1. Overview of SEO
    1. What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? SEO is the process of making improvements on and off your website in order to gain better rankings in search engine results. More exposure in search engine results ultimately leads to more visitors finding you for the right reasons and going to your website
      1. More conversions -> more profit
      2. More visitors -> more conversions
      3. More exposure -> more visitors
    2. What factors lead to high rankings?
      1. Relevance - determined by:
        1. the content on your site
        2. how the content is described and characterized in code
        3. how other websites link to you
      2. Authority
        1. Is your website trustworthy?
        2. Determined by the degree to which other websites link to your website
          1. Links are like a “vote of trust”
          2. The quality of the link is important
          3. Trusted websites are more valuable
            • Government sites are better than shady websites
            • Education websites (.edu) are often very trustworthy
    3. Reading Search Engine Result Pages (SERP)
      1. A typical search engine results page will have 10 organic results that link to different web pages
      2. Each listing contains a headline, description and a visible URL
      3. Video, images, news, products, and maps may appear on a SERP. These are “blended” results pages.
    4. SEO expectations must be realistic
      1. SEO takes time - it’s a marathon, not a sprint
        1. research keywords
        2. create content
        3. build links
        4. resolve on-page technical issues
      2. Changes take time to produce results
      3. The way search engines determine rankings (the algorithms) change over time
        1. Algorithm changes can require slight modifications to strategy
        2. Sometimes these changes can be dramatic
      4. Realize that you are optimizing for two audiences
        1. Search engines
        2. Real human beings
    5. How SEO affects your Business
      1. Search engines don't charge to list your site in the “organic” results (except for sponsored ads)
      2. However, you must spend time, money and resources to optimize correctly.
      3. Strong search engine placements can help you:
        1. obtain a tremendous marketing reach
        2. attract more targeted visitors
        3. measure the impact of your efforts in terms of a return on your investment.
      4. Everything starts with a search
      5. Don’t forget about mobile
  2. Keywords: The Foundation of SEO
    1. Why do you need a keyword research plan?
      1. Keywords are what searchers type into a search engine
      2. You must have the end goal of the searcher in mind
      3. You must understand what the searcher is typing - what is their intent?
      4. Think about the keywords you are trying to rank for:
        1. highly competitive keywords are often not a good idea - especially early on
        2. use specific words or phrases rather than general terms
        3. start with long tail keywords to build trust, authority and a history of engagement
    2. How to research keywords
      1. Forget about you and your business - be in the mindset of your ideal customers
      2. Brainstorm
        1. what services do you offer?
