what is seo

What is SEO?

what is seo

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of creating content such as website pages, which is designed in a way that is ranked well on search result pages to effectively fulfill the search intent of the person searching the internet via that specific search engine. SEO has been a process practiced by internet marketing experts since the advent of search engines. Think of SEO like this- you hire marketing companies to create stunning ads and content that appeals to the target audience. Search engine optimization acts in the same way that it focuses on excellent web content that appeals to the searcher and the search engine.

The purpose of this article is not to provide you with a detailed step-by-step process for each aspect of effective and affordable SEO, but rather to only touch on the terms you will likely see while learning about SEO. Don’t get me wrong; there are plans for a series of best practice articles you can use to optimize your website, but today we are only covering the “What” aspect of SEO rather than the “How” aspect.

Areas of SEO

The facet of digital marketing, known as SEO, is comprised of many areas. For your understanding, we will briefly touch on high-level aspects of each area of SEO and what they are used for.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is merely doing something technical in nature to improve the search rankings of that particular subject.  Technical SEO is essentially: Creating a website structure that contributes to the effectiveness of the search engine bot (a program that scans the internet) in its crawling of your website. Some questions you might ask yourself while auditing your website in the technical search optimization realm are in line with whether the site structure will be optimized for the searcher, and therefore the search engine to find what they need. Other aspects are the usage of an SSL certificate as it is now a factor in the Google search algorithm. This means that sites with an SSL certificate are given more power in the search rankings than equal websites that do not have an SSL. Don’t get lost in the weeds here; we will cover more on technical SEO in a later article.

On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO is the alteration of website content to rank higher in the search results page. This includes the inclusion and usage of keywords (the words people use in their search) in places that make sense. For instance, if a high-quality web page is about making widgets, then the reader would expect the title of the web page to include words such as “widgets.” You would also likely find that the author would discuss the process of making widgets in their content and, therefore, words related to widgets and the process of making them would be included. There are certain helpful places in the material where these words would be used, but that’s an entirely different article.

Off-Page SEO

As the name implies, Off-Page (or off-site) search engine optimization works to improve the authority of the webpage concerning the content that it provides. The easiest way for Google to determine if a site or page is authoritative is by how many links to it the site has. Google considers links to a site as the equivalent to a vote of confidence from another website or entity. Links from a site that Google already ranks highly and is deemed trusted and authoritative on the topic that you are covering tends to have more voting power than a brand-new website that may not even be about be related to your site content. Again, there is a science to effective backlinks, which we will cover in another article.

Local SEO

Local search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the rankings of your business listing on Google or Bing. Search on your phone or computer for the services of a local business (example- handyman) and the search engine will return a list and map with results for the Google My Business (GMB) listing or Bing Places listing if you use Bing. Local SEO is the process of improving the order in which your business’ listing appears for potential customers/clients looking for your types of services and products. Google’s local search algorithm utilizes different aspects (signals) of a website and listing than that of their standard search algorithm, which is why you should hire an affordable local SEO expert if you’re a local business to attract local customers searching for what you provide.

Conclusion

I hope this article helps you better understand the different types of SEO are about. In the world of digital marketing and search engine optimization, in particular, there tends to be a strange secrecy regarding what is done to help search rankings. You should not have to scratch your head over stuffy verbiage used by experts in their field. When it doubt, look it up. Hire an affordable seo expert who is not afraid to explain the work they will do for you using language that you understand. At the end of the day, an expert in search optimization is a lot like any professional service provider- they have the knowledge to fix the problem you have, but you should understand the “what” and “why” of what they do. With EdElkins.com, we want to empower the small business owner with the knowledge and services they need to be successful- there are no secrets, only remarkable results.

SEO for Etsy

Easy SEO Tips for Etsy

Improving Etsy Product Visibility with SEO

Etsy sales not quite what you had hoped for? Feeling like you are just spinning your wheels week after week to try to make sales from your Etsy page? Using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tips for products and profile on the most popular hand-made private seller platform may just be what you need to finally see a return on your Etsy investment.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process wherein you make your website or content more appealing to search engines such as Google and Bing? The search engines have specific factors that it uses to determine how search results appear and in what order. The same holds true for Etsy. Etsy has its own search factors that it adheres to each and every time someone searches for a product using the website or the Etsy App.

 It is through this article that we discuss specific measures you can take on your Etsy profile page and product pages to become more appealing to their search algorithm and searchers in general. Keep in mind that if you tailor your product listings to become more appealing to searchers, they will become more appealing to the search algorithm as well. 

Search Intent

Let’s take a look at what Etsy is to better understand how their search algorithm works in addition to what searchers see. 

SEO for Etsy

 In the image to the left you will see the layout of the Etsy homepage. Aside from the logo in the upper left corner, the top of the page is dominated by a large search bar. The search bar, for those wanting to purchase products from the site, is the gateway to the information they seek and Etsy is aware of facet of user intent, otherwise it would not be the first thing you see when the page loads.

