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Search Engine Optimization Seminar Overview

The internet is full of media and content. It can be hard to stand out from the competition if you don’t have a solid plan in place for your own website. If you have a product or business to offer, don’t you want to connect with those people who might be interested in those products or services?

There are a lot of moving parts to having a website and managing it – search engine optimization, content development, PR, digital marketing, etc. It is hard to do with only one person, and without a comprehensive approach to harnessing the power of search engines. That’s where search engine optimization, or SEO, comes in. SEO ensures that search engines will be able to find, index, and serve your website to users in an efficient manner.

Without really understanding the ins and outs of search engines and how they work, it is difficult to take full advantage of their power in attractiving customers to your business. There are a lot of components of a good SEO strategy, including:

  • - Taking advantage of “universal search” criteria – the search engines’ ability to locate and index a variety of media type.
  • - Ensuring quality elements and good performance metrics are in place on your website.
  • - Understanding and maximizing user signals and captalizing on those metrics.
  • - Creating content that is authoritative and trustworthy.
  • - Techniques for using images in content
  • - Backlinking, and inbound citations from other sources.
  • - Using social signals to build brand awareness and to boost search engine results placement

Let’s take a look at these as a general overview of how an SEO strategy incorporates these elements.

What Is “Universal Search”, and How Can I Take Advantage of It?

Universal search is a term the commonly referring to the process by which search engines index and serve a wide variety of content for a particular search query. When a user searches for a particular word or phrase (think of it as a question that needs an answer), the search engines attempt to answer that query by serving up resources it thinks best answer that question. To thoroughly answer a search query, Google may offer a user:

  • - Images
  • - News items
  • - Videos
  • - Social results
  • - In-depth articles
  • - Blog posts
  • - PDF Files
  • - and others..

Because there are so many types of information content available, it is in a website’s best interests to provide as much variety as possible. Mixing varied content types onto one page – for example, a text-based article illustrated with images and including file downloads – is the best way for your website to rank highly on search engine results pages (SERPs). This combination of elements is sometimes referred to as “rich media”, and it weighs heavily within the search engines’ algorithms. Why? Because content of this nature answers questions in an efficient manner.

How Can I Ensure That My Content Will Rank in Search Engines?

First and foremost, your website’s content must be well-written and authoritative – it must be seen as a trustworthy source of information in order to rank highly in SERPs. There’s more to it than that, though. Google and the other search engines also look at performance metrics in order to rank pages. These may include:

  • Page load times and overall site speed
  • User-metrics
  • Semantics
  • Image optimization

It is important to have these elements in place – especially a quick-loading website so that users are more likely to stick around. Keep the code clean, ensure good file and resource management practices, and provide a stable site architecture to users.

How About Visitors? What Should I Know About Them?

User (visitor) metrics are also part of the search engine algorithm. Google can see what is happening on your website based on analytics tools. The three most important user metrics are:

  • - Click-Through Rate (CTR) – how many people come to your website based on search engine results pages (SERPs). Influences are position on a search page, title, description, and URL information or other factors.
  • - Time On Site (Engagement) – How much time visitors spend on individual pages, or on the website as a whole. It can be influenced by content length, media types on the site, and the total number of resources available on the site.
  • - Bounce Rate – an industry term for the practice of a visitor landing on a website and immediately (the industry standard is within 11 seconds) returning to a SERP or other website. This rate has a dramatic impact on your rankings within SERPs.

User testing is one way to ensure that your website performs for visitors in the way you want it to. There are many such testing applications available, and can greatly reduce bounce rate, encouraging those visitors to stay on your site.

How Do I Create Authority With My Website’s Content?

It is crucial that the content on your website is well-written, free of grammatical errors. It must also read well, giving visitors the information they need to potentially become customers. Content should be in-depth and of a long format – articles of 1000 words or more tend to get better placement within search engines. In addition, the content must appear to be written by an expert on whatever subject your website covers. That mean using:

  • - Industry-specific terms
  • - Insider words – things only subject experts may be aware of
  • - Very specific words or phrases that relate to the content, demonstrating authority about a subject

These are called “proof terms”, and must be in place within the page’s content in order to satisfy search engine algorithms.

What Other Techniques Can I Use to Increase Rankings?

A good way to add quality to your content is by using images to accompany the text. The images must be unique and original to your website in order to maximize their impact, and Google knows whether those images have appeared on other sites. Confidently use a lot of images with your content. The best-ranking sites, on average, use 6 images per page of content. This may seem like a lot, but the proof comes from analyzing thousands of top ranking pages.

In addition to using images as part of the rich content approach, it is also important to optimize those pages and images for SEO purposes. This may include:

  • - Ensuring keywords or key phrases are part of the image’s file name (“keyword-phrase-here.jpg”)
  • - Adding proof terms in the image’s alt text
  • - Using captions or descriptions surrounding the image, including important keywords or proof terms

The important takeaway: Use more original images in your content!

One thing NOT to do with your website is to rely on advertising. The most highly-ranked websites on SERPs use no ads at all, or at the most a single advertisement on the page. If you simply must use ads, remember to:

  • - Limit their usage to a single instance wherever possible
  • - Place ads “below the fold”, so as not to detract from your valuable content
  • - Avoid clutter and redundancy

What are Social Signals, and How Can They Help My Rankings?

Social signals are the instances when your website or website’s content gets shared on social media platorms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, among many others. These social signals can include:

  • - A Facebook post that gets shared, Liked, or commented on
  • - A Twitter tweet that gets retweeted or replied to
  • - A Pinterest Pin that gets favorite or repined
  • - A Google+ post that is reshared or commented on
  • - A YouTube video that gets commented on or liked/unliked

Every social signal gets credited to your website without penalty. In fact, the search engines love the buzz that these social signals create, and rank such pages higher than those with a more quiet profile. Those signals suggest that your website is trustworthy and is being utilized by visitors. It is crucial to take advantage of the power of social media wherever and whenever you can as a part of a smart SEO strategy.

Continue through the 9 videos to learn more than most "SEO PROFESSIONALS" know about search engine optimization, today.

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