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Understanding SEO Terminology

Have you ever wondered why certain sites show up during a web search? The reason is SEO. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a digital marketing strategy that can increase the visibility of your website’s pages in a web search on search engines such as Google or Bing. Why does this matter for your website? Sites with better visibility are usually those that are higher ranked on the search engine results page, which means more web traffic.

How SEO Works

Search engines will “crawl” your pages, collecting information on them and then indexing that information. When a search is executed, an algorithm analyzes the pages it has indexed, evaluating elements such as site reputation and a user’s location to generate the most relevant results for the user. Sites with large amounts of content and good reputations have a better chance of ranking higher.

Two SEO strategies can improve your website's visibility: on-site optimization and off-site optimization.

On-site optimization: also known as on-site SEO, this component focuses on optimizing elements on your website as a way to improve its position in search rankings, thus increasing the amount of internet traffic to your site. This type of optimization is something that, for the most part, you can control. Elements such as the title of a page on your site or keywords used can improve your site’s visibility.

Off-site optimization: this includes the components that aren’t actually on your site but can still improve your site’s position in search rankings. These components are typically out of your control such as attracting links from social media and other websites.

Algorithms

While there are a variety of search engines to choose from, the most popular by far is Google. Google has a variety of algorithms that are designed to improve user experience such as:

Hummingbird: the name of a 2013 algorithm in Google Search; this algorithm uses phrases rather than keywords to better understand the intent and context of search queries to match them with relevant pages and results.

Penguin: an algorithm that penalizes websites for violating Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Reasons for penalization include keyword stuffing and manipulating the number of links that led to a site’s page. 

Panda: a Google update that penalizes "thin" sites with "low-quality content" by ranking them lower on SERPs (see definition below). This algorithm aims to prioritize higher-quality sites.

Other Key Terms That Can Help You Understand SEO

SERPs: Search Engine Results Pages; the results and pages that come up in response to a search.

Local SERPs: the results that come up in response to a local-based search; the site visitor’s location affects these results.

Organic SEO: natural methods and strategies that help a site get high rankings on SERPs. With organic SEO practices, high rankings on SERPS are achieved through optimization strategies mentioned under white hat SEO rather than paying for ads. In fact, with organic SEO, you cannot pay search engines to get higher rankings. There is still the option to increase the visibility of your website by paying for ads, but this visibility ends when the payment ends. Organic SEO is a longer-lasting way to attract traffic to your site, and it’s free. Think of organic SEO as an investment – the more content you build for your site, the more likely it is that your site will generate traffic.

SEO UX: UX stands for user experience; the added “UX” emphasizes how SEO has shifted its focus to the user’s experience in an effort to move away from highlighting pages that are chalked full of keywords.

Sitemaps (XML and HTML): Sitemaps allow search engines to efficiently "crawl" a website to index the information on a site's pages. The two main types of sitemaps are XML and HTML. XML is used by the search engine; it indexes information on a site's content and the general importance of a site's pages. One of the benefits of an XML sitemap is that the site's owner can choose the specific pages or information it wants the search engine to crawl and index. HTML is used primarily by the site visitor; it structures the site's content in a way that is user-friendly.

The above definitions are some of the many terms used in the world of SEO. However, SEO, like all things on the internet, is constantly changing, and search engines like Google are constantly releasing new algorithms or programs that are sure to affect how these practices are done. Constant tweaks to your site are necessary to ensure all the proper tools are in place for SEO optimization. SEO Tuners can help maximize your website’s potential through our organic SEO services, which follow a white hat approach. We also offer a variety of SEO packages that are customizable to fit your company's budget. We are available to answer any questions you may have on SEO or any of our other digital marketing services. For more information, visit us at www.seotuners.com, or call (877) 763-1112.

 

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Backlinks Aren’t Dead

Rick Grimes probably wasn’t pondering backlinks in 2021 when he said, “We don’t kill the living” in AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Oddly enough, Grimes’ quote can be applied to backlinks today. It beckons the question: Why kill backlinks if they’re still alive?

Don’t!

Backlinks aren’t dead – and there’s certainly no reason to squash them in 2021.

Backlinks, “inbounding links” or “incoming links” connect webpages through incoming hyperlinks and are created when websites link to each other.

Backlinks signal greater Google (and other search engine) authority, upping search engine rankings. Backlinks can be a leading benchmark performance indicator of stellar content marketing and SEO strategy.

In fact, the number of domains linking to a page was the top factor in correlating the highest rankings in Google, according to Backlinko.

Backlinks for the “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2021? Fingers crossed.

