Website SEO Audit

picture of Google Analytics on a laptop

This is an actual FREE SEO audit we performed for a client.

Here are our SEO Audit Findings

  1. Site is not mobile responsive.  This is important because Google is indexing mobile sites first.
  2. Site is very amateurish with poor design and color palette.
  3. Pages have no descriptions for searchers to understand
  4. There is no call to action or incentive to call
  5. The Home Page, About, Why, has all caps (that’s like shouting at everyone visiting your page)
  6. Should have NAP, Hours, Map embed should be on the home page
  7. Really thin content on entire site
  8. No social links to FB, Yelp, etc
  9. No customer reviews on Home page
  10. Mentions contractor review site but why is there no link to it?
  11. Site needs more a more professional/UX design
  12. Gallery page has mostly studio images.
  13. Contact form offers no incentive to fill out
  14. No Meta descriptions, headings, or title tags
  15. There are no keywords on any pages
  16. Need to optimize titles, H1’s, H2’s for keywords
  17. Site is not indexed with Google (sitemap)
  18. Set up Google My Business for local search visibility
  19. Off-page citations building needs to be done
  20. No Schema Markup on pages
  21. Need to specify preferred canonical “www” or not
  22. Need SSL certificate
  23. 11 images have no alt attributes
  24. Language tag and declaration missing
  25. Needs a backlink strategy. only one website linking to site.
  26. Site needs page and image caching
  27. Phone number is not clickable to call
  28. Get a review generating strategy in place
  29. Consider switching to a CMS like WordPress or Squarespace
  30. Site needs categories for windows and siding
  31. Site needs internal link silo architecture

Top Ten Roadmap to Fix

  1. Makeover to a mobile responsive WordPress site-Use the latest best practices for UX and UI design
  2. SSL Certificate with Hosting company
  3. Keyword research and optimize pages
  4. Need more content with words/images
  5. NAP, hours, map, Reviews on home page
  6. Set up off page citation building with Moz local, GMB, bing, yahoo
  7. Alt tags on images, and get more actual photos
  8. Call to action incentive and button
  9. Google index the site
  10. Schema Markup
  11. Social engagement and Review strategy

 

Teaching SEO at the HackerLab

picture of Hacker Lab in Rocklin

I will be teaching a course about the latest SEO best practices in 2018.  The class will be on Thursday, January 18th from 6:00 pm until approximately 8:00pm.  This class will cover some very important elements that you need to have on your website to get it to show up in a Google search.  Register for the class here!

Some of the topics we will be covering will be:

  • Top Google Ranking Factors for 2018
  • Using a sales funnel
  • Defining the business proposition
  • Keyword research tools and search volumes
  • on-page and off-page SEO
  • Proper page tags, titles, and home page optimization
  • Best off-page citations to set up
  • Content optimization and strategies
  • Email list building and Lead Magnets
  • Backlink and review building
  • Social Sharing
  • SEO Q & A session

The class will be over an hour long, with a Q & A session if you have specific SEO questions for your website

Make sure you RSVP on the Hacker Lab website for the class here

Top 10 WordPress SEO Checklist 2018 (Updated)

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Top 10 WordPress SEO Checklist 2018 That You Should Do (Right Now!)

1. Make sure your theme is mobile-friendly. Google’s algorithm favors mobile-optimized websites. Luckily for you, most of the themes are built this way today. If your theme is more than five years old, you might want to check. Look at your site from your phone. Now rotate from portrait to landscape. Did the site resize? Now check if you have to use the thumb and forefinger to expand your text to read it. If you didn’t pass these tests you’re not mobile friendly! Pro developer tip: Also think that people will be finger touching and scrolling, not clicking using a mouse, so use just one column with no sidebars.

2. Install the Moz Bar Chrome Extension. This handy extension will allow you to check some other things on this list, so get it right now! It’s free. Just Google “Moz Chrome Extension” while using the Chrome browser and install it. It will be a little black button with an “M” on it. Go to your website, and while on the home page click on the “M” button, then go to the left side of the drop down and click on the green floppy disk icon (remember those?) to perform some free and important SEO checks.

