Search engine optimization (SEO) seems to be the hot topic recently! We’ve had a lot of questions come through to our email, we’ve seen a lot of discussions in the Pro Forums and we’ve even had some social comments all surrounding SEO. It’s not hard to see why – with the abundance of websites on the Internet, it’s getting harder and harder to get noticed by potential couples.
There are a number of ways to break down how search engine optimization works, whether through infographics or step-by-step guides. We tend to favor a simple framework that is easy to remember and can be broken down piece-by-piece to make for easier understanding. So, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, learn how you can get lucky with your search engine strategy by using the LUCK SEO framework!
Links are an important part of an SEO strategy because they show search engines the relationships between pages. Through links, search engines can analyze a variety of factors that affect your search ranking, including the popularity of your website based on the number of pages linking to your website and the popularity of those pages. Links to your site also build your website’s authority based on the notion that trustworthy sites are usually linked to other trustworthy sites rather than spam.
Both quantity and quality are important, but beware – the best links are relevant, direct and one-way. Don’t stuff your site with links, and avoid cheap website directories. Whenever linking to another trusted source, you should also consider the anchor text for the link; linking on a phrase that describes the link using the same keywords is more strategic than linking the words “click here.” Socially shared links also factor into link signals, so share your content on your social networks and encourage others to do so, too! All these features have an effect on your website’s search value.
The URL structure of your links provides the overall framework for your website. URLs describe your website or page to both visitors and search engines. Search engines read URLs to understand what the page is about as well as how relevant it is to certain keywords targeted on the page or website. The basic anatomy of a URL is composed of four main parts:
- Protocol: Protocols describe the application layer of the Internet protocol suite. Which, (in plain English), means that it’s a pre-determined format for transmitting data. HTTP is short for HyperText Transfer Protocol, which is just a type of protocol that sends a certain type of command to web servers to fetch your requested web page.
- Domain: Your domain assigns your IP address to a specific web server or host. Top-level domains are the end of your website link, usually .com (sometimes .org or .net). The mid-level domain is your business’ name or the name of your website.
- Folder/Path: This part of the URL explains the general path to the page, or the folder the page is contained in within the root directory of your website. It serves to explain the general category of the page that follows.
- Page: This represents an exact location within your website.
The rule of thumb for your URL structure: Keep it short and simple! All your URLs should be as descriptive and brief as possible. Organize your website in a way that is logical and evenly distributes pages and sub-pages without getting too long. URLs can easily get complicated quickly, so keep your page and post names short as that’s the easiest part to cut down. Whenever possible, keep long strings of words and numbers out of your URLs.
Content is very important for search engines. Search engine rankings are highly influenced by fresh, unique content. It’s proven that creating regular blog content drives success, as businesses that blog at least 20 times a month get five times more traffic than those who blog less than four times a month!
Again, both quality and quantity are important, but quality definitely wins when it comes to content. Search engines are looking for the most relevant pages related to your query, so it’s important that the page or pages the search engines are pulling for you are the right pages. Think about how you usually use a search engine like Google; the first page generally provides the content you’re looking for so you don’t need to continue on. Try skipping to the last page of results – the quality of those pages are much, much lower because Google is recognizing that they are less relevant than the rest of the results.
The right content can help you build trust with your readers, educate and inform them, and assist in converting those readers into customers. Content optimization largely depends on the last section of this framework: keyword focus.
Don’t be fooled – although keywords are listed last in the LUCK SEO framework, they’re the most important factor! Keywords should be included in all aspects of your website, including your domain name, title tags, meta tags and long-tail URLs. You can also use keywords within your page content, and use HTML cues like the <H1> tag and the <Alt Tag> on images to highlight them. Use our checklist to help you compile your list of keywords so you can get started.
Begin by focusing on 10 keywords, and a good strategy is to include the word “wedding,” your service category and your business’ location. Most of your keywords are likely to list highly in terms of cost and competition, so mix in these target keywords (i.e. wedding photography) with some longer tail keywords that are a bit more descriptive (i.e. beach theme wedding photography). Incorporate these keywords in your web copy so that they’re embedded in your website. Use these keywords in your blog posts so that the keywords are included in the fresh content you’re churning out on a faster basis.
These four pieces work together to make up the LUCK SEO framework, a framework that will help you understand search engine optimization and how it functions!
Do you have any tips that have helped your search engine strategy? Let us know in the comments!