
I think it’s because of our internet.
He’ll start moving. It’s really weird.
Wait for it. He’s going to start picking his teeth. There he goes. It’s distracting while you’re trying to do your keyword research.
Go ahead and type.
Career Contessa, what would be a relevant keyword for you, Kit? Career advice? Perfect. It defaults to the UK, but you can change it to US, Australia, or whatever. Check this out. He’s picking his teeth.
At least it’s not his nose.
That would be awesome for April Fool’s Day, they should totally do that. Okay. Look at that. Isn’t that cool? How, what, where, when, and why? Which is down here. Without, with, near, those are propositions. These are question-based search queries.
Why would you care about question-based search queries? For one thing, you can create FAQ pages, like what questions might you want to know? Let’s make this bigger. What questions might you want to know if you’re into career advice? Let’s say you’re changing careers. How to ask for career advice from your boss? That’s good. I’m going to find a really good one here. Who can give me career advice? Nice, I like it. Who can I get for your advice?
Basically, it just gives you a whole bunch of variations of different ways to utilize that keyword with different questions, basically different variations of how you would use that on your website or your blog and how to target it.
Another thing you can do with these question-based queries is you can see if people or bloggers and so forth are outranking you in what’s called position number zero, the featured snippet. Let’s see what that looks like. Let’s pick one of these. How about how to give someone career advice? Let’s see if that Google query gives us an instant answer. It does not.
We’ll try another one. It’s just how to ask for career advice? Who’s seen featured snippets before? Basically an instant answer. Here’s an instant answer right here. Look at that. It’s taking up so much of the screen real estate. It’s position 0. It pushes all of the organic results, number one through 10, all the way down below the fold right now.
Isn’t that interesting? You want to get some of these, don’t you? Who wants a book? Let me show you all how you can find out how to take featured snippets away from your competition. There is a Search Engine Land article on that very topic, and it was written by me.
Searchengineland.com. Here it is: How to rank for ‘position 0’ in 3 simple steps. It’s actually not easy, it’s just simple. A featured snippet primer. It’s probably easiest to just Google for this, or you can search Google for Search Engine Land Stephan Spencer. You’ll find this, it will be easy.
Then it explains the process. There are different types of featured snippets. This one is a numbered list snippet. If there is a how-to question, typically, the best answer is a numbered list. If you see a competitor has a how-to-featured snippet and it’s a paragraph, you could steal that featured snippet because you could have a better answer.
I explained that in this article. If you have a better answer that is a numbered list, you have a shot if you’re already ranking on page one to steal the featured snippet away from the competition. Now, this is a good format. How to ask for career advice is a numbered list already, but if you provide a better answer than this and you’re already ranking on page one, you don’t have to be number one to get a featured snippet. All that details in the article.
All right, Moz Keyword Explorer. This is actually the best keyword research tool. The other two were keyword brainstorming tools. We don’t actually give search data popularity, which you really want to know. Moz Keyword Explorer, you can get a few free searches, but it is a paid tool if you want to use it more in-depth.
It’s like three free searches per day. It’s best to pay for it because it is a great tool. It’s part of Moz Pro, and you get a whole bunch of other tools, I think it’s somewhere between $60 and $90 a month.
It’s an investment, but it’s a really, really great tool. You may have also heard of using the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool to do keyword research, but the thing about this tool is that it’s not very accurate, especially when you’re using the free version.
When you’re using the free version, it’s so bad, honestly. It gives you really, really broad ranges and is super inaccurate. If you’re spending money with AdWorks, then you get access to a better version of the tool, and even then, it’s quite inaccurate.
Moz Keyword Explorer is a way better tool, and it will give you, instead of where Google AdWorks Keyword Planner groups everything in the buckets, you’ll see like all these different keywords have the same exact search data, and you’re like, wow, they all have the same exact number. No, it’s because they group them by pockets.
