SEO Basics

I thought I would go ahead and share some basic tips them here to give people some background on SEO principles as well as some places to go to get your SEO questions answered.

1.Title Tags

The title tags on a site should be optimized to have  keywords in them so they have a better chance at ranking for them. This is a relatively high-priority item since it is arguably the second most important thing related to SEO on a site. Why are they so important? Title tags show up in browsers, search engine results, and even other websites.  An example would be if you have a site that sells shoes, instead of having the title tag just be the name of the item like “black pumps” try editing it to this phrase that a user might search for such as “stylish black pumps.”

Determining the keywords should be simple, right? If you know your brand, of you course you know what people should be searching for to find it. Not exactly…think about it this way, people often search for phrases as opposed to just words. Just think about Siri, how many times have you asked Siri to look something up? If you ask Siri for the best place to buy leggings in Chicago…it’s going to search for just that (unless of course, Siri interprets it as” the best place to buy Legos in Chicago”).  With the Hummingbird update recently Google has certainly updated in understanding what these semantic searches, searching for the phrase as opposed to the string of words appearing in any order on a page.

Beyond the phrasing, if the keyword you pick happens to be common, for example, leggings, there are probably a great deal of people searching for it. This makes leggings a highly competitive keyword. If your site and 15,000 other sites are all competing to rank for the same keyword it is going to make it harder to become visible. However, there are plenty of related keywords or phrases you can add into your title tags that will ultimately benefit your ability to show up in search results.

title_tagexample

2. URL Structure 

While we’re talking about title tags it makes sense to touch on URL structure. The URL should also include keywords. Ever paste one of those links that looks a mess of a foreign language? (Example: http://www.shopforclotheshere.com/urban/catalog/category.jsp?id=BRANDS&brand=adidas).  Everything after the question mark is not search engine friendly to Google crawlers. By adding keywords they would allow Google crawlers to pick them up and help them rank. You’re basically wasting space in your URL if you have that, why not 1) make it look a hell of a lot better and 2) add some relevant keywords for your brand.

URLStructure

3. Google +

I’m a big proponent of Google + because it really does matter, establishing Google Authorship for yourself is really important because it gives you legitimacy on the web, for more of an explanation, read my blog post on it here.

4. Blog Away

Text is really important because that is what Google crawls so keeping an updated blog that is relevant to what your site is about is really important.  If you’re not the blogging type offer guest posting on your site, whatever it takes to create new and relevant content on your site. Don’t steal content from other sites, create your own to make your site more legitimate and beneficial to the readers. Google basically just needs to know that you are offering value to those on your sites, then they will help you show up in search results. Think about creating a spreadsheet that keeps track of which pages and which relevant keywords relate to those pages on your site, it will help a bunch.

These are some quick tips, these are  far from in-depth but totally worth implementing on your site! To ask some SEO questions try participating in the weekly twitter chat on Thursdays at 11am PST for SEO appropriately called #seochat.

Why Google + Matters

My Google + Profile Let me start off by saying I know most people, especially young people are not on Google +, and I get that. However, I feel people overlook the importance and potential of this social platform. It took a really long time for me to understand the benefit of Google +, besides the fact that it felt less saturated that other social networks with cluttered advertising and posts from friends I found irrelevant. The Google + network has 396 active monthly users , which is significant but far from the 1.1 billion plus active monthly users on Facebook.

Understanding Google + 

I often explain Google + as a hybrid between Facebook and Twitter. Google +’s layout mirrors Facebook, though it is considerably less cluttered. The Circles feature which allow you to group friends, coworkers, and family separately reminds me of TweetDeck, a free tool to monitor twitter  activity. Obviously the ease of searching on Google + resembles the Google search engine.

As a social media user ,with many accounts, what’s the benefit of using yet another network that is arguably a hybrid of two of the major ones I already use?

An answer, in short: Google Authorship. It’s the one feature of Google + I think it is slowly going to become very important. It allows you to claim authorship over your content scattered around the web. The more content that is traced back to your common name will help you build authority on the web. You are able to also link your blog posts to your Google + account so that each time someone comments on your blog post the comment will appear on Google +. Google + will then also notify you whenever your content is shared or commented on anywhere the web.Google + is optimizing content marketing. It’s giving people more control over what they create AND share.

Why Google + Will Appeal to Younger Users 

I predict that heightened level of control will appeal to younger generations. There is already some evidence of this, though indirect, in a recent story published by Mashable, written by 13 year-old Ruby Karp titled, “I’m 13 and None of My Friends Use Facebook.” In the article, which created a great deal of discussion at the time of its publication, Ms. Karp cites the fact that family members constantly monitor activity on Facebook to the point younger users, such as herself, are being held accountable for posts on the social network as one deterrent from using the network. Additionally, those same family members and other adults are limiting the access to social networks such as Facebook so much so that younger generations are adapting different networks instead. Design also plays a part, Ms. Karp mentions the fact that Facebook lacks the simplicity of networks like Twitter.  Google + has the simplicity of Twitter and allows users to control which “circle” content is shared with, addressing the issues of concern with family members seeing everything on Google +.

So, will Google + be the social network of the future?  Google + will reinvent social networks, in the same way LinkedIn has, at least in my opinion. LinkedIn has created a professional social network. Google + I see more in line with LinkedIn, it will be one of those things most will need to have to establish authority on the web. So no, Google + is not the new Facebook. Facebook is Facebook, it’s informal and candid. Google + aspires to be much more than that. It’s aspires to be the hub of all our activity on the web.