No Long Term Agreements

  • 215-946-1046

Speak To An Expert Now: 215-946-1046

We're the #1 SEO Agency in the Country!

Growing Your Business Is Our Business
Plus desktop device
seo-main

#1 SEO Agency Best SEO Company Award-Winning SEO Agency

Is your site not being found by your customers?

Clients We Win For
google

Google

bing

Bing

yahoo

Yahoo

youtube

YouTube

Not happy with your current SEO Agency?
With us you will:
  • Get Ranked High on Google
  • Show Up for Search Results
  • Improve Your Webpages
  • Fix Your Technical SEO
  • Get The ROI You Deserve
Play Video
What Type Of SEO Is Right For Me?

Local SEO

Companies serving a specific area need to master local SEO best practices so that people nearby find you easily.

National SEO

Big brands and eCommerce websites need to compete for search rankings across the country with a strong SEO strategy.

International SEO

Selling products and services around the globe requires an SEO approach that covers multiple languages.

Are You Ready To Grow Your Business Online?

SEO is short for search engine optimization. It’s the effort to have your website’s pages shown at the top of organic search results. It involves creating website pages in a way that satisfies keywords typed into a search engine, so that users find what they’re looking for on the internet.

Google is by far the most popular search engine in the world — using the most complex algorithm in the world — and SEO pros often refer to Google when speaking about search engines in general. We’ll talk a lot about what Google “wants” throughout this article, and some of it can seem detailed and complicated. But there’s one simple rule to keep in mind about SEO: Google wants to provide the best experience to the user. SEO isn’t about gaming the system. It’s about providing value. If you want people to come to your website, you need a website that’s worth coming to.

Why Do I Need SEO?

Search engine optimization is essential for any business trying to attract visitors to a website. Ninety-three percent of all web traffic comes from search engines. No matter what type of website you’re running, you should invest in SEO efforts, whether you invest with time or money. If you have a dedicated team of SEO strategists, content writers, designers, developers, and data analysis professionals, you may be able to do SEO in house. For most businesses, though, in-house SEO isn’t feasible. That’s where we come in.

1SEO Digital Agency started as an SEO company, and we’ve grown to include a full suite of digital marketing services to a wide range of clients. We know SEO inside and out, and we customize our work to fit the needs of our clients. We have the track record to prove it. 

This article will teach you a lot about SEO, from the basics to the advanced details.

Here are a few SEO-specific definitions:

  • Keyword: A phrase that someone types into a search engine

  • Search Results: The listing of links to pages that appears after you’ve searched a keyword, often called SERPs, for search engine results pages

  • Rank: Where in the SERP a page is listed. The first link is #1, the next is #2, etc.

search results page with seo links highlighted

Radiant - Full Digital Marketing Campaign

See how SEO services from 1SEO helped them reach their marketing goals and beyond.
Are You Ready To Grow Your Business Online?

SEO is short for search engine optimization. It’s the effort to have your website’s pages shown at the top of organic search results. It involves creating website pages in a way that satisfies keywords typed into a search engine, so that users find what they’re looking for on the internet.

Google is by far the most popular search engine in the world — using the most complex algorithm in the world — and SEO pros often refer to Google when speaking about search engines in general. We’ll talk a lot about what Google “wants” throughout this article, and some of it can seem detailed and complicated. But there’s one simple rule to keep in mind about SEO: Google wants to provide the best experience to the user. SEO isn’t about gaming the system. It’s about providing value. If you want people to come to your website, you need a website that’s worth coming to.

Why Do I Need SEO?

Search engine optimization is essential for any business trying to attract visitors to a website. Ninety-three percent of all web traffic comes from search engines. No matter what type of website you’re running, you should invest in SEO efforts, whether you invest with time or money. If you have a dedicated team of SEO strategists, content writers, designers, developers, and data analysis professionals, you may be able to do SEO in house. For most businesses, though, in-house SEO isn’t feasible. That’s where we come in.

1SEO Digital Agency started as an SEO company, and we’ve grown to include a full suite of digital marketing services to a wide range of clients. We know SEO inside and out, and we customize our work to fit the needs of our clients. We have the track record to prove it. 

This article will teach you a lot about SEO, from the basics to the advanced details.

Here are a few SEO-specific definitions:

  • Keyword: A phrase that someone types into a search engine

  • Search Results: The listing of links to pages that appears after you’ve searched a keyword, often called SERPs, for search engine results pages

  • Rank: Where in the SERP a page is listed. The first link is #1, the next is #2, etc.

search results page with seo links highlighted

Radiant - Full Digital Marketing Campaign

See how SEO services from 1SEO helped them reach their marketing goals and beyond.

Different Types of Search Results

SERPs usually show two main types of links: paid ads and organic listings.

