Digital marketing is intimidating. There’s no shame in admitting that sometimes the ins and outs of SEO can make even technically savvy people a little confused.
That’s completely normal, and in all honestly, even our own staff sits back and says “huh?” when Google pushes out an unexpected algorithm update.
What really matters is that you adapt to and actively learn about SEO every day. It’s a constantly changing field so you need to dedicate yourself to keeping pace.
If you’re up for the challenge there’s so much you can learn.
Now that we’ve prepared you for the ups downs and all around of the SEO world, it’s time for some advice you can work with.
Yes, you could hire a digital marketer to manage your SEO (and we do a fantastic job), but there are plenty of small adjustments that you can make yourself.
In the spirit of honesty, we can’t tell you that it’s best to hire someone to read your Google Search Console. We love money, though not enough to screw over our customers.
Without blabbing on for any longer, we’re bringing you our best SEO quick fixes so you can become your own SEO analyst.
Check Your Indexing
One of the most common problems we see when someone acts as their own SEO analyst is neglecting to check their indexing.
If your pages aren’t ranking for a mysterious reason, it’s because you’re not even showing up in the SERPs (search engine results page).
Think of it this way: The SERPs are a phone book, and the results are phone numbers. When a user searches Google they’re looking for “phone numbers.”
If your “phone number” isn’t listed, they can’t call your business. Indexing is the same as listing your phone number. Just let Google know that you want a listing.
Do a simple site search in Google that looks like this; site: yourwebsite.com. What returns are all of your web pages that Google has indexed.
Once you’ve identified what pages aren’t indexing, you can ask Google to index them using the aforementioned Google Search Console.
Make sure to identify every page you want to be indexed before submitting. Google indexes millions upon millions of pages, so yours likely won’t index right away.
It’s also important to note that indexing old or out-of-date URLs will hurt your SEO. Search console also provides a tool to remove old URLs from Google’s index.
Tools For The SEO Analyst
So far we’ve talked about Google Search Console, aka Webmaster Tools, but haven’t given any indication of what the platform actually does.
Suffice it to say, you’re going to use search console a lot when acting as your own SEO analyst. Luckily, it’s not terribly difficult to learn.
Let’s say (yay examples) your business sells vacuums in Boulder, Colorado. Search console is going to help tailor your website towards your target demographic.
First things first; you need to ensure your website is fully indexed (research sitemaps).
Once that’s taken care of, the next step is viewing your traffic numbers and where they originate. This is easy, just navigate to the “search traffic” tab, and away you go.
Here you’ll find if people are clicking on your SERPs results, linking from social media, what keywords are drawing traffic, and so much more.
Identify what avenues are working and those that need improvement.
If people are linking to your site from the keyword string “vacuums in Boulder,” you’ll want to continue adding that phrase in your content.
If you’re feeling confident, you can even start to look at your inbound link data. Inbound links are when another website links back to your webpage.
Google takes this to mean that your website is helpful, and an authority on your niche topic. This is great news, and means more SEO juice.
You’ll want to vet your inbound links and make sure they’re reputable. If catfacts.com links to your website, it’s not a good thing.
Obviously, catfacts.com isn’t pertaining in any way to vacuums. This can actually hurt your SEO. Search console is once again helpful enough to provide its own tool for disavowing these links.
The last thing you’ll want to monitor in search console are your clickthrough rates. These show what percentage of people are clicking on your webpages in the SERPs.
Knowing this information helps you know if your meta description is drawing in users. Which brings us to our next tip…
Understanding meta tags is a must for any budding SEO analyst.
Meta tags refer to the HTMl code that your website uses to communicate with different web applications. It sounds complex, but there’s an HTML option in every basic WordPress post.
The tags are what lie in between the open and closing of the HTML code. Depending where you enter your text, each tag will say and do something different.
However, you’re not going to see the fruits of your labor displayed on your website. Instead, these tags are what appear in a Google search, and also all of the words currently displayed on your open tabs.
Meta tags are just how humans communicate with web browsers. Today, we’re giving you information about two types of tags, and how to write them yourself.
Title tags are the friend of every SEO analyst. They’re what’s showing on every tab you currently have open.
These tags work like book chapters. When Google picks your book (website) off of the shelf (index) it can see that you’re talking about vacuums.
Without a title tag, Google looks at the website and says “Hmm, why is this person talking about vacuums? I didn’t expect to read about vacuums. Demote SEO rank.”
It’s a harsh reality, but one that any professional SEO analyst knows all too well. What’s more, it’s really easy to forget title tags when you’re new to meta descriptions.
We constantly hear, “But I already gave the article a title!.” Yes, you did, but that “title” isn’t what title tags refer to. If it’s not in the HTML code, Google isn’t reading it for SERPs purposes.
Speaking of SERPs, your title tags are what make up your “main SEPRs result.” So that link everyone clicks is reflective of whatever you wrote as a title tag.
Knowing this, you must construct title tags that include relevant keywords you found using search console.
Here’s a little guide of how to write title tags:
- Insert title tags between the andHTML code. So your title tag could read Boulder Vacuum Emporium
- Keep title tags to 70 characters or less, including spaces. Google hates long titles.
- Place your most important keywords first. Google gives priority based on left to right reading.
- Use | characters to separate keyword phrases in your titles.
- Don’t write your title like a sentence. No “if” “and” “or” “but”
- Never duplicate your title tags.
- Always, always, make your title tags relevant.
As an SEO analyst, your title tags are enormously important. Get them formatted correctly and it’s amazing how much your SEO will increase.
Description Tags (Meta Description)
Description tags are what the sound like; HTML code that gives your web browser, and Google, a description about your webpage.
Any good SEO analyst will make these tags relevant to your title tags.
Actually, scratch that. Any SEO analyst at all, will tell you the importance of matching metadata.
Google’s algorithm decides what constitutes a good meta description, and will even replace your description if it’s poorly constructed.
You do not want to make Google do any extra work. Making Google replace your meta description is an excellent way to demote your SEO.
The user aspect of description tags comes, again, from the Google SERPs page. Your meta decription is what’s underneath your title tags following a Google search.
The user’s first impression of why they want to click you link comes directly from your meta description.
This means not only does your description need to appease Google, but any search users as well.
In fact, we’d argue that writing for the search user is more important than writing for Google. Any SEO analyst worth their salt knows that Google focuses on the end user experience.
Plus, click through rates (which you’ll find in search console, remember) are dependent on a quality meta description.
Put yourself in the user’s shoes. If you description said, “We have the best clean floors in Boulder. Can’t beat our floors,” would you click that link? No, it reads poorly.
However, “If you’re looking for cleaner carpets, you’ve come to the right place. Check out our ten vacuuming tips for carpet stain removal,” reads much better and is much more enticing.
The last thing you need to know about meta description is that they only allow for 160 characters. That’s characters, not words. Google cuts off anything longer.
If you’re ready to become your own top notch SEO analyst, take these tips and use them! We’re not giving them away for our health.
Rather, we’re giving them away for your website’s health! We promise these easy SEO fixes will actually improve your search rank.
If you have any more questions about SEO or other digital marketing, get in touch with us. We’re always happy to help new customers.