Arkham SEO - Search engine optimization Cleveland, OH

SEO / Search Engine Optimization Glossary

SEO / Search Engine Optimization Glossary

301 – A permanent redirect for a web page that has had its URL rewritten, changed or is no longer available. More on 301s from Google’s Help Forum

Algorithm – A process written for search engines to determine what web pages to show based on what a user is searching for.

Alt text – Is a line of descriptive text added to the code when an image is present to describe to search engines and users with accessibility restrictions what the image is.

Analytics – A program which assists in gathering and analyzing data about website usage. Google Analytics is a feature rich, popular, free analytics program.

Anchor text – Text links that appear in website copy, preferably keywords. Search engines use this text to help determine the subject matter of the linked-to document.

Backlink – Any link into a page or site from any other page or site.

Bread crumbs  – Secondary navigation that typically appears above the content to provide a path or flow to where the user is in relation to the site, typically providing an improved user experience in being able to move through site more efficiently.

Canonical – Used to help mitigate instances of duplicate content or pages that can be created dynamically and potentially indexed by search engines that create a second or third instance of content that already exists on the site. Here’s some more information about using canonical URLs.

CMS (Content Management System) – Programs such as WordPress that can be effectively managed by users without needing to know how to write code.

Comment spam – Posting blog comments for the purpose of generating a backlink to another site.

Content – The text part of a web page that is intended to inform, educate or provide a solution to what a user is for.

Conversion – Depending on the goals of your organization, a conversion could be a direct sale on your ecommerce site, a download, a sign-up, webinar registration.

Conversion rate – Percentage of users who convert. Please refer to “conversion.”

Crawler – A program which moves through a website via links to gather data.

Directory – A site devoted to directory pages. The Yahoo directory is an example.

Duplicate content – Content which is similar or identical to that found on another website or page.

Googlebot – Google’s spider program

Impression – Marks the potential for a website or an ad to be seen.

Inbound link – Inbound links from related pages are the source of trust and pagerank.

Index – A database of webpages and their content used by the search engines. When your site is crawled and indexed, it shows a number of your site pages have been added to the search engine database.

Keyword/search query – A word or phrase that a user enters into a search engine.

Keyword research – Determining which keywords are appropriate for targeting.

Landing page – The webpage that a user lands on when they click on a link on a search engine results page.

Link – Could be text, an image, button or another element that takes the user to another page, section or site.

Link building – Actively cultivating incoming links to a site.

META tags – Statements within the head section of an HTML page which furnishes information about the page. META information may be in the search engine results pages, but is not visible on the page.

Metric – A standard of measurement used by analytics programs.

Organic search results – The search engine results which are not sponsored or paid for in any way.

Pagerank – A value between 0 and 1 assigned by the Google algorithm, which quantifies link popularity and trust among other (proprietary) factors.

Redirect – Any of several methods used to change the address of a landing page such as when a site is moved, page is renamed or deprecated.

Robots.txt – A file in the root directory of a website use to restrict and control the behavior of search engine spiders. Here are some helpful tips on creating & testing your Robots.txt file.

Search engine – A program, which searches a document or group of documents for relevant matches of a user’s keyword phrase and returns a list of the most relevant matches.

SEM – Often used to describe acts of positioning or advertising for a website on search engines.

SEO – An ongoing process researching, developing, and promoting content to bring more organic traffic to your website.

SERP – Search Engine Results Page

Site map – A page or structured group of pages that link to every user accessible page on a website and hopefully improves site usability by clarifying the data structure of the site for the users.

Spider (bot, crawler) – A specialized bot used by search engines to find and add web pages to their indexes.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator) – A web address.

Arkham SEO - Digital marketing services Cleveland, OH

Competitive Research – Continued

Cleveland SEO Services | Competitive Research for Better Website Optimization

We’ve been asked more than a few times about what “competitive research” means with regards to “my website”. Competitive research extends beyond just your website, knowing your competition and what you’re up against is also a key component to any SEO or PPC strategy.

Arkham SEO - Competitive research & analysis Cleveland, OH

Competitive research and analysis for small business websites in Cleveland, OH

The simple fact of the matter is that nobody knows your business like you do. The struggle lies with the industry and market in which you’re doing business. To get a sense of what is going on, we stack your website up against any direct competitors that you provide plus those competitors that occupy the first couple spots in both organic and paid search positions based on the results of the keyword research.

