Content Optimization Tips for Google SEO
SEO Videos & Presentations
Content Optimization for Google SEO
In this SEO Video, Chris J. Everett presents to STC Atlanta about optimizing web content for Google search.
Chris Everett: My name is Chris Everett. I have lived in the Atlanta area for five years now. I launched my company pretty much right after I moved here, it’s gone through a couple of iterations, but what I do is help small and medium sized businesses get found online, which is absolutely critical nowadays in both mobile schemes and still on desktop.
I have worked in Internet marketing for a couple of agencies in Illinois. I’ve done some contracting and consulting stuff here, but I really found that I’m pretty good at what I do, so I thought I’d move and launch my own company and it’s going really, really great. I’ve got two great people back there who support me and I’m looking forward to how things are going progress here in the next few months.
Today we’re going to be talking about a variety of things. Does anyone here work in the digital field at all, anybody on like the Internet marketing side of things? Has anybody’s content been published online?
A little bit, over here, okay.
The great thing about content is you can produce a ton of it, but if nobody can find it then what’s the point, and that’s what I do. Today we’re going to talk about search engines and specifically web search engines, which is what my expertise is in, and optimizing your content for Google and getting found and how to drive traffic to your site, that sort of thing.
So we’re going to start with, what’s a search engine? Google says, “A search engine is a program for retrieving data from a database or network i.e. the internet.” It sounds pretty straight forward, but there’s different types of search engines, you have your desktop PCs when you’re trying to search a document, that an internal search engine; your built in website search engines which will find a specific keyword in a website; internet, extranet. Then of course the web, which we get into the top three big dogs in the country, which are Google, Yahoo, and Bing. But the one we here all the buzz about is Google, right?
Does anyone here use Yahoo or Bing? I’m curious, seriously. You guys use it, okay. That’s about right.
Male Voice: I’m a Duck Duck Go guy.
Chris: Are you really? Nice open source. That’s good though because that’s actually a pretty good representation, because we’re going to talk about why Google is the buzz right now.
If you look at this schematic, which I pulled off line, we’re looking at basically how a search engine works. Basically what happens is Google sends out its coded bots. The bots are little programs that spider the web, they crawl the web and they hit all the websites on the web. They index every page on the site that’s worth indexing, they copy the information, and they store it on their server. So when you actually do a Google search you’re not actually hitting the web server, you’re actually hitting Google’s index of all the pages that are on the web. Then when you click on the index, then you hit the web server and you’re actually seeing what’s on the website. So it’s pretty simplistic in the way that it’s set up here, but it’s just an idea of how you get the information that you’re looking for on the Google search.
So why is everybody obsessed with Google? Google is a colloquial term now, “Go to Google,” it’s in the Webster’s dictionary, letmegooglethatforyou.com, Consult Doctor Google. “I have an eczema on my arm. What do I got to do?” You consult Google, you go to WebMd. That’s because it’s The Man in the search, two-thirds of all searches done in the United States, that’s tremendous, that’s why they’re so powerful, the 800 pound gorilla of the industry.
So that said, when a company or a consultant comes to me and says, “I need to get found on Google?” It’s never, “Oh, I really need to increase traffic on Bing or Yahoo.” It’s, “I need to get to the top of Google.” Yes, I do rank No. 1 for this term.
So how do I get there? It’s very multi-layered answer to that question. There are a variety of different ranking factors when you look at a piece on content like a PDF, or a video, or a web page. How do I get my web page to rank number one Atlanta SEO Consultant? There’s a variety of factors both on site, so optimizing your actual web page to make it the most keyword relevant, keyword friendly on your actual content and a variety of other things that we’ll discuss about later, but also some offsite stuff which is basically marketing. You’re marketing your product, your service, or your brand, you’re building links and you’re creating buzz, there’s social media, and other things. These all kind on contribute to how well you rank in search result.
Topical authority-We’ll also talk a little bit about how to properly structure the architecture of your website for a specific file section on the site, so that you’re more trusted and you’re more relevant to the search engines.