Once a search is completed, in this example quilts (everyone loves a good quilt), the searcher will then see the search results which will highlight specific attributes of the quilts available for sale. They will see the categories of types of quilts, the image uploaded as a way for the seller to showcase their work, the title of the product that they are selling, reviews (in star format), price (including discount as indicated by the seller) and any additional promotion option the seller chooses such as free shipping. 

Etsy Search Results

You will notice similarities between the products on the first page as well as a few difference. If we look at the results, we will see that the word, “quilt” is evident (in actual results on the page you may need to hover your mouse over the title to read the complete title for the product). This tells us that the keyword describing the product “quilt” is an important factor in the search algorithm.  It is a part of the algorithm because it assists the searcher in discovering what they are searching for and their reasoning for doing so. This is called search intent. It is the goal of the algorithm to display results based upon that intent. In this example we can see the second search result as being a specific type of thread used in quilts. You will note that the first products as highlighted in the image are paid ads. We still look to these because, although they are paid, the algorithm still utilizes its rules but with the addition of rules governing ad placement and order. Further down the page we see quilts and other products related to quilting that are showing as part of organic search results. They are called organic because the additional paid factors do not come into play. The search engine is looking at all of the products shop owners have indicated to be quilts and then asking itself, “If I were searching for quilts, what else in addition to quilts might I be interested in?” It then serves up results that answers the question. To better understand why the first organic search result is ranked first, we must engage in competitor analysis.

Search Ranking Analysis

For this portion of our deep dive into SEO for Etsy, we will engage in competitor analysis. This has been likened to reverse engineering the search result to uncover which SEO techniques the shop owner or SEO is using to obtain that #1 result placement. Let’s walk through this process together. In this image we have expanded on the title by hovering over it and we see that the keyword quilt is located in the title. Additionally, the title has other keywords that one might expect to see when searching for quilts such as the type of fabric used. In fact, this search result is not of a quilt itself but is actually for squares of fabric used for MAKING quilts.

etsy seo result 1 photo

Why might fabric for quilts show up in the Etsy search results prior to an actual quilt, you might ask? Let’s dive deeper into our 
analysis to see why this product stands taller than all others in the search.
 

If we were to click on the search result and travel to the product page, we can uncover the ETSY SEO techniques being used while diving into the search signals that have propelled this product to #1 for the search term quilts.

What does Etsy look for in determining how a product will rank for a search?

Search Signals, as they are called are the individual factors that influence ranking of the product. Let’s look at these signals individually and then how the #1 search result stacks up on the product page for those signals that are visible to us. 
 
  •  Relevancy
    • Relevancy asks, “How relevant is this product to the searcher’s request?”. Search signals related to relevancy include keywords, whether an exact match or similar to what is being search for,  in product titles, tags, and categories.  This means that a keyword should appear in these areas. WARNING: do not “stuff” the keyword into these areas numerous times over. This not only does NOT help your cause but it looks unnatural and unappealing to the person searching for your product
  • Product Location and Shipping
    •  Does it make much sense for Etsy to display a product located on the other side of the world with expensive shipping when a similar product is located nearby with cheaper shipping? Of course not! That is why these search signals and factors are HUGE. Etsy would be doing a disservice to the searcher if it showed products first that would a) take a long time to get to the searcher and b) be cost prohibitive. etsy seo factor: locationIn this example, I am located in Mesa, Arizona and the first result (as seen above) is located in Las Vegas, Nevada, has FREE shipping and indicated that it ships within 1 business day. Since the item is in close proximity to me, ships quickly and the cost is not too high, Etsy decided that this should be the first search result I see. Afterall, with all of these factors it would make sense that I would be likely to buy it. 
  • Customer Experience Score
    •  Would the searcher likely have a positive experience with this product from this seller or a less than stellar experience? This is where customer feedback comes into play. The feedback scores you receive not only display on the product page to psychologically attract you to that seller and that product but the search algorithm does the same thing. In this case, the reviews for the shop and the item have been great. etsy seo reviews 
  • Conversion Rate of The Product Profile
    • How well does the product convert into a sale? Why would Etsy rank a product when the product profile does not result in a sale? The whole purpose of the search algorithm is to show you products that Etsy thinks you will by based upon the intent of your search. As a result, products that have sold well and convert searchers into customers have an easier time ranking higher than products whose profiles are viewed thousands of time and rarely, if ever, result in a sale.  The quilt fabric that is highlighted about has sold 2,174 times as of the drafting of this article. Actionable item: Is your product description likely to appeal to people searching for it? If not, ask around for the opinion of others. Based upon your listing, if the person did not know you personally, would they likely buy it?
  • Recency
    •  Etsy temporarily inflates the ranking (in a good way) of a new product listing so that it can determine how well the product will do with customers. Will it convert like we discussed above? Even renewed (updated) listings are temporarily inflated so that the Etsy search algorithm can evaluate the performance of it. This is why it is important to update existing product listings regularly.
  • External Factors
    •  Etsy is no different than Google or Bing when it comes to search algorithms in that it looks to see how relevant and popular the product is outside of etsy. Is your listing being linked to by other websites with similar interests? In this example, it would be be beneficial to have links coming from popular quilting and fabric sites or how-to blogs. Look to do the same with your product listing. Share it on Facebook, Pinterest, forums related to the product, how to blog posts, etc. 