3. Is your site have an SSL certificate? Look at your site where you input the URL and see if you have the “little green padlock”. This is a Google ranking factor. Most hosting companies now include or will sell you a single site SSL certificate.

4. Using the Moz bar, check your titles, H1’s and H2’s to see if they are the correct lengths (titles should be around 65-75 characters and Meta descriptions should be around 150) Also your H1 can be your brand or keyword (or both) and you can check if you are using your main keywords. Check this for each page of your site. This is what I do for an SEO audit and is the most common problem. Pro developer tip: install the basic (free) Yoast SEO plugin which will help you write meta descriptions (aka “snippets”).

5. Using the Moz bar, are you putting your main keywords bold? This is important because it gives those words emphasis to Google, and help them figure what your site is about. Don’t think of using bold as a style element for the reader, think of using bold for getting people to find you online for your main article, product or service.

6. Give your site the “five-second” test. Have a stranger at Starbucks look at your site quickly and see if they can tell you what your site is about. If they can’t it’s a red flag!

7. Run Google Page Speed Test and see what your load time is. Moz bar will show you this too, but it’s not as accurate as having Google run it. Your site should load time under 2 secs. Any longer it’s a problem, especially on mobile devices using cellular.

8. Use Moz bar and click over to see if your site has Schema Markup installed. Chances are you do not. I rarely SEO Audit a site that has it. Schema markup is so Google better understands what your site is about. Use a plugin like JSON-LD to help you write it, or hire an SEO pro to do it for you.

9. Is there a call to action on the home page, above the fold? It’s super important to give visitors your main CTA without making them scroll to find it. It should be a large contrasting color button front and center that can’t be missed.

10. Content is king! Google loves lots of content, so have lots of words on all your pages. The latest best practice in 2018 is to have 2500 words! Start paragraphs early on with keywords, and have other latent semantic keywords sprinkled throughout your text. What are LSI keywords you ask? It’s the “related searches” at the bottom of a Google Search Result Page (SERP). Or use free tools like LSIgraph.com or answerthepublic.com

11. Bonus pro tip: do not write your content using a word processing app like Word, or even in the word press editor. It adds too much bad extra stuff! Write articles in Evernote, notes, or notepad, then cut and paste into WordPress. This way you get the clean text without any hidden styling, an exact word count (this article is exactly 753 words) and you can check spelling and grammar before you post it.

Not Showing Up in Google Search Anymore? Here’s Why!

Picture of a puzzle that reads “SEO is a bunch of little things that add up

 

Does your website have trouble showing up in a Google search? When was the last time you checked? Are you on the first page? Second?

Here’s a simple test…go “Incognito” in Chrome or “Private Browsing” in Safari and just search for your main product or service. If you are not showing up on page one of the Google page something is not right and that is hurting your business. Maybe you used to be on page one, but now are not? The good news is, you’re not alone!

In a nutshell, the past few years has had a serious negative effect on millions of websites because of the last few big updates to how Google “ranks” a web page. The “Penguin” update affected poor quality backlinks, for example, and the “Panda” update affected sites with poor, or thin content.

Lastly, the “Hummingbird” update affected sites that are not mobile-friendly. Now, Google is implementing “Rank Brain”, which is their AI, and it is learning about human search intent. This is bad news for site owners who do not add any new content to their websites as they will get penalized even more than before.

Everything is shifting away from just ranking using keywords to better User Experience (UX), User Intent (UI), and Authority Building. Frequent, relevant, and valuable content is by far the most important SEO ranking factor today, (besides page speed) and most site owners either don’t know about it or are just not implementing a content strategy.

Business owners treat websites like digital yellow page ads and often they feel they should just set it and forget it. Unfortunately, if you rely on leads from the internet, you can’t do this anymore. If you think you were having ranking trouble before, just wait!

You can fight back just by adding good content on a fairly regular basis. This can be in written form or even video. You can do this yourself or hire someone to add content to your site for you, often for prices far less than you think. There are many other strategies for content and would be more than happy to share with you.

Most business websites I audit have so many problems negatively affecting their search rankings and the owner has no idea this was happening. That’s why I offer “Site Audits for Beer”, which is a fun, casual event where we take a look at your website to see if there is any problems.