The first step when you’re optimizing a web page is to figure out what people are searching for. The example that I’m going to continue to go back to today is one that I kind of pulled out of thin air, which is Weber Grill manuals, so I’ve you’ve ever created a schematic for an assembly manual or an owners manual for any sort of product people are actually searching for those. I don’t know where my grill manual is, I probably tossed it away as soon as I got it together. What you basically need to do, there is a great free tool that Google provides which is called the Adwords Keyword Tool and this is the link to it, google.com/sktool. Basically start thinking about the searcher, I mean, when you go to Google what do you type in? You’re probably going to type in a variety of these phrases. You can look at the brand name, the model, and actually what you’re looking for, is it the manual? Are you to assemble it? And so on and so forth.
So what you do is, after you get there, start typing in these phrases. What Google does is it provides you with a wide variety of terms. These are just the top four terms that I had selected. Well, Google will actually tell you the average monthly search volume for these particular phrases. Now these are exact match phrases, which means they’re actually searching 90 times a month for Weber Grill assembly. Now the thing about keyword research is the numbers that come back and the keyword phrases that pop back as suggested keywords can be mind boggling. Twenty thousand searches a month for SEO consultant, what’s the value there?
It probably means there’s going to be a really, really high competition rate and you’re probably going to get frustrated right away, so one thing that I’m going to suggest it embrace what are called “longtail” terms. These are high quality terms that are relevant to your business, relevant to the product or service offering that you have are supposed drive qualified visitors to your site, but may not be the number one. So you have to kind of start and get a little bit of momentum, that’s kind of the point of longtail keywords.
Female Voice: What exactly does longtail mean?
Chris: Longtail it’s an industry term. Longtail meaning usually phrases that are more than three words or more that get more specific.
So once you’ve utilized your Google Adwords Keyword Tool to identify the keywords that you want to target what are you going to do with them? Well, you’re going to use them in your document, in your web pages. There are strategic places that you put these keywords such as file names, metadata, content headers, body content, and image alt text. I’ll talk about each of those.
To start we’re going to talk about web pages, which is my specialty, just for optimizing web pages. Is anybody really familiar with metadata and that sort of thing?
Okay, so on the web the HTML metadata, meta title, meta description, content headers, h1, h2, h3 in order of importance, 1, 2, 3, then you want to use the keywords within your body content. You have to actually get them on the page or Google’s not going to be able to read anything they’ll say, “Oh, this guy’s relevant for this term.”
Male Voice: Are you going to make your presentation available?
Chris: Yes, it will be.
Okay, we’ll dissect a search result here. Here at the very top this happens to be one of my clients, Atlanta Laser Tattoo Removal. This is the meta title tag up here and the title tag is the most important tag on any web page. It’s like the cover of a book, it’s the name of the book. It tells what the content within the page is all about, so you really want to get your keywords towards the very front of your title tags. It’s like a cover of a book.
So if you go back to our example the Weber grill and we picked out our keywords. So an optimized title tag might be, “Weber Genesis E-310 manual assembly/Weber Grill manuals.” We’ve got essentially, if you read from left to right, all the keywords, except for assemble, created in this title tag, so if you look into the search result this actually shows up in the search result, everybody sees what the title tag is. The great thing is for a user is it pops out in bold headers that this is important, this is exactly what you’re looking for.
Next is your meta description. Meta descriptions show up in the search result, this is what it looks like, and it tells the user what the web page is about in kind of a quick summary. It does not have any impact on how well a page will rank, but it’s where you convince the user that, “You want to click on my result, because I have exactly what you’re looking for.” So getting your keywords in your meta description is kind of a call to action to download this, get a free this, or what have you.
So if you look back at the example of Weber Grills, we’re looking at, “View Weber Genesis e-310 Manual Assembly Online at your brand name,” whatever your company name is. The call to action is, “Download PDF files of Weber Grill manuals for Genesis Model, blah, blah, blah.” So we’re really taking care of not only our target key terms, but also the longtail key terms of “Weber Grill manual for Genesis e-310 Model,” so we don’t just have those four terms above, we’re also kind of taking care of the rest, anything that somebody may search for.