        2. think about your service in a simple way
      3. Review search volume
        1. What is the demand for the keywords you want to use
        2. Long-Tail Keywords
          1. less often queried, but highly descriptive keywords
          2. more relevant to your website
          3. less competitive
      4. Keyword Organization - group keywords in topics or themes
      5. Use a small AdWords campaign to validate the value of your selected keywords
        1. How well do they actually convert?
        2. How engaged are users that come to the site by those keywords?
          1. bounce rate
          2. duration of the visit
          3. pages per visit
    3. Tools to help you analyze keywords
      1. Google Keyword Planner
        1. one of the most used
        2. provides a good measure on search volume
        3. helps suggest keywords
        4. AdWords account (free) is needed to get access
        5. Found under the Tools drop down in AdWords
      2. Google Trends
        1. shows graphs depicting the popularity of the keywords
    4. Three things to consider about new keywords
      1. Relevance - Does the keyword accurately reflect the nature of the product and services you offer?
      2. Search Volume - The number of searches per month for a given keyword
      3. Competition - The number of websites or pages competing for a particular keyword or search term
        1. There will always be competition unless you are offering a new product or service
        2. Should you target a highly competitive, but potentially lucrative keyword?
        3. Should you target a less competitive, less expensive, but potentially less lucrative keyword?
    5. Understanding keyword distribution
      1. The process of assigning different keywords to different pages on your website
      2. You can’t have an optimized page without knowing what keyword you’re optimizing it for
      3. Keep a spreadsheet to organize your pages
        1. helps to document content
        2. resource for team members
        3. ability to adapt quickly
        4. structure
          1. have columns for keywords, URLs, and web pages
          2. try one primary keyword per page
    6. Ongoing keyword evaluation
      1. Critical for long-term success
      2. Make sure that your keywords are driving results
      3. Adapt as time goes on
      4. Paying for keywords can accelerate your efforts (AdWords, Bing Ad Center, Yahoo Stream Ads)
      5. Research keywords throughout the year (seasonality)
  3. Content Optimization
    1. How Search Engines and People View Web Pages
      1. Understanding Content Optimization
        1. Read our article: How Important is Longer Word Count for Online Content?
        2. Content Optimization is the process of improving the quality and relevancy of your site’s content
        3. People expect clear content on your website
        4. Give visitors a great experience on your website
      2. Optimizing Site Structure
        1. Start with your domain name
          1. Consider a brandable domain name versus a keyword-rich domain name
          2. Google has stated they do not favor .com over the many other Top Level Domain (TLD) choices. They also do not favor the keywords in these newer TLDs.
        2. Make sure web pages fit together properly
          1. organize your website into categories
          2. keep it uniform if possible
        3. Make sure search engines are able to navigate your website
          1. make use of internal linking
          2. HTML sitemap
          3. XML sitemap
        4. Update your sitemap often - should be automatically generated by your CMS
        5. Use structured data to help search engines understand your content. You can test your structured data using Google's testing tool.
      3. Recognizing different types of content
        1. Text - keep it organized and clear
        2. Images - make sure they relate to your product or service
        3. Video - make your product or service “tangible”
        4. Audio clips
        5. Games
        6. Interactive animations
      4. Optimizing textual page elements
        1. Make sure each page has a single/consistent theme
        2. Have a relevant URL
          1. be concise
          2. make sure it is human-readable
          3. put the keyword that you wish to optimize for in the URL
          4. use hyphens rather than spaces or underscores
        3. Make sure the meta title tag is easy for the search engines to read
          1. the meta title tag often shows up as the title of the search engine listing
          2. don’t make it too long
          3. note the difference in title tag lengths on mobile.
          4. Read about the meta tags Google understands
        4. Write a compelling meta description - often shows up as a description in the search engine listing
        5. Make sure your headers are clear
          1. have one H1 tag with the main keywords
          2. use H2, H3, and H4 headers to further organize your content by importance. Headers make content easier to scan. Include long tail or secondary keywords in these headers.
          3. Try to include a header every few paragraphs
          4. http://boostblogtraffic.com/subhead-blunders/
        6. Organize content for people first, search engine second - spelling and grammar
          1. https://www.grammarly.com/
          2. http://www.inspyder.com/products/InSite
        7. Include keywords and words like, or related to, the keywords in your text
          1. don’t go too far and “over-optimize”
          2. text should sound natural, not like it was written for a search engine
          3. as a guideline, use your target phrase about 2 to 3 times per page
        8. Write short paragraphs
        9. Use bullet lists
        10. Don’t rely on images
          1. search engines can’t read them
          2. use text to explain the image