We are visiting several of the best craft beer houses in the area with our laptops on hand to perform simple checks to see if the site can use some love.

 

SEO Ranking Factors in 2018

Picture of a spider web

 

Google Ranking Factors in 2018

  1. Google is indexing mobile sites first
  2. Fast load time. Use google page speed test to check your site.
  3. Make sure it is rendering properly on different size screens
  4. Implement Schema Markup. This is coded into a website and is a plugin for several platforms.
  5. UX and bounce rates. One has to implement google analytics and google search console
  6. Time spent on page. Use Google Analytics and Google Search Console metrics.
  7. Heat map to see where your users are going
  8. Reviews are huge part of the algorithm. Everyone needs to actively be soliciting reviews and display on the site.
  9. Social signals, do people share your content?
  10. Updating your site frequently with content. Due to the Panda update, content is king. Video and or written.
  11. Scan for duplicate content on your site as it’s a penalty
  12. Are you an authority in your industry? Participate in forums and blogs.
  13. Hyperlocal citations for showing up in local search results.
  14. Long form content ranks best with 2500-3000 word posts
  15. Use graphics, images and video on your site.

Download the Google Search Engine Optimization Guide

Subscribe and Get Our Top 10 SEO Checklist for 2018

Some excellent SEO Tools we use to check websites

Site audits:

Semrush
SEOSiteCheckup
SEOCentro
SEO Profiler
Moz Local
Open Site Explorer
Keyword Difficulty Checker
Mozbar Chrome Extension
SERPTrends SEO Extension
Stylish Chrome Extension
Beamusup
Structured Data Testing Tool

SEO browser

KW RESEARCH

KeywoordTool.io
KWfinder
LSI Graph
Google Keyword Planner

longtailpro.com

answerthepublic.com

ubersuggest.com

soovie.com

keywordshitter.com

spyfu.com

Search Engines

Google.com

Bing.com

Yahoo.com

UX Tools

fivessecondtest.com

usabilityhub.com

ONLINE SEO TOOLS

seobook.com

seoprofiler.com

CITATIONS

moz.com/local/search

whitespark.com

A great list of citation sites by category by Whitespark

semrush.com

Googlemybusiness.com

bingplacesforbusiness.com

infogroup.com

neustarlocaleze.com

acxiom.com

factual.com

foursquare.com

biz.yelp.com

ANALYTICS

Google Analytics
Google Search Console
Bing Search Console

LINK BUILDING

Email Hunter Chrome Extension
Pitchbox
Broken Link Checker Extension
Broken Link Check

REVIEW GENERATION
Grade.us
Pleper.com

CONTENT WRITERS
Writeraccess.com
Fiverr.com
Upwork.com
Onlinejobs.ph

WP PLUGINS FOR SEO

JSON-LD Schema Markup
Simple Site Maps
SEO Yoast

PAGE SPEED

Google Page Speed Insights
GTMETRIX

Google Mobile Friendly Site Test
Google Mobile Page Speed Test

EXTRAS

Copyscape

joinbytext.com

searchengineland.com

IMAGE Optimization
Compressor.io
Optimizilla.com
Imsanity.com

 

Website Redesign for Eagle Construction

screen shot for eagle construction website

When I saw a potential client’s website I had to convince them to let me make it over.  The old site was made by a relative using Godaddy’s old website builder.  It was bad.

Eagle Construction Website Before

The Old Website

I performed a site audit and found the following problems:

  1. No call to action on home page
  2. What color palette is this??
  3. Typography is horrible.
  4. No Call To Action button
  5. No reviews on home page
  6. Home page is just a photo slideshow and is slow to load
  7. Need to optimize images
  8. Color palette is very amateurish
  9. Needs business hours
  10. No internal link structure
  11. No page title, meta description, h1s or h2s
  12. “serving vallejo…” in bold with no keywords used
  13. No alt text on images
  14. Not indexed with Google
  15. Country not set
  16. No links pointing to site.  need citation building actions
  17. No schema markup on page
  18. needs secured ssl on host
  19. Good news…no error codes!
  20. Embed review video on home page
  21. No logo
  22. No xml sitemap found
  23. Very little content
  24. Almost no keywords on site
  25. Set up OpenGraph for social shares

I’m sure there was more wrong with the site than I listed here (like no backlinks, etc) but it definitely looks SIGNIFICANTLY better and will perform much better for the client!  I made the new site, ironically, using Godaddy’s new GoCentral website builder.  It was very easy to use and I had the site done in about three hours.  I still need to optimize it using their SEO tools (which I like a lot).  Next I need to set up a email campaign for them as they have almost no marketing other than referrals.

