Increase your web presence with Search Engine Optimization
Websites are great online brochures and great for company representation. However, many businesses wish to monetize their websites. When that is the case, there are two main methods of using a website for lead generation. There are paid ads via Google Ads and Facebook Ads, and then there is Search Engine Optimization. According to Google, Search Engine Optimization or SEO is “the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.” The way that you help your site appear higher on search engine results is by tweaking or optimizing key variables both on the site (on-site or on-page) and off of the site (off-site).
How Google and internet searches work
So a company has a website. Great! Now what? Well, that website has to be recognized by search engines. This is a process called indexing. Indexing means that the search engine has scanned the site and it is now stored in their databases. Now, if the site is properly optimized, it can show up in a search. The question becomes, how far down on the search results. Let’s dive into that quickly.
Google has 200+ factors it uses when determining how accurately a site answers the Googler’s query. (We call the one searching a “Googler”). Google scans or sends its Google Bots to scan the internet each day and month. Sometimes they’ll “discover” a site and sometimes they won’t. You can notify Google of your site by using their Search Console. There is an option in the dashboard to notify Google that your site exists and ask them to scan it. This is helpful with new sites or new pages about which you wish to proactively notify Google.
So whether Google happens to find your site or whether you manually notify them about the site or page, Google will send their bots to scan your site. The bots analyze your site. They will follow the links on each page to better understand what each page is about while also using artificial intelligence to determine page content and the subject of the page. They take into consideration how internal pages are linked to each other and how other sites (off-site sites) link to the site they’re scanning. All this and more helps them gather the data that they need to rank a page or site when a search query is entered. When the bots scan a site and its pages this data then goes into Google’s database. Again, this is called indexing. If a site or page isn’t indexed with Google then the chance of it appearing in a search is minimal.
So Google has this data, and then a Googler types in a query and this is where Google’s algorithm takes over. For instance, when someone types in “the best web design company in Orlando,” Google uses those 200+ variants to analyze indexed sites in order to determine the best answer to that person’s search query. (By the way, the best web design company in Orlando is Auxilia, so there is no need to search for that, LOL). It uses its Page Rank algorithm to present the best pages in descending order to the Googler.
As mentioned a couple of times above, there are many variants Google uses in determining how well a page fits a Googler’s query. Google usually says roughly 200+. Many of those are proprietary. However, they can be understood to be in two main categories, on-site and off-site. Let’s dive into each below.
Keep in mind, SEO is the tweaking or optimizing of the website to help it appear the most relevant to a search. So how do you ensure that your website has good OFF-site optimization? Sounds crazy, like how can you control that? Well, here is how. Through ensuring your digital footprint is harmonious through synchronizing your name, address, and phone number; and, through securing good backlinks to your company’s site and pages.
Directory Citations: Name, Address, & Phone Number (NAP)
One aspect of good off-site search engine optimization is to have consistent citations. A citation is a mention of your company online, and they can be both structured and unstructured. Unstructured citations might include a blog mentioning your restaurant in a post. They don’t follow a particularly consistent manner of mentioning your business and might include partial information or even wrong information. Google understands this is unavoidable so don’t be too concerned with them. Control what you can control!
What is controllable are structured citations as they are usually created on formal, online directories. However, most businesses have very bad habits when it comes to official online directories. A business can have multiple variants of its information online due to ignorance or bad practice. Owner A sets up a directory listing on one site and employee C sets up another listing, and so on. Before you know it, a business might have duplicate listings in the same directory each with differing information. Some businesses might have their original address in one directory and then their new address in another directory. So which is the source of truth? Worse is when the hours or phone are off from the actual hours of operation and phone number. A key in this part of off-site SEO is to ensure that they match. You want your information consistently displayed as both structured and unstructured citations help your company’s online profile and they build a consistent thumbprint with Google.
To make this even more complex there are different levels of structured citations within the realm of formal directories. There are:
- The 3 core search engines (Google, Bing, & Apple Maps),
- The main data aggregators (Factual, InfoGroup, Acxiom, Neustar Localeze, & Foursquare),
- Tier 1 directories (Facebook, Yelp, YP.com, Dun & Bradstreet, & CityGrid),
- Tier 2 directories (Local/Niche), and
- Tier 3 directories (General).
Within these directories, your information needs to be consistent. Many agencies lazily use automated programs like Yext (which is the worst directory citation service out there). Do not use Yext! If you do, here’s what happens when you sign up and cancel with Yext. The reason that agencies use these tools to automate the process of harmonizing a business’s directory citations is due to how laborious it is to create, synchronize, and manage the listings. At Auxilia, we use a manual method using actual human beings to go through all online references a business has and then harmonize them. Additionally, when we create additional listings (you can only have a certain amount) they are done by humans to ensure they’re done correctly. We do the hard work once the right way!
