Google Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Guide!

Beginners SEO Guide

Table of Contents

Disclosure: We know you will enjoy this article. Towne Lake SEO would like to be transparent in telling you that we will receive compensation for purchases made through links in this article.

Google Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Guide!

Do you own a small business and have been struggling to get your site organic traffic? If so, then this is the blog post for you! In this article, we will be going over some of the basics of optimizing your site to attract organic traffic. In addition, we will be covering what Google SEO is, what it stands for, and why it's important, as well as various tips on what qualities make up a good SEO strategy. By reading through these tips, I hope that those looking for a realistic way to increase traffic from Google searches find just what they're looking for in this article!

Welcome to your Google Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) learning journey!

This is an exciting time for you.  

We are a local search engine optimization company. Towne Lake SEO only provides local search engine optimization because of how powerful it actually is. We know our services provide the highest ROI marketing investment for our clients.  

As you progress through this guild, you will gain a better understanding of what Google SEO is, Google algorithm metrics, goals, and we have links to several resources needed to optimize your site.  

We designed this Google SEO guide for you can use in one of two ways.  

We understand not every business owner is ready to invest in an SEO agency. That’s OK! Take the information we have provided here and implement it on your site to build your traffic. Once you have enough users or you would like to scale, reach out to us. We will be more than happy to help and pick up where you left off.  

The second group is the business owners looking to hire an SEO agency. There are a lot of new agencies popping up. We hope that the knowledge gained within this beginner’s SEO guide will help our users feel more confident in the vetting process.  

Local Business asking: Who is local search engine optimization guide guide for?

Who is this guide for?

This guide is meant for small business owners who can't yet hire an SEO agency like Towne Lake SEO. Hopefully, the knowledge gained from this guide will allow you to start increasing your organic traffic and revenue so that you can one day hire an SEO agency to pick up where you left off.

As you are about to learn, optimizing your website is an ongoing process driven by competition, and because of that, it's always important to have a flexible strategy in place. Your competitors are always looking to gain a competitive advantage and market share. So as they plan their content marketing strategy to increase their exposure on search engines for a targeted keyword, all else being equal, it'll be harder for you not to do the same as well too.

If you are looking to hire search engine optimization consultants, this SEO guide will be valuable content. After reading this, you will have a better understanding of your SEO agency's plan of action and have the ability to ask specific questions that will impact your bottom line.

Map Ping - What is Google SEO?

What is Google SEO?

Google SEO (search engine optimization) is the practice of controlling how content on a website or web page appears in organic search listings on online search engines. The techniques learned in this Google optimize SEO guide can be used as part of SEO can be used to increase traffic and lead conversions from views by making featured text appear more prominently, using keywords relevant to a subject in the metadata for the webpage and other areas, all while lowering competition..

The goal of many web designers is to try and create pages that search engines will rank higher because once that page ranks high enough, it will start appearing at or near the top of lists already related to what you are searching for.

It doesn't matter what type of business you are running. If you want to grow your customer base, having a good SEO knowledge base will help optimize your site to show in the Google search results.

Rocket taking off wondering if SEO still work in 2021

Does SEO still work in 2021?

The future of SEO is bright. Many companies rely on local search engine optimization services to get their business listing in front of customers actively looking for their services instead of before, where people only used traditional marketing.

The answer has always been a resounding YES!

SEO does work!

That's why are have created this SEO guide to provide the content you need to help Google find the content on your site. Helping Google find and understand your content is what good search engine optimization companies do.

In the past, some business owners would avoid site optimization for search engines because ranking for a keyword on Google is too complicated. But now more than ever, businesses across all industries rely heavily on search engine optimization services to ranking higher through organic searches so that potential customers can find them when looking online - even if those searchers don't know exactly what product or service they need yet.

Hitting the target by understanding What the fundamentals of SEO are.

What are the fundamentals of SEO?

SEO (Search engine optimization) is about making small incremental adjustments to parts of your website. People unfamiliar with the SEO process often think there is some holy grail adjustment or fix to make a website perform better in the search results. However, in this SEO guide for beginners, you will learn it is really many minor adjustments done to your site in concert with each other to make your content better for users, including Google or Bing search engines.

Most business owners skip the first and most important step, properly defining who your ideal customer is. It is from your ideal customer all material and content creation should be derived from. As a business owner, every piece of content you create for your site should resonate with your ideal customer.

The branding app is the best course I could recommend to any business owner who wants to align their content messaging with their customers. This is a free 30-day course that breaks down how to identify and resonate with your ideal customers with examples.

