Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is both static and dynamic: Some things, like great informative content, never go out of style.

What is SEO

SEO is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, sometimes SEO is simply a matter of making sure your site is structured in a way that search engines understand.

However, most effectively the process includes controlled experimentation to improve a website’s ability to drive business goals. —From finding the terms and phrases (keywords) that generate traffic to your website, to making your site friendly to search engines, to building links and marketing the unique value of your site.

Right Tools, for the Right Job

SEOmoz and MOZLocal We use MOZ analytical software to analyze and report performance insight for your rankings, traffic, links, social media, content, and brand marketing. Discover website errors, missed conversations and new global, national, and/or local SEO opportunities. We'll set you up with a MOZ account and manage the entire process; or get you started and co-mange it with you, if you desire.   

The Most Important Elements of URLs from an SEO Perspective are:

  1. Simplicity: Your URL structure needs to be straightforward and consistent. If you have duplicate content, use specified canonical URLs. Avoid confusing redirects like they were a virus.

  2. Readable: Never use codes, numeric formats, or nonsensical words. Punctuation marks are also not advised. If a human being can’t clearly read what your URLs express, a search engine won’t either.

  3. Leverage Your Most Important Pages: With any given site, there are normally pages that are most relevant to searches that should be crawled (like homepages, site maps, and landing pages), including those that shouldn’t be crawled. Since all URLs are not created equally, make sure you conceal those that you don’t want to be seen (robots.txt), and make highly simple and readable URLs for those that are most important (sitemap.xml).

Confused by the Canonical Reference? Just think of it as a “preferred” URL for search engines. This is most appropriate for duplicate content; you need to vector the bots to the page you want them to crawl. If duplicates are not resolved in this fashion, your SEO takes a hit.

So when you’re creating your XML sitemap, include only the URLs you want search engines to crawl. It’s not necessary for the map to be comprehensive; just include everything that’s important to you.

Dynamic Site XML Map

Having a dynamic XML sitemap. It is crucial for your SEO success. Note: An HTML sitemap is entirely different. Search engines read XML maps, while human beings access HTML versions. So if you have only one, it needs to be in XML. 
 
XML Sitemaps Serve (2) Two Functions:
  1. They lead search engine to your site’s pages, 
  2. And they provide a reference to search engines when they’re identifying canonical URLs on your site. Both are super important to your SEO.

Formatting is Crucial

Many content management systems default to a less than optimal format, like www.yoursite.com/p=1234. This is a horrible way to structure your URLs. Instead, format them this way: www.yoursite.com/article-topic.

The main reason this is so important centers around keywords. The first example will indeed be crawled, but the second example gives search engines a strong clue about the content’s subject. This bodes well for best (most relevant) results. Because it’s more user-friendly to use actual words, it’s more SEO-friendly too.

Hyphens are preferred over underscores to separate words. Why? Because Google views words with underscores as one entire word. ‘Your_Article_Name’ is actually read as YourArticleName, whereas ‘your-article-name’ reads as it should.

By following these basic rules in the formation of your site’s URLs, you’ll have a foundation that supports users and search engines, no matter how much your site expands. Getting this right when you launch is crucial; it can take weeks and weeks to restructure your URLs to please Google post-launch. If you've already launched with some URL snafus, that’s OK – better late than never. Make your fixes now and the damage will undo itself in time.

Semantic Search

Semantic search is a unique search system that considers factors such as search context, location, and intent. Semantics can also search based on word variations, synonyms, specialized and generalized queries, concept matching, and natural language queries.

Goal

The goal of semantics is to produce the most relevant results to a search query based on actual content versus a website with predetermined keywords that merely claim to be relevant to a search query.

In a sense, semantic search is turning a search engine into an artificial intelligence capable of identifying query matches and either displaying or eliminating the results based on context.

—Convert more traffic! Is your site SEO Optimized?

" SEO is both static and dynamic: Some things, like great informative content, never go out of style."
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