Web SEO

picture of TV characters

Picturing Web SEO: A Better Metaphor

I used to think that website SEO was a blend of art, science, and magic. I’d even say “to know SEO you’d have to be part Monet, Mr. Spock, and Harry Potter” because it made me laugh due to the imagery those characters evoke and it fit the narrative. As I go further down the rabbit hole learning search engine optimization, I’ve developed another more appropriate metaphor: To be real effective at SEO one has to be part Saul Goodman, part Scotty from Star Trek, and finally, part Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank.

You have to be like “Better Call Saul‘s” Goodman because SEO often involves figuring out ways to best your (or your client’s) competitors. If you’ve seen the show you know that Saul Goodman isn’t just a strip-mall shady lawyer, but someone who is very clever in figuring out ways to win. A good digital marketer skilled in SEO can be just as cunning. There are a slew of digital tools to find out all kinds of information about what your competitors are doing online and a good SEO pro knows how to use them. This isn’t even going into the “black hat SEO” realm, which really isn’t necessary or worth the Google penalty box if discovered.

The other two characters took me so thought before I could plug them into the metaphor. I picked Scotty, because you have to be a technical engineer in many ways to set your SEO up correctly to work. You know that Captain Kirk would say “Scotty, I need more power!”, and somehow Scotty would always do something in engineering to pull it off. Kirk never know what or how he did it, but it just worked in the end. A good SEOer may not tell you all the “inside baseball” technical stuff, but will set your site up for the myriad of configurations to get it discovered with a search.

Finally, after thinking a long time about this, I picked Barbera Corcoran because she is a marketing wiz that knows what and how people want to buy. This is perhaps the least understood, and often not considered part of SEO, and why so many firms fail at getting results. You see it’s not just the technical stuff, which clearly you need, but you really have to understand human nature, buying behavior, marketing, and sales. For the record, I entertained adding some kind of psychologist like Freud, or Dr. Joyce Brothers, but it doesn’t quite work because there is no sales or marketing there. I even thought about Gene Simmons from KISS, because he’s a pure showman, but that leaves out understanding the buying pattern of consumers so it’s not exactly working.

I also realized upon thinking about this that that’s exactly why companies are so bad at their SEO. They hire folks who only sell them the technical “dashboard” backend SEO side, or may even add some of the off-page optimization tricks to outrank a few competitors, but it seems so many forget about Barbera. A good SEO company will ask you about your customer avatar and will dive deep to really understand your customer and what would motivate them to click to your site. I’ve learned that with SEO there are so many facets that are seemingly not related, but are intimately so. It’s not just submitting robot.txt files and sitemaps, but also influence marketing incorporating concepts like scarcity, social proof, authority, and consensus. There is no magic machine button or simple plugin to get you great online results unless you incorporate the American buying habits that someone like Barbera clearly understands, and so should your SEO partner.

“It’s not just showing up in a search result, but getting people to click on your link”

If you have a better suggestion or other characters, I’d love to hear it, so leave it in your comments below.

 

5 MORE killer video marketing tips!

graphic about YouTube statistics

Video Marketing Tips

Here are some tips when you’re ready to start recording yourself to the world

Ok, so I finally convinced you to get this marketing video thing going. Maybe you bought a DSLR camera, a tripod, a boom, shotgun or lavalier microphone, and figured out how to light your subject…what else?