Where do these SEO requirements come from? 

SEO (Search engine optimization) requirements for sites have developed organically over 2 decades. This is a result of Google working extremely hard at giving customers the best answers possible. Through this continuous refinement process, Google’s search engine can answer queries accurately, developing trust with searchers.  

All the information in this SEO guild was gathered through the documents at Google while adding in some additional experience. Reading through this SEO guild will provide insight into the actual implementation of these SEO guidelines combined with Google’s definitions.  

Before we go any further, it would be worthwhile to point out that Google suggests if you are looking to hire an SEO expert for your site, “the sooner, the better.” We use special SEO tools to help assist in optimizing your website. 

A great time to consider hiring us is when you’re considering a redesign of your site. We can help make sure your site is designed from the bottom up to be search engine friendly.  

Keyword research

Have you ever tried to use just one keyword in a Google search? You get an overwhelming list of sites with similar content, so it’s hard for the search results to show the right site for these types of searches.  

Keywords are the words or phrases used in the Google search process. Proper keyword research is a vital first step to ensuring your site shows up for the right terms in search engine results pages (SERPs). The foundation of SEO, keyword research is what drives content and website optimization to get the search results you want.   

There are several SEO tools to help with your keyword research. One. of the best resources is to use Google’s Keyword Planner. This is a free tool provided by Google, but you will have to set up a Google Adwords account to access this tool. As long as you set the ad paused, you will not be charged any money to the credit card required to set up the account.  

Keep reading for additional SEO tools we use with our agency.  

Keyword research is essential because picking out which keywords will bring your website the appropriate search results on SERPs can be challenging. For example, “broken air conditioner” may not generate as many hits as “my air conditioning unit keeps blowing hot air.”  This is the type of information that should be uncovered during keyword research while setting up an HVAC SEO campaign.

The key thing about SEO is that each page on your site needs its own carefully chosen set of words or phrases related specifically to what they offer there; this helps give visitors exactly what they’re looking for from their visit and boosts rankings by ensuring all pages are unique enough without being repetitious across the entire site. 

Defining your customer avatar will help tremendously ineffective keyword research for your site. When we go through our strategy session with potential clients, a very good portion of the session is helping the customer define the customer avatar to us. We do this by asking probing questions about your business model and the services offered. 

Technical foundation 

Search engine optimization techniques such as providing the structured data needed for technical SEO can get really complicated extremely quickly. In this SEO guide, we will be limiting ourselves to the less technical side of technical SEO. We will focus on the major areas of your site that will get your content noticed by Google search results without going too far into the code. This will include the following structured data: 

  • page indexing 
  • sitemap 
  • tag attributes 
  • site speed  
  • site structure 
  • optimized images 
  • meta descriptions and title stage 
  • URL structure  
 

We will go into more detail below about each factor for your website and what you can do to help effectively optimize the content on your site to rank in search engines for the right keyword.  

This seems like a great time to mention a free resource google provides called Google Search Console. Google Search Console will be referenced several times throughout the next sections and will help have a basic understanding. Google Search Console (GSC) is designed for website owners. By connecting a site to GSC, the business owner will receive accurate performance feedback on their site. In addition, the GSC will help identify what keywords your business is already ranking for, providing powerful insights into planning an effective keyword-rich content strategy.  

Page Indexing 

The best way I have been able to relate page indexing is by comparing it to keeping a Rolodex. Each site page has its own unique set of parameters Google will use to identify its relationship in search engine queries to provide the best search results. As the site grows and pages are added, it’s important to ensure that Google can find content for proper categorization. This categorization determines how Google displays your content for search engine queries.  

How does Google know to or not to crawl? 

The crawler will be able to see most of the site pages, but not all. For example, pages on your site that are less relevant, less important, or deemed similar to other pages may not show up in search engine results for the targeted keyword. 

As you build your website, you do not want the site indexed and crawled by the Google bot. There are 3 ways to keep Google from crawling a page on your site.  

  • Add in special code in the robot.txt file that excludes this page. Google points out that there are several rouge search engines out there that do not follow the rules of the robot.txt file.  
  • Add a no-index tag to the page. We will discuss one of several tools that help with this. Utilizing the no-index tagging appears to be more effective than the robot.txt file.  
  • But sensitive information should place all content behind a proper authentication, i.e., password protected. The Googlebot is not able to see pages that are blocked from view via passwords. This is the most effective and recommended way to block indexing from a search engine crawling specific site pages.  

 

Making sure your pages get crawled. 

