SEO

Google Speed Update: What you need to know

  Your website shouldn't leave people staring at their watch. 

Your website shouldn't leave people staring at their watch. 

It’s no secret that speed is central to user experience -- and slow load times translate to a higher bounce rate and less traffic. Think about it: How long did you wait around last time a page wasn’t loading? In addition to annoying users, a delayed page speed means users will read less once the page does load.

With all that in mind, it comes as no surprise that in June 2018 page speed will officially become a ranking factor in mobile search results. The algorithm update was announced in January and has been named the ‘Speed Update’.
 


Wait a second, isn’t speed already a factor? 

Why, yes, it’s true that page speed has been a ranking factor since 2009 – but, it’s never been an official factor for mobile ranking speed. According to a blog post by Google on the topic: “Although speed has been used in ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches...Starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.”

 

What Google has said

If you’re already in a panic, take a deep breathe, because Google has said the new algorithm will “only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users, and it will only affect a small percentage of queries.” (source)

Google has also repeatedly stated that the intent behind a user’s query will still be the strong ranking factor -- so if a website has a slow page, but the content of that page is relevant and high in quality, it may still rank highly regardless.

But, how fast are we talking? In a Google Webmaster video, Maile Ohye, states that “2 seconds is the threshold for e-commerce website acceptability.At Google, we aim for under a half second.”

It’s no secret that over the last two years Google has been implementing a mobile first strategy that prioritizes mobile-optimized sites. The Speed Update just takes this initiative a step further by prioritizing speed, which is key to mobile responsiveness. 

 

What you need to do

In preparation for the Speed Update, Google has recommended a number of resources to help gauge where your website’s performance is at.

1. Chrome User Experience ReportChrome User Experience will give you intel on how real-world Chrome users experience popular destinations on the web, and the factors that shape and contribute to their final user experience.

2. LighthouseLighthouse is an open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages. You can run it against any web page, public or requiring authentication. It has audits for performance, accessibility, progressive web apps, and more.

With each audit (which only takes between 60 to 90 seconds), you’ll receive a document detailing what’s important to fix, and how you can fix it. Suggestions could range to anything from oversized and unoptimized images, to unused CSS rules and render-blocking scripts.

3. PageSpeed InsightsAnother one of Google’s powerful speed tools, PageSpeed Insights will analyze your page and present you with a page speed rating, optimization score (out of 100), page load distributions, page stats and optimization suggestions. 

The recommendations might range from things like prioritizing visible content and leveraging browser cashing, to eliminating render-blocking Javascript and CSS in the above-the-fold content. 

 

What's next

Once you've made all the updates possible you'll need to monitor your search rankings. Keep in mind that because the update is entirely algorithmic, there’s no tool that will just simply show you which pages have been dinged – after you make all the adjustments you can to increase page speed, you’ll have to keep an eye on your mobile rankings to make sure your site isn’t taking a hit.

Looking for even more resources to get your page up to speed? We’ll leave you with this list to check out: 


Hue & Tone Creative

Do all these terms look like gibberish to you? Bring in an expert -- let us help you get your web presence up to speed (literally). We can help with everything from branding and email campaigns to social media and your web presence.  

13 easy to implement SEO tips

14 easy to implement SEO tips  |  Hue & Tone Creative

In need of more in-depth information? Check out our articles on finding relevant keywords, discovering new keywords, and essential do’s and don’ts of SEO.

Implementing proper Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics isn’t a quick fix marketing solution – but when done properly it is worth the long-term investment. If you’re new to the world of SEO and are in need of a few quick tips to get your feet off the ground, then you’re in the right place -- because we’ve got 13 easy to implement tips for you.

  1. Make sure the meta descriptions for your images are enticing. That way, when people do come across your image in search results they’ll be more inclined to click through – it’s a great place to use your page’s keywords too. 
     
  2. Keep internal linking front of mind when you’re creating new pages. Linking to your own content will help define your site’s architecture and encourage visitors to explore other pages of your site.
     