 Your next steps:

Now that you have a better understanding as to how Etsy ranks products in the search results the way it does, you can make positive changes and engage in SEO for Etsy. Follow these three common sense rules when you are optimizing our listings. 
  1. Draft your product listing with the intent of the searcher in mind. Are you using your keywords only enough to show relevance? Is your product description accurate and appealing to the searcher?
  2. Does you customer experience align with the way you would want to be treated? This will improve your customer experience score.

Do not be afraid to experiment. After a week of not seeing results, renew your listing with update information, tags, descriptions, etc. This will not only boost your ranking while Etsy determines how well the listing does but it will also help you determine what techniques will sell. 

scales of justice lawyer

SEO Tips for Lawyers

scales of justice lawyer

Top 5 SEO Tips For Law Firms

Search engine optimization for the legal field makes for a rough and tumble existence. I know, I’ve been doing law firm SEO for the past decade. Like in law, there is very little room for error. Optimizing your site for the search engines takes a lot of research, skill, and patience. Yes, I said marketing’s most dreaded word, “patience.” You regularly make website content changes, work backlink campaigns, and review results. Make changes and then rinse and repeat. Yes, I’m simplifying the process considerably, but it is a process. All of the hard work is worth it, though when you get a call or email from a client thanking you for their increased business. 

If you are in need of more business at your firm, whether you are a large firm or a solo practitioner, use the five following tips that have helped me increase client intake for more than a decade.

5) Claim Your Profiles

Your goal here is to claim or create profiles and directory listings for your business. You specifically should get your Google My Business (GMB), Bing Places, Yelp, AVVO, law.cornell.edu, Lawyers.com, and other similar directory listings. On each of these listings, your name, address, and phone number should match the content that you have on your website. This helps your local SEO campaign as it signals to the search engines that you are reputable and a signal of accuracy as to the content that searchers are searching for.

4) Research Your Competitors

Complete an in-depth review of your competitors so that you better understand their SEO tactics, and what your course of action must be to overtake their internet marketing efforts. You can use tools such as SpyFu or Moz Pro to get a sense of what keywords your competitors have been ranking for, where their backlinks (links from one site to another) are coming from. This way, you can find link opportunities and can reach out to those site owners to get a link back to your site as well. 

3)  Content is King

Google and Bing are not fans of old stagnant websites that provide little information to the searcher. Well written, information-based content appears to be, at least as of now, the priority for the search engines. High-quality content is content that has at least 500 words in length that answers a question, discusses a specific topic, or provides information that is in alignment with the searcher’s intent. For example, for a family law attorney, this may be a 1000 word blog post on domestic violence. 

2) Gather Reviews

You have your profiles already, but now is the time to put them to use. These profiles serve not only as a nifty search result for those potential clients searching for your areas of law, but they also serve as a way to social proof your business. These listings do this by allowing clients to review your legal services, which then sell searchers on your services. It may be beneficial for you to have an internet link for the purpose of review gathering where your clients can leave their feedback. You can draft up a template email with the link to send to clients or print a handout with step-by-step instructions for clients to follow. 

1) Adhere to the rules governing attorney advertising in your state. 

Okay, so this isn’t an actual SEO tip per se, but the importance of this should not be taken lightly. I’ve seen numerous attorneys hiring web designers or SEOs with no experience regarding the rules of attorney advertising that you must follow to stay in the good graces of your state Bar Association. Review the rules and make sure that your website and SEO strategy adheres to these rules. All of the SEO in the world cannot help you if you are found to be in violation of these rules and are publicly reprimanded via an attorney disciplinary hearing. 

Conclusion:

We have just touched the surface of law firm SEO, and there is still so much more to discuss. Having been a practicing attorney, I understand the frustration that can occur with trying to increase business through the internet, but these tips must be adhered to if you want to set yourself up for success. They may not be the standard lawyer SEO tips that others write about, but they are the most important tips I can attest to after my decade in the law firm SEO field.

Questions:  Please feel free to reach out to me with your questions regarding these or any tips you have found on the web. I can be reached by emailing ed@edelkins.com and will be happy to point you to the information you need.