Can Your Website’s Images Help with SEO?

The images on your website give readers both an immediate sense of what you are all about and more detailed information about your business offering and products. Great images boost your site’s appeal to visitors, and they can boost SEO as well.Images boost SEO

How to Improve SEO with Images

When you upload images, you can inform Google what these images are about and how they are relevant, by:

  1. First, before loading them, save the images with a descriptive name
  2. After uploading to the site, assign an alt tag to each image. Again, the tag should describe the image.
  3. You can also apply an alt description, with a more detailed explanation of the image
  4. Captioning your image does double duty, signalling Google and informing your readers about the image
  5. You may also link your images to other pages on your site. This is especially useful if you link each image in a gallery to further info on focussed pages.
  6. Make sure that your images are sharable, so that your readers can post your high quality images to their social media channels
  7. Your images must be viewable, shareable and functional on all devices from smartphones, to tablets and on up.

SEO has gone way beyond being a set of signals for search engines; so much now depends on user experience and behaviour. If visitors find your images to be low quality or not rendering properly on whatever device they are using, they will leave quickly and this signals your failings to Google as much as image names and metadata, if not more.

Proper image SEO incorporates high quality visuals, keyword-based metadata, cross device functionality and shareability. If you need help with any of these, contact us.

How to Write Effective SEO Pages – Meta Data

Meta data best practices have shifted greatly over the past few years. Your Meta tags used to be a primary factor used by search engines to rank your page and site.  They are less critical now that Google et al have gotten so much better at parsing the quality and intent of your content.

This doesn’t mean that you should dispense with Meta data. It’s still useful to both search engines and searchers, to help them understand what your page is about.  Another reason to use Meta tags properly is to avoid running afoul of Google’s quality algorithms. Duplicating Metadata on multiple pages is NOT a good idea.

Meta Data Standards for 2017

The tags that are most important for you to pay attention to are the Title and Description tags. This is because your Title will be shown to searchers and the Description MAY be shown as well. Use a relevant, keyword-based title and a succinct description containing the keyword and accurately describing the content on the page. This will provide the best indication to searchers of what they will find when they click to your page. An accurate description is more likely to be served in the snippet, rather than a chunk of text from the page itself, as long as Google finds it relevant and unique to that page.

Both the Title and Description should be unique for each page, and written for people, not for search engines. Duplicating this Meta data across pages will not strengthen your SEO game, even if you are using your hottest keywords, and your site may be punished for the duplication.

Keyword Meta tags are not worth spending time on– Google has said clearly that they don’t use the keyword Meta tag and searchers don’t see it, so save your breath!

The robots Meta tag is an option, but if you don’t fully understand how to use it, your best bet is to not. Google’s default is to index the page, and follow links. If you don’t wish them to do so, you can use the robots tag to ‘noindex’, ‘nofollow’, or employ various other instructions to robots governing their behaviour.

Meta Data is so much less important for ranking your page and site than your content, so you shouldn’t spend much time fiddling with it. Focus your efforts on providing the best information/experience for visitors, and write your Title and Description tags to support the on page content.

Ask us about creating effective SEO content.

How to Write Effective SEO Pages – Links

Your SEO pages will undoubtedly require a few links to help with site navigation, provide a great customer experience, and possibly, to direct users to your sales funnel.  The links you include serve different purposes, depending on whether they are external or internal. Here’s some basic info on different types of hyperlinks and their uses:

External LinksLinks

These are links on your page that point to another domain, or links from another domain pointing to your page (also called backlinks).

When you link out to another site, you might be doing so to share relevant information that supports your page, but keep in mind that you are passing ‘link juice’ to them. This might sound like what the dude from Zelda drinks when he’s thirsty, but is actually like giving that other domain a thumbs up and recommendation. This is great for them, but can result in your audience leaving your site, so be careful how many of these you put on your page. Make sure that your link opens in a new page, to keep your foot in the door while they check out the info that you think they need. Almost everyone understands the back button these days, so your reader should be able to find their way back to your page, but why not make it easier by keeping it open?

External links from another domain to your SEO page are quite desirable, as long as they are coming from a domain of good reputation. These are harder to come by, but if your content is top notch and you gain a link from an authoritative (in your industry) site, it can be very beneficial to you.

Internal Links

These help readers navigate to other pages within your domain. They are integral to your customer experience. Internal links define the hierarchy and architecture of your site and distribute page authority and ranking power throughout your site.