Whereas Moz Keyword will give you a range, nowhere near as broad as the free version of hybrids keyword plan. It’ll give you a range, but it’s like 95% accurate. It’s a way, way better of a tool to use. If you don’t have the budget to spend on investing in this tool, which I do recommend if you do, but if you don’t, that’s okay. Just take advantage of using the free searches and just span it out.
Who’s doing AdWords? Spending money on Google AdWords. Anyone? It’s a very small number of you? Who knows somebody, like a friend, who’s spending money on Google AdWords? Here’s a hack. It’s a little sneaky trick, but it’s really cool. Ask your friend to add you as a manager or authorized user to their Google AdWords account, and then you get access to the better version of the Google Keyword Planner.
Yeah, just log in, and then you’ll be able to use the keyword planner.
You’ll have access. You don’t need their password. They just need to add you. Give them your Google username and your Google email address, and they will add you as an authorized user to their AdWords account. Isn’t that cool? That’s ninja. But even so, you’re going to get these weird numbers, like Chloe was saying, traffic buckets, 201,000. Why does that number keep coming up? Because that’s the bucket. If it’s 212,000 or 206,500, it all becomes 201,000. It’s really annoying.
If you’re comparing two different keywords and you’re wondering which one I should use, which one is better? They both have the same exact number. They don’t actually have the same exact number, necessarily. It’s just been grouped that way. Then you’re missing out on knowing the exact search data for those keywords and which one was better to target.
It didn’t really show the keyword explorer, so let’s do a quick search. Let’s grab another card, and we’ll pick somebody’s keyword market, and you’re targeting. iamthemilk. Who’s that? What’s your primary keyword? Parenting. I thought you’re going to say breastfeeding. Let’s put in parenting.
One of the cool things you can do with the AdWords tool is to add keywords to a keyword list, giving you all sorts of data across the whole keyword list.
One of the cool things you can do with this tool is you can add keywords to a keyword list, and then it will give you all sorts of data across the whole keyword list. You essentially have an ad group and AdWords for a keyword group and for SEO, and it will give you a bunch of data across all of those keywords.
If you go over to the keyword suggestions on the left there, it’s just really great cause it’ll give you all sorts of different keyword suggestions. You can tweak the results to show keywords including this word or excluding this word. There are different ways that you can if you just show the drop-down there.
Let’s just choose questions. We were looking at AnswerThePublic just a few minutes ago. Great free tool. This one is giving me question-based keywords as well because I chose to filter by that option. Show me only keyword suggestions that are questions.
What is parenting? I have no idea. What is child-rearing? What is the definition of parenting? Can Parenting Magazine? No, it cannot.
Majestic is a really great tool. It’s also a paid tool, but you can use it for free. You need to check your domain on Majestic and pay attention to your trust flow. This is a super important metric. Every person that I either coach on SEO or help with their SEO, I always, always, always check their trust flow on Majestic. This is a metric you always need to be monitoring.
We’ll just pull up somebody’s?
How you want to search is you want to use the fresh index option you’ll see there and search by your group domain and then press the orange button. They don’t have any data, so let’s try another one.
It’s actually iamthemilk.wordpress.com.
Oh, using somebody else’s domain.
Where is it? It was right there. Second from the bottom right there.
This is actually a mistake that I made when I first started blogging when I was 14. My site was a .wordpress.com site. I found out the hard way that I had to switch to my domain because you can’t actually have ads to make money with the .wordpress.com site. They do not allow ads. I had to switch over. You do not want to be on a .wordpress.com site. Go to wordpress.org, you get a self-hosted site and then install WordPress.
Do you know if iamthemilk.com is available? Oh, it’s available. I hope none of you take it. That’s so not cool. That’s not cool. Just give me a moment. I’m actually going to register at iamnotthemilk.com.
Here’s another power user tip. You’re going to love this one. It has nothing to do with SEO, but you’ll love it. Tweetable. This one’s tweetable at @sspencer. Who’s heard of namechk.com? Isn’t this an awesome tool? It’s so cool, and it’s free. This checks your username, iamthemilk. It’s checking for that username across all the social platforms. You have a lot of green, you better get busy, and you better do it now because I don’t know who’s live streaming on this channel. They might sell it all to you. That’s a lot of green.
