Basic SEO Fundamentals – For New and Existing Websites
In this weeks episode of Local SEO Tactics, we cover some of the basics you need to know for building a proper SEO foundation into your website. There are many, many tricks and tactics to use for improving your SEO – but if you’re not doing the basics properly, then it’s all for not!
This episode is a bit longer than most, about 48 minutes in length. However, stick with it, take notes, and write down the action items you can accomplish. SEO is not always sexy…actually, it’s usually pretty dry, but taking action and executing the steps will ensure you keep moving forward.
- How to choose the right domain name for your business website, to rank high, and get return customers
- Why it’s so important to rank in the top 3 for Google results, not just on the first page
- How to properly name your individual web pages to get them ranked, and to attract customers
- Best approach on creating a page title that ranks high and converts customers to your website
- What is the page description, and how does it appear on the Google search results page
- How to use our SEO Audit tool to grade your website and web pages
- How to use our SEO Audit tool to spy on your competitors
Thanks for Listening!
Here is the transcript for Episode 5 – Basic SEO Fundamentals For Your Website;
Jesse: You can run this audit on anything. It doesn’t have to be just your website. You can run
your competitions webpages through this too, if you want to kind of reverse engineer
Hey everyone, Jesse Dolan and Bob Brennan here with local SEO Tactics. This week
we’re going to be talking about actual on-page SEO. Not so much the Google My
Business anymore, we’ve been there for the last four weeks, roughly, with the first three
being about the Google My Business page optimization set up, things like that. Last
week we talked about reviews. This week we’re going to dig into the website. We’re
going to kind of start from the beginning, if you have a website right now you should be
able to follow along, apply some of these tactics. If you don’t yet have a website, you
can still take all this in, jot some notes down, and this should help you prepare how to
get your website and set it up for the first time.
Bob: I’ve got to just make a few quick announcements. Some of this may be a little bit dry,
and pretty technical. Those of us that are in the ADD world, this may be difficult for us
to follow along. I can tell you this, you’re going to want to follow it, you’re going to want
to take the time to learn and understand this. This is a critical part of your business.
Again, this is about getting your site to the top of Google. If it isn’t at the very top, I’m
not talking about first page, the very top of Google, it’s really kind of pointless. A
website is good for a brochure, if you will, here, go to my website for this information.
That’s fine. If it’s about SEO, if it’s about new customers, unless it’s in the top three, I
believe you’re wasting your time.
We’re going to give you the tools to get that site to the top three.
Jesse: Right. I think everybody knows if you do your own searches, it’s not often you go down,
even halfway down the page, let alone even the second or the third page. Something
that we actually find, is when people are further down on the page, you may still get
some leads, but they’re just not that good.
Bob: Oh yeah, that’s a good point, Jesse. Really, unless you’re at the top, it’s again, the leads
you’ll get at the bottom are lowest price, they’re looking for lowest price. They have
some unusual requests that you can’t fulfill, and they will chew up your time in that
process. Many of us are just happy to get a call off our sites, but you’ll begin to
understand once you begin to go through this process, and you’re at the bottom of the
first page, you’re going to get some calls, you’re going to get excited about it, which is
fine. It’s just you’re going to find out sooner than later, there’s a reason they’re calling
you, and it’s usually because they’re a bit of a problem sometimes.
Again, all customers are good, don’t get me wrong. This is kind of … You’re going to see
a trend forming when you’re at the bottom of the first page.
Jesse: Would you say a lot of times, I’m kind of asking a question I already know the answer to,
but just to make it a talking point. Those people that are calling you, if you’re in the 6th,
7th, 8th place, they’ve already called everybody else, right? They didn’t just scroll down
to the bottom and pick you, they’ve gotten no’s, or unfavorable responses already.
Bob: Unless your competition is woefully inadequate, and dealing with customer service
issues, again, there’s a reason they’re calling you. It’s not always a pleasant reason.
Bob: Again, we want to shoot for that top three, the top three is a good goal to hit, and don’t
stop applying these methods. If you’re on the first page thinking you were right, you just
got to keep at it and be diligent, and give it as much attention as you can, as you can
afford. Again, we’re all busy, allocate that time. It’s worth it.
Jesse: We’re going to start today kind of from the ground up, talking about the domain name
for your website, how that’s strategic, the actual names of the pages that you might
create on your website, and some of the details that go into those. We’re probably
going to have about three episodes on this particular topic. We’re going to get a little bit
deeper into the second or third episode, but again today we’re going to start right from
the beginning. The first part of that is the domain name of your website. If you already
have a domain name, great. I wouldn’t change anything. If you already have a website,
you can apply the stuff we’re going to be talking about to that. If you’re in a position
where you’re going to launch a new website, your first website, second third, whatever
it is, put some strategy into it. Again, something you’ve heard us say in other episodes,
and you’ll hear us say it a lot more.
