We’ve posted quite a bit about different ways to organically boost your SEO. And the one marketing tool that always checks the most boxes is a business blog.

Without a blog, your website has one link to your site, your URL. But if you posted a blog once a week for a year, you would have 52 links pointing back to your website. Fifty-two! That’s fifty-one additional ways that a potential customer could find your site. That’s huge.

In addition to the links back to your site, business blogs are great for a few more reasons. Here’s why.

SEO

Your website is constantly being crawled by search engines to analyze and categorize your site. The easier it is for a crawler to do this, the better chances your site will get returned when someone searches for a related topic. Google uses over 200 factors to analyze and then rank your site, including freshness of content, magnitude of updated information, and quality of content, especially grammar and punctuation. Blogs check off a lot of these Google Ranking Factors, making it an absolute must to include on your site.

Images

Speaking of SEO, having great images in your blogs not only boosts your SEO but it’s also an opportunity for you to share and add new images without having to redesign your website – meaning the images posted in your blog change often without having to update the main images on your site. Keeping a consistent feel across your site is important, but so is displaying new and exciting graphics. A blog is the perfect spot to keep your customers and readers up-to-date on what’s happening while maintaining the look and feel of your site.

Micro Content

Blog topics are a perfect way to feed your micro content (i.e. social media). Blogs are macro content because they are longer, more detailed posts. But those detailed posts can be broken down into bite-sized pieces and used to feed your micro content. For example, this post could be broken down by headings (images, SEO, links) and used for one to 3+ social media posts. The result is a consistent social media presence and cohesive message for your marketing.

How Hammersmith Support Can Help

Do you have a blog tab set up on your site? Let’s talk. Hammersmith Support’s comprehensive monthly maintenance can help get your blog set up, get your site on track, and keep it there with monthly check ups.

For web designers, the word schema makes sense. But for the rest of the world, schema may be a mystery. So first, let’s define some terms; according to Search Engine Journal, in terms of search marketing, schema is code markup that you add to your site’s pages to help search engines create more detailed descriptions of your content or data. Put more simply, it’s language that search engines understand. And if your site is easier for a search engine to read and understand, it will be able to better index your site.

So! Now that we understand schema, let’s dig in to local schema and why it’s helpful for your business.

What Is Local Schema?

Local schema is schema code that is specific to your local business. It codes things such as the hours your business is open, currency accepted, department information and so on. When potential customers come to your website, they see the standard information. But with local schema, a search engine will see not only that information but the background code as well. The easier the code is to read, the higher ranking a search engine can give your site.

Why Is Local Schema Helpful?

Just like any form of SEO, making your site easier for search engines to understand, index, and return results to a searcher is paramount. We have blogged quite a bit about organic ways to boost your SEO. Being able to add coded information to boost your SEO is just another tool to improve your site’s Google ranking.

In addition, improving the indexing of your site by search engines can improve the click rate to your website. And local schema, just like other types of organic SEO, is free. Unlike paid advertising, your website will be indexed faster and more easily, resulting in a higher search ranking.

Where to Go for Resources

While schema is purely code, there are several websites that can help you generate the correct local schema. Moreover, you can find helpful resources for testing your code:

Generate schema: https://technicalseo.com/tools/schema-markup-generator/

Test your results: https://search.google.com/test/rich-results

We Can Help

While Hammersmith Support is great at building websites, we’re also amazing at maintaining them! Contact us to talk through how we can help you and your site, including adding local schema to help clients find your business.

For so many businesses, it may be a slow or very slow time. But slow time doesn’t have to be wasted time. Utilizing newly open hours of your day by doing some work on your business website will ensure that it is in tip-top shape as things begin to rebound. Hammersmith Support has brought you many blog posts over the last year and we’ve gathered several that have great information about why and also how to get your website updated.

Enroll in Google Search Console and Google Analytics

Are you using either of these FREE tools from Google yet? If not, now is the perfect time to get rolling. Google Search Console will help you pinpoint any issues on your site and keep you updated should something go down. Google Analytics is great way to see where traffic to your site is coming from and more.

Look at SEO

If you’ve been neglecting your site’s search engine optimization, we’ve got a few ideas about how to fix that. First, read about what SEO is. Next, check out these organic (read: free) ways to boost your SEO.