Depending on what your goals and objectives are for the campaign you’re electing to run with Arkham SEO, we’ll run some basic SWOT and gap analysis. So if you’re in the business of selling socks, we’ll run your site and theirs through a few different sets of tools to see if we can uncover any insights that will help you get a “leg up” on the sock biz.

The ultimate goal of the competitive research, whether it’s required for an SEO campaign or for Google Adwords PPC campaign, is to clearly define the common threads that link all of these competitor sites together. Common thread, socks, get it? Anyhow, we’re looking for website structure, functionality, user interaction elements that we can call out and identify as the “standards”. Then we start classifying those standards in levels of importance. When that is all said and done, we’ll take those series of standards and throw the whole kit-n-caboodle at your website to see how it measures up. Then we do the same thing in reverse to your website. In the end, you have a comprehensive list of action items to implement into your website that will give you a competitive edge.

Organic Search Evaluation

So you’re in business of selling socks for fox, on bricks and blocks, with bottles and clocks; yes I’ll admit to that being one my favorite Dr. Seuss books. Now that the kids are starting to read, that’s the deep thought provoking narrative that gets poured over at the house. As previously mentioned, a keyword that is as general as “socks” is going to be extremely hard to rank for whereas “socks for fox” may only get a few searches a month from people who couldn’t quite remember the exact name of the Dr. Seuss book and you wouldn’t want your website showing up on a SERP (search engine results page) for that anyway.

If we throw those terms into the Keyword Planner provided by Google, we see “socks” has +70K monthly searches whereas “socks for fox” has a zero, a big ol’ goose egg! If we throw both of those keywords into a search bar in a browser, we see a veritable cornucopia of possibilities for both, even some potential branded terms around fox socks. Our goal is to uncover some actionable data in order to find some keywords, around various search queries that will allow us to potentially capitalize on that range in traffic from 0 to +70K monthly searches. So we revisit the results of the keyword research and the buckets that we created.

In that initial research, maybe we found some modifiers that might be applicable like gender (male/female), function (athletic/business), style (crew/ankle), color (white/black), material (cotton)? That initial keyword research has demonstrated that you could plug-n-play any combination of those terms and you would be able to uncover some data that might support a page on your sock site. While we haven’t determined whether or not your site will be an ecommerce site or simply a site to raise brand awareness and therefore linking out to other retail locations where your products can be purchased, we can now “shop” those keyword variations around to see what other companies are competing in that same space.

By now, you can start to see this cycle emerge of keyword research, layered by competitive research and then again the results of various search queries. If done properly and effectively, you should start to see the same companies occupying similar positions in the organic search results for keywords that contain, 3, 4, 5 words (long-tail). There might be some brand and manufacturer sites, some retail/ecommerce sites and some shopping engine sites like Amazon. Once again, it may behoove us to run those same keywords and buckets through each of these websites and we’ll start to see some semantic patterns emerge. Those patterns help us to either define or refine the structure of your website to help your content pages get a foothold in the organic search results.

Questions about researching your competition and how that fits in with overall optimization?

Hop on over to the contact page and let us know!

Competitive Research for Better Website Optimization

We’ve been asked more than a few times about what “competitive research” means with regards to “my website”. Competitive research extends beyond just your website, knowing your competition and what you’re up against is also a key component to any SEO or PPC strategy.

Arkham SEO - Competitive research & analysis Cleveland, OH

Competitive research and analysis for small business websites in Cleveland, OH

The simple fact of the matter is that nobody knows your business like you do. The struggle lies with the industry and market in which you’re doing business. To get a sense of what is going on, we stack your website up against any direct competitors that you provide plus those competitors that occupy the first couple spots in both organic and paid search positions based on the results of the keyword research.

Depending on what your goals and objectives are for the campaign you’re electing to run with Arkham SEO, we’ll run some basic SWOT and gap analysis. So if you’re in the business of selling socks, we’ll run your site and theirs through a few different sets of tools to see if we can uncover any insights that will help you get a “leg up” on the sock biz.

