WEBINAR: How to Get Found Online – The Art of SEO
In April 2018, Dering Hall presented a webinar entitled, “How to Get Found Online – The Art of SEO.” This webinar focused on the importance of organic search and how the design industry can benefit from implementing key SEO strategies.
Digital Marketing Specialists Dan Merton, Dering Hall CEO Alan Blaustein, and Marketing Speaker and Strategist Erin Gilbert gathered to discuss the basics, provide strategies, and offer advice on increasing your online search presence. Combined, this trio has years of experience in digital in a variety of industries and bring their collective knowledge to this informative webinar.
Here are some key takeaways from the webinar:
- On-site SEO
- Off-site SEO
- SEO software tools
- Hiring/Outsourcing your SEO
- Advice and best practices for SEO
1. On-site SEO
On-site SEO consists of all the things you can do within your website code, content, and web server that could affect your ranking for keywords.
Technical items that affect SEO:
- Compliant, error free HTML code. When using a modern platform such as Wordpress, Squarespace, or Shopify, this is done for you.
- Mobile responsive website. You can set your site here: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
- Site speed. Google offers a site speed test page: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
- Secure website hosting. HTTPS vs HTTP – what’s the difference, what are implications https://ahrefs.com/blog/http-vs-https-for-seo/
Content and keywords
Keyword research is to the process of discovering the keywords people type in who are looking for your product or service. Ideally, you want to find keywords that are specific to your business niche, but broad enough to have enough of daily search volume so that you can get sales and leads.
If you’re just starting out try these 4 tools:
- Google Adwords – Google’s ad platform will allow you to use their keyword planner for free without buying ads
- Spyfu – A paid service offers a free trial, and offers great data on what terms your competitors rank for
- Uber Suggest - A free keyword research tool that will help generate many new keyword ideas
- Google Search Console – You’ll want to sign up and get a free Google search console account, it can show you want you already rank for, and help you identify many on-site ranking problems and opportunities
Blogging is a great way to create new content on a consistent basis.
Domain names are not crucial to your SEO success, but there are a few things you can do to help. Keep the name as simple as possible and keep it registered for the max amount of time, up to 10 years.
Basic tips you can implement today:
- Adjust title tags to promote try and rank for your category first, and your brand second.
- Adjust your meta description to title and meta tags.
- Run the site speed test.
- Run the mobile friendly test.
- Register your domain for a longer period of time.
- Use the tools above to evaluate your competitors, and find more keywords.
2. Off-site SEO
Off-site (or off-page) SEO refers to anything you can do externally, outside of our website, to positively influence your search rankings.
Link popularity, which is the measure of how many links any one page on a website has from external websites, and link building are at the center of the off-site SEO conversation. The best kind of links are typically merit-based and come from high profile, reputable news and magazines websites, or trade publications in your niche.
Getting editorial links often overlaps with getting PR and your work published online. For example, Dering Hall offers a free eBook and also a recent podcast episode with Michael Boodro on the same subject.
Links from platforms such as Dering Hall also really help.
Having a vibrant and robust social media following on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter helps promote your brand, but can also help distribute your content and in-turn drive passive external linking.
Content marketing, is a newer buzzword used to describe the process of content creation for the sake promotion via external link building for SEO, and social media sharing for more viral distribution of content. The key is to create unique, robust, long-form content that others feel compelled to link to from their website, or share via social media.
Basic tips you can implement today:
- Make sure all of your social profiles are linking to your website
- Ad links to your website in all email signatures, online account profiles, etc.
- Below are two must-read articles for anyone about to endeavor into off-site SEO
3. SEO Software Tools
Here’s a basic list of tools we recommend using (some mentioned earlier):
- Moz - Fullstack, all-in-one SEO software
- Google Adwords - Keyword research
- Uber Suggest - Keyword research and idea generation
- Spyfu - Perform in depth keyword research on your competitors
- Ahrefs - Helps with backlink research
- Buzzsumo – Shows what kind of content gets the most backlinks and social shares
- Google Search Console – Shows you errors on your site, and some of the keywords you rank for
- Google Analytics – General analytics data on all of your website visitors
- Here’s a complete list of 188 SEO tools, both free and paid
- SEO That Works - Great (paid) course offered by Brian Dean
4. Hiring/Outsourcing your SEO
Some SEO companies work hard and do a great job, others are fly-by-night operations that will exploit one temporary fleeting tactic, and then disappear, giving the industry a bad name and good companies credibility problem. It’s important to ask some basic questions and understand the answers to before hiring.
Here are two very complete articles on the subject:
- 34 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring an SEO Agency
- 12 Questions You Need to Ask Before Hiring an SEO Company
5. General advice, best practices and blogs you can read to continue your SEO education
Have patience, SEO takes months, not days or weeks. SEO is an ongoing, perpetual effort. A good analogy is that it’s like going to the gym, the more attention you give it, needs daily attention to get results.
Keep in mind that search engines like Google are interested in providing the best experience for their users, based on what they are looking for. This means that site speed, navigation, and design do play a role in your ranking.
Here are some reputable SEO centric blogs we recommend:
- Backlinko – Many, unique, actionable SEO techniques
- Neil Patel – Actionable, tactical advice on SEO and digital marketing
- The Moz Blog – Excellent SEO blog, tons of content. Check out their Whiteboard Friday video series.
- Search Engine Land – Blog that covers SEO and SEM and Social Media industry
- Search Engine Journal – Blog that covers SEO and digital marketing industry