Paid ads appear at the very top of search results, marked as ads. Businesses purchase these spots on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis. They get a very low percentage of clicks, but those clicks lead to purchases at a higher rate than organic listings. If you’re interested in launching a PPC campaign for your business, good news, 1SEO can help you. Learn more about our top-notch PPC services.

Organic listings make up the rest of the results. Your SEO efforts directly affect the rank in organic listings. There are several types of organic listings, depending on the search. Google does its best to provide search results that best serve the user.

Map packs usually show up for a localized search. If you search “lunch,” for example, Google will assume you want to find a restaurant nearby and show you a map with some restaurants pointed out.

Featured snippets will appear for searches with a clear, simple answer. If Google is confident it can find the answer to your search on a webpage, it “snips” that text and shows it, saving the user the trouble of clicking into a site. That may seem to punish websites for providing a clear answer, but statistics show that pages in featured snippets get more traffic than they would if they appeared in traditional listings.

The question box with the heading “People also ask” is a relatively recent addition to Google results, and it allows the user to see answers to related questions.

Videos and images naturally take the top spots for specific keywords. A good example is “how to tie a tie,” a query satisfied best by a short YouTube video rather than a written step-by-step guide.

Map packs usually show up for a localized search. If you search “lunch,” for example, Google will assume you want to find a restaurant nearby and show you a map with some restaurants pointed out.

Featured snippets will appear for searches with a clear, simple answer. If Google is confident it can find the answer to your search on a webpage, it “snips” that text and shows it, saving the user the trouble of clicking into a site. That may seem to punish websites for providing a clear answer, but statistics show that pages in featured snippets get more traffic than they would if they appeared in traditional listings.

The question box with the heading “People also ask” is a relatively recent addition to Google results, and it allows the user to see answers to related questions.

Videos and images naturally take the top spots for specific keywords. A good example is “how to tie a tie,” a query satisfied best by a short YouTube video rather than a written step-by-step guide.

Let's Start with the

Keyword Research

Most SEO strategies start with keyword research. SEO pros use tools, such as Google Ads, SEMrush, and many others, to see the value of keywords. There’s search volume, the approximate number of times a keyword is searched monthly, and cost per click (CPC), taken from historical PPC bidding, which gives a clue as to the monetary value of bringing a single user to your site through a keyword.

An informational keyword such as “yankees roster” has no CPC because the user is just looking for a baseball team’s roster. The user gets the information and leaves. “Yankees tickets” would have a much higher CPC, because the user is very likely to buy game tickets once landing on a website.

Deciding on keywords shapes the group of pages you’ll create and optimize. For a given page, don’t just choose just one keyword; it’s smart to have a list of secondary keywords that help flesh out the topic of your page. When Google evaluates pages, it looks for keywords that relate to other keywords as a clue as to how valuable your page is.

Don’t fall into the trap of always shooting for the highest-value keywords. It’s smart to have realistic expectations. Your vintage baseball card store won’t rank first for the keyword “baseball,” no matter how hard you try. A company that sells cell phones may want to rank for “best cell phone,” but a simple Google search will show that the results are mostly lists and reviews of cell phones, not a single product page. Don’t ask, “What terms do we want to rank for?” Instead, ask, “What terms should we rank for?”

On-Page Optimization

Once you have keywords to target, you can create the content of your pages. Antiquated SEO guidelines will tell you to force-feed the keyword into your content as much as possible. In an earlier time, search engines were less sophisticated, and this tactic worked. These days, Google and other search engines don’t fall for that. “Keyword stuffing” has no value. It’s a form of “tricking the search engine.” Don’t try to trick Google. The fundamental guideline is to satisfy the user’s query.

Here are some of the main elements of on-page content:

  • URL: the web address for the page

  • Meta title: the “official” title of the page, which appears in the tab at the top of a web browser and as the link in search results

  • Meta description: a short description of the page, usually 160 characters or less, appearing below the link in search results

  • H1 heading: the title as it’s shown within the page, usually in large, bold text

  • Body content: the bulk of the page’s offering, usually words, images, buttons, purchasing forms, etc.

  • Other headings: headings that separate the content, called H2, H3, H4, etc., based on their size and purpose in the page content, especially useful for long pages that cover a topic deeply

Writing SEO-friendly content can be a tricky proposition for many content writers. Google consistently urges websites to use natural language that speaks to your target audience. Use keywords liberally — it’s logical that your keyword will appear in the URL, meta title, meta description, H1 heading, and body content — but don’t overdo it. If you have a list of secondary keywords, don’t jam them into the content where they don’t belong. Even with secondary keywords, the guideline is still to satisfy the query. 

seo marketer using google local listings
seo on page backend code

Site Organization

Websites should be well organized, both for the user and for search engines. As a website manager, you want to use navigation links at the top of the pages and text links within the content to help users explore the site. All links should be placed logically, with text that is clear to the user. Links typically contain keywords that match the destination of the link, which helps your SEO efforts. One helpful guideline is to imagine a webpage with all the content removed, except for the links. Without the benefit of context, will users know where each link will send them?

