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SEO and Content Marketing, Your Top 10 Questions Answered

Content Marketing Workshop

Throughout 2016 Dolezal Consulting delivered their renowned and highly regarded Content Marketing ~ Conquered interactive full-day workshops, designed to kick-start businesses on their Content Marketing journey. Alongside Joanne Dolezal's excellent course I provided a short section on Search Engine Optimisation and its impact on Content Marketing and your website traffic. For the first level course, I delivered SEO insight via a relaxed, informal Question and Answer format. Workshop attendees posed their pressing SEO issues, and my aim was to answer them in a non-technical, plain English way to provide the most value.

Search Engine Optimisation Training Newcastle

The Content Marketing Conquered courses were produced and presented by Joanne Dolezal of Dolezal Consulting and Katherine Wildman of Haydn Grey (presenting her specialist insight into copywriting) at the prestigious NESMA offices in Newcastle. NESMA work with companies and individuals across the North East, Cumbria and Scotland to help them keep up to with speed with contemporary marketing trends and challenges through training, consulting and facilitating.

Joanne also produced a tailored Content Marketing course for accountancy software company Sage delivered over a few months at their headquarters in Newcastle.

10 of the most commonly asked SEO questions

Over the process of delivering my SEO sessions at Joanne's workshops, I recognised many questions were asked, again and again. So here are the top 10, most asked Search Engine Optimisation questions, during these courses and their answers. As these were the most commonly asked SEO questions, I think you will also find them enlightening and create some clarity around Search Engine Optimisation, how impacts your marketing and drives traffic to your website. You don't need to know every nuance of SEO, the basics and fundamentals will help you to make a start.

Search Engine Optimisation Training Newcastle

1. "What is SEO?"

SEO is short for Search Engine Optimisation. The wiki definition is 'the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine's unpaid results'. And Moz's definition - 'Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results'.

For me, Search Engine Optimisation is a powerful way of promoting your business to the right people, at the right time, for the right thing.  When done well it can deliver results over the long term, with some content ranking high for years, without additional effort. It is a critical element of your online business marketing, after all, what’s the point in having a beautiful website if the right people can't find it?

When designing and developing websites for business, Arttia Creative include SEO from the outset. That means your site and business are more likely to be found when we include a detailed SEO strategy from the get-go.

Search Engine Optimisation Training Newcastle

2. "What are Keywords?"

The phrase 'Keywords' is commonly used when discussing Search Engine Optimisation. However, it isn't always clear what this means. Keywords are ideas and topics that define what your content is about; they are important because they are the key element between what people are searching for and the content you are providing for filling that need. SEO isn't just about Keywords - it has to include topics and variations around priority Keywords.

"Seriously useful Search Engine Optimisation presentation by Belinda [Arttia Creative, Content Marketing Conquered Workshop]".

Gerry King /I-netco

Search Engine Optimisation Training Newcastle

3. "Keywords - Long tail vs short tail?"

From experience of working with clients and SEO,  'long tail' keywords are the most important for many businesses when they want to drive traffic. Long tail keywords are typically three or four keyword phrases which are very, very specific to whatever a company is selling. When a person uses a highly specific search phrase, they tend to be looking for exactly what they are going to buy. Whereas a single keyword is very often too broad in its meaning and intention. A single word can be very difficult to rank for and highly competitive, where a 'long tail' phrase is much more defined and more likely to convert into a sale or become a customer.

Search Engine Optimisation Training Newcastle

4. "Should I SEO optimise my images on my website and how?"

Google can't yet 'read' images (at the time of writing) so it only 'sees' the image file name. If your business needs their images to be found, for example, an online store's product images or a business that manufactures items then optimising your images for search is important. Image optimisation is best provided using the following techniques.

ALT tag – This is a written image description associated with that image placed in the code. Many Content Mangement Systems (CMS) provide an area for you to add a unique ALT tag for your images. For example, in the WordPress media dashboard, you can easily add a description. There is no limit to the number of words you use in your ALT tag. However, I would recommend you include your targeted keyword within your image description. This will add to Google's overall understanding of your website content and its relevance for specific search queries.

You should also optimise your image file name. For example 'picture1.jpg' should really be something like  'ladies-white-cotton-coat.jpg'. Adding to the keyword weighting for your image and further informing Google about the page's content.

EXAMPLE: <img src="womens-cotton-white-coat.jpg" alt="Women's Cotton White Coat designed in Milan">

If time allows it's also worth adding an image 'title' that can provide additional information.
EXAMPLE: <img src="womens-cotton-white-coat.jpg" alt="Women's Cotton White Coat designed in Milan" title="This season's stunning women's white cotton coat">

File size – fast loading images are a must for websites. So optimise the file size of your images using Photoshop or one of the many image optimisation online tools.

Search Engine Optimisation Training Newcastle

5. "Should I SEO optimise my video on my website and how?"