  3. Don’t underestimate the power of title tags. Title tags are the HTML title element used to briefly and accurately describes the topic and theme of an online document. They’re rumored to be the most important on-page SEO element (behind the content itself), so make sure they’re reflective of the content, catchy, and inclusive of relevant keywords.
     
  4. Make sure your content is fresh. Google is always crawling for new content and to avoid being left behind you need to be constantly updating your site. A blog is a simple way to do this – but can backfire if you set one up and never update it. Minimum, we suggest updating your blog a few times a month. Ideally, you’ll be updating it a few times a week.
     
  5. Keep an eye out for broken links. Broken links can stop search engine spiders from crawling your site, which can impede your SEO efforts. Use an online tool like Screaming Frog to find broken links and fix them. 
     
  6. Optimize your page speed. In July of 2018, page speed will become a ranking factor for mobile search. To make sure your users aren’t left hanging around, let PageSpeed Insights’ report help you iron out any issues.
     
  7. Stay concise to reach featured snippet status. A featured snippet is a summary of an answer to a user's query, which is displayed on top of Google search results. It's extracted from a webpage and includes the page's title and URL. Increase your odds of having a featured snippet by creating great content that answers specific questions.
     
  8. Optimize your images. Make sure your file name, caption, ALT text and title text all include relevant keywords. While you’re at it, make sure the file size isn’t too big either -- this can slow down your page load speed.
     
  9. Make sure your XML sitemap is up-to-date. An up-to-date site map means search engines can find your pages easier. Remember, Google ranks your pages, not your website.
     
  10. Research your keywords before you start adding pages. Proper research will ensure you get the most out of your content and rank for the right terms.
     
  11. Make sure your content is high quality. Google can easily recognize quality content, so don’t think you’ll be able to fool the algorithm by posting a high quantity of subpar articles. To rank well, you’ll want to write content that is conversational, informative, focused, clear, and easy to digest (tables and numbered lists help with this). And, don’t forget to link to reliable outbound sites. 
     
  12. Utilize a clear URL structure. Utilizing an SEO-friendly URL structure will help with the indexation process of your website. Your URL should be structured like this:  http://domainname.com/subdirectory/filename.
     
  13. Diversify your keyword strategy. Don’t just focus all your efforts on basickeywords -- target longtail keywords too. Although long-tail keywords are usually searched for less often than their shorter counterparts, they tend to bring in a high conversion rate because they are so specific.

Hue & Tone: Your Greensboro Marketing Partner

Don't get stuck trying to figure out your entire marketing strategy yourself. Focus on what you do best, and let us do what we do best. Whether you're a new business or just in need of some fresh ideas, we can help you plan your marketing strategy from social media and SEO to print and radio advertising. Give us a call today to get started. 

5 signs you need help with your content

5 signs you need help with your content  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Your content is at the core of everything you do. Every part of your business relies on strongly written content – everything from your website and welcome emails to business cards and online ads. 

But how do you know if your content is connecting with potential and future customers? We’ve put together a list of 5 key signs that you need to revamp your content or bring in some outside help to revive it. 

 

1.  Your traffic isn’t converting

Plenty of people are landing on your website, but your conversion rates are way below what you’d expect them to be. There are a whole load of factors that could be contributing to this, but content tends to be one of them – along with page design, graphics, and mobile compatibility. 

Across industries, the average landing page conversion rate was 2.35%, yet the top 25% are converting at 5.31% or higher. Ideally, you want to break into the top 10% — these are the landing pages with conversion rates of 11.45% or higher. 

Ask yourself -- does your content do your product or service justice? Does it clearly explain what you’re about? Does it speak to your audience in a way they want to be spoken to? Is it accurate and engaging? Does it give people a reason to choose you over your competitors? If you just answered with a stream of no’s, there’s plenty of room for improvement.

If you’re not sure how your content is being received, consider sending out a survey or asking a few key customers for their thoughts. Sometimes an outside perspective is needed!

 

2.  Your website it stale

When’s the last time you added a piece of content to your site? So long ago you can’t remember? Well, therein lies your problem.

