Search Engine Optimization SEO

Brock Marek

What is SEO?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) helps a site gain viewers by increasing search rankings. When a user searches the web using a Search Engine, Search Engines list rsults according to a list of factors with different priorities. SEO refers to developing a site while prioritizing Search Engine Ranking.

SEO requirements are always changing. To maintain a high ranking requires a focus during development and occasional adjustmns as time passes.

On-Page SEO vs Off-Page SEO

On Page SEO - Factors on your own website you can optimize such as code and content

  • Content Focused SEO - What you can effect as a site owner. Decisions for page content.
  • Code Focused SEO - What your development team effects on your site.

Off-Page SEO - Actions taken outside of your site to affect your site's trustworthiness and authority by building the right inbound links and social signals.

  • Organic - This can be completely organic waiting for other site to link you content. (Off-Page Gold)
  • Active Effort - Get your content listed on other site by contacting, paying or other methods. (Important but use caution)

How to Monitor SEO Rankings

  1. Google Search Console
  2. Google Analytics
  3. Keyword Research Tools
  4. Manual Search

Factors Affecting SEO Rankings

Accessibility & Security

Accesibility - Make it easy for Search Engines to analyze your site. Include a robot.txt and sitemap file.

Security - Make sure your site has the little lock symbol next to your url. (SSL/HTTPS)

Page Speed

Search engines prioritize sites that are FAST! Make sure your site is optimized for both desktop and mobile to load as quickly as possible.

Mobile Optimization

More and more users are searching for content from phones. Google now prioritized mobile optimization over desktop.

Items to look out for:

  1. Site resizes to fit different devices.
  2. Make text easier to read for small screens by increasing text size.
  3. Accessibility and ease of navigation. Including bigger touch points for buttons.
  4. Make sure important content is not covered.

Domain Age, URL, Authority

Domain Age - Most sites on the first page of results are atleast three years old. Before moving to a new domain, make sure it's neccecary.

URL (Domain Name) - The actual name ( ""> is less important than you might think. It is recomended to prioritzing the right TLD (.com, .org, .net...) over your actual domain name. 

  • .com - Commercial sites selling services or products.
  • .org - Generally charitable or non profit organizations.
  • .net - Network organizations.
  • .io - Gaining popularity for tech and startups.
  • .gov - Government sites.
  • .edu - Educational sites.

Page & Domain Authority - Combination of important content and off page SEO signals. (More in next section.)

Optimized Content

Do This:

Keywords - Words or phrases that users search for. Research which words and phrases your target audience use and include them on your site.

LSI Keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing) - It's also important to include terms related to the main terms people search for, called LSI Keywords.

Search Intent - Understand what people are really looking for when they use keywords. Try to include content for each type of search.

  1. Navigational - Searching for a specific site.
  2. Informational - Searching for an answer to a question.
  3. Investigational - Research before making a purchase.
  4. Transactional - Making a purchase.

Content Length - Longer content typically ranks higher, atleast 2000 words. Again don't over do it for the sake of adding content which will hurt your score.

Answer Boxes - Google is starting to use "answer boxes", formatted answers from sites displayed on the search result page. Getting these are like gold. You get placed above all other results.

Ways to score Answer Box listings:

  1. Answer Questions.
  2. Include the questions as headings with properly formatted title tags.
  3. Ensuring that answers are correct, relevant, and not too long.
  4. Targeting content to keywords that already have answer boxes.
  5. Include lists or tables.

Video Content - Videos account for the majority of web content and viewers. Most people would rather watch a video than read an article.

Avoid This:

Repeated Content - Avoid repeating content which may hurt SEO.

Keyword Stuffing - Avoid overusing keywords for the sake of using them which will hurt your score.

Technical SEO

Coding correctly to avoid search engines docking points from otherwise relevant sites.

  • Use keyword phrases in page titles. Google looks here first. It's also the first line you see in each search result.
  • Use header tags to show content hierarchy. Similar to this article and can also be done less visually to the end user.
  • Create a meta description that entices readers and includes your keyword phrases. Keep it short, less than 160 charecters.
  • Use keyword phrases in image alt tags to show how images are relevant to main content. Image file names should be three to eight words, be descriptive and use hyphens instead of spaces.
  • When appropriate use shcema markup to tell google what kind of content you have. This can help showup in other areas than normal results.

User Experience

Google RankBrain - Google has been using AI to identifiy the quality of a users experience visiting a site and giving priority to better user experiences.

Factors affecting RankBrain:

  1. Clickthrough Rate - Percentage of people who click to visit your site after being shown in results.
  2. Bounce Rate - Number of people who bounce away again which basically means your site didn't give them what they wanted.
  3. Dwell Time - How long users stay on your site after they arrive.


  1. Inbound Links - Help google determine how authoritative and relevant your content is. The best inbound links come from sites that have authority on relevant content. Avoid links from low quality sites.
  2. Outbound Links - Show you are creating quality content by linking out to quality relevent sites.
  3. Internal Links - Linking to other pages on your site can help as well.

Social Signals

  1. When users share your content on social networks.
  2. Have your own social presence as well as social share links for your content.

Real Business Information

Having real contact information is important for targeting specific geographic locations. This is one of the most crucial ranking factors for local SEO rankings.

  1. NAP - Name, Address, Phone.
  2. Business listings on google, FB, Linkedin, Yelp...
  3. Reviews on those sites.
  4. The right local search terms (keywords).


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