When it comes to digital marketing, and particularly your SEO, do everything on
purpose. Don’t just willy nilly, pick a name that sounds cool. One of the key things for
being found in Google is keywords and phrases, right? If you’re a plumbing company,
and you want to be found for plumbing, or plumbing services, if possible make sure your
domain name, and maybe even the name of your business of course too, or at least your
domain name has the word plumbing services, or plumbing service within it. If it’s Bob’s
plumbing service.com, Bob’s twin cities plumbing service.com. We’re up in Minneapolis,
Twin Cities here. That’d be even better, because now you’re tying kind of a local,
geographic phraseology into that, along with plumbing service.
Not completely necessary to do that, but for sure, when I say the geographic reference,
not completely necessary, but for sure some words that are akin to what your main
product and service is that you’re providing. Some people might be worried, is that
going to limit me? Maybe I’m a plumber, and I also do some kind of remodeling stuff,
and people aren’t just going to call me for plumbing service, or maybe I do hot water
heaters. You don’t have to limit the content on your website to the exact keywords that
are going to be in your domain name, but obviously like any business there’s probably
some kind of 80/20 rule with the revenue streams that you do have, and the products
that you sell. You wan to try and make sure that you analyze that, and pick a domain
name that makes sense according to that.
There is a school of thought of maybe trying to mash keywords, and again your
geographic reference into your domain name. That can hurt you if you’re going to be
expanding beyond that. Let’s take Minneapolis, up here in Minnesota. If Bob’s going to
do Bob’s Minneapolis plumbing.com, but he’s also going to be servicing let’s say St. Paul,
which is a suburb, neighboring city. No offense to St. Paul. Somebody in St. Paul may see
Bob’s Minneapolis plumbing.com, or what have you, and maybe be a little put out. He
doesn’t service this area, even though he’s popping up and I’m in St. Paul, or another
Bob: That can play a role in conversion, obviously.
Jesse: Absolutely. That’s more of what I mean, thanks for clarifying that Bob. You may rank
well, but people are just going to skip right past you even if you’re in the number one
spot, because that doesn’t apply to me, I’m going to click on the next one.
Bob: I’ll throw out too, as far as choosing a domain name, try not to make it super
complicated, so your prospects, or clients, are trying to go back to your site and like
what is the domain name again? The shorter and distinct, the better in my opinion. It
sticks to your mind easier. Bob’s Crazy Plumbing, that’s a bad example, but just … Bob’s
Twin City Plumbing, or whatever. Now, if you say Bob’s Twin City Fighting Plumbing type
thing, it’s just going to make it real difficult for people to keep that in their minds. As
distinct as possible, is huge in whatever you can come up with that again, sticks in their
Jesse: Yeah. The number one goal of course to get a new customer is to show up in the search
engine, but after you get them on the hook, you want them to come back to you. If they
can’t for the life of themselves remember your company name, or your domain name,
they’re going to be going to Google and searching again. Hopefully if you’re doing it right
they find you again, but why leave that to chance? Just make it short and sweet.
Another aspect piggybacking on what you’re talking about Bob, sometimes people
forget about your email address.
Jesse: Whatever your domain name is, that’s going to be your
[email protected] That’s a mouthful, nobody’s going to
remember that. You’re going to get sick and tired of spelling that, repeating that every
Bob: Right. If they’re dyslexic like me, they’re going to misspell it eight different ways, they’re
never going to get the email through. Hey did you get my email? Really, the problem
originates at your email, because you made this [inaudible 00:08:29] email that nobody
is going to be able to type in.
Jesse: That’s part’s not necessarily related to SEO, but just kind of a good thing that you’ve
learned along the way and helped a lot of customers with. Once you get down that road,
you really can’t undo it. You also don’t want to have an email address that’s got a
different domain than your primary company’s domain name. You want to keep it
consistent across the board.
Along with that, with having the crazy long domain name too, is you only have a certain
amount of space when you show up on the search engine results page, or the SERP,
people will call it too, for Google. If you’ve got a domain that has 30 or 40 characters,
because it’s just so stinking long, you have to remember when you create an actual page
on your website too, because Google doesn’t just show you websites in the search
results. It’s showing you individual pages when you’re searching for something. You’ve
got to remember the name of your page is going to be attached to your domain name,
so you kind of want people to see that.
When we quickly glance at the search engine results page, we’re making a decision of
what we’re going to click on, and then hopefully convert based off of what we’re seeing.
If you can’t see your entire link, or it just doesn’t make any sense and people don’t want
to read it, that’s going to be a bad thing. General rule of thumb, people will see
anywhere from 50 to 70 total characters. If you’ve got a big domain name that’s starting
off with 30 characters, that can include the WWW, the dots, and then the .com at the
end, any slashes and dashes that are a part of it. You’re just going to be asking for
trouble. You may rank decent, but for the conversion and what it looks like, and
things like that.
Some people might think you should try to mash a bunch of keywords in there, and just try
to get it all to fit in. That’s a bad tactic. That might’ve worked ten years ago, but things
are just more sophisticated now, and consumers and people using the search engines
on the other side of the keyboard. We’re kind of wise to that, I think everybody kind of
gets a little scared off if you see something that has too much pounded in there. You
know it’s spam. At any rate, that’s kind of a good once over for how to choose a domain
name. Again, if you’re starting from scratch, take that to heart. If you already have one,
you can work with what you got. If the things that we said make you think that you
made a horrible, horrible choice, you can start over too.
