Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a hot topic right now in the content strategy world (and you’re like, this is a whole “world”?). Basically, it’s the words, phrases, and keywords that make your site findable.
Basic understanding of SEO: Compare it to a house. If your business website is like your house, your web address/domain is like your actual address, or where you live, say at 1937 Mulberry Street. But if you’re having a party, inviting all your friends to Mulberry Street, SEO is the directions that you give your friends that help them find your house/business.
That’s a pretty rudimentary explanation, but if you’re just getting started in SEO, it works. Here at Novella, when we make your website (by that we mean, build your online house and brand) we also include SEO because we like to throw parties, and want all your friends to be able to visit your virtual home online.
If you’re putting up your own website or wanting to be more findable for your readers, customers, or clients, we recommend checking out these basic tools for getting into SEO.
1.) SEO Crash Course
Get a basic understanding of SEO from these great resources:
- Moz: Beginner’s Guide to SEO
- Search Engine Journal: Beginner’s Guide to SEO
- Content Strategist: The Ultimate Guide to SEO for Content Marketers
- Yoast: The Definitive Guide to WordPress SEO
Keywords are THE essential part of SEO. It’s all SEO is made of. These are the essential words that describe your business and are used within your website content to point search engines to your site as a credible source for your business industry.
Make a list of relative keywords to use in your content.
Some of the words you may use to describe your business are a given. For us, it’s words like “marketing, branding, agency, graphic design, content strategy” (aka everything we do). But you may also want to get a list of words that are industry specific. For us, that’s “SEO, pull strategy, copywriting, social insights reports and analytics, project management”) to position you as a thought leader. And you will want words that are more colloquial that someone who’s not in your industry would use, like a future client searching for your services. For us, that’s words like “writing, copywriting, brochures, logos, re-branding,” and more.
Also, think about long-tail keywords. These are a string of words that are often typed into search bars as a question. For example, “best marketing and branding agency in Kansas City” or “Women owned marketing agencies in Kansas City” would describe us. Those “long-tailed keywords” as they’re called, can be incorporated naturally into your content and help to raise your page in search engine ranking when someone enters a long-form search query.
If you just made your website live on WordPress, Square, or Wix, most of those websites have built in or add-on SEO plugins. We’re WordPress fans over here, so we use Yoast’s WordPress SEO or All in One SEO plugins, both and more are available via WordPress.
Essential SEO to add to your website:
Your meta description paragraph is going to be what shows up when people see your homepage listed in a search. It will be a short 150-character paragraph describing what your business does or specifying your services. We recommend using those keywords within your meta description so that you can be found in searches.
Title tags are what appears in the tabs in your search browser when you’re on a web page. They are the labels to file drawers of the internet and help Google’s search engines know what’s on a page. You can make the most of these by packing them full of keywords. So rather than saying “Home | Novella Brandhouse” …say something more informative like “Creative Marketing & Branding Agency | Novella Brandhouse”.
H1s are the main header lines in content and are also used by search engine crawlers to determine the relativity of the content in relation to the user’s search. If you have a title on your page, like an “About Us” section, it is likely in H1 format. This is a great opportunity to squeeze in a few more keywords. For example, our h1 on our homepage is “The creative agency built for business.” because that is our tagline and best describes what we do. We want that to be high up on our home page so that search engines know that is important information about what we do at Novella Brandhouse.
Alt tags are the text that shows up when you hover over a picture (and sometimes a link if you’re doing alt link tags). If you have any photos or links on your site, this can be very effective for SEO but requires a little bit more know-how. However, in most website systems (like WordPress, Square, Wix) all you have to do is look at the extra stuff to fill out below any photo that you upload. There is often a blank space entitled “Alt tag” and there you can write and enter a sentence that best describes the photo while also using keywords related to your business and the photo. Try to get your keywords toward the front of the sentence.
- (Keywords/phrase in bold) Ex: The creative marketing and branding business experts at Novella Brandhouse can help you define your brand.
If all of this seems pretty overwhelming, but you’d still love to get your website or business noticed online, contact us today and we can chat about how we can help you enhance your online presence.