Video is typically delivered by an online streaming service such as YouTube of Vimeo. YouTube is owned by Google and is the second largest search engine. If you have access to a streaming service via your hosting, then video on your site will avoid any of the usual YouTube distractions and advertising, however, hosted video can be an expensive route to go down. Typically business rely on a third party streaming service such as YouTube. Optimising your videos for search is a powerful way of driving more traffic and building your brand.

Methods for video SEO include adding your keywords and topics to:
Video file names, video meta tags, video description and keyword in your transcripts or annotations.

Search Engine Optimisation Training Newcastle

6. "How often should I change my website content?"

Nobody likes stale content, and 'freshness' could well be a Google search ranking factor. Google wants to deliver the most relevant and up-to-date results to its searchers. So your published date may have an impact on your SEO results, that doesn't mean your older content won't rank if it's highly relevant it's still likely to perform well in the search results. It is thought that websites that add new pages at a higher rate may earn a higher freshness score than sites that add content less frequently. With new content, you are more likely to have consistent, if not increased traffic and engagement to your website, another important factor for Google.

Search Engine Optimisation Training Newcastle

7. "What links can I put on my website to improve my SEO?"

Internal linking is an important factor for SEO. Internal links are links within your website structure, one element of your page linking to another page on your website. These links help users navigate from one page to another and therefore play an essential role in delivering a cohesive User Experience. The quality and number of links coming into a page are used as a ranking signal.

Google provides a free Internal Links Report tool which can be used to see a list of your website’s internal links.

Search Engine Optimisation Training Newcastle

8. "How does blogging and SEO work?"

I have written quite a few articles on the power and importance of having a business blog. Having a regular blogging schedule enables you to create new content on your website within which you can incorporate a range of keywords and topics. A blog provides an area on which you can go into greater depth on your products or services, increasing your perceived authority and showcasing your expertise.

It is a powerful way of increasing your brand awareness and speaking to your audience.

Search Engine Optimisation Training Newcastle

9. "What are headlines, H1, H2, H3 and SEO?"

Headlines within a pages text or 'header tags' refers to the HTML markup used to distinguish headings and subheadings within your content from other types of text (e.g. paragraph text). Not to be confused with your 'title' tag, something that is completely different. Headings run from h1–h6, with h1 being more 'important' in Google's eyes than perhaps an h6. When writing and formatting your content, it is still arguably important to aim for one h1 tag, two h2 tags and three or more h3 - h6 tags. Careful attention to this type of formatting can lead to major ranking increases when you use your target keyword in an h1 and then keyword variants in the other subheadings (h2, h3, h4, etc.).

Search Engine Optimisation Training Newcastle

10. "Can I D.I.Y my SEO?"

Search Engine Optimisation is not a difficult subject to get to grips with. The challenging factors are the time it takes to consistently implement all of the SEO elements you need and the ever-changing, fast-moving factors that Google defines as important to its search results. If you have the time to work on your own SEO and read up on all of the constant Google changes then you can certainly do your own SEO.

Bonus question

"What are the top 3 things I can do 'easily' on a regular basis that will improve my SEO?"

This was a great question, so I thought I would include it as a bonus for you for reading through the top ten questions.

  1. Research your keywords and have a plan. Guessing the words your audience is using to find your products and services may mean you are missing out on some obvious keywords. Perform some keyword research and find out the most valuable words and phrases that are likely to drive the right kind of traffic to your website. Do this on a regular basis as top performing keywords can change over time.
  2. Create new, relevant, detailed content. Having a well designed, well written, well-optimised set of core website pages is fundamental to an effective website. Both Google and your visitors benefit from finding new content. Freshness is an SEO factor. New content will improve your traffic and search rankings. Create new content around Keywords, topics and value to your audience.
  3. Promotion and outreach. Build it and they will come is not a good strategy. When you have created your new content, you need to promote it. Consistently across your channels. Promote your content in the places where your audience is likely to be. Reach out to your industry experts and influencers, so they have the opportunity understand your expertise.

"Belinda did an amazing job of talking us through everything we need to know regarding SEO for our website. She took the time to teach us what we needed from the very basics of what Google looks for when ranking web pages to the best ways to monitor our own progress so that we are able to become self-sufficient in improving our SEO. Her advice was invaluable and gave us a fantastic ‘to-do’ list regarding improvements to be made, we couldn’t thank her and recommend her enough.".

C Dixon. HR Consultant & Director at Holgate HR

The Takeaway.

Search Engine Optimisation and Content Marketing are a powerful combination for driving traffic and promoting your business. You can make a greater impact with the content you create if it is also Search Optimised for the largest reach. To reach the right people, at the right time in the right place.

"We could not have been happier with the service from Arttia Creative. Throughout every step of our Search Engine Optimisation campaign Arttia Creative helped us with hints, tips, advice and her presentations to us were brilliant".

Matt and Gayle / Children's clothing boutique.

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