Once the citations are created and set up properly, we use a neat piece of code that helps you proactively incorporate all of your directory citations into your website via Schema (JSON-LD). With Schema, there is a helpful “sameAs” markup that lets a business signal to the search engine bots that “Hey, this site is associated with these online profiles”. This is part one in attaining good off-site SEO.
Backlinks: the heart and soul of Search Engine Optimization
The second part of good off-site SEO is to have good backlinks. Backlinks can fall into a “nofollow” and “dofollow” status. No follow simply means that the bots aren’t to “follow” the link from the site they’re on to your site, and do follow means what its name says. Google says they don’t give any “points” for the “nofollow” links but…..hmmm, I don’t know about that! It seems there is some credit awarded. By credit, let me explain. A backlink is, in essence, passing along credibility. When someone links to your site (ESPECIALLY in-context) that is THAT website saying in Google terms, “hey, this is a legit site.” So Google will take some of the “credibility” of that site and give it to your site. Keep in mind, when Google runs its algorithm on a search it is “weighing” out what web pages or web sites are most authoritative to answer the Googler’s query. Part of the weighing process is the authority or credibility of each site. And part of building site authority and credibility is to have other sites with good authority linking to your site. If you have a really credible website linking to your site then chances are that your site is also credible thus Google gives your domain some authority in that subject which is referenced in the link. So what types of backlinks are there? Basically two. Backlinks in directories and backlinks in written material like blogs.
Directory backlinks are obviously those found in directories like mentioned above. While some of these directories are indeed “dofollow” links from highly credible sites, the weight given to them is not nearly as high as in-context links.
The best type of backlinks a company website can have to boost their domain authority are in-context backlinks. This is where another website uses your site’s longtail keywords in a link. So if you are trying to rank for “custom website design“ then the best backlink is a high domain authority site linking to your site using “custom website design” in the link. The best scenario is when it is in written content and the link text flows naturally. That is an in-context backlink. It is in the context of written content (preferably on an in-industry website or blog) linking to your site. Google gives the most amount of weight to this type of backlink which, as they build up, adds credibility and authority to your domain. In essence, you build trust digitally speaking.
Along with these in-context backlinks is the subject of social voice. Google also gives weight to the general online consensus of your site, brand, or company. This is where having a social media presence across multiple channels (Facebook, Instagram, Google My Business, etc.) comes into play. How many are responding to your company’s online presence as a whole? Again all of these profiles are attached to your website through the Schema “sameAs” markup. This is part two of good off-site SEO.
The other type of Search Engine Optimization is on-site. On-site SEO is the process of building into the architecture of the site the proper, known variables that establish a site as credible. As stated above, Google’s Page Rank algorithm has many variables, many of which are not clearly delineated. However, we do know based on their Google Developers Handbook what they qualify as good on-site or on-page SEO. Much more can be said about this but the variables can range from:
- Hierarchical HTML structure,
- Proper permalink structure,
- Properly coded image file names, title tags, and alt tags,
- Good internal linking to build page authority within the site,
- Geo-coding a site for local SEO,
- Site speed,
- Having a secure site (SSL),
- Embedding Schema into each aspect of the site pages,
- Good user-interface and user-experience, and
- Good content that is fresh and relevant.
Each of these variables above could be a 1000-word article in its own right. There is quite a bit of consideration when we build websites or take on a client as regards working each of these aspects into the project for the success of the SEO campaign.
So when Auxilia builds a website these variables are always built into our client’s websites. When we recommend that a site be rebuilt it is usually because these factors are so far beyond repair that it’s just best to wipe everything and start fresh.
This brief overview is what constitutes good on-page and on-site SEO.
Auxilia’s Search Engine Optimization Service
So our philosophy is simple. We will partner with one company from a given industry to help that company rank well in the SERPs (search engine results pages). We are not trying to attain every “Tom, Dick, and Harry” to be our clients but have chosen to only partner with a handful of companies to give them our time and talents so they can achieve success in their given field through our lead generation efforts. We’ve chosen to provide high-quality services to only a few and to be loyal and dedicated to their cause.
Do you need Auxilia’s help?
Do you need a knowledgeable company to partner with? Are you the right fit for us? Are we the right fit for you? We would love a chance to be your partner for lead generation. Get in touch with us via the contact form or the number on our site.