Start Your Business Blog

You really do need that business blog! Not only is this a great way to reach out to customers and potential customers, blogs also feed your micro content (i.e. social media) and boost your SEO. Learn how to get started here.

Freshen Up Your Site

A stale site is not only bad for SEO, but it’s bad from a customer perspective too. If a potential client sees that your site never gets touched, it can be a huge red flag. There are some easy ways to update your site with new images, refreshed image information, a blog, new reviews from clients, updates to your “about” page, etc.

Get Some Support

Are there areas of your site that need a professional touch? Or is your site in need of a full overhaul or rebuild? Drop us a note, let us know what you’re thinking about and we’ll help make it a reality.

We’re here to help. Click here to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

Google ranking factors

We’ve shared a lot about SEO on the Hammersmith Support blog: what it is, how to boost SEO organically, and how to use images for good SEO. Now we’re bringing you a few of the actual factors that Google uses to rank a site. As of 2019, there are 210 individual factors that Google uses to evaluate a website. Some are things we can all do for our websites, and we’ll detail those below. Others are best left to the website professionals! Here are 10(ish) of the Google Ranking Factors to consider for your business website:

Content Content Content

Content is evaluated in several ways, but we’re going to group a few topics together:

A. Freshness: how recently your website has been updated is HUGE. In fact, Google even puts the date of the most recent update in the search results. If that doesn’t tell you how much Google values fresh content, we don’t know what would. At minimum, content should be updated 1-2 times a month.

B. Update Magnitude: This goes hand in hand with freshness. Changing a few words here and there isn’t going to cut it. Making significant updates to content, like adding new testimonials, images, blogs, or multimedia, will help the most.

C. Quality: Grammar, Spelling: This one is a *little* contested. While some reports say Google doesn’t rank quality, others include quality as part of End User Experience. Bottom line, it doesn’t hurt to have good grammar.

Links

There’s a fine line between not enough links in a post and too many. The baseline is 1 internal (linking to another part of your site) and 1 external (linking to an outside website) link per post. BUT, if you have the opportunity to link to more than one internal page or external site because they’re related to the topic of your post, then there should be more than 1-2 links. Linking to reputable and authoritative sites (news outlets, educational institutions, established businesses) increases the rank as well.

Security

Obviously security is important for your end user safety and your website’s lifespan, but Google also ranks secure sites higher. All the more reason to make sure your URL has that important “s” in the http.

Page Speed

Having a website that loads quickly is usually targeted at end users to keep them from bouncing. But Google also ranks the page speed. If your site has a lot of images or other multimedia, software downloads, or is targeting buyers from around the world, using a CDN can speed up the loading process, not only making potential customers happy, but improving your rank at the same time.

Mobile Friendliness

This is one of the more recent additions to Google Rankings. Having a site that is optimized for mobile users is vital. In addition, priority is given to sites that build mobile framework first, then desktop user framework. Something to keep in mind when evaluating how your end user will likely access your website.

Keywords

Keeping your website’s keywords quality is a must. In addition, be sure that a keyword appears in the first 100 words of a page’s content. At Hammersmith Support, we utilize the Yoast SEO plugin to make sure that our meta data, keywords, and post descriptions are optimized.

Headers, Numbered Lists, Bullet Points

Big, bulky blocks of words are a no-no from an end user’s perspective and for Google Ranking as well. Be sure to break up content and organize it so that readers – and web crawlers – can scan the information easily.

Site Architecture

A well-designed / organized website makes it easier to be evaluated by Google, resulting in a higher ranking. Being able to quickly and easily index site pages is a must. This includes a well-designed site map.

Usability

This is another factor that initially appears to be relevant for the end user, but doubles by impacting rankings as well. An easy-to-navigate site will keep users longer and reduce the bounce rate. This low bounce rate and satisfied user translates into higher rankings.

Image Optimization

We’ve shared how ensuring that your image information is on point is a great way to organically boost a website’s SEO. The same is true for ranking. Making sure that image captions are accurate and informative, while the “behind the curtain” items like title, Alt Text, and description are all completed as well are all considered for rankings. Be sure not to have spammy Alt Text or descriptions. They may work for a short time but will hurt the rank in the long run.

Hungry for more? Click over to the Hammersmith Support Blog for more topics about SEO. 