The positive correlation coefficient between authoritative backlinks and website ranking is real: As your website develops authoritative backlinks, Google recognizes that and boosts your ratings. Your website is power-hungry for king or queenship as the top #1 spot on Google, right? Finding cutting-edge ways to maximize quality, authoritative backlinks to improve SEO can only help. Hard-earned backlinks can bolster a site’s ranking position and search visibility with Google.

Google’s algorithms are a beacon of constant change – but backlinks remain.

Sure, business owners may hear about the mélange of options to boost SEO in 2021. This may give the impression backlinks are not in-vogue, wandering aimlessly in Myspace forgotten-land.

Not true ­– backlinks are alive and well.

Backlinks remain one of Google’s top three ranking factors. Link building and backlink maintenance will continue to be a part of a successful SEO strategy heading into 2021.

There are many reasons why backlinks aren’t dead in 2021.

‘Yes’ votes still count. Backlinks represent “votes” for specific pages, according to rankings for Google and other search engines like Bing, Baidu, and Yahoo. They’re a signal to search engines that other web pages “vouch” for your content. It makes sense that more backlinks equal pages with boosted organic search engine rankings. Linking one website to another is still perceived by Google as votes of confidence and authority. Well-earned backlinks coming from topically relevant, authoritative websites remain beneficial.

Public relations still benefit from backlinks. Backlink development from websites with high authority such as Search Engine Journal, Wine Enthusiast, and Forbes Magazine certainly isn’t a one-recipe-fits-all situation, and it may require some top-level groveling from the public relations department. Leveraging public relations is all about offsite SEO building in this case. You can build brand mentions through your business connections or become a source for bloggers and publication writers, for example. Provide value to clients you want a backlink from.

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More resources, more backlink potential. As resources grow, your resource backlinks must keep pace. Resource link building adds value to the audience by asking, “How can I help my audience?” Resources can change, expand, be modified, or even be eliminated. If you’re a private entity, think about relevant outside resources for your client, as well as the plethora of business associations in your local area that you might be able to network within.

Backlinks still establish relevance. With tons of websites competing for Google's top search results, it’s evolutionarily advantageous to stand out amongst “unverified” sources. Keep two qualities in mind. First, seek backlinks from quality, authoritative sites. The degree of technicality in your field can oftentimes dictate whether it’s a common-sense decision or one worth investing in researching. Second, seek backlinks with a solid contextual connection – there are more now than ever before with the wide variety of businesses springing up. Relevant backlinks aren’t easily attainable. Supercharging SEO strategy with the correct backlinks can start with identifying ways to earn these authoritative backlinks – think of human networking potential as a valuable backlink commodity.

Business-related services need backlinks. Many local businesses provide professional services that need backlinks. If you’re a business servicing the public with medical, legal, financial, engineering, or science-related services, having quality backlinks is important as your search results will likely be narrowed according to a specific field of expertise. Specificity demands specificity in this case. For example, a medical products manufacturer in Ventura, CA may have a very limited demographic scope of potential buyers keying in on “silicon-based medical products,” so the power of backlinks that connect relevant sources within that field is even more relevant today than ever.

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Backlink analytics can help you. Edging out the competition requires knowing the competition. A thorough analysis of your competition’s backlinks’ performance can offer key insight into how to adjust backlink strategy to match performance – or how not to make the same mistakes. Traffic analytics will remain a steadfast portion of the diet of every business looking to capitalize on organic website traffic from backlinks. Curious how to build backlinks with authority? Analyze competitors who do.

The fact of the matter is that it’s all interpretation, as the exact logarithmic equation of how Google ranks content is a moving and complex target. Despite what some may say to the contrary, most internet marketing experts agree that backlinks will remain a ranking factor you should pay attention to – at least for the near future. There also appears to be an overarching consensus pointing to original, quality long-format content as a driving force in backlink potency.

Read ‘em and weep: Backlinks aren’t dead, according to data collected from many authoritative online sources for SEO and SEM. Here are some statistics that speak to their importance:

By the numbers: Backlinks

  • 2% of content generates links from multiple websites (Backlinko)
  • 92% of respondents said links will be an algorithmic signal in five years (Aira)
  • 69% said links will be an algorithmic signal in 10 years (Aira)
  • 69% believe buying links can positively affect Google rankings (Aira)
  • 71% said Google still relies heavily on links for ranking (Aira)
  • 52% expect organic search engine ranks to stay constant in the future (Aira)
  • 77% said it takes 1-6 months to observe any changes in organic rankings after a link-building effort (Aira)

You have now heard the “why.” It’s time for the “how.” How exactly do you improve backlinks in 2021?