Bob: Yeah, and I would tell you too, if you have a competitive advantage in your service, and
you want to incorporate that in your domain name, you can say 24/7 plumbing service,
or versus Johnson Brothers Plumbing. There’s nothing wrong with either one, it’s just
what strategy you want to employ. Again, a name like 24/7 plumbing might convert
better than let’s say Johnson Brothers, because one is more likely to pick up the phone
for 24/7 plumbing.
Bob: Knowing that they can take care of my problem.
Jesse: Right. That’s not overthinking your domain name, quite frankly. That’s like picking the
name for your business. There should be some strategy involved with this. It should be
kind of a big decision, because that’s going to be the virtual address, if you will, or what
people remember for your business going forward. Give it some thought. If you’re kind
of stumped, if you need a little muse, some creativity to spark you, do some searching
online. If you’re in Minneapolis like us, try searching in St. Louis, or Houston, or different
markets for the kind of phrases you’d like to show up, and see what other people are
doing. They’re putting 24/7 in there, are they putting their name, Bob and Sons. What
are other people doing that are ranking high, what speaks to you, and just kind of go off
Like I always say, there’s no sense in reinventing the wheel. There’s millions of websites,
probably over 100 markets in the United States alone that have hundreds of thousands
of people in there. You can trust kind of that crowd sourcing vibe, if you will.
Bob: Yeah, and your customers will tell you, or you can ask people. You can’t ask them which
one of these sounds best. I would say, if you had a car that was broken down, would you
want it to say honest auto repair, or 24/7.
Jesse: Give it some context.
Bob: Yeah. Serve it up that way, and get feedback from people, and that should point you in
the direction you want to go.
Jesse: Yeah, absolutely. Let’s move on, and again like we just said earlier, when you search for
something on Google, or Bing, or people use Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, Ex-Cite, there’s some
old ones out there. You’re not just getting shown websites, you’re getting shown
webpages. The next part of it is, let’s say you got your website up, you’ve got your
domain picked out, now you’re creating pages. Individual pages for your website. Each
one of those is going to have a name, depending on if you’re doing a traditional HTML
website, maybe WordPress, square space, any of these kinds of platforms. You’re going
to have somewhere where you’re going to put the name of your page on there.
Sometimes where you put the name for your page will automatically be coded into the
URL extension of what that’s going to be online. Sometimes you have to physically enter
that in. I’m sorry. Sometimes you have to manually enter that in yourself. Take that
same kind of logic for picking a domain name, for what you’re going to name your
pages. If you’ve got a page, let’s say if your general domain is Bob’s Plumbing
Service.com, and you want to create a page for 24/7 plumbing service, or emergency
plumbing service or things like that, obviously put that right in the title. Like Bob’s
saying, if you’re going to be seeing that in the results page, it’s going to convert. You’re
looking for 24/7. You don’t want to have to have people wait to click on your page, and
see you’re 24/7 service. They want to see that right in the domain name extension, so
they kind of make that immediate connection with you and what they’re looking for.
That’s on the conversion side to get people to click to you from the results page.
Obviously, if people are searching literally for the phrase, 24/7 plumbing near me, or
things like that, that’s where the SEO comes in. The words that you choose to get a title,
and a name to your page are going to be part of that URL extension. Those individual
words are relevant for showing up in the search engines. Bob and I have let’s say
identical websites, all things being equal. If I’m using 24/7 in my phrase for that page,
and Bob’s not, he’s just saying Great Plumbing Service for the name of his page, if you’re
searching for 24/7 plumbing, mine’s going to show up over Bob’s just because it had
that phrase in the title URL for that page, in the name.
Kind of the same school for thought there if you’re unsure of what you should be going
after, do some research. We should put an asterisk by this too. If you’re sitting down
right now, and you’re creating a new webpage, and let’s say it’s in WordPress and you
press publish. It’s online, the entire world can now find that page. Maybe at a typo,
maybe you’ve got a better idea. You want to change it right now? Go ahead and change
it. You’ve got hours if not a day or two to kind of make that change. I guess to put that
asterisk of you’re going to make that change, if it’s a page you’ve had out there for a
month, or even a weekBob: Yeah, that’s more difficult.
Jesse: Yeah, I’d be a bit more leery about doing it. Effectively, I guess a good rule of thumb just
to make it clear, is the longer the page has been existing and published, the more
dangerous it is to change it, especially if it’s a page that’s already ranking in search
engines, and they’re getting some kind of traction. An alternative method for that is
actually to create a new page, so if your old page is already out there, and it’s maybe a
situation where you think it’s too late to change it, or maybe too dangerous to change it,
you can create a new page. You don’t want to duplicate that old page, because you’re
going to be facing some duplicate content issues with Google, but hopefully if it’s your
business, you kind of know how to write/talk about your business, and you can just whip
up a new page that’s more topical, and name it whatever you want to name it.