A best practice tip: 160 character max. I think it’s like 156 that actually showed in the result so you have a little “. . . ” there at the end, but anything more than that is overkill. Again, it doesn’t help you rank, so there’s no reason to do more than that.
URLs – URLs also have tremendous impact on how well your website ranks. Later on we’ll talk about content structure. If you dissect this URL here in the example “WIFH.com/tattoo-removal” would be your secondary level. Then “laser-tattoo-removal-atlanta-ga” would be your third level, the category and then the tag thing. You want to get your keywords in there, not just for keyword relevancy, but you also want to get them in there because they pop out to the user, “This is what I want, this is what I’m looking for.” And when they click through they get to your content.
Going back to our Weber grill: the second level, “Weber-grill-manuals/weber-genesis-e310manual-assembly.” So we’re getting more specific on the landing page.
Best Practice Tip: Keep your URL at 2048 characters. If your URLs are over 100 characters that’s great. Internet Explorer will actually not open a link if it over 2000 characters, just a random note.
So we’ve optimized our URLs and our meta’s, so we’ve told Google, “Hey, this is really relevant to what you’re looking for.” But now we have to optimize the body content. We want to reuse our keyword phrases within very strategic places on the site. If you’ve been to a website it’s got a header on the top, which is typically your h1 tag, so that basically reiterates to, “Okay, this is what the content’s about.” Then they break it down into h2, which just basically the sub-header, so if you look at any sort of document you usually have a section header and then sub-headers. So h1 tag, h2 tag, this is just a place to reiterate what your keywords phrases are and h2 tags are really great for getting your longtail terms in, kind of the variations of the terms.
Going back to Weber Grills-So we’re going to take care of both keyword phrases in the h1 because we’ve got manual and assembly and you read them from left to right, “Weber Genesis Manual and Assembly,” so we got them both in there h2 call to action, “download,” and you’ve got your keyword in there as well. Only one header tag, one tag per page is best practice.
Keywords in the body content – The bane of any SEO is getting a copywriter who can write for not only the search engines, but also for people. As a user who’s trying to find a product or service you guys don’t want to read a bunch of copy that just repeats the same word over and over and over again, it gets really to be a pain. So finding a copy writer who is able to mesh the marketing speak with the SEO speak, those are like gold in the extreme, being able to capture conversions, captures lead, entice them to fill out a contact form or make a purchase, and using keywords, using the strong tags which is basically like bold tags if you use a word document. What you’re telling the search engine is, “This word is more important than the rest on the page.”
This is an example of phrases you might use, going back to our Weber example, “Dumbfounded on the Weber Genesis assembly?” Just think of creative ways to get your keywords in there. You shouldn’t have the same keyword in that same sentence, basically. That’s spam and Google doesn’t like that and you will get penalized for that. They’re pretty hard on spammers.
So we know to optimize a web page, but how do you bring all of that information together and create a website that really ranks, that really works? A lot of that has to do with the way that the content and pages are organized on the website. This might sound pretty logical, but you want to group things together that are similar. If you have a website–
Male Voice: It’s just crazy.
Chris: It’s crazy.
If you have website, let’s say you do piano repair or you’re selling pianos, you may have different sections for piano accessories. You may have different sections for piano repair, piano music, sheet music, whatever and when you bring all this related content together and you funnel it into these what are called “silos” or “clusters,” and your create a hierarchy that makes sense. But around that there are a lot of opportunities to increase the keyword relevancy of your site, the topical relevancy of your site. When Google goes to a site and they see, “Well, he’s talking about fantasy baseball here, but then on another page he’s talking about tattoo removal.” It’s not going to make a lot of sense, so they’re probably not going to rank that site for either of those terms, because there’s no cohesion there of the content.