Most content on your business website should be crawled and properly indexed. Now that we have talked about a couple of ways to keep sensitive information safe from search engine robots let’s talk about sending signals to search engines a new page has been added and should be searched.  

  • The first thing you want to do is make sure that your site is linked to Google Search Console 
  • With your account linked to Google Search Console, place the URL to your site’s sitemap in the Add a new Sitemap field on the Google Search 

    Console sitemaps page. 

Do I need a sitemap? 

The answer is no.  

You don’t always need to have a site map for your website. For example, if your website is relatively small and has good internal linking, Google bots should naturally crawl the entire site. On the other hand, larger sites or even small sites with frequent updates should have a properly updated sitemap linked to Google’s free tool Google Search Console. A well-maintained sitemap will provide navigation for Google bots to quickly find the information that has changed on your site. Several WordPress tools can help do this automatically. One we have found particularly helpful is RankMath. 

Google Search Console Sitemap submission

Your sitemap is usually found at “/sitemap_index.xml.”   

What you don’t know what that means????   

Let’s take an example site domain of https://www.example.com. You can most likely find the sitemap for your domain at https://www.example.com/sitmap_index.xml.    

One of the many features that make RankMath so great is a setting in on the Sitemap setting page that will allow RankMath to ping Google when your site’s sitemap is updated automatically. This is a helpful indicator to Google that your site has additional content for your customers searching on Google. In addition, the sitemap provides Google’s algorithm the navigation to know exactly what has changed, saving time and resources on what pages need to be crawled.  

Because of how Google’s algorithm works, don’t be surprised if every page on the sitemap is not crawled or indexed. This is not necessarily a penalty but a natural function of the algorithm. To maximize the number of pages crawled by Google, create generally unique content targeting a specific keyword answering the desired search quires to benefit the customer.   

The biggest reason Google will not crawl a page on your site is that too many pages are similar. If the content is duplicated from one page to another with only changing a couple of lines of text, they provide not add value to customers. So instead, Google will choose what it deems the most relevant page providing the most information to the client as the page to index.   

Tag attributes

Rank Math No Index No Follow Tag attributes are key to SEO. They tell Google important details about the content on your site. Some of these are title, meta description, alt attributes, images, videos, header (also known as H tags), and no-index. These can all be referred to as meta tags. 

Each tag attribute plays an important role in how Google will handle the content on your site. The Googlebot will scrape the information in the tag attributes to use in the search results. 

Without these tag attributes in the correct locations or providing this structured data in the proper order can harm the chances of your site being found in Google’s search engine rankings.  

Towne Lake SEO Search displaying how tag attributes are displayed in Google searches

Cross-device compatibility 

Several years ago, Google started something called mobile-first indexing. This meant Google crawled your site, looking at it through the lens of a mobile device. This was how all sites were first indexed. With search queries that did not provide search results with a good mobile score, the Google algorithm would evaluate a page based on the desktop layout.  

Unfortunately, when Google put this algorithm update into effect, many businesses lost their rankings overnight because they had never paid attention to how their website responded on mobile phones.  

Google saw search trends surging on mobile phones, but many users were not happy with the experiences. In addition, the bad experience on the mobile devices caused bounce rates to Skye rocket, signaling Google that they had an issue they needed to address.  

Google knew they needed to pull their resources and provide customers mobile-friendly sites to reduce the bounce rates. With all search results based in part on mobile-friendliness. Your SEO strategies should always include testing your site’s content to see if it passes Google’s mobile-friendly test.  

You do not need to know how to code to build a great website in today’s world. However, here are 3 tools we can recommend: 

Groove: offers free – fast hosting – with a page builder. Groove is still in the Beta phase so expect some bugs. 

Elementor: Free or paid – is a great page builder that runs on word press. Hosting purchased separately. 

Webflow: This is a premium product with some more advanced features but seems to provide an extremely nice interface, design, and mobile responsiveness. WebFlow provides its own hosting with a charge.  

Site speed

No SEO guild for a beginner would be complete without talking about site speed or how fast the content on your website loads. Website speed is becoming an increasingly hot topic in the SEO community. What good is having optimizing web pages for search engines providing awesome content on your site if customers leave before it even loads? Current studies show that up to 50% of people will leave a site if it is still loading at 6 seconds.   

There are 3 ways for you can reduce your site load time:   

Image size 

Images can be a double-edged sword for your content while, on the one hand, they further engage the user, helping to tell a story or convey thoughts that are more difficult in written content. On the other hand, the size of the image slows down page speed.  