I guess long story short there, there are options, if you do want to change the URL of
your page or the title of your page, but just kind of take those things into consideration.
Bob: You want to move into page titles at this point? Have we covered everything on page
Jesse: Yeah, let’s talk about page titles. We can definitely move onto that.
Bob: What’s the difference between the two, page names and the page titles?
Jesse: Yeah, at least for what we’re talking about, for our context, we say the page name we’re
talking about what the URL’s going to end up for, for navigating to the page.
Jesse: Now, your title is something people might call a meta title, M-E-T-A title, and that’s
going to be something that’s more coded into the website. Again, depending on what
platform you’re using, if you’re using WordPress or things like that, you can just type
that and it’ll inject that meta title in that for you. An easy way to see what that title is, if
you’re ever in a website, let’s say you’re using Google Chrome, you can kind of hover
over the tab that might be open for that website, and sometimes you’ll see a bunch of
text kind of open up at the top there. That’s the title.
Jesse: Okay? That’s one of the most important things for a search engine. They see that-
Bob: The title’s critical.
Jesse: Absolutely, whereas your name, you might want to kind of keep that short and sweet,
again for the number of characters that are in that entire URL for that page. Your title,
you can have a little bit more liberty with, and maybe mash in a couple more keywords,
or expand that phrase a little bit to be more descriptive. You are limited there, to maybe
again, as some people say, 70 to 120 characters or less. You don’t have to use all that
up. The rule of thumb is definitely shorter the better. You don’t want to put stuff in
there that just makes it long, and forces people to read more, and think more. People
just don’t like to do that.
The page title is something that’s also going to show up on the search engine results
page. In the show notes, we’ll put in some snippets to kind of point this out, a little
diagram that show you what the title is, the URL is, things like that. The next topic which
is going to be description, which is also very important. The page title I would say, back
to what Bob was talking about earlier, to make people convert and click, that’s where
you can really put your T’s and call to action, or what makes you different, back to the
example of 24/7 plumbing. What types of services, residential, commercial, kind of
expanding on that a little bit. Again, keeping in mind we do everything on purpose.
Everything that you’re typing in there should be for the purpose of attracting customers,
attracting searchers. Converting them.
Bob: Let me ask a quick question, so in the page title, again one of the ways you can do it is
you can say emergency 24/7 plumbing, or that’s probably not a good example, because
you probably want to set up a separate page for hot water heaters, for instance. When
you think about plumbing emergencies, hot water heaters are probably one of them,
and again if I were running this website, I’d have a whole separate page for hot water
heaters. Getting back to just the idea of 24/7 plumbing, probably part of the title again,
is either emergency 24/7 plumbing, or something along that line.
Jesse: Absolutely. Google came out in the recent weeks, and announced that you can go after
basic two keywords, two keyword phrases, more broadly per page. Maybe your main
focus for that page is 24/7 plumbing. Emergency is kind of synonymous with 24/7, to an
extent. The same customer at least looking for it. Absolutely, that’d be a great example
of how to expand on that topic a little bit, adding the keyword of emergency, or after
hours, or just things like that. Definitely would want to say topical, don’t start getting
into hot water heaters and specific things, because the great part about a website is you
can create as many pages as you want.
Quite frankly, the more pages you create the better, which is a whole other topic. Yeah,
I would say get creative with that, put some things that you think are going to convert. If
you have prices, if you know it’s X per hour, or free estimates, or things like that, put
that stuff right in there too. Again, people are going to … There’s two main things there
really, to break it down, just to make it super simple. You’re putting these words in
there for Google to identify you, to say these are the kinds of things that they want to
show up for. Then you’re putting those words in there for people to convert to go off of
Google, to click on it off of Google, onto your website.
Write that with the keywords and things you want to be following for, but a real person
is going to be the one ultimately deciding your fate with this, if they click on your link or
not. With that too, speaking towards the human element of it, Google’s going to see the
entire page title. If it’s three characters or 155 characters, they’re going to be able to
read, and see the whole thing. Now, us human users, it depends on the device that
we’re using. How much we’re going to see on the screen, how much is Google going to
cut off and give us some dots. If you’re on a desktop, and you’ve got a really nice wired
screen, you’re going to see a lot more of that text than you are if you’re on mobile, and
you just see a little snippet of it.
The reason that’s relevant, is make sure your message reads from left to right, for
importance of that. Don’t bury the lead, as they say for copywriting. 24/7 plumbing
service is what you’re putting that page out there for, they don’t really care that it’s
Bob’s Plumbing, or things like that. Lead with 24/7 plumbing, by Bob’s plumbing. Not
Bob’s plumbing, proudly serving the area with 24/7 plumbing services. Pretty good
chance that last part, the 24/7, which is really what you’re trying to hammer on here, is
going to get cut off on the search results page, and the users aren’t going to see that,
even if Google has you number one. If the guy or gal right under you has 24/7 plumbing
as their lead for their text, even if they’re number two, people are going to probably
click on that if that’s what they’re looking for.
