SEO basics to know before a website redesign

Introduction: Why everyone should know SEO basics

The majority of all internet traffic comes from search engines, especially from the big three: Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Claiming your piece of that pie and directing searchers to your website is where understanding the SEO basics is so important. Although it’s a dream of so many to appear on the holy grail that is ‘Page 1’ of Google, it’s sadly not as simple as your target market searching the phrase ‘best mining company for investment’ on Google and seeing your company’s name first. (Wouldn’t that be great, though?) As you’re looking to redesign your website, you want to make sure that you’re not compromising your existing website’s SEO. What does that all mean? First, let’s learn the basics.

 

What is SEO?

SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. It’s an aspect of marketing focused on growing your website’s visibility and authority in search results by taking into account a number of both technical and nontechnical factors (which we’ll get into below). An important part to note here is that SEO focuses on organic search engine results. There are also many paid ways to show up first on search engines. Your goal, however, should be to focus on where you rank in terms of organic traffic.

Why is SEO important?

Time for an analogy. Let’s go back to the ‘your website is your house’ idea from our Website Hosting Basics blog. Now think of search engines as the roads and pathways that lead cars, or website traffic (ha), to their desired destination. If there are no efficient roads that lead directly to your house, no one will be able to come visit you, or even find you at all. The process of Search Engine Optimization is like building multiple roads that point back to your house, making it more accessible and raising awareness that you’re home. The internet is so packed nowadays. Without optimizing your website for search engines to find you, you could be as good as invisible to Google and your target market.

What are some characteristics of websites with good SEO?

Keep in mind, there are entire Ebooks and marketing guides that get into the nitty gritty of what you can do on the technical side for better optimization. Here are five higher level items that search engines look for:

High quality content

High quality content

You want your website content to have a unique offering and a real value to it, different than the same 10 second spiel that’s on a thousand other competitor websites. The more useful content you have, the more likely people will stick around, as will search engines. Some good examples of high quality content can include industry articles, videos, and blog posts. Vary up your content, but make sure to have clear titles, headings, and descriptions.

Another important part of content in terms of the basics of SEO is in your keywords and keyword research. As search engines ‘crawl’ through your website, they’ll look for certain keywords that align with your offering. The more targeted and better your keywords are, the higher ranking you’ll receive when users search for that particular keyword. But BEWARE OF KEYWORD STUFFING. Search engine algorithms are smart, and they’ll catch you if you’re attempting to use the same keyword 30 times on a page. A good rule of thumb is to stick with one specific keyword per post or page.

 

Navigation

Navigation

Search engines have to be able to find clear pathways between individual links on your site and the pages they link to. It’s also just as important for your website visitors to intuitively navigate through your site. 404 pages are not good. Broken links are worse.

 

User experience

User Experience

One of the immediate killers of a website’s search engine ranking is when a site has a high bounce rate, or when people click onto your site and for whatever reason leave right away. A great user experience contributes to a lower bounce rate, or lower amount of people abandoning ship right away. Some factors contributing to a great user experience is the site’s functionality, ease of navigation, it’s look and feel, and (our favourite) accessibility on ALL browsers and ALL devices. (Have you checked out how your website looks on a tablet lately?)

 

SEO basics for your website

Links

Links and link building are probably the hottest (and hotly debated) topic when it comes to SEO. The basic logic is this: the more credible websites that link to your website, the higher authority your website will have. Theoretically, the idea is no one would want to link to a bad website. Many SEO experts believe that external linking is one of the most important aspects to know when it comes to improving your search engine ranking. External linking also refers, however, to your website linking to credible outside sources.

 

title tag and meta tags

Title Tag & Meta Description

You’re probably very used to seeing title tags and meta descriptions every day, even if you didn’t know their names. Here’s what they look like:

title tag and meta description

The title tag tells internet browsers, as well as search engines, what the page is all about. The meta description, then, gives search engines some more insight. To be golden for search engines, the title tag and meta description should directly address the question that’s being asked. For example, if your target market is searching ‘what are some gold production companies in Canada?’ and that’s you, your meta description should read something like ‘XXX is a gold production company in Canada specializing in XYZ’. This direct correlation helps search engines when they’re attempting to find answers.

 

Conclusion: Can I do SEO by myself?