Here are some SEO tips to keep the content on your website running fast.   

Size your images to the maximum size they will be displayed on your page or blog post. This can be a little lengthy process, but it will keep your website and blog posts running at full speed. 

Load the full-size image to your site. Then, view your website as a user on your desktop. You want to see how the content is laid out as your customers are going to see it, make sure to maximize the browser.   

Use an extension that measures pixels. We use Page Ruler Redux. Use your measuring tool to measure the dimensions of your image as it is displayed on your website.   

Then use a program like photoshop or do a quick search on Google to find a free tool that will resize the image to the display size measured with the Page Ruler Redux. We like Photoshop because of its flexibility and control.   

Finally, use sites like imagecompressor or TinyPNG to shrink the photo to size. If you are using Photoshop, you won’t need this last step. There is an option when exporting for a smaller file (8-bit). You can see from this example the file size dropped from 1.7MB to about a third of the size 575.1 Kb. 

PhotoshopExport without Smaller files size selections

PhotoshopExport with Smaller files size selections  

Maximizing resources used to build a page. 

When building a website page for a blog post with drag and drop editors like Elementor, Groove, or Webflow, it’s easy to add unnecessary design elements. The big focus for Google’s algorithm update in 2021 is on the core metrics.  

Reducing the extra code required to create the elements typically used to create web pages or blog posts creates a more streamlined product, meeting Google’s requirements and pushing for the latest algorithm update.  

Another advantage to reducing the amount of code required to support the additional page-building elements is speed. Your new, lighter, less code-intensive blog post will load faster for your customers, further reducing bounce rates.  

Elementor has a great video on how to take full advantage of the available assets.  

Hosting 

Selecting the right hosting company for your site is critical, especially if you have a high-volume eCommerce site with transactions. Below are a couple of suggestions and companies we have tried.   

As a note, before comparing the various companies:  

 Groove offers free hosting. It’s fast and reliable. So far, we have heard nothing but good things about it.   

Webflow offers its own hosting as well. However, the pricing for Webflow comes at a premium price. For your own custom domain with the CMS, it will run around $16/month.   

SiteGround is currently the hosting choice for Towne Lake SEO. We have found them to be a great overall choice for hosting. They have developed a great collaboration with Cloudflare to provide additional speed through their CND network. Customer service is quick to respond.   

Implementing the tips above, we can use a tool like GTmetrix to test how well the site loads. Towne Lake SEO has already implemented these steps provided in this SEO guide on our website. Running the test shows the following.  

Towne Lake SEO website metric after applying the speed tips provided in this SEO guilde   

These tests are not absolute except to obtain different results during different times of the day. Even running them back-to-back can vary slightly. But they do act as a good guide to knowing what Google search engines are seeing.   

Another tool is called lighthouse included in the developer tools in the chrome browser. Navigate to the desired test page: Press F12 and select Lighthouse from the menu bar.  

Navigating to Lighthouse to generate report

With lighthouse selected press generates the report. The browser will run various tests stemming from Performance, Accessibility, Best practices, and SEO. In each category, Lighthouse will provide a breakdown of each metric with recommendations on to improve. It is important to note that any additional CSS coding that may improve the user experience will be negative. For example, our test Lighthouse is seeing a slide in delay on the content in the navigation menu but counts this time in the page speed index where GTmetrix did not.

Lighthouse performance test on Towne Lake SEO website   

Logical site architecture 

 A no-brainer to improve your SEO rankings, the content on your website page should have a logical structure. Part of content marketing should take your customers through a journey on your website that leads them to the answer they are looking for.   

Keep information organized using headers commonly referred to as H1, H2, H3 tags, or H-tags for short. H-tags are part of the Tag attributes mentioned above. These tags help Google and users understand the important topics of your site.   

There should only be 1 H1 tag. For SEO structured data purposes, it is good practice to have the H1 tag the same as the title tag. This will flag to Google search engines the main topic of this site page is the H1 and title.   

H2 tag should be supporting or subtopics of the H1 tag.  The order of the H2 tag should have a natural flow. Introductions towards the top of the page leading the customer deeper into the topic being covered.  

The keyword research at the beginning of the process should have revealed several keyword phrases your company should target. Next, use the keywords from the keyword research in the H2 headings on your site as much as possible without overdoing it. This will send signals to Google that your page is relevant to these keywords.   

When linking out to other resources, use proper anchor text telling the reader what they are linking out to.  