What we want to do is we want to create supporting content around our targeted phrases. For example going back to WIFH, what we’ve done is we’ve created these clusters. Under tattoo removal we have different subpages that talk about different facets of tattoo removal, pricing, Q and A, it doesn’t hurt, aftercare, how do you care for your tattoo after you’ve gotten this laser treatment on it. So we’ve created all this great content, but the great thing about it is we were able to link back to our, what are called “money pages”, the pages we want to rank in search results that people are going to find to make a buying decision.
So going back to the Weber grill-if you were to group these things together you would have your homepage, which is your group WWW whatever you website is.com. The content category would be Weber Grill manuals, so this is going to be a comprehensive all about Weber Grill manuals, then specifically about the Genesis series, and then down to more specific pages. Again, if you look at the URL structure we’ve got three different levels of optimization here. We have topical category page, “Weber-Grill-manuals,” general, less general, very specific.
I already kind of touched on this which was about trying to find cross-linking opportunities. Basically when you link to other pages on your site it helps the search engine spider crawling, the searcher to get to each individual page on your site. It’s also good for users to get them to the information that they want or that may need, or want to read that is related. Again, going back to the longtail ideology where you’re attracting people who may not be searching those really top terms in more specific terms, that’s great for inbound traffic to your site. There may be 30 searches a month for, “How do I care for my tattoo after I get a laser treatment?”
So what’s the goal here? It’s, when you’re trying to rank high in search engines you’re basically proven to Google and to users that you’re an authority, you are a trusted source for this topic or information. This is what all these things do and there’s great diversity in what they can do on your website in order to drive the rating or to create great new content from blogging to FAQ sections about Weber Grill manuals and that sort of thing. I think I will talk about that.
So going back to Weber Grills-the content ideas that we can take from those different things we can do, the videos on how to actually assemble them, those are great resources for people. I’m going to talk a little bit about offsite optimization, which is basically getting links, getting great buzz, getting people to interact with you online and that also helps build ranking. Comparison pages: Gas versus Charcoal, just kind of get creative. There’s a lot of industries where, for example junk cars. Can you image creating a content title for junk cars? What’s it going to be about? Catalytic converters maybe, environmental impact, you can only say so much about junk cars.
Again, offsite marketing strategies – So after you optimize your website and web pages you then have to go and market yourself. Building links – Links from relevant sites are still incredibly important to how well the website and the web page ranks. Google’s actually done some recent in-house tests where they have changed their algorithm– Google’s algorithm has over 200 different variations of factors of how it ranks a page.–where they’ve just taken down links. This is because people very bad people in my industry abuse it, they spam the web with content that doesn’t matter, that is not even readable and all it does is provide a link back to your site.
Google is smart enough, their algorithm is sophisticated enough to pick up on that. The people who get caught get kicked off, so you have to do it in a legitimate way, a way that provides value to the user. What sort of problem am I solving for them with my product? Really create a content marketing strategy around that, whether it’s video, or whitepapers, or in that sense.
So again, link authority equals trust with users and with the search engines, so that in turn gets you higher rankings.
Bonus section – PDF files for Google. Since I know a lot of you work with digital this may be a little bit more helpful. We’ve all created different documents and exported them as PDF files and we give them to the digital people and they put them on the website and most of the time you have no idea where they’ve gone. But the great thing about PDF files is Google will index them and they will rank them if they’re good.
So ways to optimize PDF files-A lot of the same rules apply, these meaning your keyword phrases, keyword terms. You want to use them in strategic places, definitely in the file name. There’s also, under the properties you can add your keywords within the titles. There’s actually a keyword field under the properties and subject, and I’ll show you how to do all of that here in a minute.
Use text based PDFs-that kind of varies from application to application.
File size matters. There a little trick to cleaning up the reading order. Then obviously you want to protect the content that you make so that no one can edit it.
Optimize the file name – This versus this, which do you think is relevant to the search engines? Probably the one that Google did. It actually uses our keywords in the file name. If you give it a good file name it’s likely to be used in the title as well. How do you do that? It’s easy, , name it something nice and get your keywords in there.