Blogs have one of the highest ROI’s when it comes to your business. Why is that? There are several reasons, all of which we’ll detail below…but if you need to be convinced to keep reading, consider this; on average, companies with blogs produce 67% more leads a month than those that don’t. Read on to find out more.

Blogs = Links

Blogging gives an opportunity to post both internal links to other parts of your website, along with links to outside sites. This is important for a few reasons. First, internal linking gets visitors to stay on your site longer to explore as well as introduce more information to them. External links provide validity to your posts and most importantly, both types of links boost SEO. Google Ranking factors evaluate and reward posts with credible and accurate links.

The other side of linking is that every blog posted is a link. That link is shared on all social media platforms, LinkedIn, etc. If you post once a week for a year, that’s 52 links to your site floating around waiting to be discovered!

Blogs Boost SEO

Speaking of Google Rankings, blogs help to fill a few of the factors that Google evaluates. Google takes the freshness of websites content so seriously that the date of the last major content update appears in the search results. Note the word major! That’s another Ranking factor; magnitude. The amount changed for the content makes a big difference too.

Customer Value

Setting aside all the technical reasons why blogging is a good thing for your site, blogs are a big win with current and potential customers. Why? Because providing free information for them is a value add for your business / product. In a world where everything comes with a price, having free content for visitors to learn about your company, product, industry or even just gives tips and tricks for every day life is a win. It builds not only value, but trust with your visitors.

Feed Social Media

If the concept of keeping up with your social media content, blog content, website updates, etc is overwhelming, think of it this way; you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to your content. We talked about micro verses macro content and how each concept can feed the other. Think about using your social media posts to create one large, detailed post. Or start with your large, detailed blog post and break it down into smaller bites for your social media. The two areas do not have to be independent thoughts. In fact, having your social media topics and your blog topics all tie together makes your message more memorable because it’s exposed in more than once place. It’s repeating, without beating your visitors over the head.

According to CNBC, nearly 51% of 3.9 billion Internet users worldwide access websites exclusively from their smart phones. That number is expected to increase to 71% by 2025. Those are some incredible stats! These numbers are based on search engine information alone and don’t account for users who may come to your site via social media. Knowing this information, is your website optimized for mobile viewing?

Google Ranking: Mobile First Infrastructure

In 2016, Google added Mobile First Infrastructure to their 200+ ranking system for SEO. This means that websites that are built with the mobile version of their site first are given a higher ranking. Sites that have any mobile infrastructure are given a higher ranking, but those for smart phone first are the highest.

Types of Business / Clients

Some businesses may be saying “our customers don’t use their smart phones to buy” and for some, that’s true. B2B business is more than likely not being handled on mobile devices. However, B2C business has a much higher probability of being accessed on a smart phone. Not sure how your customers are accessing your site? Enroll your website in Google Analytics and use the Audience report to see how your customers are accessing and engaging with your site.

Testing End User Experience

Lastly, if your site is optimized for mobile view, be sure to test it! Ensuring that every part of your site, from the layout to the overall look, is accessible through the mobile version is critical. In addition, the functionality of a mobile site needs to be quick to load and easy to use – in fact, the majority of smart phone users expect the mobile version of a site to load faster than on a desktop computer, and they will turn to a competitor’s site if unsatisfied with loading times or functionality.

Here at Hammersmith Support, we’ve been highlighting the various ways to boost your website’s SEO organically – meaning without paid ads / services. Fresh content, both internal and external links, using Google Search Console are all important parts of SEO. But what about the videos and images you’re using in your content? Are you getting the maximum SEO boost that you could from those images? Here are 5 items to consider for each visual post to ensure you are getting the biggest bang for your image bucks:

File Name

When uploading pictures to your website for a blog or any purpose really, be sure that your file name is complete. Web crawlers look to the name of each image to categorize it. Be sure to use plain but distinctive language and avoid keyword stuffing at all costs. For example, if using this image:

Hammersmith Support Website Maintenance

The image name could be “Hammersmith Support Website Maintenance”. This allows search engines to categorize the image and keeps your site name prominent as well.

Alt Text

Alt Text is often over looked because most don’t understand what it is and what it does. Alt Text are the descriptive words that appear should an image fail to load. The wording is also used for those who are visually impaired. Similar to the image name, using a short and plain, but distinctive description works best for web crawlers to analyze and catagorize. The difference is that the description should also include model numbers, years, anything that is specific to the image.