People actually do that too. When you start getting big, and if you don’t have your name registered on one of these big platforms, they will hold it over your head and charge you an insane amount to buy it to get really big, and you want to buy it. That’s actually happened to several people I know, so they had to pay insane amounts. Don’t let this happen. Register your names early on.
Aren’t you all happy that it wasn’t you that we picked out of the ball? What is Majestic telling us? Come afterward. I promise you’ll get a book. They’re right there, some of them. The Mevo is strategically positioned on the stack of them.
Your trust flow is at 14. This is not good, unfortunately, but you can build it. It’s out of 100. Trust flow is basically a metric that is taken from how many trusted sites are linking to you and building up your trustworthiness and your link authority. This metric directly correlates to where you’re going to be ranking in Google.
If you have a really low trust flow, it means you don’t have a lot of authoritative trustworthy sites, which means sites that have high trust flows linking to you won’t have a high trust flow yourself, and it’s going to be hard for you to rank and Google and beat out your competitors. You want to be building up your trust flow.
A couple of other things that I want to mention before we move on to another tool. This is a fantastic tool. You should use it and spend money on it. You can get a couple of free searches a day with it, so you can check your site and check your competitor and do a couple of other competitors the next day, et cetera.
If you pay for this tool, you can get backlinks. You can see who’s linking to your site and, what their trust flow is, what their citation flow is. That’s the important metric. Trust flow is the trust metric. You can look at your competitors, too, and say they got a link from XYZ person, or blog, or website, or company, and I could get a link from them, too. I actually know them. I just saw them at BlogHer so that you can contact them. That’s great competitive intelligence.
Now the 14 isn’t just bad because it’s 14 out of a 100. It’s even worse than you think because this is on a logarithmic scale. Do you know what else is on a logarithmic scale? Richter scale. A five out of ten on the Richter scale is not so bad in comparison to a six, but a seven is massively worse. Did you get that? The gaps between the integers get logarithmically larger the closer you get to a hundred.
A 14 out of hundred is not 14% of the way there. It’s like if you’re climbing a mountain, you’re an ant, and you’ve made one step. You got lots of work to do, but the good news is you’ve identified your Achilles heel. This is the thing to focus on first before you go in and tweak things like noindexing and all this other stuff. This is it. Get some links.
You have a hundred and some friends here, and they feel really bad because you have a wordpress.com domain. They’ll hook you up. That’s Majestic.
You need to set up Google Search Console to monitor really important data, such as your rankings, how many impressions you’re getting, and how many clicks you’re getting versus your impressions.
Screaming Frog, we don’t really have time to show it, but it is a tool that you install on your computer.
It’s an SEO Spider Tool, and it is a great tool, but it is a little bit techie, a little bit nerdy.
We’re going to skip over it. The quick 22 seconds explanation of this is it will spider through your site and show you all your title tags, all your meta descriptions, all your H1s, image, all attributes and all the SEO stuff, redirects, and 404 errors. That’s cool. It finds all your error pages.
It’s free for up to 500 URLs. If you have a small site, you can use it for free. Not all of the features are available, but most of them are. If you have a small site, if you have more than 500 URLs, meaning the blog post, plus the category pages, plus the tag pages, plus your about page and all that stuff adds up to more than 500, then you’re going to need to pay for the tool, but it’s not that expensive. It’s pretty cheap.
Google’s Search Console absolutely everybody in this room needs to be using Google Search Console. It’s free. It’s provided by Google. You need to set this up. You can monitor really important data here, such as your rankings, how many impressions you’re getting, and how many clicks you’re getting versus your impressions. Your click-through rate (CTR), you can view this data here, and you can also monitor any errors you have, such as your 404 errors. You’re not found errors.
Say you changed the URL of a page, and you had all these inbound links from good sites you had built pointing to that page, but then you changed the URL, you didn’t set up a redirect, so now those pages are pointing to a 404 error. You’re actually losing the value of those links. This is huge. You do not want 404s out there without being redirected. You can check your 404 errors in the Search Console.