The ultimate goal of the competitive research, whether it’s required for an SEO campaign or for Google Adwords PPC campaign, is to clearly define the common threads that link all of these competitor sites together. Common thread, socks, get it? Anyhow, we’re looking for website structure, functionality, user interaction elements that we can call out and identify as the “standards”. Then we start classifying those standards in levels of importance. When that is all said and done, we’ll take those series of standards and throw the whole kit-n-caboodle at your website to see how it measures up. Then we do the same thing in reverse to your website. In the end, you have a comprehensive list of action items to implement into your website that will give you a competitive edge.

Click here to read more about how Competitive Research fits in with your digital strategy.

Arkham SEO - Cleveland SEO services

Keyword Research

Cleveland SEO Services | Keyword Research & Analysis

Not just for SEO, keyword research & analysis should be the backbone of any Digital Marketing, Paid Search & Optimization strategy.

Arkham SEO - Keyword research & analysis Cleveland, OH

Keyword research and analysis of small business websites in Cleveland, OH

It all begins with keyword research, whether it’s an SEO campaign or for PPC. While everyone might have “their” way of performing keyword research for an optimization strategy, it’s important to develop realistic expectations about your business and your website in relation to where it fits within your industry or marketplace. We can’t begin to count the number of times a client approached us and said, “We want to be on the first page of Google for our socks business. We don’t want to run any PPC (pay per click), we want to show up first in the free listings.” Organically? “Yeah, that’s the word my ‘insert family member, friend, neighbor’s 15 year old high school math club’s webmaster used. We want to rank #1 organically for socks!”

Since we both know the multitude of ‘sock’ variations available, it’s important to key into some research, do some brainstorming and start the process with some ‘sock data’ that truly relates to your business. Once we narrow down and refine the areas of your sock business that has the potential for bringing quality traffic to your website, we can start applying some of the other investigative methods and inquiries to build out keyword buckets and lists that mean the most to your potential customers.

Once we have those keyword buckets and lists drafted up, we’ll put those ‘socks’ through a good scrubbing to find the right combination of keyword variations that 1) fit your business, products and services, 2) offer viable solutions to user search queries & 3) don’t stink! Come on, you knew that was coming at some point, right? So now we’ve got some quality keywords with some long tail variations and then we help you to work them into the appropriate pages on your site. That could mean modifying existing content or if the content doesn’t exist, help you build out some new pages that will really knock their socks off!

Questions about how to perform keyword research and how that fits in with optimizing your site or running a digital marketing campaign?

Hop on over to the contact page & let us know!
Arkham SEO - Local search optimization Cleveland, OH

Local SEO & Website Optimization

Cleveland SEO Services | Local SEO

Arkham SEO - Local search optimization Cleveland, OH

Local search optimization for small business websites in Cleveland, OH

With the rise of social signals as well as reviews in terms of Google paying closer attention to what is being said about your business, products and services. Google has also started the process of interpreting user search behaviors and making a few presumptions that most users prefer to shop close to home. In an effort to maximize your website’s exposure for local search results, there are a number of elements we look at to determine which local search optimization tactics create the best possible scenario for your website and to make sure your store locations are showing up in related local search results.

Questions about showing up in local search and how that fits in with an overall optimization strategy? We’ve put together a quick local search optimization checklist to help you identify any items that might have been overlooked.

Hop on over to the contact page and let us know!
Arkham SEO - MOZ keyword tool screenshot

On-page SEO, Website Optimization & Best Practices

On-page SEO, Website Optimization & Best Practices From Cleveland SEO Experts

Arkham SEO - On-page optimization Cleveland, OH

On-page optimization services and strategic planning for Cleveland area small businesses.

In building upon the keyword and competitive research, as well as taking into account some of the patterns that were uncovered via comparative analysis with other websites occupying top positions in the organic search results, we start to formulate some options that relate to how your website is structured to put your best sock-covered foot forward for on-page optimization.

While there are some additional technical elements that we may uncover, we’ll examine the pages of your website to see how the following on-page optimization elements are being used and what steps are necessary make sure that they follow optimization best practices:

