Search Engine Optimization
Strategy. Exerptise. Results.
Why Do I Need SEO?
Search engine optimization is essential for any business trying to attract visitors to a website. 93% of all web traffic comes from search engines. No matter what type of website you’re running, you should invest in SEO efforts, whether you invest with time or money. If you have a dedicated team of SEO strategists, content writers, designers, developers, and data analysis professionals, you may be able to do SEO in house. For most businesses, though, in-house SEO isn’t feasible. That’s where we come in.
Digitiv offers a full suite of digital marketing services to a wide range of clients. We know SEO inside and out, and we customize our work to fit the needs of our clients.
Follow and Nofollow
Links are “followed” by default, which means that you want Google to follow the link and find the page on the other side. You should “nofollow” links to pages that are useless for a search engine to crawl. Paid links, links to monetization pages, and links in press releases are examples of typically nofollowed links.
301 redirects send a user from one URL to another. It’s typical for website managers to delete a page and redirect its URL to another page. A general rule is to ask yourself, “Will people looking for the original page be happy with the new page?” If you redirect a page, you should make sure to also update links going to the old page.
Crawl budget is the amount of crawling Google will do for your website. Ideally, Google will crawl all the pages on your site. Sloppy organization, an overabundance of 301 redirects, broken links, or improper use of noindexing can cause insufficient crawls. This mostly affects large websites or those that have seen immense changes over time.
User Behavior Metrics
SEO pros look at user behavior metrics to gauge the value of webpages. The most basic are time on page, time on site, and bounce rate. Google evaluates user behavior metrics to try to determine how satisfied people are with the search results.
Content that is taken word for word, or close to it, from another source is duplicate content. It can be considered black hat SEO. Web pages can avoid being penalized for duplicate content by citing the source and using a canonical tag to give credit to the source.
Structured Data Markup
Also known as “Schema,” structured data is a relatively new piece of optional code offered by Schema.org. Hidden from users, it provides a helpful guide to search engines about what your page is. Google’s recent algorithm changes gave Schema markup more weight as a ranking factor.
Canonical tags essentially note the preferred version of a webpage. On a content-heavy site you may have a version of a page that is similar to another, and you can implement a canonical tag to preferred page. On an eCommerce site, you may have separate pages for products of a different size, and you can place the URL of the main product page in a canonical tag.
Index and Noindex
Webpages are marked as “index” by default, which means you’re allowing Google to crawl the page and show it in search results. Pages that aren’t designed to show in search results should be “noindexed,” such as confirmation pages, signup forms, purchasing funnels, etc.
A 404 error will appear to a user when there is no page for a searched URL. If you have deleted pages on your site, you should remove links to that page. Sending your users to a nonexistent page is a bad user experience. Websites often create lively, humorous 404 pages with helpful links on them to try to maintain users and give them somewhere else on the site to visit.
Rise to the top
Once you have keywords to target, you can create the content of your pages. Antiquated SEO guidelines will tell you to force-feed the keyword into your content as much as possible. In an earlier time, search engines were less sophisticated, and this tactic worked. These days, Google and other search engines don’t fall for that. “Keyword stuffing” has no value. It’s a form of “tricking the search engine.” Don’t try to trick Google.
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Technical SEO Experts
The idea behind technical SEO is that users and search engines shouldn’t have any trouble finding anything on your site. Areas of technical SEO focus include: Page Speed, Sitemaps, Mobile Friendly, Broken Links, Hidden Files, Duplicate Content.
try, try again
One of the most common SEO problems is that businesses don’t know how well it’s working. Even savvy business people are prone to jumping to conclusions when they see changes in their site traffic, revenue, leads, products sold, or new walk-in customers. If you’re serious about SEO, you should know exactly what to track.
A tool like SEMRush can be very helpful to define keywords and begin tracking. Depending on the website, you may want to check your rank daily, weekly, or monthly, and record the results.
You may have found that the keywords you targeted aren’t the ones actually driving traffic to the site. Google Search Console will show how many impressions and clicks your pages got for individual keywords.
We Have Answers
Ask Us Anything
Some people say 3 months, some say 6, some say 12. There’s no easy answer. Every industry, keyword, and website is different. Assuming your technical SEO is done right, Google will crawl a new or updated page within 48 hours, but it can take a lot of time for Google to detect the user behavior of the page and begin to move it up or down the ranks.
Yes. Anything that affects user experience affects SEO. Sites with attractive designs are likely to have better user behavior metrics. Navigation links, monetization widgets, pop-ups, images, and videos are all part of the structure of a page. Ensure your site is mobile-friendly and has good page speed.
HTTP was the standard internet protocol attached to URLs since 1991. The added “S” stands for “secure,” verifying that the connection between a browser and a server is safe. Starting in 2018, Google has significantly downgraded sites that don’t use HTTPS. So, yes, you need an SSL certificate.
Black hat SEO is any tactic meant to manipulate search engine algorithms without providing legitimate value. Link farms are an example. Honest SEO efforts are called white hat SEO, and tactics that are debatable are called gray hat SEO. Google and other search engines have become increasingly good at detecting black hat tactics.
If Google finds that a site is using too many black hat tactics, it may give the site a manual penalty, which will drastically lower rankings or remove the site from search results altogether. To recover from a manual penalty, you need to fix the problem and prove to Google that you’ve fixed the problem. In the case of external linking, you’ll need to assess all the backlinks to your site, contact webmasters to have those links removed, record all the emails, give Google a report of links you want removed from your backlink profile, and wait. It sounds like a painstaking process because it is. If you’ve been hit with a manual penalty, we can help.
Common SEO knowledge says that Google “tweaks the dials” every day, although these changes aren’t particularly noticeable. There are “core algorithm updates,” which are very noticeable and usually come with an official announcement from Google. There were three in 2018 and three in 2019. Google does not reveal much information about these updates, typically stating that the update aims to provide a better user experience for Google users.