H3 tags are used to identify even more specific information to support the H2 tag it falls under. For example, “Page Indexing” is an H2 while “How does Google know to or not to crawl?”, “Making sure your pages get crawled.”, “Do I need a sitemap?” and Tag attributes are all H3. The subject matter can roll up the information from the sections created by the H3 tags under the topic of Page Indexing.   

Whenever possible, use a table of contents to provide easy navigation for the website users. The navigation should link to each header tag. Many page builders like Elementor provide a table of contents that will automatically populate based on the article’s H tags.  Both users and Google will reward sites that provide this structured data showing them the site content at a glance. Things like title tag, H-tag, and meta description go a long way for SEO keywords ranked on a website.  

Title tags and meta descriptions 

We know this is an SEO starter guild for a beginner, and it’s important we talk about the structured data on your site. The title tag is content easily made into optimized content by including keywords giving Google another SEO signal for search engines to pick your pages up for these terms.   

If you have ever gone through college, you may have heard of the 30-second elevator pitch.  

The concept behind the elevator pitch is you only have about 30 seconds, about the time of an elevator ride, to share with the CEO of a company who you are and why you would make a great addition to the company. Meta descriptions are very much the same. The company’s CEOs are the users searching on Google, and the 30-second pitch is the 160 characters displayed in the search results under the title tag.  

Optimize images 

Working on SEO content marketing for your website includes selecting the right imagery to display on your pages. There are several recourses to pull quality stock images from your websites. Here are some links to a couple of great resources UnsplashPexelsPixabayAdobe Stock, or Canva 

After selecting the right images for your users, it is recommended to make them unique by modifying them to fit the content marketing style of your website in a program like Photoshop or YouZign.  

In addition to the image size optimization methods mentioned under the speed section above, images should include Alt tag information. Much like title tag or meta description, this helps optimize content for Google to know what the image is about. TTL machines will read the Alt text or Alt tag for people who cannot see the imagery displayed on the page. The Alt tag should be descriptive of the image.   

Going back for a moment to the conversation about the image representing the information within the section will be displayed. For SEO purposes, the alt tag should include keywords related to the section, only do this if it makes sense. When possible, we are looking to optimize content for SEO purposes while enhancing the users’ experience. 

URL structure 

Any starter guide to SEO should cover URL structure requiring structured data planning. URL structure is just as important as the title tag and meta description. Before building out website pages, you need to know how the data is going to flow?  

As FYI, there is no one right answer.  

The answer for every company depends on the link-building techniques being applied to the pages of the site to promote the most important keywords for the website’s SEO needs.  

Before going further into the discussion on URL, we need to be clear about what the URL is. The URL is your website name in the address bar of your browser. For instance, https://www.townelakeseo.com is the URL for the home page of Towne Lake SEO. The services page for Towne Lake SEO is https://www.townelakeseo.com/services. Any services we offer will be an inner page from our services page.  

We currently offer a website audit. The URL for the website audit is https://www.townelakeseo.com/services/website-audit.   

The website audit page is considered an inner page from the services page on our website, telling our visitors and Google the content on this page should be a type of service Towne Lake SEO offers to our clients. Again, we need to ensure that our title tag and meta description match the optimized content on the page for proper SEO to search results we are looking for.    

 

Domain Names 

Domain names are how humans can read URLs. Every website is really an IP address. Domain names make websites searchable in a meaningful way. It would be difficult to build a meaningful relationship for 17.254.0.91 when searching for a new iPhone. Thankfully we have a DNS (Domain Name System) correlating each website’s IP address to a meaningful name. In this case, 17.254.0.91 is https://www.apple.com.   

Exact Match Domain 

Any SEO guide should tell you to get an exact match domain when possible. They are great for SEO and make it extremely easy to rank with Google for your domain name. An exact match domain is when you can purchase a domain name as an exact match of your business or target keyword name.   

For example, Towne Lake SEO purchased the domain name of townelakeseo.com. This is an exact match domain. We can capitalize on the fact that we are located in a suburb of Woodstock called Towne Lake, and our only service is SEO.   

Making this correlation makes the ranking in Google for the main keywords in our immediate area easier than if we had some random domain name.   

Stick with .com, .net, .org 

Showing available Towne Lake SEO Domain Name Extensions

There can only be one townelakeseo.com at any given time. Because of how domain names work, additional extensions added numbers into hundreds of variations of townelakeseo.***.  

Google came out several years ago saying that the algorithm treated all domain extensions the same in search engines. If the business owner had the same content marketing and SEO strategies applied to a *.com and a *.online site, both would rank equal search results driving the same traffic.  

From experience, this is not the case.    