Good internal linking will promote long sessions and, on an e-commerce site, offer a clear path to to the sale. Even if you aren’t directly selling online, well-executed internal linkage can help prospects along their journey, eventually leading them to become customers or achieve whatever your end goal is.

Your internal links provide a path for search engine spiders to crawl, and define which pages are most visible and important. Building a clear hierarchy is critical to ensure that your most important pages are ranked as such.

Beyond creating links to improve the search visibility of certain pages, it’s also important to think of your audience, providing access to further info that they are likely to need. Using links properly on your website is fundamental to both optimizing for search engines and to providing the most rational, informative structure for your readers.

If you need help with linking and other SEO strategies, give us a call.

How to Write Effective SEO Pages – The Keyword Phrase

Most people don’t appreciate all that goes into creating well-written SEO pages. When you read them, you shouldn’t even notice the SEO tactics, but there are several basic standards that must be met to have your page ranked highly.  No matter how engrossing and informative your writing is, if you ignore the SEO signals that search engines use for ranking, your content may simply never be seen by your audience as it languishes on page 32 of the search engine results.

One of the most important SEO factors is the keyword phrase. Your primary keyword or keyword phrase is the foundation of your SEO page and must be researched and selected carefully. Get it wrong and you’re fishing with the wrong bait.

Once you’ve settled on the right keywords, you need to use them properly, and that doesn’t mean repeating them everywhere on the page until your content looks like word salad.

The Basics of Keyword Phrase Use

Even though keyword stuffing has long since been proven detrimental to search strategy, you still need to utilize the keywords that searchers are using to find the information they need. Just don’t be jamming your hot keyword into every heading, paragraph and sentence on the page. That tactic will surely backfire on you.

DO use your keyword phrase in the:keyword phrase

  • Page title
  • URL
  • Meta description
  • First paragraph, and
  • In the call-to-action, at the bottom of the page

Don’t be afraid to use variations of the keyword throughout the page in a natural manner. Google can understand the focus of your content even when you substitute related keywords, or use them in a different order or form.

Your main goal should be to write something that is interesting and informative for those who are searching for your chosen keyword phrase.

If you have already developed SEO content based on your best keyword phrases, you might want to revisit and edit them for current best practices. Material that you wrote a few years ago might not be performing well any more, and if you can boost the ranking of a landing page written for a high value keyword phrase by reworking it, you could bring a lot more traffic to your site!

Give us a call if you’re not sure how to choose or use your keyword phrase effectively. We’re happy to help.

How Valuable are Google Reviews?

As consumers become more likely to search for goods and services online, the reviews they find there can be crucial to your business, but are some reviews more valuable than others? Trip Advisor, Yelp, Angies List, Consumer Reports, Amazon customer reviews and of course, Google reviews – these are just a few of the top review channels that consumers use to begin forming an opinion of your business.

It’s important that you monitor any review sites that are likely to have reviews for your business so that you can respond to any that you receive. Thanking people for good reviews and trying to resolve any issues that crop up in bad ones is good for your reputation – it shows that you are paying attention and that you want to make your customers happy.

What about asking happy customers to provide a good review? If you know that any particular client is happy with your product or the service that you provided, should you invite them to give a review? We say yes.

Many businesses put good reviews and testimonials from clients on their website. Which is fine, but most people will disregard this kind of review, for obvious reasons. Have you ever seen anything other than a glowing review on any business website? Of course not…

Can you ask customers to post a review elsewhere? Sure you can, and if you are going to do so, which one? Considering that most people will find your business online by ‘Googling’, if you can suggest they post their positive review to Google reviews, it will likely get in front of more eyeballs.

You will need to do your bit, by setting up your Google+ business page and having it verified. You might even want to provide guidance to your customer, because they will need to have a Google+ account to post a review, but it will be well worth the effort.

What’s so Great about Google Reviews?

Google reviews are pulled right into Google maps results so that a search for your business can deliver those great reviews to your audience very quickly. As well, an established presence on Google+ with reviews, images and comments will give you a boost in the search results.

While you should still consider asking your clients to post good reviews elsewhere, especially review sites that align well with your industry, we think that Google reviews can be especially valuable, contributing to both your online reputation and your search position.

If you need help with your Google+ business page or have any other questions about online reviews, drop us a line!

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