  • URLs – We determine, based on our research, whether or not the URLs could stand to be optimized.
  • Title Tag – Is the title tag relevant to the page content, within an acceptable character length + any additional optimization.
  • Meta Description – Is the meta description relevant to the page content, is it unique and within an acceptable character length.
  • H1 (heading tag) – Is there an H1 on the page, is it unique to that page and does it relate to the content.
  • Headings (H2 – H6) – If all of the content was stripped from the page, could you get a sense of what the page is about simply by reading the headings on the page.
  • Call to Action (CTA) – Does every page contain a call to action.
  • Content review – Is the content relatable, does it help the user solve a problem or answer a search query.
  • Internal linking – Does the content link to other parts of the website that might provide a deeper explanation for the user.
  • External linking – If the content warrants a link to an external or 3rd party site, does that link provide any additional value to the user.
  • Image optimization – There are a number of elements that we look at in terms of image optimization like size, alt tags, captions.
  • Analytics – Is there any additional data that analytics can tell us about your website and webpages.
  • Social Sharing – Wherever possible, can your content, products or services be shared via social media.
  • Keywords – A lot has been given to keywords and keyword density over the years. We examine your content to make sure that there is enough keyword usage to support what the page is about without stuffing every variation possible into the page.
  • Blog – We examine the blog both by its component parts and as a whole to determine what can be done with the blog to help you achieve various business goals.

Questions about what on-page optimization is and how that fits in with overall optimization?

Hop on over to the contact page and let us know!
Arkham SEO - Off-page optimization Cleveland, OH

Off-page SEO & Website Optimization

Cleveland SEO Services | Off-page Optimization

Google has made it clear that they look at your backlinks, social signals and any reviews it can find with regards to your business, products and/or services; all of which gets blended into the stew that is off-page optimization or off-page ranking factors. There are a few things we check to determine the impact off-page optimization factors have with regards to making sure your socks match and are contributing to your optimization efforts.

Backlinks

Arkham SEO - Off-page optimization Cleveland, OH

Off-page optimization strategy and tactics for Cleveland area small businesses.

Also called an inbound link, a backlink is any link from an external website that links back to your webpage or website. There are a bevy of tools out there to help identify the backlinks to your website. We use a combination of tools to make sure that the links pointing back to your site are helping vs. hurting your website in the eyes of search. We look at the URLs, the anchor text or text linking back to your website, and where those links appear. In the latest rounds of Google algorithm updates, Google is trying to make itself clear as to what is going to help your site vs. what might result in a penalty. It’s looking for naturally occurring, organically grown links whereas in years past, a website owner might have gotten away with buying links, creating generic forum profiles with posts about recycled socks, or throwing up any old article, about any old sock with a link back to the site. Part of our process is finding the backlinks that are not providing value and helping to clean up any of that dirty laundry.

Link Building

Part of the process used to uncover your backlinks, can also be used to help identify the potential for adding quality backlinks to further the optimization process. Some of the tools used in performing competitor research can also be used to perform research on where your competitors’ backlinks originate. Once we have a list in hand, we can help develop a strategy around reaching out to those sites for a similar link back to your site.

Social Signals

Another area that Google is paying close attention to is what content from your site is being shared around the web. Is your content, your posts, your tweets being retweeted and do those links points back to some part of your website. Is your website linked up with the popular social media channels and are you actively posting about your innovative sock research? More importantly, are the people you’re trying to reach getting your message and find it revolutionary enough to also share? Maybe revolutionary is strong word but is your content helpful, does it solve a problem and are you active in social media trying to help people solve their problems.

Reviews

The days of being able to +1 a page maybe gone, but Google is always hunting for reviews about your business, products and services. Why? If someone takes the time to give you a favorable review, it means that someone out there found your “socks” helpful. So in their mind, if enough people have taken the time to review your “socks”, it must mean that certain searches or certain user pain points can be alleviated by your products. While there are some technical considerations to be made, we try to find ways to work in reviews to help the optimization effort.

Questions about what off-page optimization is and how that fits in with overall optimization?

Hop on over to the contact page and let us know!
Arkham SEO - Ongoing optimization services Cleveland, OH

Ongoing Optimization / SEO

Cleveland SEO Services | Ongoing Website Optimization

SEO is not static, nor is it intended to be a “set it and forget it” type of process. Your website, along with its code, should be organic enough to respond to the change in user behavior.

Arkham SEO - Ongoing optimization services Cleveland, OH

Ongoing optimization services for small businesses in Cleveland.

Goals are in all likelihood going to undergo some manner of change throughout the course of your website’s lifecycle. Since it’s inevitable that your goals will change as your market and industry changes, so will the strategies to enable your company to continue to grow. Which of course trickles down to the various tactics that you’ll need to employ to maximize opportunities for exposure as well as increase the number of potential customer touch-points. Ongoing optimization is an all encompassing effort to make sure your website is in a position to effectively meet and respond to those changes.