Google likes to see fresh content, and places greater value on up-to-date, newsworthy articles. In a nutshell, if you don’t have fresh content, this means you could be impeding your efforts to gain organic traffic. A simple way to overcome this is by adding a blog section (and actually posting on it!) which will help improve your SEO (find out more about that here).

In addition to a blog, consider setting a calendar reminder that goes off every 6 months to prompt you to review and update the content on your static web pages.

 

3.  Social media struggles

If you’re constantly grasping for ideas of what to post on social media, it’s probably because you don’t have anything to shout about, and the reason you don’t have anything to shout about is probably because you haven’t published anything new – or, worse, you’re out of touch with your audience.

Regular, relevant content will bring your social media streams to life, give you something to talk about, get your audience engaging with you, and drive traffic to your website.

 

4.  People aren’t talking about you

If you want people to talk about you, you need to give them something to talk about. Producing great content will get people sharing it on social media, encourage other websites to link to your material, and can help get your audience engaged in new ways. 

The end result? Brand awareness, word of mouth advertising, more inbound links (which will benefit your SEO efforts) and inevitably more leads.

 

5.  No internal linking opportunities

Internal linking aids your website’s navigation, help you define the architecture and hierarchy of your site, and plays a part in building your website authority. 

When it comes down to it, the more relevant content you have, the more opportunities you have to add internal links. For example, we sent you to this article about SEO earlier in our blog post – but because we have so much relevant content we also could have linked you to this article or this article… or even this one! See? Relevant content builds linking opportunities. 


When it comes down to it, having a bank of relevant content not only makes your marketing more effective – it also makes things easier on you in the long run. Having a deep well of articles and posts to send people to gives you more to promote – as well as the behind-the-scenes SEO benefits of establishing authority. 

If you’re stuck on what to post about, we’ll leave you with this blog series for a little further reading. 


HUE & TONE: TRIAD BASED MARKETING SOLUTIONS

Completely stumped on what kind of content to post? Not even sure who your customers are? Or maybe you're just not sure how to reach them? We can help you answer all these questions -- and help you plan and enact solutions for all your marketing woes. Shoot us an email or give us a call. 

Why You Need To Be Blogging

When business is booming, it’s easy to put blogging on the back burner. If you blog frequently, it can seem logical to cut back on something that can require a lot of your thought, time, resources, and skill. However, investing all that time and skill has a very real payoff -- 74% of businesses say that engaging blog content increases their quality and quantity of leads. Surely worth the investment, right?

There are umpteen reasons you need to be blogging, but for the purpose of this post we’ll focus our attention solely on some of the top SEO and brand authority benefits.
 

Why you need to be blogging  |  Hue & Tone Creative


Blogging is a staple part of your SEO strategy


Linking

First and foremost, blogging gives you significantly more opportunity to link internally. The logic is simple -- the more quality content you have on your site, the more relevant pages you can point visitors to.

The second opportunity comes in the form of external links. If you’re pushing out engaging, authoritative, and useful content, other sites will want to link to it, so that they can add value to their audience, too. Evergreen content (timeless content that attracts both first time and repeat readers) is especially great for this, because it can earn you links until the end of time - for free!
 

Enhance your engagement

Blogging not only helps to get visitors landing on your site, but it helps to retain them too. So, why does this matter? Low bounce rates and longer session durations are signs that you’re providing people with quality content, which is exactly what search engines look for when serving people search results. 

Long-term, this will boost your rankings and help you come up higher in a Google search. 
 

Target your keywords

Blogging is the perfect platform to target all your keywords – as long as you’re incorporating them organically, of course. It allows you to answer the questions your audience is asking, to engineer your content strategy towards what’s being searched for, and to produce intent-based blogs that help to convert.

The end result? Higher rankings, greater organic visibility, more traffic and an increase in sales.

 

Blogging build your brand’s authority


Become an industry leader

By pushing out timely, high-quality, accurate, and interesting content on a regular basis, you’ll prove yourself as a leader in your arena. People will trust you. When they’ve got a question, they’ll come directly to you. They’ll recommend you to others. And they’ll build a rapport with you without a single word being spoken.
 