Your URLs should be similarly buttoned up. Most websites use categories in their URL structure, like this:

  • www.yourwebsite.com/

  • www.yourwebsite.com/name-of-category/

  • www.yourwebsite.com/name-of-category/topic-of-page/

Ideal site organization requires solid planning from the start. Determine the main categories of the information or products you offer. eCommerce sites, in particular, tend to be very large and contain many categories. Use a URL structure that is reflective of the search intent, user experience, and keyword strategy.

Backlinks

Often referred to as “external links” and “off-page SEO,” backlinks are links that go from other sites to your site. Backlinks give Google a big clue into the value and reputation of your site among the rest of the online world. If other sites reference your site and are willing to send users there, your site must be pretty great. 1SEO offers link-building campaigns, as either part of an SEO services package, or by itself. Learn more about link-building for SEO.

SEO pros use tools, such as Majestic or Ahrefs, to look at all the backlinks your site has. Not all links have equal value. Links from authoritative, high-traffic sites will benefit your SEO much more than those from less reputable sites. Metrics such as “trust flow” and “citation flow” help calculate the total value of your backlink profile.

Google has improved its understanding of backlinks greatly in the last ten years. In more primitive times, websites successfully “gamed the system” by having their links placed on sites called “link farms.” These days, Google will easily detect this black hat SEO tactic and likely impose a manual penalty on your site, which is catastrophic to your rankings and a pain to fix.

Local SEO

Plus laptop device
local seo listing for attorney

For local businesses, there are some additional SEO steps to take. You’ve probably searched something like “salon” or “shoe store” and got search results for businesses in your area, conveniently giving you access to location, phone number, business hours, driving directions, and reviews. 

Local SEO involves creating a Google My Business profile and making sure your business is listed on aggregation sites and social media platforms. Positive reviews can help your business appear higher than your competition. You should be consistent with your information, like location and hours. Some websites will optimize their pages to include localized keywords that help users and search engines know where your business operates. 1SEO has helped thousands of companies with their local SEO. See our local SEO page for more information.

technical seo professional works on website backend

Technical SEO

The idea behind technical SEO is that users and search engines shouldn’t have any trouble finding anything on your site. Here’s a list of some parts of technical SEO:

  • Page speed: Your web pages should load quickly. Unnecessary code and excessively large images slow down the load time. SEO pros and web developers work closely together to make sure that pages load as fast as possible.

  • Sitemaps: All sites should have an HTML sitemap and an XML sitemap. Users can access the HTML sitemap, and it shows an organized list of links to the site’s main pages. In some cases, all site pages are in the HTML sitemap. The XML sitemap is strictly a list of URLs to let search engines know what pages exist on the site.

  • Mobile-friendliness: Your website should work just as well on mobile devices and tablets as it does on desktop computers.

  • Hidden files: The robots.txt and htaccess files contain some basic instructions for web browsers to use when loading your webpage, with their own set of best practices.

  • Duplicate content: Each page should have unique content. If you have pages with the same title, for example, you’re confusing search engines as to which page it should consider ranking. Duplicate meta titles and H1 titles are a surprisingly common issue.

  • Broken links: Anytime a user clicks a link and doesn’t go to a page, that’s bad user experience, and search engines will ding you appropriately. A technical audit should identify all 301 redirects and missing pages linked on your site.

Tracking SEO Success

One of the most common SEO problems is that businesses don’t know how well it’s working. Even savvy business people are prone to jumping to conclusions when they see changes in their site traffic, revenue, leads, products sold, or new walk-in customers. If you’re serious about SEO, you should know exactly what to track.

One of the most popular and well-reviewed SEO tools is SEMrush. Among its many functionalities, SEMrush will track rank for any individual keyword you add to your campaign. Before you create or update pages, choose what keywords you’re targeting and add them to your tracking. Depending on the website, you may want to check your rank daily, weekly, or monthly, and record the results.

You may have found that the keywords you targeted aren’t the ones actually driving traffic to the site. Google Search Console will show how many impressions and clicks your pages got for individual keywords. If you find a new keyword driving significant traffic, add it to your tracking going forward.

On a broader scale, it’s good to know just how much of your total site traffic comes from search. There are other ways people can find the site, obviously, such as typing in the URL or using bookmarks (direct traffic), or clicking a link from another site, an email, or a social media app (referral traffic). It’s also helpful to know desktop traffic and mobile traffic percentages. Web analytics tools like Google Analytics and WebTrends can segment traffic and do so much more that can help inform your SEO and digital marketing strategies.

These are just some basics about tracking SEO and site traffic. If your site needs tracking help, consider our marketing analytics services.