When possible, stick with .com, .net or .org sites. As time goes on, other extensions will become common, but you don’t want your site to be one of the pioneering websites spending 3-4 times the effort to rank than other pages on Google search results.   

Build links To Build Trust

Building Links to Strengthen Authority and Trust

Link building can make or break your site. There are a lot of people who will sell links as part of a link-building strategy. Beware the content on these sites is often of low quality and viewed as spammy. When link building, you want to find quality sites relevant to your niche.

Why is link building so important?

The Googlebot naturally crawls the internet looking for connections between sites. If you have trouble getting a page to index, there is a chance there are no external links to this page. The more web pages linking to a page on your site, the more data points Google will have to draw on what the content on your site is relevant with.

Semrush is one of many resources to help identify link-building opportunities. This video explains the importance of link building for your site's content and how to develop relevant linking opportunities to drive traffic back to your website.

On-Page SEO Vs. Off-Page SEO 

Terms like On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO refer to where the content optimization is taking place. When optimizing content, whether on-page or off-page, the result of either should always be centered around improving the user experience. Optimizing content for end-users is what the Google search engine algorithm is written for. Trying to arbitrary stuff keywords into content could harm the search results triggering the search engine algorithms spam filters.   

A skilled SEO expert like Towne Lake SEO will have the experience to add keywords or restructure the content on your business page, optimizing content for the best Google search results.  

On-Page SEO 

On-Page search optimization is optimizing on-page content for best readability focusing on one main keyword. The focus keyword will cover additional keywords with properly written content, but there should be one main focused keyword the website page is about. This focus keyword should be in the meta description, title tag, and h1 tag.   

The designer can add additional structured data code snippets to the page code called schema or bread crumbs. These are forms of structured data only visible to search engines. These structured data are code snippets telling specific information about the website, business, and individual page. If done correctly, the structured data will be visible in the search results under the normally displayed title tag and meta description.  

Towne Lake SEO Structured Data example   

Several resources to help with your On-page SEO, Yoast, RankMath, and All in one SEO are all great tools to help optimize content and increase organic search results. As a note, these tools are good at pointing a beginner following a starter guide for SEO in the right direction. They cannot fully take advantage of the structured data information provided by schema and bread crumbs.  

 

Off-Page SEO 

Optimizing your content for Google search engines through off-page SEO is a little bit more complicated. We covered one component in the link-building section of this beginner SEO guide.   

But what if there are links from websites that are spammy and diminish the reputation of your site?

How you are going to improve your Google Search optimization?

Google has the answer to this question.

Google Tool To disavow links to your site

Google provides an easy way to disavow any links to your website that are not relevant or carry any authority.  To Disavow links from your website, you can find the SEO tool in Google Search Console. This is a great way to clean up any website’s backlinking profile. Be careful only to disavow low-quality links or websites you don’t want to be associated with.   

For businesses, other recourse for quality links and off-page SEO should include registering your business on relevant business listing sites. Registering your business listing on sites like YelpHomeAdvisor, or manta are reputable ways to help Google build associations with your business websites.  

The larger business listing sites will contact the business owner as a part of the onboarding and verifying process. During this time, they will attempt to sell your additional services. These usually include an ongoing subscription to managing business listings.   

More often than not, you should decline if you are working with a quality SEO agency. Your SEO agency has additional resources and should have a system to add your business to multiple listings verifying all published information about your business is accurate, correct, keyword-friendly, and optimized for organic search.    

Google Technical SEO

Google Technical SEO

Google Technical SEO refers to all the technical aspects of search engine optimizations for specifically Google. We have covered Technical SEO extensively in this SEO guide covering structured data in the form of both schema and bread crumbs, meta tag, meta description, title tag, heading tag, and link building opportunities to help with page indexing. Additional steps to optimize for Google link your site with a free Google Search Console and Google Analytics account. These properties will provide insight and information on what webpage is viewed, indexed, and the keyword a webpage is ranking in search.

Writing content for Google SEO (Serch Engine Optimization).

Creating optimized content for Google starts with proper keyword research. You need to understand what people are searching for at different stages of the buying process. Obviously, if the water main breaks in the house, “emergency plumber” might be a good keyword to rank for.

But every plumber offering emergency service is trying to rank for the same keyword. There are only ten spots on the first page for Google to display, and of those ten, the top 3 gets up to 60% of the organic traffic.  

A method many content creators have followed for getting Google to notice their sites is the EAT method.  