Before I should mention how to actually set this up, if you want to set up properties for all the versions of your domain, so example.com or www.example.com, you set up separate properties for both of those versions as well. If your site renders both HTTP and https and you need both of those or all four with the example.com or www.example.com, you need to set up all of those as separate properties in the Search Console.
Isn’t she awesome?
Thanks. You can also monitor your mobile usability errors in Google Search Console. This is really important because if you don’t have Google Analytics, which you absolutely should, set it up and monitor who.
Who does not have Google Analytics set up?
Don’t be shy. All you pretty much, that’s good.
Who doesn’t have Google Search Console set up, though? OMG.
Oh my gosh. That is what you’re doing immediately. Seriously, a game-changer for you. Set up Google Search Console, set up your properties, monitor your 404 errors, and monitor your mobile usability errors if you have any because your site needs to be mobile-friendly. This is huge because if you’re looking at your Google Analytics, you see where your users are coming from, and you’ll notice that most of the time, most of your traffic comes from mobile, not desktop computers.
This is going to be the case for a lot of you, and it’s just going to grow because more people are using their mobile devices to search online instead of their desktop computers. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, like it’s not responsive and it automatically fits a phone, switches to be mobile-friendly, then you can get demoted in the search results.
Your site needs to be mobile-friendly because if you look at your Google Analytics, you’ll notice that most of your traffic comes from mobile, not desktop computers.
If you have any errors, mobile usability errors, Google will actually push you down the results. You won’t rank in mobile search results because they really value having a mobile-friendly site, so make sure you don’t have any errors in this section on Search Console.
Let’s show how to add your site. You go to google.com/webmasters. You’re going to end up adding your site by clicking this red button called to add a property. The property you’re going to add is your website, and as Chloe said, use the http://www.yourblog.com, whatever it is.
Or HTTP if that’s what your site is.
If you’re on HTTPS, then that too, and without the www, so you have all your versions, because if you just have the www, that’s not going to give you the data on the non-www and vice-versa.
You’ll also go in, and you’ll set your preferred URL. When we talked about redirecting example.com to www.example.com, or vice versa, whichever one is your main one that the other one redirects to, you want to set that as your preferred URL version in Google Search Console. You can do that in settings. Then Google knows which one is your main one to present in the search results.
Let’s show how to check your 404 errors, shall we? Go to crawl errors. You’re going to see things like 404 errors and server 500 errors and stuff. I have very few errors here, the 404 not found errors, I got some. I did a clean-up back in April.
If people are linking to a wrong URL, that’s not the correct URL. My biography page is not called Biography. It’s called about, I think. That’s a problem. If somebody links that page to my about page with Biography, then I’m losing page rank for those votes. They don’t count. Anybody linking to a page that doesn’t exist. That doesn’t count.
Use that redirect tool and redirect that old URL to your new URL or if that page doesn’t really exist anymore, then link it to something that is really similar that would be a good replacement because also Google doesn’t want people coming to your pages, who don’t want to be there. That’s not what they’re looking for, so link it to something that’s similar.
Look at that. This tells me where I got links from, including I have linked to it from several places on my website. I used to have it be called Biography, apparently way back in the early days, and I didn’t change all the links.
You need to get on that.
I will delegate that right away. All you do is click on the URL, then click on the linked front tab, and then you can see that these are the places or some of the places where you got links.
Pointing to that.
It’s a 404 page. That’s money right there. Google Search Console. Page speed insights is another awesome free tool.
Page speed is a ranking signal, so it is something that Google monitors and directly correlates to where you’re going to be ranking in the search engines. It’s just one of those out of the hundreds of things. If you have a really slow-loading site, then page feed Insights will tell you and will tell you what’s making your pages/site load slowly and what can be done to speed it up. This is really important, so use Page Feed Insights.
Who is Kimberly’s sensible stylista?
In the back.