If backlinks aren’t dead, then it’s in your best interest to feed the monster. Be sure to stay up-to-date with SeoTuners’ blog for more information on how to improve your backlinks.

If you’ve seen The Walking Dead, you know Rick Grimes drove his friends to survive against all odds during the apocalyptic, zombie-infested cult classic. If you think about it, maybe Rick was onto something – maybe it is best to let backlinks walk amongst the living.

Contact a Google Premier Partner

Small, medium and large businesses alike can benefit from a thorough analysis of backlinks. At SeoTuners, we understand the difference between quality and quantity, and our custom link building and outreach approach can help you earn high page authority. Based in Ventura, Calif., SeoTuners is proud to also service the greater Los Angeles County area. Contact us today for a consultation at (877) 736-1112.

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3 Reasons You Should Have a Google Premier Partner

If you are trying to get your business more exposure by the most effective means, especially during the global pandemic, it’s no surprise that you will need to harness the marketing power of the internet. Having boosted ad campaigns on social media geared towards encouraging sales will reach your immediate followers, but this is truly just the tip of the iceberg. Below the surface, it’s no secret that businesses that successfully market online earn a great majority of their impressions through Google. But what isn’t as commonly known are the intricate inner workings of how Google operates. While you could spend hours doing research and watching the tutorial videos on how to take advantage of Google’s ad capabilities, it’s time-consuming and nearly impossible while trying to run a business.  And when you start looking for assistance with your online advertising, you’ll find that self-proclaimed AdWords expert are everywhere with bold claims like, “We help your Google Ads increase performance for better ROI and more leads, guaranteed.” How do you know which agencies are reputable and will be able to work within your budget to get the advertising results you need?

This is where Google Premier Partners come in. Google Premier Partners are certified experts that have demonstrated Google Ads skill and expertise, met Google ad spend requirements, delivered agency and client revenue growth, and sustained and grown its client base. Google only grants Premier status to the top 3% of participating agencies worldwide, and it’s no easy feat to attain. It’s the crème-de-la-crème in terms of platinum-level status; you simply can’t achieve any higher at this time.

What does this new mean for you? It means that if you are looking to hire an agency that will be able to deliver superior advertising campaigns that stretch every dollar of your budget, then you are going to want to strongly consider partnering with a certified Google Premier Partner.

Here are three reasons why:

  1. Money Well Spent

Ever thought you could tackle something on your own, tried it, and were left with disastrous results? This unfortunately is a common struggle with ambitious business owners who think that doing something themselves will save money. However, having a professional who has earned the Google Premier Badge will ultimately be money well spent, minus the headache. To earn this designation, Premier Partners must have over 50% of their team pass Google’s rigorous professional accreditation that includes certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, Google Ads Video, Shopping ads, Google Ads Apps, and Google Ads Mobile optimization. Additionally, Google Premier Partners are required to stay current in the ever-changing digital landscape by going through this process and re-certifying every year. Only 3% of agencies on the planet carry the Premier status and we are one of them.

Whoever you choose as your Google Premier Partner should be able to deliver a strategy that meets your financial needs – and make the money you do spend go further.

  1. Superior Results

When investing in a Google AdWords campaign, knowing what keywords to leverage to encourage growth can be tricky. It’s important to be able to think like a potential client or customer when putting this word list together, but a Google Premier Partner will also know the subtle nuances and unexplored possibilities that can skyrocket the success of your campaign. Those who carry this coveted badge of certification know the best way to approach a new project and retrofit their techniques and experience to suit their client’s specific needs.

Just because a company has acquired this badge, though, does not mean you should trust them blindly. You still need to do your research and make sure that a Google Premier Partner has the right expertise and other qualifying features that fit with the specific needs of your business.  They should also display a current badge to show that they are up to date on all of their training and are still currently certified with the Google Partner program. Self-proclaimed AdWords experts are everywhere these days which is why it is important to work with a premier Google Partner for the best results.

  1. Upgraded Access

Google Premier Partners are the only tier with access to a dedicated account manager - essentially a direct line to Google. Selecting a Google Premier Partner agency gives advertisers advantages other agencies cannot provide, like access to Google representatives when customers have concerns. This direct communication line to Google-trusted and certified experts is only awarded to Premier members.  Need first-line support? Partners can respond to client inquiries and ascertain how to fix operational or technical problems.  You’ll have your own personal liaison to Google with quick turn-around times and personal services that you can’t get anywhere else, which means less stress for you and more time to focus on the other aspects of your business.

