The Hinge Studio SEO Guide

You’ve created content to showcase your best ideas. You’ve added the best images to support the material. You’ve shared your work with your clients and followers. But you still aren’t getting the web traffic that you anticipated and need to effectively promote your organization. What needs to change? Enter Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

What is SEO?

Using SEO seems confusing. As we will discover, SEO is a manageable, effective way to help search engines crawl, index, and understand your content; in other words, to optimize your search results. 

Wikipedia defines SEO as the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine's unpaid results—often referred to as "natural", "organic", or "earned" results.

Think of it this way: based on what a user types into a search bar, the most relevant, unpaid results rank higher in the organic search results list.

How Does SEO Work?

Search engines use crawlers (programs that sift through information on the web and index each piece) to help find the best results. While these crawlers are smart and efficient, they need your assistance. Using the right keywords and getting links to your page can boost your search result rank.  While these steps seem small, they make a huge impact on SEO.

What’s Next for Better SEO?

The key to using SEO to your advantage is to make sure your pages are created for your users and not search engines. Though it can be tempting to make content appealing to search engines first and foremost, it won’t help you in the long run. Here are a few more tips to get you started:

Content

Content is the reason people are visiting your website, so make sure it is good. Additionally, content should center around your customer. Last week on our blog, we gave you 5 Reasons Why Content Is King and the information will help you create educational, insightful content that users will want more of.

Keywords

Make sure that your titles are relevant to the content being presented.  If you’re using a content management system for your web site, take advantage of meta tags, hashtags, alt text, and any other SEO options that are offered. When labeling your content on your website, make the post and content titles precise and unique. This will ensure that your users are more likely to remember what you have shared and enable search engines to better identify the content subject.

Do your research. Are the keywords you’ve chosen words that best describe your content? Would your users use those words to describe your business? With so many search results for each word, choosing the right words can help or hinder your efforts to gain SEO results. “Marketing firm Wyoming” will yield different results than “Wyoming marketing firm.” Research, play, and track keywords to see which perform the best.

Navigation

Like an outline of a paper, the outline of your website is important and helpful to know where information can be located. Give search engines access to your site map so they can find your content and direct users to your pages. While it is important to make your website unique, it is more important to make it user friendly. If a user cannot navigate through your website because it does not flow well from one page to the next or the navigation buttons are not clear, the chances of that user recommending your site or visiting again are slim. Periodically check each link on your website to ensure that no links are broken and that all of your pages are found without error.  There are many tools including W3 Link Checker and MozBar to help you do this.

Links

Like creating really good content, creating links, both internal and external, should be a priority. Links should be precise, descriptive, and relevant to the content. When users have a basic idea about the content a link houses and that is relevant to their search, they are more likely to follow through with that action. Using anchor text in your content is extremely helpful to search engines if used often. If the anchor text points users to a page from many other pages, then there is a high probability that search engines will rank the anchor text phrase higher.  When using images as links, include alt text to inform the user what your photo links to should it not load correctly.

Images

If your image files are too big or the wrong file type, this can cause your page to load slower.  You can resize your image yourself or use an online resource, Adobe, or Photoshop to ensure that your photo is the correct size and type for your website and responsive design.

Responsive Design

Most people use mobile devices to search for answers online these days.  Utilize responsive design to capture these users. If users cannot access the information for your website on their mobile device, they are more likely to find another site with similar information that is mobile-friendly.  

In late 2016, Google began experimenting with the use of mobile-first indexing.  While this isn’t fully implemented, it is a good idea to make responsive design a priority in order for your website to thrive in mobile-focused indexing.  To ensure that your mobile version can be accessed by Googlebots, check out the robots.txt testing tool.

With so many moving parts, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and confused by SEO. However, it is also manageable to develop and implement a strategy to navigate your confusion in this dynamic SEO world. You don’t have to be an SEO expert to start making changes and many free resources and webinars are available to extend your SEO knowledge. One thing is certain, to climb the ranks, there is no time like the present.

With so many moving parts, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and confused by SEO. However, it is also manageable to develop and implement a strategy to navigate your confusion in this dynamic SEO world. You don’t have to be an SEO expert to start making changes and many free resources and webinars are available to extend your SEO knowledge. One thing is certain, to climb the ranks, there is no time like the present.