          3. name the image file something that is easy to read and clearly about the image
      5. Optimizing nontext components of a webpage
        1. Use text around non-text elements to describe it
        2. Put headings, titles or captions near the non-text element
        3. Images
          1. Read our article: 4 Ways to Optimize Your Images for SEO
          2. Have an image sitemap
          3. Read Google's image publishing guidelines
          4. Enhance image description by embedding metadata
            1. mark it up
            2. schema.org
          5. Optimize image size and presentation
            1. http://imageresizing.net/
            2. http://luis-almeida.github.io/unveil/
            3. http://pnggauntlet.com/
            4. https://kraken.io/
          6. Filenames should reflect content and contain keywords
          7. Alt text should describe image and contain keywords
          8. Memes - http://memegenerator.net/
          9. Excel charts
          10. PowerPoint presentations - Slideshare
          11. Screenshots
          12. https://www.canva.com/
          13. Sites for images:
            Unsplash
            Getty Images (free embeds)
            https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/
            https://pixabay.com/
            http://www.dreamstime.com/free-photos
            https://freerangestock.com/
            http://nos.twnsnd.co/
            https://www.pexels.com/
            http://photopin.com/
            http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/
            https://www.twenty20.com/
            http://www.freestockphotos.org/
        4. Video
          1. use video sitemap files - XML sitemaps are files that use a special syntax to provide search engines with a listing of all the pages and content found on your website along with some attributes that describe that content
      6. Analyzing content quality
        1. Moz Pro tool set - paid service to use the on-page grader
      7. Exploring the benefits of user-generated content
        1. User generated content is content that normal website visitors create on your website
        2. Includes
          • blog posts
          • comments
          • reviews
          • photos
          • video clips
        3. Used as a cost-effective means of content creation
        4. Allow content to be shared on social media
        5. Make sure there is an approval process for user-generated content
    2. Technical SEO
      1. Interpreting the code behind webpages
        1. The end goal for search engines is to try to see what the webpage looks like for humans
          1. websites are created with HTML, javascript, HTML5 elements, and more
      2. Understanding how search engines index content
        1. Search engines follow links in order to index content
        2. Linking between the pages of your site can be very helpful
        3. if you don’t want search engines to go to a page, add robots.txt files
          1. helps make sure search engines can’t find and index that specific page (not the whole website)
      3. Working with canonical URLs and redirects
        1. URL parameters - bits of data added to the end of URLs
        2. REL Canonical meta tag - tells search engines to index specific pages and URLs
        3. Redirect rules - add when content has moved
          1. 302 Temporary Redirect - add when content has been moved for short term
          2. 301 Permanent Move - add when content has been permanently moved thus making the URL obsolete
      4. Leveraging microformats
        1. Microformat - syntax that helps identify specific types and attributes of content
          1. Allows you to specify short sentences to help search engines figure out what the content means
          2. Schema.org can be used as a resorce for microformats
        2. Google says not using microformats may hurt your ratings
      5. Working with server-side factors
        1. Make sure that your web server is up consistently and has a fast load time.
        2. Read Google's view on website speed
        3. Consider implementing SSL.
        4. Location matters - to have your web server near where you expect most of your customers to be located
        5. Content Delivery Network (CDN) - a geographically distributed system that allows visitors to access content from a nearby server
        6. Caching
          1. helps lower load times
          2. when enabled, certain data is stored on a the visitor’s browser for use at a later date
        7. Make sure your server is secure (SSL)
          1. If the site is an ecommerce site or collects sensitive information, SSL is a must
          2. Google says they favor secure sites, but this is likely not a big factor
    3. Long-Term Content Planning
      1. Overview of long-term content strategies
        1. Content Strategy - the planning, creation, and management of usable content
        2. Planning stage - start by understanding audience - think about where they would be hanging out on the internet
        3. Creating Content - make sure that you are always making new content
          1. if not, you will lose potential audience
          2. quality is far better than quantity
      2. Management of content - make sure that there is nothing wrong with the content that you are putting out on your website
      3. Planning a successful content strategy and avoiding common mistakes
        1. Each website’s content strategies should be unique
        2. Steps
          1. Step 1 - define your goals and objectives, will help with reporting and measurement
          2. Step 2 - understand your key audience and their needs. You must be able to market towards them properly
          3. Step 3 - involve everyone in your organization. Managing a website is not something you can easily do alone - it takes a lot of time, money, and dedication