When choosing your professional team of experts, be sure to take note of the differences between a Google Partner and a Google Premier Partner. Premier Partners offer more capabilities in problem-solving and have a greater scope of expertise they offer. Premier Partners also have a full cache of benefits available with their special status, including access to Google’s annual Partner Summit, product training and certifications, sales training, community membership and product updates, executive business training, and much more. What that translates to is an agency that has the ability to educate themselves in the process of providing superior customer service. Google Partners can also be of service however be aware that they don’t have the same experience or access to the same level of benefits that a Premier Partner can offer.

SeoTuners is proud to have achieved and maintained the coveted Google Premier Partner status. As a Premier badge holder, you can be assured that SeoTuners has met Google’s highest standards for excellence while serving our clients across the greater Los Angeles and Ventura County areas. Contact us today to find an affordable solution to increase your exposure on Google and beyond with custom marketing strategies for your business.

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Making Google Fall For You This Valentine’s Day

Google is in relationships with multiple businesses. And while it isn’t necessarily picky, Google definitely plays favorites based on the clever keywords you choose, your online reputation, and of course the amount of time you spend with it. Google is the main object of our desire because it has the potential to bring us more than enough business to take our breath away. And while you could settle for other search engines, nothing quite compares to Google’s swoon-worthy capabilities. It can generate leads, improve your reputation, and ultimately funnel more money in your direction all at the same time. What’s not to love? This trifecta of benefits, however, only happens when you make it to the top results on Google’s search pages.

Here are five tips to follow to help beat out the competition to win over Google’s affection:

1) Harness the Power of Blogs

For starters, Google needs to get to know you. What are your interests? Who do you serve? What are your passions? These are questions that help Google figure out your personality to direct you to the right customers.  Blogs provide a way to answer those questions and provide a clear picture of the character of your business. And don’t forget to add pictures. Who wouldn’t fall in love with your facilities, colleagues, and services in action? But the beauty from within, driven by your literary content, makes all the difference. Think of your business blogs like a love letter. The very words you use become the tags that can drive your company to the top of the searches.

Google wants to know if you’re an authority in your field, if you have a community of people interested in your niche, and what experience you’ve had helping your clientele. Don’t be intimidated if you’re company is just starting out, Google will always welcome your blogs whether your business is old or new.

2) Aim for the Local 3-Pack

Finding a match can be hard, especially if your potential suitors can’t figure out exactly where you’re located. The one thing Google and businesses have in common is that they both know the importance of location, location, location. In order to court Google properly and make it into the coveted top 3 list, otherwise knows as the Local 3-Pack, make sure that your Google My Business page has accurate information, includes photos of your business, and has recent customer reviews. While there are no guarantees, doing these things will certainly help attract Google’s roving eye.

And once you’ve become a part of Google’s local 3 pack, customers will be able to easily find you, greatly increasing your chance for a successful match.

3) Woo With the Right Words

In order to impress the classy tastes of Google, you have to be willing to spend money on them. Investing in the benefits of Google AdWords is a true item of commitment, so what words should you use to get this relationship off the ground?. Thinking in the mindset of the customer avatar you’re trying to attract is essential for making this affectionate gesture worthwhile. Keep in mind that adwords should be created in the form of a question since that is generally how users seek search engine help. One of the ways Google has adapted throughout the years is by putting their users needs and process of thought into consideration. This is especially important for your business needs. This type of virtual relationship with Google allows your business to be found by any prospect, even if they weren’t directly looking for your particular business. All of this to say, don’t cheapen your relationship with Google by missing this essential step. The minute your company owns those adwords, the number of clicks to your business’s website will send positive results your way.

Build Trust

Trust is not a word to be taken for granted. Google has had some trust issues with relationships in the past, so they developed an algorithm to make sure they can have confidence in your business. Creating your profile, serving customers in your network, and paying for the advertising is one thing, but the bigger step to establishing trust is to regularly update your content. Use pictures and videos to show your team, location, personality, clientele, and more, and Google images will work in your favor. This is especially crucial if you’re a small business. By consistently building up your relevant and unique content, your company’s reputation for successful activity will sell itself, leading to a higher ranking in the search results.

Analyze Your Relationship

Once you and Google have been going steady for a while, it’s time to take a closer look at your relationship to see if there is any room for improvement.  Google Analytics can help you do just that. It’s a very effective tool in Google’s arsenal that tracks data about the way visitors both find and use your website. It is a treasure trove of analytical information that can help you make the most of things like keyword optimization and fine-tuning your website. Using Google Analytics helps them and helps you – so it’s a mutually beneficial part of your relationship that’s definitely worth diving into.