Text based PDFs – The process of doing this is a little different from application to application, but the point here is Google loves HTML it was what it was built to do, is crawl HTML pages. It doesn’t necessarily understand the PDF language or PDF structure, so if you do it plain text it can sometimes read that text and determine what the actual content is about on the PDF. So, if you can, export as a PDF text file. If you have scan there are software tools out there that will actually scan them in will pull out the text. Again, the processes are different. Optical Character Recognition, that’s the word that I was looking. That software is what pulls off your scans if you scan a piece of paper or whatever with your regular printer scanner and coverts it to text based.
Why you might use the keywords? You’re going after keyword relevancy. Google loves keywords.
So how do we implement these? That’s what I was talking about. Properties within the document properties, title, author, we’re sticking all the Weber Grill stuff in here, keywords, there’s additional metadata that you can get to. You can have the director’s approvals, Copyright 2014, all this kind of stuff. Basically it’s crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s, it’s putting in all the information that you’re allowed to. There’s nothing wrong with that that’s why we’re putting it in there and if you’re going to use keywords you’re just going to help yourself get fattened.
Keep file size a small as possible. So loading time, we all get frustrated with websites that don’t load fast enough, the same thing goes for the search engine spiders. If it doesn’t load fast enough it’s going to choke them and they’re going bounce off this page. So keep it to a relatively small file size so that you can please users and search engines. How do you do that? You can save as reduced file size PDF. There’s other ways to do it, optimized PDF ways where you’re saving them and that sort of thing, but that’s just in general on how you do that.
Clean up the reading order-One on the cool things that Adobe allows you to do is if you have an image on a particular PDF document you can actually stretch a cursor across that image, select it, and assign it ALT text, which Google will be able to read. How do you do that? Under “Tools and Accessibility”, you have a menu over here on the right-hand side called “Touchup Reading Order” — You’re actually going to close this box here first when it pops up–select figure. So for example with Weber Grills I selected the whole thing. What you want to do is you going to tag it as a figure, as an image and then what you can do is add Alt text then I just stuck my keywords there, too. So when Google reads that as a text document now it’s going to pick up the image within that document that is optimized with that Alt text.
Write protection – Now, when you’ve done a great job you don’t want anybody to mess with your work, particularly when your name’s on it. Write protecting your document basically makes it so people can’t edit it. There’s a couple of ways to do that, properties, you want to password protect it. There’s other ways to do it, but password security so that they can’t “enable text access for screen reader device.” So if you assign the password they can’t edit it without a password, essentially.
That’s it. That was it, it’s a lot to digest. This is such a broad industry. There’s a million things I didn’t talk about today. This is very high-level stuff, but it’s just some general things that you can think of if you’re ever producing content that’s going to be on the web. Think about the keywords, think about what people are searching for, because they’re not going to find it if it doesn’t have keywords.
Male Voice: You mentioned paring a PDF file, what’s considered small these days?
Chris: That’s a good question. It all depends on what the content is, if it’s text you’re probably going to be–
Male Voice: Let’s say, a brochure.
Chris: If it’s really graphic I would try to keep it under two meg would probably be the most. I mean, try to optimize it, but it’s still pretty substantial and you’re still going to get great quality out of it, it’s not going to choke the spider.
Any other questions?
Male Voice: I’m curious and I image you would be the one to know. What percentage of people who are searching look for an exact match?
Chris: I have no idea what that percentage is. Honestly, I know as a searcher myself, I’m not going to use the quotes unless I’ve typed in broad term and didn’t get what I wanted. It’s always a back up, if I want this specific term, it has to be in here. That’s the only way that I would use it. Great question though.
Female Voice: Talk a little about misspelled words and how that might affect things we look for.