The EAT method

Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness are key factors when Google search quality raters rate websites and the links to the website. Google first put out in 2015 General guidelines overview. Google explains its algorithm’s guidelines. This document lays out to the humans who conduct searches for Google and rates the search results base on the intent from a human perspective.  

This provides a good check to see how well Google software engineers are developing the search engine algorithms.  

Google is trying to reinforce the trust built with its end users, who are part of the 5.4 billion daily searches. By providing them with reputable sources of information. By following the steps outlined above, you will be well on your way to developing your own EAT.  

Your business will need to produce informative content that benefits your customers—sort of like an SEO guide for beginners.  

EAT itself is not a ranking factor!

While EAT is not actually a search engine ranking factor, it provides a guide for content creators. Google published the EAT acronym to keep the content creator focused on creating good content that provides quality information to the readers.

What are search engines looking for?

Search engines are looking for quality content for specific keywords to build trust with their audience. Search engines are companies like Google, Bing, Yahoo, or DuckDuckGo, all looking for the best information to service their customers.  

Below some high-level ways to increase the organic search traffic to your website pages. 

Relevancy 

All content on your site should be relevant from one page to the next. This is part of the overall content marketing structure found through proper keyword research. When linking internally, use proper anchor text that signifies what the reader should expect to find on the page being linked to.  The meta tag information is aligned with the content of the website.

The quality of your content

When determining your content marketing strategy, identify the right keywords and find ways to provide unique perspectives and value to readers. What is your business able to provide that others can’t or won’t? As a professional in your field, you have experiences you can pull from. Sometimes the best relatable content comes from what issues you find customers are experiencing. By combining your unique experiences with your keyword-focused content, Google will start increasing your pages EAT.  

User experience

Google is always looking for ways to force website owners to improve user experiences. Google understands that if sites that rank high in the search results don’t provide a good user experience, the searchers will eventually switch to another search engine. This space is extremely competitive, and Google wants to keep as much market share as possible for as long as possible.  

Evergreen content 

Most subject matter content changes with time. The content that always stays the same is referred to as evergreen content. For example, most SEO tricks low-quality SEO agencies recommend are not evergreen content. Towne Lake SEO has worked hard to ensure that this SEO guide’s content is evergreen.  

We can affirmatively say the basis of our SEO strategy is evergreen because we are starting with our customers in mind. Ultimately it is the customers we are here to serve.

The better we serve them through your websites, the more the search engines will increase your rankings. 

What will search engines penalize for?

Getting a website to rank on the first page of Google can be very challenging. 

Some people use black hat SEO techniques to get their site ranked at the top of Google’s search rankings. These techniques may work, but they are against Google’s guidelines, and your site could get penalized or even banned from the search engine. 

To avoid getting your website penalized by Google, do not try to game their system using blackhat SEO tactics like over-optimizing keywords, link farms/manipulation, or cloaking content behind paywalls. Instead, it would be best to focus on building resources like creating high-quality content relevant and useful for your target audience. This will naturally drive traffic back to your site organically without breaking any rules set forth by Google. 

Below are some things you want to watch out for.  

Keyword stuffing

Be careful not to stuff too many keywords into the content. Content such as articles or blog posts should flow naturally. With the natural flow of any content, the main subject matter or keywords will appear without additional work. Keyword stuffing is attempting to place keywords in the text in an unnatural way artificially. A decent keyword to text ratio is around 1.2, but this will vary depending on the topic and supporting material.  

Link buying

Buying links in an attempt to manipulate the popularity of a webpage is prohibited. Most times, the numbers of links that are purchased are of low quality. If you are to go on sites like Fiverr.com or Upwork, you are sure to see ads to buy links all day long to increase your page ranking. Unfortunately, most of these aren’t any good and will be dropped within a couple of months.  

This ends up looking like spam. When looking to increase the number of links to your website, look at collaborations, guest posting opportunities. An easy way to get a feature or mention from a quality site is by using a site called hero.com is a great way to help reporters out, and in return, they will credit you with a link from a news site.  

Improper use of Ads

Google Provides a full list of malicious activities bad actors in the past have tried and circumvent the bidding process giving the illusion of the website being more popular than it really is. Here is a couple that Google identifies in its advertising policies. 

Attempting to gain an unfair advantage by using multiple Google Adwords accounts to bid on the same keyword hoping to show more than one time in the advertising section, squeezing out the competition.  

Duplicated content

You will find some companies use duplicated content for cities. This is a tactic that was widely used years ago to get out of creating unique keyword-rich content that Google has caught on to. For example, some SEO agencies or business owners write one excellent, keyword-focused page for services they provide in one city. Then to save time and money, the same article was used to create multiple pages, only changing out the city name.  