Now, this is not a good sign. It took a little while for that to load. This is really not good. Not good. We’ll make it really big, all the red, the errors, and the poor score. Let’s just make it really big. Okay, it’s a redirect. Is it a redirect to a BlogSpot URL? We got a double whammy here. Oh boy.
She needs a book.
Let’s try it, BlogSpot, I have a feeling that it took that into account, though and included the redirect in there. A lot of times, it’s your choice of images, and if you’ve used huge images that weren’t optimized, this is a bad sign. This has taken a really long time to analyze.
Sometimes a carousel slider can slow down your site a lot.
It went south, it went worse. Now you’re in the single digits. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this low of a score before. I said I’d be nice, sorry. This is definitely something you want to address. Guess what? When you address this, not only is it going to help your SEO, it’s going to help your conversion, too. It’s a very, very important factor for conversion rates to have a fast-loading page.
We are running short of time. What we’ll do is I’m going to give you something awesome. We are going to get some books away once the session’s over with, and here’s how you’re going to get a book, potentially. You’re going to get something cool anyway. Everybody’s going to get something cool, and here’s what you’re going to get.
You whip out your phone. Got your phone out, okay? I want you to text 33444, that’s the phone number, it’s a short code, and here’s what you’re going to type into the text message, BLOGHER. Text the word BLOGHER to 33444 and the stuff you’re going to get, if you show me that you texted that, I’m going to give books away until I’m out. I can’t do anything with that information at the moment, but you’re going to get some cool stuff.
It’s going to ask you for your email address and then give it your email. I’ve got two really cool things that are going to be part of this whole pack of things. I’m going to give you a free chapter. The chapter seven of The Art of SEO is an amazing chapter on content marketing and link building. You’ll get that.
You’ll get the SEO Hiring Blueprint, you’ll get the SEO BS Detector, and trick questions you can ask whoever you’re going to hire to help you with your SEO. I do have online training and stuff on as well, but this is some great free stuff that you can get as a starting point.
Let’s see if we had anything. We mentioned a name check. Uber suggests in the 30 labs. Just go to their websites. These are the blog critiques that we’re going to do some now, and let me give you this so you can jot that down or take a photo. You have our contact details and our websites.
I’m offering a free SEO strategy session call with me. All you have to do is go to chloespencer.com, opt into that, and then you can set up a free one-hour SEO strategy session call with me. You’re welcome.
Please do take me up on this. I will sit down with you. We’ll pull up your site, and I will give you a whole bunch of tips while looking at your blog. We’ll go over all of it right there, mistakes you’re making, things you could do to get higher rankings, and things you could do better with your website. Please do contact me, and I’d be happy to help you out.
She’s going to be very busy. Artsandclassy.com, let’s do some super fast lightning-round stuff on some of these sites. We’ll start with the homepage because that’s the most important page on the site. Meredith, where are you? Hey, Meredith. Remember how to get the title tag? You just mouse over the tab, and it says ‘home arts and classy.’
Audience: I’ve learned a lot today.
I wonder if you ranked for home, let’s check. I’m just messing up. It’s really going to be easy for you to tweak that. Do you want to give some feedback on things you can do for the homepage?
Let’s see here. This section before you scroll is called above the fold, and this is really, really important because many people do not scroll. If what they see when they land right on your site without scrolling is not interesting enough, they will leave. You also want to have a direction of what you want them to do and what you want them to click on because when people are landing on the site, they’re looking for something subconsciously to click on what you want me to click on.Keywords in your meta descriptions will not help you rank for that keyword, but the meta description will show up as the description of your listing, which will increase your click-through rate (CTR). Click To Tweet
If you have a button that will bring up a popup to opt-in into your lead magnet, something really awesome that’s free in exchange for someone’s email address and their contact information so that you can build your list, you can email market to them and follow up with them. This is a really, really great thing to be utilizing.
What’s going on?
It’s just loading slowly. There’s probably something in that stripe, but we can’t see it right now.
Are you using lead pages for that?
That’s good that you are utilizing it.