Chris: Certainly on your web pages you want to be as grammatically appropriate as possible and misspellings and that sort of thing. There has been some speculation that Google discredits those pages if it’s terribly written. It used to be in this industry that you could actually optimize a web page for a misspelling, not so much anymore. When you talk about semantic search, phrases that are interchangeable, actually companies/services are kind of interchangeable, and misspellings it’ll always usually pull up the phrase that you were looking for, “You misspelled this, but we returned results for this term. Is this what you were looking for?” So they’re very sophisticated with that.
Any other questions?
Female Voice: Considering an actual image, a JPEG that you would put on, would you optimize it in the same way with a file name and other metadata that image could have?
Chris: Yes, absolutely. Those rank very well on images in Google if you do that, file names, metadata, even give it a star rating. It’s your image give it a star rating.
Female Voice: So you when take some one’s content SEO optimize it what is it that you find the content lacking?
Chris: That’s what copy writers are for. If the content is lacking you try to boost the content. You try to figure out what else we can say and it varies from industry to industry on how creative you can get and what you can say. I mean, certainly in some medical field you can’t say that you’re the best. There’s certain marketing standards that you have.
Also, it’s marketing, if you can write another paragraph talking about why you should be trusted or experiences that you’ve had and just get another 100 words on the page and get a keyword in there. It’s all kind of massaging the content so that it works.
Female Voice: So if someone has got a lot of content, but it’s just not keyword and otherwise optimized do make recommendations for them too?
Chris: It depends on the client. Some clients are very hands on and don’t want you messing with their copy, but then you say, “Okay, we won’t do that.” Two or three months later they’ve got no progress, but then you convince them, “We need to do this. We need to get the keywords on the page. We need to do these best practices, this is why you called me.” Then they start climbing. It depends on the client.
Male Voice: Regarding the metadata. Can you actually go back to the slide where you were talking about the metadata. I believe it was in the body there or I don’t know where it is, but in any case–
Chris: For the PDFs.
Male Voice: No, from web pages.
Chris: Yeah, go ahead, which one.
Male Voice: Often when I do a search I see some of this metadata I always thought it was quoting material from the page that Google was displaying to me, but it’s actually not.
Chris: Sometimes it is.
Male Voice: Sometimes it is, because I look actually for that specific data that I saw, but it’s not there and that’s because it’s actually in the header of the web page not in the content?
Chris: Yeah, but Google likes to mess with SEOs. They love to tweak and torment us, they do. They will pull out excerpts from the actually body content and replace that with the description tag that you’ve written. You also see that sometimes in the title tags. Let me show you an example.
That’s not actually the Meta file tag that I wrote, but it’s taken the keyword and said, “Okay, well this keyword here is enough times on this pages that this is what this page is about and it’s started right there in front but it’s the same way for title tags as well, so they’re pretty suggestive with whatever they do want to do and go pull it out.
Male Voice: I was just trying to figure out how much you can put in those metadata tags, the header of your organizations names.
Chris: As clean as possible, but as detailed as it needs to be. You hit the real key ones and things that we didn’t talk about are like schema metadata, micro-data, which is whole different ballgame of tags that you can apply to different elements of the pages that specifically tell Google, “This is in English,” or, “This is the author of this page,” or, “This is a navigation page.” A clean mark up is always something that you stress, but you want to get the real meaty ones, so adding the title, the description, that sort of thing.
Female Voice: I have a question about your URL. If I go to www.chriseverett.com.
Chris: You won’t get me.
Female Voice: I won’t?
Chris: Nope. Somebody already bought that domain.
Female Voice: That’s a domain problem, so if I go to that part, that URL, what will I see?
Chris: If you go to this?
Female Voice: Right.
Chris: Your Google page. The difference between paid and organic, it’s going to show you the actual URL on the organic unless there’s like bread crumb which it will show you the path there, it’s like a really deep page. But when you’re talking about page, this display URL is completely customizable. They can put whatever they want there as long as it still in the same domain and it meets the character limit.
Female Voice: But that’s actually in your title?
Chris: Yeah, this is the URL for this page.
Any more questions?