SEO has not changed much in the last 5 years or so. Sure, there is a lots of talk that SEO is constantly evolving, and it is true that Google is constantly making updates to it’s algorithm, but at the end of the day the stuff that moves the needle has not changed.
And this is information that Google does not want you to know. They even say that SEO is too complicated to figure out, and even if you do find yourself at the top of the search results, you will not be able to figure out why or how you got there.
This is simply not true.
Now, I am not here telling you I have all the secret keys to unlock Google’s algorithm. If I did, I would be on a beach far far away and not writing this article.
The way to know what works with SEO is to understand that a machine must read data, and to know where a machine goes to on a webpage to read data to understand what the web page is about.
This is the important fundamental stuff that has not changed in many years. Google is a machine (specifically it is a bot that crawls webpages that is called Googlebot). When Googlebot comes and crawls your webpage you need to make sure that you have put the correct information on the page in the places that Googlebot goes to read information.
Basically, google is a machine, it can not look at something and form an opinion to decide what that webpage is about, it must read data and be told specifically what the webpage is about.
This is the big secret to SEO. Google is a machine, and it needs help from you to understand what your webpage is about.
Now, this does not seem complicated, right? Well, that is not the consensus of the SEO industry and of Google. They all make it seem super complicated. There are a few people that can understand that most of search results boils down to getting the basics right, and one of those is an SEO services company in called Determined Solutions.
Ok, now you may be wondering, “What is the secret? Where does googlebot go to look for information about a webpage”?
It all starts with your domain name and your URL. If you are a plumbing business with multiple locations, you want to have correct information in your URL. Let’s say your Plumbing Pros and your website is plumbingpros.com and you have an office in Charlotte, North Carolina.
A good URL would be plumbingpros.com/charlotte. This is immediately giving Google the most important information about your business. This tells Google your business name: Plumbing Pros, and it tells google what service you provide: plumbing, and it tells google where you are located: Charlotte.
URL are the most important place to put relevant information for google to understand. It is also important to note that file names on images are to be treated in the same fashion as URL’s.
So if you have a picture of your office that you place on your page plumbingpros.com/charlotte, a good file name would be: plumbing-pros-charlotte-nc-office.jpg.
When you think of image file names, treat them with the same importance as URL’s.
The next most important place to put data is in areas on a page that hold meta data. The most important place to meta data is your webpage’s Page Title. The page title is what you see when you over your mouse over the tab at the top of the website when you are on a desktop.
The page title is also what you see in the Google search results, so it is super important to get the correct information you want to show up for in your page titles. Now, Google will sometimes decide to rewrite your page title as in appears in the search results, and there is nothing you can do about this, but this is a bit complicated and may not last so you want to treat your page title as if that is exactly what someone searching Google will see in the search results.
Page titles are also a great place to put a call to action, something like: Plumbing Pro’s in Charlotte, NC – Call Us Today! If you do this correctly, not only will you show up in Google for the correct searches, you will also improve your click through rate which can make you more money, and show Google they are showing search results that are very useful to the searcher, which is what Google wants to do.
Images have a similarity to page titles as well but on images this is call the alternative text or alt text. Now with images you want to treat the alt text a little differently than a page title. You still want to fill out the alt text, but all you want to do is best describe what is happening in the image and do not use keywords unless those things actually are in the image. There are reasons for this approach but this article is not the place to go into those details.
Other important areas for meta data are page titles. The headline, or heading tag at the top of the page, is called a H1. This is a great place to put relevant info about you webpage and it’s ok to use keywords here also.
In general, you only want to use one H1 on a page. So people mess up and make all their heading tags H1’s because they don’t know better. But think about it, if there is a big headline on a newspaper like: Tom Brady Wins His 8th Super Bowl!, there is only going to be one of those at it will be at the very top of the page. If there were multiple headlines on the page it would feel as if the newspaper is yelling at you, and no one like to be yelled at.