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What SEO Services Do I Need?

By Austin Evans, Digital Content Strategist

Search Engine Optimization services aren’t like other things you might hire a marketing agency to work on. It’s easy to see the process and final product with new websites, new logos and new copy. Ranking better for search engines like Google, though, is a longer-term process that can feel intentionally obscure.

 

At 5by5, one of our guiding principles is Clarity. We help the businesses we work with clarify their messages, so it only makes sense that we apply that same filter to the SEO services that we offer. Below, we outline exactly what our in-house SEO experts do, why they do it, and what kind of results we are looking for.

SEO Audit

With an existing site, the first thing to do is take a baseline of where your organization is currently. The SEO Audit starts by making sure that all the current best practices are being followed. These are table-stakes and will set the rest of the content up for success. These shouldn’t be considered a comprehensive list, as the world of SEO changes quickly. Six months from now there may very well be 2-3 new ranking factors we are focusing on.

Title tags and meta descriptions

The title tag is what shows up as the main part of your search listing. It should say what the page is about and include some branding or other keyword-rich info. Meta descriptions are the copy below the title tag and should be specifically written to tell users the most helpful information on the page. If these aren’t manually entered, Google will simply pull in the first words on the page, which is rarely as beneficial.

Headings

Headings need to be in the correct order (H1, H2, H3, etc.) and written with the most important keywords in mind. These are one of the first things search engines use when determining what a page is about and how to rank it.

Alt tags on images

Screen readers use alt tags to tell the visually impaired what is contained within an image. They are also what search engines use to understand a photo as well. Properly tagged photos can get pulled into the Images tab and sometimes the main page depending on the search.

User experiece

Among other things, Google calculates Time on Page and Bounce Rate when determining how good a site’s content is. If people are quickly leaving your site without engaging, it will harm its SEO value. The pages that perform best in terms of SEO are ones that people spend more time on, which is why video and infographics are usually beneficial in improving performance.

Site health

Site Health is a broad measure of how well a given site performs. It’s a culmination of all the “under the hood” metrics that don’t always show up on the page. This includes things like 404 errors, bad redirects, sitemap errors, orphan pages, and more. While your Site Health score itself is not a ranking factor, each site issue represents the possibility of a bad user experience.

Core Web Vitals

Speed and convenience are of more importance to website visitors than ever, and Core Web Vitals was Google’s recent effort to quantify this and reward sites that performed well. You can read more about Core Web Vitals here, but the short version is that these are metrics that gauge the speed and stability of your site.

Keyword Research and Planning

Keywords are the way in which people go from a blank slate to your website. A good keyword strategy is based on your audience. Who is searching for your business and what questions are they asking? They will include very intent-based keywords such as “shoe store near me” as well as more exploratory, top-of-funnel keywords like “best shoes to wear to the beach”.

Keyword Groups

We usually break our keywords into three groups: branded keywords, ranked keywords, and target keywords. Branded keywords are ensuring that your organization is showing up when people search your name. Ranked keywords are ones that the site is currently ranking for, as it is much easier to make a page go from 30th to the first page than it is to make a brand new piece of content rank. Finally, target keywords are a shortlist of the most valuable keywords that we want to track and make a concerted effort to rank for. It should be noted that there’s usually some overlap between the lists and they aren’t mutually exclusive.

 

These keywords are the same ones that we use when we are building out a long-term content strategy. Target keywords are an excellent place to start when deciding what kind of content you want to create for your audience.

Competitor Research

Understanding the competitive space is valuable for two reasons. First, it helps to know where your competitors are focusing the bulk of your efforts. Where are you going to be constantly fighting for one of those top spots? What strategies are they using to get them?

The second is that research is the best way to find gaps you can more easily step into. If we can identify a handful of keywords that no one is working to own, you can create content for that search and quickly own it.

Ongoing Search Optimization

SEO is an ever-evolving space. Every day, 15% of the millions of Google searches are brand new — no one has ever searched that exact thing before. Your competitors are always updating their own content, battling for the top positions on the most valuable keywords. Then there is Google itself, which is constantly updating its algorithm but rarely tells the public what those changes are. SEO is not a set-it-and-forget-it undertaking. 

 

To gain traction and build momentum, we monitor site health, page rankings, blog content performance, backlink profile and new keyword opportunities. This kind of ongoing optimization is essential in crowded spaces and a huge competitive advantage in industries with less competition or online focus.

Less Common SEO Tricks

SEO is an ever-evolving space. Every day, 15% of the millions of Google searches are brand new — no one has ever searched that exact thing before. Your competitors are always updating their own content, battling for the top positions on the most valuable keywords. Then there is Google itself, which is constantly updating its algorithm but rarely tells the public what those changes are. SEO is not a set-it-and-forget-it undertaking. 

 

To gain traction and build momentum, we monitor site health, page rankings, blog content performance, backlink profile and new keyword opportunities. This kind of ongoing optimization is essential in crowded spaces and a huge competitive advantage in industries with less competition or online focus.

YOUTUBE

YouTube is a great place to build the discoverability of your website. Google owns YouTube and thus prioritizes it in searches. Whenever you see a video come up in search results, it is almost always from YouTube.

Google crawls three places for search information: The title of the video, the description, and the captions. Most people don’t realize how helpful it is to create video content around highly searched terms and then properly caption it.   You can even use Google’s Key Moments feature to call out specific timestamps.

 

SCHEMA

Schema gets into the more technical side of SEO. It is a type of structured data (code) that tells search engines more about the context of what is on your site. If you’ve ever seen a restaurant menu or movie times pulled directly into search results, that’s schema at work.

There are hundreds of kinds of schema and they are adding more all the time. For our clients, we are usually creating schema that highlights the organization’s location information, FAQs, video content, reviews, and product information.

Want SEO Services for Your Site?

SEO is an ever-evolving space. Every day, 15% of the millions of Google searches are brand new — no one has ever searched that exact thing before. Your competitors are always updating their own content, battling for the top positions on the most valuable keywords. Then there is Google itself, which is constantly updating its algorithm but rarely tells the public what those changes are. SEO is not a set-it-and-forget-it undertaking. 

 

To gain traction and build momentum, we monitor site health, page rankings, blog content performance, backlink profile and new keyword opportunities. This kind of ongoing optimization is essential in crowded spaces and a huge competitive advantage in industries with less competition or online focus.

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