They’ll keep on coming back

Great quality content wins lasting relationships. Poor quality content turns people away. One less than interesting article can lose you a visitor for life - it sounds extreme, but it’s true. Cast your mind back to a time when you landed on a poorly put together piece of content: what impression did it leave? And, how fast did you click away from that site? 
 

Get your name out there

Having a regular flow of posts helps you get your business out there. Whether it gets traction from external sites, is shared on social media, included in your weekly newsletter or promoted in paid ads, it gives you something to shout about. Without it, you’ll soon run out of things to say.

 

So, that’s it for our handpicked pros of blogging. What else do you need to know? Leave us a comment below! 


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Let us take the headaches out of managing your blog. Whether you need help developing keywords, creating fresh content, or moderating comments, Hue & Tone Creative has you covered. Contact us today. 

Why having a mobile-friendly site is no longer optional

Why having a mobile-friendly site is no longer optional  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Yes, we know you've heard it before. 

The last web designer you spoke to probably mentioned it 5 times in the last 5 minutes. 

They probably used words like “mobile responsiveness,” “optimizing for mobile,” “responsive design”… maybe they even threw in “MobileGeddon” for good measure. 

But, what is "mobile-friendly," why is there a need for it on your website, and why are web designers so obsessed with it? 

In this post, we'll cover just that. We’ll also give you 7 undeniable reasons why you need to invest in your website being mobile responsive.

But first, the basics.

 

What is a mobile-friendly website?

Let's illustrate the concept using a couple of images:

 
Why having a mobile-friendly site is no longer optional  |  Hue & Tone Creative
 

And, this illustration from Google:

 
Why having a mobile-friendly site is no longer optional  |  Hue & Tone Creative
 

See the difference?

One looks like a typical phone app and the other one will require a magnifying glass just to read the site title.

You'll notice the "mobile-friendly" one on the right has:

  • Large, easy to read text
  • Full screen, viewable images
  • An intuitive page layout
  • Easy to use navigation

When you’re on your phone, this is exactly what you would expect a good website to look like. A website optimized for mobile adjusts and displays properly on all smaller screens – not just phones, but tablets too.

 

Why is mobile-friendly website important?

In addition to elevating your user experience, we’ve got some hard numbers on why mobile compatibility is important. A few highlights:
 

  1. In 2017, 52.64% of all traffic came from mobile devices.
  2. By the end of 2018, it’s expected that traffic on mobile devices will make up 79% of global internet use.
  3. Last year 50% of total eCommerce revenue came from mobile devices
  4. 57% of internet users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile.
  5. Nearly 8 in 10 customers would stop engaging with content that doesn’t display well on their device.
  6. 88% of consumers who search for a type of business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours.
     

It comes down to the fact that almost everyone uses their mobile device to browse, shop, and interact with businesses. Not having a mobile optimized site directly converts to losing potential customers.

If you are a business owner looking to make your mark in the digital ecosystem, we highly recommend that your website be mobile optimized. You don't want site visitors squinting to see what your website is all about.

Still not convinced? 

 

6 (more) reasons why you need a mobile responsive website

  • Google prioritizes mobile-friendly websites in mobile search results. Back in 2015, Google made a change to the algorithm that allows websites optimized for mobile to rank better than those that aren’t optimized.
  • Having a mobile friendly site is considered best practices today and it increases your credibility to comply with industry standards.
  • 91% of mobile internet activity is spent on social media. You don’t want to waste your social media marketing dollars by sending people to a subpar or slow loading site.
  • Good site design makes customers happy and saves them time. You always want to give your customers a good experience – and this means having an easy to navigate site. You can be guaranteed people won’t come back to your site if they can’t navigate it easily.
  • A site that operates smoothly leads to people spending more time on your site. 
  • Mobile optimized sites are programmed to load more quickly – you no longer run the risk of people clicking away because your site loads slowly!
     