We hope the SEO basics above can at least give you a head start when assessing your website. But remember, the world of SEO can be overwhelming, especially if you’re looking to review your metrics on applications such as Google Analytics. A professional agency can take all the guesswork out of Search Engine Optimization, and can easily find exactly what metric you’re looking for. They can also tackle some of the technical aspects on the backend of a website that can get pretty confusing.

In any case, remember that the key to good SEO is to continually assess your website’s performance and make improvements; tweaking the content strategy and user experience to get the best results. Good luck, and feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have!

 

How to use Twitter to promote your website

Introduction:

The term ‘Twitter ad’ is pretty ambiguous, as it can refer to any post to Twitter with a paid boost. There are different types of ads including promoted tweets, promoted trends, and promoted accounts. For this post, we’re talking about creating a Twitter website card to specifically promote your website. This tactic can be used to promote your main corporate site, your investor relations site, or a site you’ve created for a special campaign. Whatever your goal is, read below for some tips on how to create the perfect website card.

First thing’s first: what in the world is a website card?

A Twitter website card is a type of ‘Twitter card’, or a tweet that contains an image and a call to action button that helps direct a user to where you want them to go. With a website card, the goal is a specific URL. Brendan Zhang, a member of Twitter’s small business team, wrote that “website cards work to turn ordinary tweets into a creative showcase of your website”.

The best part about them is that they’re actually free to use! It’s your choice whether or not to put money behind a card and promote it. That’s where website cards turn into promoted Twitter ads.

Anatomy of a website card

A Twitter website card has four main components: a headline, a 800×320 image, a call-to-action button and the URL of the website you’re driving traffic to. We’re going to break down each element and give you some tips on how to capitalize on every space you’re given.

Here’s an example of a Twitter website card with its main parts (the URL is included with Call To Action button):

Twitter website card

70 character headline

This is where you want to be catchy, catchy, catchy. Or where you directly explain the benefit a user gets when clicking onto your site. Here are some tips when writing a website card headline:

  1. Don’t use all 70 characters if you don’t absolutely have to. Be short and sweet, but still get your message across.
  2. The headline should state exactly what a user gets by clicking that button. Misleading info will just frustrate everyone.
  3. You can choose to accompany the website card with a 140 character tweet. If you do this, don’t repeat information in both the tweet and the card headline. Always give something new.
  4. Seriously. Be concise. Brevity is the soul of wit. And yep, that was a little Shakespeare for you.

 Card image

The image is arguably the most important part of the card. So do your research! Here are some tips in the meantime:

  1. No ambiguous images. Choose one that directly connects with your headline and the website you’re directing people to.
  2. Triple check that the image you chose is high-quality and the right size, or things will get fuzzy and you’ll look unprofessional.
  3. Consider creating an image that has some words included. Take a look at our example above of our winged ‘IR Champ’ logo.
  4. People like to see images of other people interacting with what you’re offering. Example: if you’re a surfboard company, choose a high-quality image of someone overjoyed to be on a surfboard instead of an image of a lonely surfboard lying in the sand.

Call-to-action button

This is where you get them to actually click. Unfortunately with a Twitter card you can’t write your own call to action, but we’d argue that’s the right way to do it. This way you’re forced to be more concise, and as we’ve learned, that’s good. Twitter provides you with almost 20 different options, such as ‘learn more’, ‘visit now,’ ‘register now’, and ‘subscribe’. Time for a few tips!

  1. If you’re promoting your company or investor website, ‘visit now’ is a safe bet. You can also consider creating a Twitter website card for a specific part of your site like a page where users subscribe to your email newsletter.
  2. Again, make sure all parts of the card are connected and make sense. The image needs to relate to the headline which needs to relate to the call-to-action word.

 Website address/URL

This part is straightforward. Make sure you’re including the right URL, especially if it’s for a subsection of your main website.

  1. Triple check your link before you publish the website card. No one likes a broken link, especially if you’re promoting the ad with some dollars.

Final Thoughts:

  1. Try some free website cards first before putting any real money behind them. Test them with your followers to see if the headline makes sense and the image is eye-catching.
  2. Always make sure your Twitter website cards are up-to-date if you’re running them in an ad. Don’t launch a card and forget about it, because as long as you’re paying for it, it will still be out there.
  3. Even if your ad campaign is running for a long time, swap up the images and content. Keep it new and fresh so your audience won’t glaze over the same ad.