You have time one in and on exit. The homepage is the most important page of the site. So start there. Optimize there. Use your biggest money keyword. Your best keyword there, title tag, body copy, high up in the body copy.
You need to text. Don’t just have images. If you have text inside an image, you need to move that to the actual text because when Google Bot crawls your site looking at text, look at your keywords, what should I rank this under? They’re not going to know what’s hidden image unless you set an alt tag, which you should anyway. Put your keywords in an alt tag for all your images, but make sure you have those keywords in the actual text in your body copy.
You can see if this is text or not by trying to highlight parts of it or hit control A or command A. Looks like this is text, even though I can’t highlight it. The real text on this page is this stuff, and this is probably the more tag. That’s just the first X number of words or whatever of the blog post. It’s duplicate content. This has no unique content on it. That’s an easy one.
Next, we have treasureboxkids.com. Where’s treasureboxkids? Are you here?
Yup, right there.
You don’t have to say anything other than just, I’m here. I’m not going to critique your site if you’re not in the room. You have a link to the blog right up there at the top. It bothers me when they don’t have a link, and you have to scroll down for the blog to the very footer. It’s like, yeah, we don’t really care much about our blog, therefore, Google shouldn’t either. For links, the placement matters. If it’s footer links, if it’s tiny text, it’s unlikely people are going to click on it. Google has a disdain for those kinds of links.
This is the homepage, and since we’ve talked about a previous homepage, there’s a similar issue here. Is this unique content? Right now, it’s from the pages.
Audience: I think who we are is unique.
They will be unique, but they are not yet. Okay. Then let’s go pick. Where are the categories? Boys and girls accessories? Those are the categories.
Audience: We’re actually working on the entire site right now.
Good. These don’t look like blog categories, and I’m trying to figure out how to navigate deeper down other than just the featured post. I don’t even see recent posts.
I noticed that you didn’t have any of your top keywords in the content. You have it up here—ethically made, socially responsible kid’s clothing—but that’s going to be in an image and not text.
Now you have some things to do.
Make sure your keywords are in text, not just in images, so Google bot can see which keywords you are going to be ranking at with.
We are out of time, unfortunately. We’ll stick around for as long as you guys do.
You can come up and ask us questions.
Is it lunch break now? I’ve got books in the back, so I’ll meet you in the back, and I will give the books away if you bring your phone. Thank you very much. Our Twitter handles are @sspencer and @ChloeSpencer.
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Your Checklist of Actions to Take
- Discover why my rankings are so low by taking Stephan’s free SEO quiz. Take advantage of Stephan’s free consultation to discern how I can fix my site errors.
- Use keyword brainstorming tools to attain necessary data and build my portfolio. Utilize the keyword tools for comparison purposes. Here are some great keyword brainstorming tools: Soovle, Ubersuggest, Google Trends, and AnswerThePublic.
- Create my website in my own domain. A personalized domain makes my website look professional and more memorable. It also builds my brand and helps visitors find me online. Here are web hosting providers: HostGator, Bluehost, GoDaddy, etc.
- Create and share remarkable content. A noteworthy publication keeps the audience/readers engaged and compels them to like and share content with their friends.
- Write excellent titles for my articles. A good title tag should have my primary keyword and shouldn’t go too long. Remember Googlebot gives more weight to the keywords at the beginning of my title tag than at the end of the tag.
- Write compelling meta descriptions. Meta description does not affect my ranking, however, the meta description generates the click-through rate (C.T.R.) for my content.
- Use hardcore SEO tools for real data and don’t base SEO practices on mere suggestions. Some great SEO tools are Google Keyword Planner, Moz, Rank Ranger, and SEMrush.
- Don’t take SEO information at face value. Google is not always 100% clear about everything that factors into SEO evaluation. Also, understand that SEO from two, three, or five years ago is entirely different from SEO today.
- Use the SEO BS Detector worksheet when hiring an SEO for my business. The SEO BS Detector has trick questions that I can use in the interview process.
- Check out and read chapter 7 of The Art of SEO . This chapter teaches the fundamentals of SEO.