In 2018, making your site mobile friendly is no longer optional. It’s worth investing in revising or redesigning your website to make sure your site conforms to the industry standard of being mobile ready. If you don't, you risk losing potential customers, lowering the impact of your social and PPC ad campaigns, and alienating people who aren’t willing to put up with an inferior user experience.  


Hue & Tone: Greensboro-BASED Marketing FIRM

Ready to get your site up to speed? We can hook you up. At Hue & Tone Creative, we believe good marketing can help you create a lasting impression on your customers. From site design to business card design -- we can help you with every piece of your marketing strategy.

Tools to discover your most relevant keywords

Tools to discover your most relevant keywords  |  Hue & Tone Creative

When it comes to finding the right potential customers, utilizing the correct keywords in your paid search and web content will help you increase your leads.

While it can be tempting to just make educated guesses about the right keywords, it's crucial to take the time and research what will be most effective. But, before we highlight a few handy tools for keyword discovery, it's important to understand what that there's a few different type of keywords. 

 

Long-tail Keywords

One of the most effective types of keywords is a long-tail keyword. A long-tail keyword is a highly detailed phrase made up of three to four words. Although long-tail keywords are usually searched for less often than their shorter counterparts, they tend to bring in a high conversion rate because they are so specific.

For example, someone looking for "organic gluten-free birthday cakes" are more likely to find your bakery and place an order then someone who just typed in "buy cake" and just wants any old birthday cake that's available.

 

Local Keywords

Think about times when you’ve searched for services or businesses like hair salons, dentists, or a place for decent pizza. You’re automatically going to weed out a business that isn’t anywhere near you.

If you own a small business, it’s important to get the word out to your local clients through geo-targeting. Instead of only using keywords like “animal hospital,” get more specific with words like “animal hospital in Greensboro, NC.”

While local keywords often have lower search volume, they often have higher conversion rates. Long-tail local keywords will deliver even less traffic, but chances are these visitors are really serious about finding a business. For example, "animal hospital greensboro open 24-7" has a good chance of capturing someone looking for a midnight pet emergency. 

One word of warning? Don't shoot yourself in the foot by casting too wide of a net. Stick to the location of your brick and mortar store and a few surrounding counties -- don't try to capture the whole state or you'll just end up reducing your potential to rank for your actual location. 

 

Keyword Planner

One of the best ways to discover keywords is through the free Keyword Planner in Google AdWords. Using this tool, you can search through relevant phrases and terms related to your business and see how often they are searched through Google. The Keyword Planner also allows you to research historical statistics and predict the click rate of potential words before you add them into your AdWords plan.

 

Google Trends

Not utilizing Google AdWords? You can still give Google Trends a try. This is when it's time to make an educated guess about what you think your keywords would be. Start with things like your products or services and check the popularity of one or multiple keywords at a time by searching them on the site. You can narrow down the trends even further by searching in a specific region, state, or span of time.

Tools to discover your most relevant keywords  |  Hue & Tone Creative
Tools to discover your most relevant keywords  |  Hue & Tone Creative

For instance, the amount of people looking for “pumpkin patches” in Greensboro and Winston-Salem increased dramatically around September 24th of this year. Google Trends also provided some suggestions for related topics and search terms like “farm,” “maze,” and “pumpkin patch near me.” 

If you're looking to do something like holiday advertising or capture the back to school crowd, being able to track these types of trends can help you predict when your ads will be most effective. 


 

Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz Keyword Planner has a great analysis and keyword suggestion feature for marketers. If you’re on a budget, the site offers 20 free search queries every month, with the option to upgrade by purchasing the premium plan.

Another helpful feature of this tool is how it breaks down each search term by monthly volume, priority, difficulty, and organic CTR. This will help give you an idea of how competitive it will be to gain clicks -- and how much it will cost. 

 

keywords --> COntent

After you've done your keyword research, you're probably ready to get out there and buy some ads or bid on some keywords and start driving traffic to your site. But don't forget one of the most important ways that you can build authority -- through your blogging and site content! 

Make sure to write about topics you want to rank for and let your newly discovered keywords influence your blogging. As you might remember from this blog, Google knows what you're blogging about and they rank you accordingly, so don't fall into the trap of only paying for traffic. Strong, organic content can bring you some of the best traffic around! 