Duplicating content adds no additional value to the customers. Although this does not technically violate Google guidelines, this beginner’s SEO guide recommends not doing this. Applying corner-cutting techniques like this will only hurt your website rankings in the long run.  

Misleading information

Misleading information is a sure-fire way to get Google not to index your page. Google’s primary focus is to provide their user with valuable content they want. Using anchor text leads someone to believe they will be reading about an SEO guide, but the page is really about HVAC contractors, leaving the users confused.   

To be on the safe side, always make sure your website page is focused on one keyword. The users should also find this one keyword in all the metadata, title tag, meta discerption, and H1 tag. This is signaling Google your website is trustworthy by providing continuity.  

Taking Your Google SEO To The Next - Next Level

The information in this SEO guide will give any reader a good basic understanding to start optimizing your site. But, don’t forget there is a reason we are professionals in SEO (search engine optimization). We only offer search engine optimization services or search engine optimization consulting.  

Google SEO Tools and Google Search Engine Optimization Software 

Google provides several great resources to provide many insights into your website to see how it’s doing. Make sure to take the time to connect your site to these tools. They provide unique information and help uncover an easy keyword your site pages should target in search queries.

Google My Business Optimization

Towne Lake SEO provides a white glove service to fully optimize your Google My Business listing.

Google My Business (GMB) could be the most important local business listing site your business could be on. It’s not new news that Google is the largest search engine in the world. To help customers find local business listings, Google has created this potent tool. This free tool lets any business owner tell Google exactly what their business is about, who they serve, and where they provide service.

Home service providers like HVAC contractors or Roofers have a chance to increase their online presence and get in front of potential customers even if they don’t have a website. The Google business listing allows the business owner to provide critical business details like business name, phone number, business description, select business categories, and business hours.

Google Search Console

You can easily link to Google Search Console. This will show in as real-time as possible where traffic is coming from to get to your site. It also contains other information like page indexing, registering your sitemap, and what pages on your site are not mobile-friendly.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics provides in-depth information about the traffic coming to your site and how they interact with your sites once users are there. You can find out what countries they are coming from, the estimated number of transactions demographics, even what screen and operating system users viewed your page.  

Google Ads Keyword Planner

Google’s Keyword Planner will require a Google Adwords account but provide real-time data on keywords from google.

Google Trends

Google Trends is a free resource for marketers to find keywords that will help users find keyword search volumes over time. Users would want to use this tool to find if a keyword is seasonal like “Air conditioner repair,” “air conditioner replacement,” or “furnace repair.” Google Trends keyword research seasonal spikes

Towne Lake SEO - SEO Services

Additional Tools of the trade.  

There are three additional resources, each similar in scope to what they do but look at the data differently. These search engine optimization tools help gain insights into keyword difficulty, keyword traffic, the estimated amount of traffic a website has, and many other data points.

SERPed 

Ahrefs 

SEMRush 

SERPed Logo

SERPed

SERPed is a search engine optimization tool that provides a suite of tools for agency reporting, tracking links, competitors' links, keyword tracking, and in-depth analysis. If you only manage one or two websites and only get one tool, this might be the tool. The in-depth competitor analysis is a really great feature that provides a host of other resources to help identify the right content strategy for your organization.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a leader in the industry by many affiliate marketers and SEO agencies to help track projects, links, competitors' links, keywords, and overall site rankings. We use this search engine optimization tool because it is lightfast and more flexible than SERPed, and less pricey than SEMRush.

SEMRush

SEMRush has the highest price tag of the three recourses here. The search engine optimization tool interface is very much like Ahrefs lightweight, fast, help track projects, links, competitors' links, keywords, and overall site rankings.. The base plan will run around $119 per month with various modules to add to this. Depending on your needs can add up extremely quickly. Towne Lake SEO found the content marketing module vary useful but is only available on the GURU plan, which starts at $229 per month.

Finishing out this Google SEO guide

Google SEO is optimizing your website, website links, and content to rank higher on the search engine result pages. This process aims to get more organic traffic from searching for keywords related to your business. Do you have any questions about how these fundamentals will work for you? If so, schedule an appointment with one of our experts today! We can help set up the right technical foundation, keyword research, page indexing, and crawling requirements that will drive success in your digital marketing campaign. Our team at Towne Lake SEO knows what it takes to make sure all aspects of local SEO are done correctly – let us show you why we’re considered Woodstock’s best choice when it comes to ranking websites!