Bob: When they list the page there’s a blue descriptor at the top. What I was going to throw out there, is as
far as page title, can you put 24/7 Plumbing $99 an hour?
Bob: Ideally it would be up there, 24/7, $99 an hour. People are talking time and money, the
amount of time, I only got so much money. If you can convert on those things, might be
a good thing, right?
Jesse: Absolutely. Those watching on video, you can see on the screen behind us, I did a quick
Google search on a 24/7 plumbing. Let’s just pull up some local results around us. This is
what Bob’s talking about. You see the biggest text there that’s blue, that’s the page
titles. Emergency commercial plumbing services, 24/7 roto rooter. If they had a price
point that they wanted to put on there, they could just tack that right in that phrase,
and instantly as a user, I’m going to know it’s emergency 24/7, and it’s $99 dollars, or
whatever it’s going to be. Depending on what else I see on here, that’s going to make
me convert or not.
Again, when we say convert, we mean click to the website, not so much convert to a
customer, because we’re going from Google to your website in this context. Again, I
would say when I doubt do the research. You can see on here, we just did a quick
search, we got a couple results with some similar text, some things a little bit different.
Try different markets. What are other people doing, what are they saying? Put yourself
on the other side of the keyboard, put yourself in the shoes of that searcher, do some
searches, and say what would be attractive to me? We got one example here, KatiePlumber.com.
Katie if you’re out there listening to this, give us a call. We can help you
Right there in that title, it starts off great 24/7 plumbing services. Then it goes dash, just
another WordPress site. That right there is a default title, that’s part of an out of the box
WordPress website. Obviously she is, I’m assuming it’s a she, it’s Katie, is doing
something right because this is the first page. We just randomly did a search, scroll
down and it’s right there. That being said, this is an example of somebody that could
definitely use a little bit of help to convert those customers. Even though you’re
showing up great, some people might be skipping right over you because it looks like it’s
Bob: Number three position, naturally. That just tells you this isn’t too hard to do. Just got to
do some things right, and you’re going to be hopefully beating out Katie, no offense, in
terms of your market.
Jesse: If you’re out there thinking there’s just so many plumbing websites out there already,
this is the example of course. Does it even matter if I do it? How am I going to get
traction? There are already people who have done this before me, what can I possibly
do to get myself ranked? Here you go, you can do something better than Katie, for sure.
You can trump that. Don’t be discouraged even if you’re starting your website today
right after this episode. If you just start it fresh. If you do it the right way from day one,
you’re going to have great results. We’re in Minneapolis, we’re in a suburb right here,
but we’re in a major market. This is legitimate competition. We’ve got Roto Rooter,
we’ve got some Ben Franklin up there.
The blue text you see on the top, that is the page titles. Right under that, what we were
just talking earlier, that’s the actual URL in the name of the pages. Again, you want to be
cognizant of what you’re putting up there. You can see a couple examples, back to Katie
Plumber. What we’re seeing here is the homepage for that website. Right under it for
this ARS.com, emergency plumbing services, we’re seeing a page. That’s not the home
page, it’s not the dot.com that’s got an extension, emergency-plumbing-services. In this
case here, like we were talking earlier, we did a search for 24/7. Google’s obviously
pretty intelligent now with their algorithm, way better than they were a couple years
They know that if I’m searching for 24/7, kind of synonymous with emergency, right?
This ARS, they didn’t even have to put in their name or title there you can see, the
words 24/7, or the phrases relating to 24/7. Google sees that in their page, and some
bot equates it with emergency, and it’s showing up on the results page. Not number
one, but it’s still worthy to note. That phraseology wasn’t even in these key areas for
Bob: Yeah. For my money, I’d throw my price up there. Again, I can’t stress enough as the
consumer, if I’m in a hurry and there’s a price point I want to pay, I’m going to click on
these guys first. Again, if all things were the same, they all look the same, and I see a
price point, it’s worth trying.
Jesse: Well, and that’s kind of why we’re searching, right?
Jesse: Instead of calling, or picking up a magazine, or the local newspaper and going off some
ads, we want to make as much of the decision as possible before we actually engage
with that dreaded salesperson, or receptionist on the other end, you know what I
mean? If you can know what the price is ahead of time, that just helps you make the
decision, and you’re more likely to attract to that. Seeing up here too, this brings up a
good point. We’re talking about the natural things here, the natural ads, which
everybody probably knows, but just to reiterate. If you start at the top of the page and
come down, the first three are the paid to click ads. They’ll say sponsored or ad next to
it, so it’s pretty easy to tell.
We’re talking about doing some research. If you’re not sure what to do, or not sure
what looks good, things like that, do some searches. Maybe your market, different
markets, doesn’t matter. If you look at this here, like Bob’s saying , to put your price
right in there. They’re not listing the price. On our example here, the third ad down,
Roto Rooter 24/7 plumbers, and they put right in there, $50 off any service. Now, that is
a paid ad, but still, you have that ability to do that exact technique when you’re creating
your webpage, not having to be a paid ad. Whether it’s a coupon in this case, or as Bob
was saying, listing your estimate rate, or whatever the on-call rate is, putting that rate in
there is attractive.