Marketing and Social Media Experts in the Triad

Looking for to develop your brand? Hue & Tone is a creative graphic design agency specializing in logo design, web design, social media management, and more. Be sure to check out our portfolio to see clients we’ve helped in the past, or give us a call if you're ready to get started building your brand. 

SEO: Improving keywords + search results

If you’re totally new to SEO and want to learn more about it in depth, check out a great beginner’s guide here.

According to Google, the World Wide Web is comprised of over 60 trillion individual pages. By understanding and using SEO effectively, you can make yourself stand out from the trillions of other pages vying for you customer’s attention.

Search engines work by crawling and indexing all of the sites on the Internet. In order to generate relevant results complex algorithms are used to help sort the results and rank pages by popularity.

When searching for a restaurant, dentist, or a new pair of shoes online, we are naturally inclined to click on the websites near the top of the page. That’s because as consumers, we’ve instilled trust in those top tier search results. As a business, you want to be in those top results.

Today we’re going to dive into two elements of proper SEO marketing: keywords and search ranking. Keywords are the specific words a search engine uses to match your web page up with a search query. Understanding which keywords to use for your business is crucial because the right keywords can work as a guide to draw your target market to your site.

A common mistake people are guilty of is solely focusing on the amount of traffic being directed to your site. Traffic is important, but what’s even more important is attracting the right traffic. If you’re not using the right words, you’re missing the opportunity to help your target customers discover your business. 

Driving visitors who are looking for a different kind of site will only result in frustration for them – and no sales for you. If you’re just starting to brainstorm keywords for your site, the most important thing to ask yourself is what keywords fit the content on your website.

You want to consider clever keyword that capture your brand – but aren’t terms that are so niche no one would ever search for them. If you’re selling organic gluten free vegan cookies, simply using “cookies” or “bakery” is far too broad. Consider terms like “vegan muffins” “Greensboro, NC” or “unique vegan muffins.”


Tools like this keyword explorer can help give you real-time data on the terms you should be using!


So, are keywords the only thing that determine your search ranking? Not by a long shot. The usability of your website also plays a big role. Just like with a brick and mortar store, the experience a customer has when they visit you influences their impression of your business and determines a potential sale. If your website is easy to navigate, welcoming, and stimulating, more people are likely to visit, make a purchase, and return.

If you’re interested in allllllllll the other factors that can effect a website’s rank, take a look at this in depth study from Moz.

Social media can also be used to improve your site’s rank. Social media sites rank in searches, many people use social sites to perform searches, and most people agree social accounts have an impact on your website ranking. The easier viewers can share your content the better off you’ll be!

Keyword selection, usability, and social are just a few of the factors that influence ranking. If you’re out on the web searching for different ways to keep increasing your ranking remember there are some SEO methods that you’re better off avoiding. Paid links, deception, and spamming to boost popularity are considered black hat SEO. Using black hat methods can result in a loss of credibility and even cause your website to become banned on search engines.

For more on SEO, check out our rundown of do's + don't. Then, jump in and put the SEO tips you've learned to use! 

5 Easy to Accomplish Do's + Don'ts of SEO

One of the most common questions we hear is “How do I make my website come up first on Google?”

SEO Do's + Don'ts -- Hue & Tone Creative

That’s a great question -- one with a complicated answer. The short answer is SEO, but the long answer requires diving into what SEO is. It’s important to understand that there are a number of ways to improve your SEO, some of which require a developer or paying for ranking -- but the ideas we’ve compiled here are meant to be easy to execute, no matter what your skill level.

First things first, what does SEO even stand for? SEO means Search Engine Optimization. It can refer to anything that helps increase the authority and relevancy of your site.

Let’s let Cristers Media explain more about how that process works:

“The way Google and other search engines display websites is this: Google has automated computer systems working around the clock that randomly visit websites all over the Internet, take snapshots of each page, and file them away in a massive database.