For this image, the Alt Text could be “Meridian Search Consultants Website Build 2019 Graphic on Laptop Screen”.

Meridian Search Consultants Website Build 2019 Graphic on Laptop Screen

Size Images

Keeping the size of your images in mind is important because an image that is too large won’t load quickly. This is an issue for both SEO and for your visitors. Most are not going to wait around for 3-5 seconds for an image to load. So keeping image size on the smaller side is important. On that same note, keep image sized uniform as well. This is less for SEO and more for the visual appeal of your site – which is important for keeping visitors there longer.

Captions

While these are analyzed for SEO, captions are utilized mostly by readers. Captions are the short descriptions under an image – they’re descriptive, yet not literal like Alt Text. Readers scan captions quicker than the body of the page content – if they don’t find what they’re looking for, they’re likely to bounce out of the site. So good captions keep readers.

The caption for this image could read “At Hammersmith Support, understanding our client’s needs is the paramount to our work.”

Hammersmith Support

Use Relevant Images

Slapping just any old image on your site won’t do you any good with boosting your SEO. Be sure that the images you choose are relevant not only to your business, but more importantly, be sure that they are pertinent to the content around the image. Using relevant images to your topic is important from a few angles. First, it lends validity to your site from a search engine standpoint, and a visitor one as well. Second, it gives an informative and professional appearance to your site. Avoid posting any images that don’t work with your content – the result is spammy and will turn off readers and search engines.

Don’t have any images to use? Don’t worry! There are tons of free stock photo sites out there – our favorites are Canva and Pexels. Just be sure your images are on topic.

We hear the acronym SEO all the time, but Search Engine Optimization really is vital to a great business website. And even more important is to boost SEO organically, meaning without having to pay for clicks. Why is that? Because organic boosts are A. good for your budget and B. better for your potential clients because the information on your website is authentic to what they are looking for. So, how exactly do you boost your SEO naturally?

Fresh and Consistent Content

Search engines are always looking for new information to analyze. Web crawlers love to look over new pages to rank and categorize them. If your content is stale, the web crawlers don’t have anything new to analyze and your page gets left behind other sites that have fresh information. But what if your product information doesn’t change often, or even ever? Enter blogging, video blogs and social media feeds.

Creating useful and informative content for your potential customers is key for not only SEO, but it also creates value for potential clients. Really, it’s a win win. Your product, demographic, and your personal style will determine what form of content you use on your site, just make sure the posts aren’t spammy, but offers real value for visitors.

Meta Data

Meta data is sort of like the behind-the-scenes description on your website. It’s embedded in your content and your pictures. This includes Alt Text on all your site images. Meta Data is a great way to tell a search engine in non fancy language, exactly what your content is about. Your Alt Text on images is important not only for visually impaired readers, but also is a good way to get some additional descriptive information about your post for crawlers to analyze. Utilizing a plug in like Yoast or other SEO tools can help ensure that your Meta Data is on point.

Social Media

Social media is great way to get micro content out to your potential customers. Micro content is little bites of information; 15 second or less videos or quick blurbs of information. These snip-its can feed bigger topics that can be linked and then detailed on your website’s blog. Social media, website content, videos – these are all incestuous, meaning they should all feel the same and share topics. Each one feeds the other.

Analyze Your Site

Enrolling in Google Analytics and Google Search Console are a free and detailed way to analyze what is happening on your website. The reports that are generated by these two applications will point you to what is going right and what possibly needs improvement with your website. Knowing what your potential clients are looking for and whether or not they are finding it can help shape your content strategy.

Link It

Don’t forget about links! Be sure that all your blog and or video posts include both internal and external links. Internal links are important because it can drive traffic to specific areas or products of your site that visitors may not have otherwise found. External links are important for helping people find your site. For example, if you post about the importance of your new product and link to a company with a symbiotic product (for example: you make peanut butter, they make jelly), a potential customer is more likely to visit your site to find that product.

One key take away is that organic SEO is not fast, in fact it can feel very (very) slow. BUT, that slow pace is accompanied by consistent growth in traffic and conversions, which is the best statistic of all. So don’t be discouraged if you’re not seeing lightning quick growth – it’s much better to be the tortoise than the hare when it comes to your SEO.