Jesse: Not everybody’s doing it. Moving on to the next kind of high relevant area for search
engine optimization is your page description. Again, this will be META description
technically, M-E-T-A description. What that means, it’s kind of in the coding of the
website. Again, if you’re using a regular HTML website, you might have to hard code
that in depending on what kind of system you’re using. WordPress, there’s usually a
spot in the field that you can just type this in, and that’s what’s going to be in the text
that you see here on the page. Again, for those watching the video you see me pointing
to it. Anybody else on the podcast. Check the show notes, we’ll have some diagrams, or
you can watch the video too at the bottom of the page in the show notes, there’s a link
for the video.
You’ll see this bit of text that Google puts out for every result that they’re showing here.
That’s usually going to contain your page description that you in put. Sometimes Google
may override that if they feel that’s there a snippet of your page content that’s more
relevant, they’ll mix that in. You can see in this particular result here for this Roto
Rooter, we can see some … , so they’re kind of paraphrasing and putting some stuff
together. Even if they don’t show your META description on the results page, it’s still
something Google looks at. It’s not something that people will see on your page when
they click on your website, they won’t see this description, it’s in the background. It’s
just code for people to know what your page is about, to describe your page. They will
show it on the search engine results page.
All the things we were talking about earlier apply to this. If you’ve got pricing you want
to communicate, some idiosyncrasies with your service, the speed of service, things like
that. Go ahead and use those in your description. Again, keywords, what’s relevant,
things that convert or things that make you rank higher in Google. You’ve got to talk to
the search engine bots, you’ve got to talk to the humans that are going to be reading
the page. There is no guarantee, like I said, that that’s what they’re going to show, but
you just make that assumption that’s going to be visible, and out there and you’re going
to be in pretty good shape.
Bob: Yeah. This is where you want to convert, like you were saying. If you’ve got some unique
value proposition that no one else has, and it’s something that when the customer’s
over, you’ve got to put that out there.
Jesse: These two areas you should note, your page title and description, your META title and
META description, you can change those whenever you want. Really, we’re talking
about your page name, which is the link, which again on the video here the green text.
That’s something that’s kind of dangerous to change. Google indexing that page, and
expecting to find that page at that address every time, when you change that you can be
in trouble. The actual title and the descriptions though, you can change those. If you’re
seeing … Katie would be a great example right there. That website’s going to stay where
it’s at. You can go in there, change that, and almost instantaneously have something
other than just another WordPress site. Probably going to get some more customers as
soon as you make that change. It’s not going to make a difference to Google as far as on
a negative impact, unless you do something ridiculous.
Give a disclaimer, people can break things if they want to. If your intent is to put
something in there that is relevant to convert more people, or maybe a keyword to help
bump your ranking up even higher. There’s going to be no negative impact for changing
your title, or if you’re changing your description, it’s only a good thing. Whether you
want to do some AB testing in that regard, maybe run one version for three weeks, kind
of see its rankings, and see what kind of traffic you’re getting. If you’re getting any
people to convert through and call you, go ahead and change it.
Kind of rounding out some of this SEO 101 to kind of get you going. Another area people
may be thinking of right now is keywords. Kind of the traditional three part to your
webpages, META description, META title, and then META keywords. You got to list your
keywords, or you’ve got to tag your keywords for the page. That really fell out of favor a
couple years ago with google. You can put them in there right now, pretty much every
webpage, or every method of publishing website has the ability to still put in keywords
for your page. It’s a waste of time. Google doesn’t look at it anymore, they don’t give it
any credit. It doesn’t help your rankings at all.
If you want to do it yourself for maybe organizational purposes, or just to kind of
identify what you’re going after, it’s not going to hurt anything. I wouldn’t go out of my
way to put them in there, put some research into how do I do this the best way. It’s not
going to impact your rankings one bit. It’s not anything that’s going to be shown on the
search results page. Not anything that people see on the page when they visit your
website. For all intents and purposes, if it’s invisible and a waste of time, unless you
directly get a benefit yourself for your own management administration.
Taking all that into account, we actually have a really cool tool on our website, which
anybody that’s listening has heard us talk about the close of every episode is our SEO
audit tool. If you already have a website, or maybe you executed some of these steps
and you’re creating your own new website right now, if you want to do a test to see
what is my description look like, what does my title look like, how many characters are
in it, is my keyword in there, things like that. We haves free SEO audit tool on our
website, and you can use it as many times as you want. You can use it on as many pages
of your website that you want, and you can do as many keyword variations as you want.
It’s completely free, just use it over and over. Definitely highly encourage you to do it.