          4. Step 4 - Manage your online reputation
            1. Define guidelines and editorial procedures
            2. Your reputation will  dictate whether or not consumers will spend time on your website
          5. Step 5 - Monitor trends and stay relevant. Your business environment is always changing
          6. More or fewer steps may be necessary
        3. Defining your audience, topic, angle, and style
          1. Define target audience. Ask yourself: Who do i want to visit my website
            1. paid tools can help to define website
          2. Define your topics
            1. topics should relate to keyword research
            2. Google trends can help
          3. Define your content angles
            1. What is your writing tone and style
            2. Offer something of real value, not just a blatant sales pitch
              1. be original
              2. entertain readers
    4. Understanding different types of content
      1. Text - written things on your website
      2. Images
        1. helps readers understand what the text is about
        2. make sure search engines can understand the picture
      3. Infographics - helps readers understand a topic through pictures and text
      4. Video
        1. helps get a message across that text and images can’t
        2. YouTube
    5. Getting ideas for content
      1. List your broad content themes - think of the different ways you can show these themes
        1. Educational
        2. Statistical
        3. Technical
        4. Procedural
        5. Informational
        6. 75 Content Ideas
      2. Scan your competition for untapped opportunities
      3. Leverage your customers for new content
      4. Leverage your network for new content
        1. vendors
        2. peers
        3. professional networks
    6. Working with an editorial calendar
      1. A chart that maps out upcoming publications and deadline dates for submissions
      2. Make sure that you have one - without one, your website may be doomed
      3. Define frequency of planning - how often are you going to put up new content
      4. Define how much notice writers will be given - how far out in advance are you going to alert your writers?
      5. Assign a calendar owner - make sure they can hold people accountable if they fall short on there job
    7. Promoting your content with social media
      1. Build your presence - make sure that you are known
      2. Put share buttons on your article - make sure visitors use the network
      3. Create a hashtag or use a hashtag that your potential customers would use
      4. How Social Signals Impact Search Engine Rankings
    8. Measuring content performance
      1. Ask yourself the following
        1. What content is popular?
        2. Are visitors engaged?
        3. Are visitors sharing content?
        4. Is content giving results?
      2. Use Google Analytics
        1. Shows all of the different stats for your websites
          1. Engagement - How much time people spend on your site and how many pages they view
          2. Bounce rate - the percentage of visitors that leave your site after seeing only one page. The lower that bounce rate, the more your customers enjoy your website
        2. Allows you to track the performance of marketing campaigns
  4. Link-Building Strategies
    1.  Understanding the importance of links
      1. Links help search engines to understand and rank your website
      2. Important things to remember
        1. number of links
        2. quality of links
        3. not all links are created equal
          1. links must be on a website that’s related to your site
          2. make sure that the anchor text is related to your landing page
        4. make sure you keep getting more links over time
        5. Avoid short cuts - don’t cheat the system
        6. Seek social media links - allow readers to share to social media
        7. Diversify the text of the links - some should contain your keywords
    2. Building internal links
      1. Internal linking helps search engines understand the structure of your website, the topics and themes of your content, and even the relative importance each page has on your site
      2. Navigation links
        1. found on top, side and/or bottom of page
        2. appear on every page
        3. framework of navigation on your site
      3. Contextual Links
        1. Links that are within the specific page and point to another page on your site
        2. Help users by cross-referencing other relevant information
    3. Building external links
      1. How do i get links pointing to my site?
        1. Use web directories
          1. be selective and careful
          2. make sure there is an editorial check
          3. Best of the Web
        2. Generate content worth linking to
        3. Reach out to people and try to get them to link
          1. don’t buy links
          2. make sure they are relevant to your site
        4. Use social media share buttons
        5. Participate in industry-specific forums
      2. Dont’s
        1. if you cheat and get caught, you can get a manual penalty or barred from search engine listing pages
    4. Finding link building opportunities
      1. Analyze the backlinks of other sites that are already ranking for a target keyword or phrase of yours
        1. Open Site Explorer - paid tool from moz
        2. Ahrefs
      2. Encourage guest blogging
      3. Foster links from non-profits - search engines trust non profit links
      4. Boost your relevance and authority via educational outreach
    5. Executing a link-building strategy
      1. Requires organization during your outreach efforts, as well as a way to monitor the progress of building new links over time
        1. Raven Tools
        2. Open Site Explorer
  5. Measuring SEO Effectiveness
    1. Measuring SEO performance
      1. Install an analytics solution
        1. Google Analytics
        2. Adobe Omniture SiteCatalyst
        3. WebTrends
        4. Coremetrics
      2. Define your Business Objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
        1. What is your end goal?
        2. KPI’s
          1. Conversions
          2. Organic Search Results
          3. Change in organic search results over time
          4. Non-branded keyword searches
          5. Target keyword rankings
        3. Focus on how your audience interacts with your website
          1. are they buying?
          2. subscribing?
          3. calling?
          4. going to your store?
    2. Analyzing keywords
      1. Keywords are backbone of SEO
        1. Google Analytics
          1. used to see how keywords are are bringing customers to your site
          2. not a good indicator for missed opportunities
          3. Queries tab used to see what people are searching to find your website
    3. Analyzing links
      1.  skipped this section reason:moz
    4. Measuring the impact of social media
      1. Way to measure
        1. Social Crawlytics
          1. allows you to find how many shares from a variety of social channels are pointing to your site
          2. works only on HTML pages
  6. SEO for ecommerce
    1. Understanding SEO and ecommerce
      1. Lots of people shop online
      2. Try to uncover keyword intent
      3. use metadata to describe your product
      4. monitor the conversation on your product and brand
      5. resolve negative feedback publicly
      6. publicly thank for positive feedback
    2. Working with semantic HTML for ecommerce
      1. Schema.org
    3. The technical components of ecommerce
      1. issues
        1. temporary product changes
          1. solution - update pages with appropriate messaging
        2. Product discontinued
          1. solution - put a 404 error message
        3. Product page moved
          1. solution - 301 permanent redirect
        4. Constant updates
          1. solution - platform generates XML sitemap for all URLs
        5. Search engines index duplicate pages
          1. solution - rel=”canonical”
        6. Paginated Content
          1. solution - rel=”next”, rel=”prev”
    4. Exploring ecommerce information architecture
      1. Internal Linking
        1. organize your products into levels and sublevels - treat it like a flow chart
        2. Product Pages
          1. unique page per product
          2. information for the product
          3. add metadata
    5. Producing ecommerce content
      1. Focus on solutions for problems
        1. you're not selling products, you are selling solutions
      2. Display product reviews and service testimonials
      3. Include other product recommendations
        1. you viewed...