Google Webmaster Tools

Once your site is validated via Google Webmaster Tools, it will begin to collect data and help identify any issues that relate to search engine optimization. Some of the data we tend to play close attention to is:

  • Errors (404s, 501s)
  • Additional crawl errors that pop up when Google tries to crawl your site
  • Queues to how your website, products, keywords are performing in search

Part of our process includes making sure that Webmaster Tools is tied into a Google Analytics property and your Analytics property is configured properly.

Action Items

Just monitoring data isn’t enough. There needs to be some actionable insights that you can take to your next meeting or better yet, that jumpstarts work on some different strategies to respond to what’s going on with your users and your website. We can help identify problem areas and work with your IT team to fix problems with indexing, duplicate content, manual penalties from Google. Our goal, as the process implies, is continual process improvement to help feed your website with all of the goodies that keep existing users coming back and new users finding out how truly awesome your socks are.

Scanning AND Testing

Part of our ongoing optimization process is to set-up a series of goals and some actionable items that will help us along the way. We use a combination of tools to regularly scan your website for the good, the bad and the truly concerning items that require immediate attention. We aim to identify problems with pages and sections of your website in an effort to remove any sticking points or barriers that may hinder the user experience.

For example, mobile devices are picking up speed to the point of nearly surpassing desktops as the first user touch-point regarding search. People are using their phones to browse and research, then once they reach the office or their home, completing their sock purchases on a different device. We look at the experience you are trying to create for your mobile users and look for ways that can be improved.

Questions about what ongoing optimization is and what it can mean for your website/business?

Hop on over to the contact page and let us know!
Arkham SEO - Optimization audit Cleveland, OH

SEO & Website Optimization Audits

Cleveland SEO Services | Search Engine Optimization Audits

Before getting started with any conversation about what search engine optimization might mean for your Cleveland area business and website, we need to uncover what we’re working with FIRST before attempting any kind of strategic planning or growth hacking (one of our favorite industry buzz words that have popped up in the past couple of years). In order to get that process started, we need to paint a series of pictures from the following vantage points through our optimization audit process:

  • Your organization – what is the website trying to accomplish and does the site help fulfill or support your goals?
  • Your customers – who are they and does your website communicate, solve or provide potential resolutions to their search queries?
  • Stakeholders / users – non-consumer/customer/client website users or those who have a vested interest in the website’s performance?

What Does A Search Engine Optimization Audit Look Like?

Arkham SEO - Optimization audit Cleveland, OH

What an optimization audit can mean for your small business in Cleveland, OH?

With more than 200 ranking factors that comprise Google’s algorithm, an optimization audit examines both the visual and non-visual elements on a website as well as the technical aspects on the back-end. The goal of the audit is to highlight potential barriers in creating a positive user experience as well as issues that may negatively impact your website’s effectiveness as a lead generator, sales, marketing and promotional tool.

Accessibility

The first section of the audit is a deeper dive into the elements that impact accessibility. Has the site been indexed? Any impediments to having the site crawled? Speed, responsiveness, load times are all examined in this first section.

SEO Technical Audit

This section looks for functionality issues that might create a level of tension between the user and the website. Does the navigation work and does it follow a logical progression from information to conversion funnel.

On-page SEO Factors

A website is more than a pleasing landing page, it’s the sum of all it’s parts, this section aims to identify and make recommendations on how to improve the individual pages on the site.

Content Optimization

In the “eyes” of search engines, Google specifically, content has emerged as one of the single most important ranking factors on a website. Looking at relevance to search, does the content on the website create value for a user and provide the best possible solution or summation for user queries.

Backlink Evaluation

While backlinks are important signals for search engines in ranking where a site falls in terms of authority or in comparison to potential competing websites, it is more important to examine where those links originated. In recent years, Google has been adjusting their algorithms to assess the “value” of backlinks. Directories, article sites, comments in blogs with anchor text, have all been dealt harsh penalties due to the lack of their linking strategy creating any real value. This section aims to identify any of those low “value” sites and links.

Looking for more information on some of the terms used on this page? We’ve created a SEO / search engine optimization glossary as a quick guide reference for our clients.

Questions about what an SEO audit is and what it can mean for your website?

Hop on over to the contact page and let us know how we can help!