No matter what your business’s current relationship status might be with Google, as these five tips show, there is always room for improvement.  Looking for some help wooing your way to the top of Google’s list? Call SeoTuners today for an affordable solution for your business to increase exposure with custom SEO strategies.  We are confident that we can help cultivate your relationship with Google, as well as customize services to assist with all of your business marketing needs.

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Five Reasons Your Website Isn’t Ranking

Building a successful website is not always as easy as it looks. Creating a good-looking home page and organizing all of your information on your site is a solid starting point, but sometimes that Google ranking just won’t move in your favor. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as “if you build it, they will come”. In reality, it can be quite complicated to improve your rank on Google, and there may be things you are inadvertently doing that are having a negative effect on where you currently stand.

Why does my website need to be ranked?

In the ever-changing digital world, the importance of a high Google ranking has only increased. More companies are prioritizing the Internet to market their services, which makes gaining an advantage on the most popular search engine the key to success online. This is how your company can separate itself from the competition and get more eyes on your beautifully designed webpages. The majority of clicks come from the highest-ranked search results, so optimizing your keywords and content correctly will bring your website to the forefront. Understanding and taking advantage of a higher Google ranking will inevitably result in more business growth.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the reason your website might not be achieving the ranking results you desire:

  1. You’re Just Getting Started

Maybe you’ve recently launched a new website and you’re wondering why it hasn’t had a great deal of success yet. Rather than be alarmed, remember to have some patience in the beginning. Search engine optimization (SEO) takes time to develop – it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s likely that the algorithms Google uses have not noticed the validity of your site yet. Google also goes through a filtering process for new websites, as they make sure they are evaluated and examined thoroughly before they are fully validated. This process is called the Google Sandbox.

This period in the sandbox can last three to six months, so there is no need to worry if your website is still young. The best way to approach this situation is to produce the best content possible and to begin creating an effective SEO strategy for the future so that when you’re out of the sandbox, you’re raring to go!

  1. Your Main Keywords are Too Competitive

In some situations, it can be helpful to target broad keywords that show up in a variety of search results. However, if you’re a new company, you may need to be more specific to reach your target audience. For example, a new hair salon that tries to rank for “hair cuts” will struggle to show up in most users’ search results. It will take years of hard work to capitalize on this type of keyword optimization.

A much better approach to this situation would involve long-tail keywords or terms that are specific to your region. A hair salon might try for a search term such as “best hair salons near Thousand Oaks” to reach their target audience more efficiently. Optimizing your keywords specifically for your area is crucial for new or smaller businesses looking to improve their Google ranking.

  1. Your Pages are Loading Too Slowly

Now, this could be a big one. Keeping your visitors happy with a user-friendly website is vital because if they have a poor experience, it will shorten the amount of time they spend on your site. Google will notice the short retention times, which could serve as a huge detriment to your online ranking. Try comparing your site’s speed to your competitors by using something like Google Site Speed Test, which is easy to do and will help you see what you’re up against in this area.  While this component of SEO seems very simple, it’s essential to successful ranking.

  1. Make Sure Your Website is Indexed

If you are not familiar with website indexing, it’s time to learn. Indexing is the process of using keywords and metadata to allow for a more useful vocabulary on the Internet for on-site searching. Improper indexing or completely missing this step is a common mistake that almost always leads to poor search engine ranking. A website must be indexed to appear in Google’s search results. If your website is not indexed, there is no way for Google to know that your site even exists.

First, check to see if your website has already been indexed by searching “site:yourdomain.com” in Google. If Google has already crawled your website, you’ll see a list of results that are similar to your domain name. If you don’t get any results, then your site has not been properly indexed yet.

Next, you’ll want to install and set up Google Analytics and Search Console. Google Analytics is a brilliant tool that measures statistics about your website such as visitors, time spent, pages visited, and more. Google Search Console gives you the opportunity to monitor the different components of your site such as recent crawling data or any issues that may arise. Want to dive in deeper? Follow these steps to get started and make sure your website is indexed the right way so it can be found and move up the Google rankings. 

  1. Your Competition is Strong

 Your company is likely not the only one who is looking to improve its search engine ranking. You are not competing against Google and its algorithms, but also your immediate competitors.  They, too, are constantly trying to climb the ladder and become the company that pops up in the search results most often. Take note of the best practices that your competitors are utilizing and stay up-to-date with the most effective SEO methods to smash your competition.

If you’re interested in improving your website’s SEO ranking, contact us today.

SeoTuners offers affordable local SEO packages for your business and your budget. We are confident that we have a solution for all your business marketing needs.