We’re going to do a real quick tutorial on that, and kind of a real live walkthrough
example. Let’s just go back to Katie Plumber here. We’ll just pick on here, and Katie, all
the help you’ve been giving us in the episode today, again reach out to us, we’ll give you
some tips here. Grab your address from your website. Let’s go into services, and just see
what we can find quick. We’ll grab … You can do your homepage too. I’m just skipping
over that and going with a page that’s in the website here, just for our example. We’re
going to do Katie-plumber.com/services. Copy that URL. Let’s just look on here, water
leaks. Kind of a word I’m picking out here. Let’s just see how well Katie’s website is
optimized for water leaks. You have to enter in your email address, if I can type it.
I’m not going to hit scan yet, I want to explain the two things that are going to happen
real quick when we hit scan, just so everybody can be aware. As soon as we hit scan, it’s
going to take about 15 seconds, and it’s going to do a quick SEO audit on this. It’s going
to give us great checklist, that’s going to show right up on the page here. Now, you can
print that, you can save it from there, but also because you entered in your email
address, it’s going to instantly email it to you. Don’t worry about saving what’s going to
show up on the screen, don’t worry about printing it, although you sure can because
you’re going to get a PDF emailed to you with this, so you can do whatever the heck you
want to with it after that.
Bob: That’s handy.
Jesse: Yeah, that’s really slick. Again, if you do this on 17 pages, you’re going to get 17 emails.
You can see here, here’s what the completed audit looks like. It’s going to give you a
couple things here, an overall grade. In this case it’s 57%, that’s not on the website
again, or even that page for the quality. That’s a grade against this keyword phrase,
which we did water leaks for that page. That’s a very specific thing to keep in mind.
Maybe your page is optimized for a variation of that keyword, or something else. We
picked water leaks for this example, but again, the grade is that webpage against that
keyword phrase that you entered in.
Bob: That’s important to note.
Jesse: It gives you some real quick things up top, how many good signals, how many bad
signals, and then just scroll down this, it’s broken up into categories. Take it from the
top down, there’s a lot of information that you’re going to find on here. Some of them
are more relevant than others, but just like anything else, it’s that 80 20 rule. There’s
what you see above the water in the iceberg, and what you see below. For this here, the
most important stuff is at the top of the page. Take care of this stuff, and then work
your way down. I would even say it’s kind of basic to advanced, as you get down the
page. It’s set up that way on purpose. The important stuff is at the top.
You can see a couple quick stats up here. How long it takes to load the page, the size of
the page and how many requests are on the page. That’s maybe how many images it’s
trying to pull from the website, or just java script, or maybe if you have google analytics
code installed on there, that’s how many things it’s trying to pull to load the page, for all
that, the less the better. It’s kind of like golf, the lower score is better in that regard. You
want your page to load quicker, and you want to pull from the least amount of spots
possible to load quicker.
A couple things on here real quick, it’s going to tell you this page to load quicker, it says
the size is okay, the number of requests is acceptable. Like we were talking earlier, the
URL, it says this URL is SEO friendly. It’s mainly saying that because the construct of it,
the size of it, things like that. It’s just kind of giving a general statement. Exact keyword
not found in this URL. Like we were saying earlier, this will be the name of that page,
Jesse: This is Katie-Plumber.com/services. We’re doing an audit against water leaks. If it would
be Katie-Plumber.com/water leaks, it would’ve been an exact match with that URL.
Bob: Okay, so that’s not a deal killer, right?
Jesse: It’s not a deal killer, but it would tell me if this was my website, and if I was really
wanting to be optimized for water leaks, I should create a page about water leaks.
Jesse: Because I’m going to want that exact keyword found in my URL. Not the end of the
world, but again, if you’re competing against somebody else, all things being equal, it’s
something that you’re going to want to have.
Bob: Right. To that end, you’re not going to create a page for everything, but ideally you’re
going to create a page for your top 10 or 20?
Jesse: Yes, that is absolutely correct. We’ll just scroll down to the next couple sections, and
then I’m going to fast forward to the end of it here for you guys. Title tag and
description tag, those were the things we were talking about earlier. Your META title,
your META description. What it’s doing here on the audit, is again scoring that against
the keyword phrase that we entered in. It’s saying here the title tag should contain the
keyword. Again, if you remember Katie’s website, it’s just another WordPress site.
Obviously not water leaks on that. Title tag should begin with the keyword, we were
talking about that earlier as well. You’re going to want to put that stuff on the front side.
Google takes that as a signal of how important that is, reading from left to right for the
phrases and keywords you’re putting in. Likewise, us human users read that in that
same way, and you don’t want it to get cut off on a small size screen.
The way google really looks at things nowadays as opposed to a couple years ago, it’s
kind of through a human eye. The user interface, how friendly it is if it’s in a mobile
search, desktop if it’s on a desktop. They take that into account. That’s not just the
coding, or the architecture of it. They really bring that user experience into their
relevancy scores for what pages rank higher than others. Last two things on here, the
description tag. Same thing there, description tag needs the exact keyword, and in this
case the description tag should be less than 160 characters. Mentioned that earlier.
That’s no exact rule that you have to abide by, but it’s kind of a best practice.