As part of taking a snapshot of each web page, Google's system reads every word and other content on a web page in order to determine the specific subject of the page. Google uses this collected data to determine which web pages to show, and in what order, for a particular keyword search.

In other words, Google's computer algorithms dynamically determine which web page on the Internet is the most relevant for a specific keyword or key phrase and displays it first. It then displays the second most relevant page, and so on. The resulting list of web pages is known as a Search Engine Results Page (SERP).”

So now that you know what SEO is, how do you improve it? And what should you avoid doing?

DO:

  1. Do keep your content fresh with high quality content. The more frequently you update the content on your site, the happier your customers (and Google) will be with you. Providing customers + clients with original content on a regular basis ups the frequency with which a search engine will crawl and recatalog the pages on your site. The more frequently your pages are cataloged, the more opportunities you have to rise in the search rankings. To provide a frame of reference, a site that is updated daily, or at least 2-3 times a week, is considered a frequently updated site.  
     
  2. Do include keywords where it counts. Keywords are words or phrases in your content that people will search for in order to find your site -- it’s how the search engine matches up a query with your specific website. You’ll want to do research on which words to use, because you have to think like your customers in order to narrow down the proper search terms. Keep in mind that people will often perform a search using general or plain language terms instead of technical jargon.
     
  3. Do get social. Social media serves as a way to push your content out -- this puts it in front of more eyes, increasing the chance of getting an external link to your site. An external link is simply any other website (hopefully one with high authority) that points to your site. External links demonstrate and increase the credibility of your site.

    Secondarily, if your content is widely shared on social media it can contribute to a website's authority just like external links can (more on that in a minute). It’s another way that Google validates your content, leading to a small bump in domain authority.
     
  4. Do utilize Google Webmaster Tools. Google Webmasters is a free toolset by Google, for, well...webmasters. They help you do things like track your website’s search presence, see subscriber stats, and measure your overall website performance. Specifically, Search Console will help you make sure Google can access your content, hide content you don’t want show in the results, and monitor any malware issues.
     
  5. Do include outbound links. Practically the opposite of an external link, outbound links refer from your site to someone else's. When you link out to other domains, it helps the search engine to understand your “niche” and it helps increase the perceived quality of your site.

DONT:

SEO Do's + Don'ts -- Hue & Tone Creative
  1. Don’t have a slow load speed. A faster page speed (the time it takes for each individual page to load) is show to lead to a higher rank and conversion rate. Google’s also indicated that site speed (the speed of a sampling of all the pages together) is an influencing factor on page rank. Plus, no one likes waiting around for a website to load, so your customers will be happy too.
     
  2. Don’t use paid links. Google is firmly against manipulation of their site results -- specifically people sneakily buying their way to the top. Things like display ads are fine, because they’re a regular tool of marketing, but just regular linked text can come across the wrong way to Google. If you want a search engine to ignore something that really is a paid link, you should use a “nofollow” tag -- but, we promised this wasn’t an article for developers, so if you need to learn more about that check this out.
     
  3. Don’t keyword stuff. When you’re blatantly cramming tons of keywords in the content of your article, or in the meta tags of your site it’s called keyword stuffing. It’s obvious you’re trying to up your rankings (in a way that isn’t valuable to the reader) and it can lead to your site being penalized -- or even banned.
     
  4. Don’t duplicate content. Content that appears on the Internet more than once is called duplicate content. When there are multiple pieces of identical content on the Internet, it’s hard for search engines to decide which is more relevant. It’s important to note that there is no penalty for duplicate content, but rather rewards for original content (source).
     
  5. Don’t have broken links. In addition to harming the user experience of your website, broken links can stop a webcrawler from seeing the rest of your site. Web crawlers function by moving from the root of your site (main page) down to the different pages, subpages, and blog entries. When they hit a broken link they can’t crawl any further -- and might end up missing other pages on your site.

As you can see from all these do’s and dont’s, SEO can be pretty complicated. But the impact of doing things right can mean transforming your site from a deserted corner of the innerwebs to one of the most popular Internet hangouts around.

Looking to read more on SEO? We’ve got even more in-depth reading for you here and here.