        2. you may also like...
    6. Leveraging link building and social media for ecommerce
      1. Create quality content
      2. create a user friendly interface
      3. Invest in high-quality images for products
      4. offer special deals
      5. involve your customers
        1. user generated content
          1. blogs
          2. reviews
      6. add share buttons
  7. Location Search
    1. Understanding Local Search
      1. Location Search- search your area and it shows the businesses nearby
      2. Used for brick and mortar stores
      3. How to set up
        1. Set up Google+ Local Page (Google My Business)
          1. or Bing places
        2. Citations - Mentions of your business name, address, or phone number around the web
        3. Optimize your website
          1. Distinct pages for each service/product
          2. Business name displayed promptly
          3. Adress
          4. Phone number
    2. Understanding Google My Business
      1. Relevance - How well a local listing matches a user’s search term(s)
      2. Distance - A measure of how geographically close a potential search result is from the searcher
      3. Prominence - A measure of how well-known a listing is across the web
    3. Setting Up and Optimizing Google+ Local
      1. Manage your Google+ Local page from a separate Google account
        1. should use your corporate domain, something like social@yourdomain.com
      2. Put in your company name, address, and phone number
        1. keep all this consistent throughout the web
      3. Put as much information as you can into your account
        1. pictures
        2. accepted credit cards
        3. videos
        4. hours open
    4. Managing your Citations
      1. Skipped: reason- moz
    5. Getting more reviews for your business
      1. Positive customer reviews lead to new customers
      2. Reviews
        1. Offline
        2. Mail
        3. In-Store interactions
      3. Collect emails to add to email newsletter
        1. customer review surveys
        2. special offers
      4. Testimonials- customers sharing their experiences
      5. Add a review section onto your website
      6. Entice customers to leave reviews
    6. Optimizing your website for local search
      1. On-Page Optimization
        1. every page must be optimized for a specific keyword
          1. Page title
          2. Meta Description
          3. Heading Tags
          4. Body text
          5. ALT text on images
        2. Contact us page
          1. add schema elements for search engines
        3. Always have contact information at the bottom right corner of every page on your site
        4. make sure your website is mobile friendly
          1. make sure it doesn’t crash the browser
  8. Mobile SEO
    1. Understanding mobile SEO
      1. User behavior
        1. users more likely to look for locations, store hours, and phone numbers
        2. users are searching more casually on mobile versus on a desktop
    2. Configuring your site for mobile
      1. Responsive Web Design
        1. allows you to build one site serving the same content from the same URL, no matter what device the user is on
        2. prefered by Google
      2. Dynamic Device Detection
        1. Changes design of your page if user is on a mobile device
      3. Completely Separate Site
        1. a different website for mobile devices
        2. URL is different than desktop page - usually m.website.com
        3. treated as a different site by a search engine
    3. Optimizing your site for feature phones and smartphones
      1. Website must provide the best mobile user experience and fastest performance possible
      2. Increasing loading speed
        1. smaller image files
        2. minified code
        3. cashing
      3. Check using: Pagespeed Insight, Mobile Friendly Test, the W3C mobileOK Checker and Speed Testing Tool
      4. increase the size of the font
      5. avoid technologies like flash that don’t work on mobile
      6. Use mobile-specific inputs like tappable calendars and selectors
    4. Developing mobile-friendly content
      1. Apply the same best practices as for desktops
        1. optimizing titles and meta descriptions
        2. use headlines to break up and structure your content
        3. leverage internal linking processes
        4. adjusting layout of content
          1. most important content by the top
      2. Confirm Contact information
      3. Prioritize contact and hours of operation
      4. Focus on the content that will resonate with the mobile audience

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