SEO FAQs

Some people say three months, some say six, some say twelve. There’s no easy answer. Every industry, keyword, and website is different. Assuming your technical SEO is done right, Google will crawl a new or updated page within 48 hours, but it can take a lot of time for Google to detect the user behavior of the page and begin to move it up or down the ranks.

Yes. Anything that affects user experience affects SEO. Sites with attractive designs are likely to have better user behavior metrics. Navigation links, monetization widgets, pop-ups, images, and videos are all part of the structure of a page. If you’re redesigning a site, make sure that it’s mobile-friendly and has good page speed.

HTTP was the standard internet protocol attached to URLs since 1991. The added “S” stands for “secure,” verifying that the connection between a browser and a server is safe. Starting in 2018, Google has significantly downgraded sites that don’t use HTTPS.

Black hat SEO is any tactic meant to “game the system” and manipulate search engine algorithms without providing legitimate value. Link farms are an example. “Doorway pages” that bring in traffic and send users to another page are another example. Honest SEO efforts are called white hat SEO, and tactics that are debatable are called gray hat SEO. Google and other search engines have become increasingly good at detecting black hat tactics.

If Google finds that a site is using too many black hat tactics, it may give the site a manual penalty, which will drastically lower rankings or remove the site from search results altogether. Using link farms or unnatural external linking is a common cause. To recover from a manual penalty, you need to fix the problem and prove to Google that you’ve fixed the problem. In the case of external linking, you’ll need to assess all the backlinks to your site, contact webmasters to have those links removed, record all the emails, give Google a report of links you want removed from your backlink profile, and wait. It sounds like a painstaking process because it is. If you’ve been hit with a manual penalty, we can help. Read more about our link removal services.

Common SEO knowledge says that Google “tweaks the dials” every day, although these changes aren’t particularly noticeable. There are “core algorithm updates,” which are very noticeable and usually come with an official announcement from Google. There were three in 2018 and three in 2019. Google does not reveal much information about these updates, typically stating that the update aims to provide a better user experience for Google users.

Nitty Gritty SEO

Crawl Budget

Crawl budget is the amount of crawling Google will do for your website. Ideally, Google will crawl all the pages on your site. Sloppy organization, an overabundance of 301 redirects, broken links, or improper use of noindexing can cause insufficient crawls. This mostly affects large websites or websites that have seen wholesale changes over time.

Index and Noindex

Webpages are marked as “index” by default, which means that you’re allowing Google to crawl the page and show it in search results. Pages that aren’t designed to show in search results should be “noindexed,” such as confirmation pages, signup forms, purchasing funnels, etc. If you have an archive of links on subsequent pages, it’s standard to index the first page and noindex the rest of the pages.

Follow and Nofollow

Links are “followed” by default, which means that you want Google to follow the link and find the page on the other side. In theory, you’re passing along some authority, colloquially called “link juice.” You should “nofollow” links to pages that are useless for a search engine to crawl, or in cases when you don’t want to pass any authority. Paid links, links to monetization pages, and links in press releases are examples of typically nofollowed links.

Canonical Tag

Canonical tags essentially “give credit” to the “preferred” version of a webpage. On a content-heavy site, for example, you may have a version of a page that is similar to another, and you can implement a canonical tag to preferred page. On an eCommerce site, you may have separate pages for products of a different size or color, and you can place the URL of the main product page in a canonical tag.

301 Redirects

Often called simply “redirects,” 301 redirects send a user from one URL to another. It’s typical for website managers to delete a page and redirect its URL to a page that satisfies the user intent in going to the old page. A general rule is to ask yourself, “Will people looking for the original page be happy with the page we’re sending them to?” If you redirect a page, you should make sure to also update links going to the old page. 

404 Errors

A 404 error will appear to a user when there is no page for a searched URL. If you have deleted pages on your site, you should remove links to that page. Sending your users to a nonexistent page is a bad user experience. Websites often create lively, humorous 404 pages with helpful links on them to try to maintain users and give them somewhere else on the site to go.

Structured Data Markup

Also known as “Schema,” structured data is a relatively new piece of optional code offered by Schema.org. Hidden from users, it provides a helpful guide to search engines about what your page is. Google’s recent algorithm changes gave Schema markup more weight as a ranking factor.

Duplicate Content

Content that is taken word for word, or close to it, from another source is duplicate content. It can be considered black hat SEO. Much like writers avoid plagiarism by citing their sources, webpages can avoid being penalized for duplicate content by citing the source and using a canonical tag to give credit to the source. 

User Behavior Metrics

SEO pros look at user behavior metrics to gauge the value of webpages. The most basic are time on page, time on site, and bounce rate (how often users leave a page quickly after landing on it). Google evaluates user behavior metrics to try to determine how satisfied people are with the search results. As an SEO pro might say, “Google is watching.”

Google Rating
4.9
×
Have Questions?
We’re Here To Help!