This is for everybody, again, if it’s over 160, or if it’s 85, you’re not going to get crucified
for anything. That’s definitely some boundaries that you want to stay within. The rest of
the audit we’ll get into in some future episodes, but scroll on down, there’s tons of great
information in here. It tells you what words are used on your page, how frequently
they’re used. Headings, H1, H2, H3 tags, which are very important. We’re going to get
into that next episode, specifically. A lot of your page loading, and social integrations,
and things like that, which are definitely relevant, even more relevant today and every
day going forward. That stuff is carrying a lot more weight.
Bob: What would be a good score Jess? If they got a 57, what’s acceptable, or heading in the
Jesse: We kind of feel that 80% or higher. I wouldn’t be expecting to get a 98%, or 100%,
because there’s a lot of –
Bob: You own Google.
Jesse: Right? Then they just give it to you, it’s yours. No, there’s a lot of highly technical, pretty
geeky stuff to break into that 90’s, high 90’s percentages. Quite frankly here,
Katieplumber.com was the third result in our example, and it’s not the most optimized.
The question there for your answer of what you want to be, you want to
be ranking high. If you’re doing better than your competition, which by the way is
actually a great thing to point out here. You can run this audit on anything. It doesn’t
have to be just your website. You can run your competition’s webpages through this
too, if you want to kind of reverse engineer them, or gain some insights there.
It doesn’t have to be your domain. It has to be your email, so that you can get the PDF
emailed to you. That’s the only caveat. It doesn’t matter what you run this on, it’s all for
your own benefit. I would shoot for a goal of 80% or higher, with the caveat on that
being that you’re working from the top of the page down. If you’re not doing some of
those things at the top of the page for your titles, your descriptions, and things of that
nature, but you are worrying about some of the social stuff down at the bottom, again I
wouldn’t expect you to have as good results then if you focused top down on this audit
If you get up into the 90’s, I’d say you’re in really, really good shape. Now you’re hitting
on some of the architecture and the coding of the website, and the usability. You should
be ranking pretty good.
Bob: It’s a combination of things, obviously. It’s a combination of how you’re scoring, 57%
let’s say. If your competition isn’t that stiff, and they’re all around 50%, you can almost
dominate, or do very well.
Jesse: You could.
Bob: Obviously you want to shoot for 70 or 80, it’s just a matter of time before people catch
up to you.
Bob: Here again, it goes back to the fact that this is not rocket science. You just put some
effort into it, and it’s not going to happen overnight. If you put consistent effort into it,
or six months to a year, you’re going to gain knowledge that’s never going to go away
really, to some extent. It’s going to do nothing but grow your business.
Jesse: Right. Yeah. That’s pretty much hitting that on the head, really take action. Don’t
overthink it, don’t over analyze it. You can change anything as long as it’s easier to
change, and less dangerous to change than others here. Get it out there. get a website,
get it online, if you already have a website, run this audit, start making some changes
and working top down. Slow and steady progress is going to win the race, and definitely
like you were saying earlier if you can be better than your competition, you still have
room to optimize and get that score up, definitely do it. To be a leader, you want to get
that first and stay ahead of everybody.
Bob: Yeah, and I want to reinforce too, this is what we do.
Bob: This is what we do. Now, why are we giving this away? You know, we feel everybody has
to start somewhere, and these are tools that you can start. At some point in time, if you
want to hand this off to an organization like us, or anybody else, you better know what
they’re doing for you, is the idea. You don’t need to know everything, but they’re just
saying, “Yeah, we’re working on it.” What exactly are you working on, because 2,000,
3,000, 10,000 dollars goes like that. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
Bob: We’re trying to give you the tools to have enough to be dangerous if you don’t want to
do it yourself. When an organization comes in like us, and says we’re going to do this
and this, you have no idea what we’re talking about, but now you do.
Bob: You should see some gradual change, and get to that top position. I don’t know if that
Jesse: Yeah, and I would say if you’re in that position where maybe you have an agency doing
some of this work for you, still, run your pages. Do this audit. Run some of their other
work. If you’re going to make a decision, you’re entertaining some local company to do
your SEO, get their portfolio, run this kind of a tool through their portfolio of work that
they’ve done, see how they score. You’re going to get a real good taste of what they’re
Bob: That’s a good point.
Jesse: I guess last point I want to make, is we talked a few times on this episode about doing
some research to see what competitors are doing in your market, or even in other
markets. Again, you can run this audit on those pages too. If you stumble across a
website that spoke to you really good on your Google search results page, and made
you want to click, and then you got to their website and it’s pretty cool, run this audit
against that to see under the hood, what they’re doing, and kind of give you some
benchmarks and some insights onto how you might be able to do it yourself.
Bob: Isn’t that a little bit evil?
Jesse: Only if you use it for evil purposes, Bob. That’s pretty much it for today’s episode. Again,
go out to interix.com/show. Check out the show notes for diagrams, and how-to’s, and
everything we did here. While you’re there, top right corner click on the free SEO audit,
and you’re going to get this instant audit on any page that you want. Use it wisely, use it
Bob: Yes, use your powers for good. Right.
Jesse: That’s probably it. See you next week.
Bob: Yeah, see you next week.
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