1. Get over your fear. Yes, you will hate how you look on camera. You’ll notice every skin flaw, your massive weight gain, annoying voice, and irritating mannerisms that most of us ignore, and it will make you want to stop. Don’t do it. Just keep doing making videos. If the ugliest actors out there like Edward James Olmos, or Tommy Lee Jones can be movie stars you can too! Know that you’re not going to like yourself…it’s human psychology.
2. Talk to the “person” behind the lens. These are simply so much better if conversational. Be natural, and conversational to the camera.
3. Don’t overthink it. When you get to editing the video, play it back, and when you want to change everything about it, don’t. It’s probably good enough as it is. If you feel the need to re-record something just change the one most pressing thing and don’t try to remake the entire video. You’ll never finish.
4. Exaggerate your emotions. It’s not acting, but do not be your normal boring self. Be high energy as that’s more entertaining.
5. Always have a call to action. What should the viewer do next? Click, call? Why on earth should they contact you if you don’t give them a reason? I’m big on some kind of special offer, promotion or discount to motivate the fence-sitters.

Obviously there is a ton more to this that these quick five tips…
Need help? That’s where I come in!

Website Design & Web Consulting Services Rocklin | Roseville

Website Design Service Rocklin | Roseville

We know you are busy running your business. The technical stuff requires specialized knowledge to not just fix dated websites, but to help you get found online. That’s why it’s best to hire someone with the skill set to help you accomplish your online goals. Some of our clients already have existing websites and only need minor services. Perhaps your site just needs a little technical love? We’re here to help!

Our rates are flexible and reasonable. We offer either flat monthly rates for ongoing service or per hour rates for minor updates and such. Call today for your free consultation and rate quote.

Brand strategy and consulting
Wordpress site expert
Website changes, updates, makeovers, and repairs
Landing pages, single page sites
Sales funnels
Lead generation and conversion rate strategies
SEO services to get your site to rank
Keyword research
Google local pack set up
Google analytics and search console
Bing webmaster tools
Domain and secure hosting
Site security and backup
Site banners, headers, favicons, logos, and graphics
Social media pages and profiles
Theme changes and updates
Plugin updates
Photo, content, and PDF uploads
Photo galleries
Customer testimonials
Review site embed
Email list building
eCommerce and shopping carts
Google, Waze, and Apple Map listings
Contact forms
Citation building
SEO and SEM audits and services
Facebook and Instagram PPC campaigns
Social media management
Content writing, proofreading, editing, and optimization
Video upload and embed
YouTube channel creation and video editor management
Reputation monitoring and management

Web Design Tips – UX and You

picture of a sunset behind the golden gate bridge

User Experience in Web Design

Web design tips for the uninitiated

 

User experience

User experience (UX) is a person’s entire experience using a particular product, system or service. It includes the practical, experiential, affective

A web viewer’s user experience, or UX, seems to me to be the most overlooked and underutilized practice today. With all kinds of DIY websites out there, suddenly everyone is a web developer. Granted, the website builder tools on most hosting platforms and sites like Wix make creating a site in just a few minutes pretty impressive. The unfortunate side effect is that we now we seem to be overrun with, quite simply, bad UX. One can argue that the tools available are very user-friendly and can make web design a whole lot less technical and theoretically “stunning”, but it’s we who have to look at these things if we happen to. So as a public service to all of us viewers, here are some tips to save us from self-styled web designers.

The number one reason for bad UX is verbosity

I see it all the time, even from my peers. Mark Twain once wrote “Brevity is the soul of wit”; I am going to adopt it to our century (and web design) to write “Brevity sells more”.  Ad designers will tell you that it’s images, not text, that make good adverts. It’s the same, if not worse, on the web. People tend to scan pages and posts anyway, so as a rule let’s use 50% less text with 50% more images and graphics.

Stop with the giant pictures!

Images, people, need to be optimized for the web. Stop taking photos from your iPhone and putting them on a site without resizing them first. That pic of you from Burning Man, uploaded to your steampunk blog, straight from your phone, while convenient, is killing your page speed. Most probably don’t realize that images taken on an iPhone 6 Plus are HD with 8 Mb and are a giant 1080 by 1920px, which just bogs down your site, especially if someone is viewing mobile at a public wifi. There are apps that will allow you to resize an image, and are is also a setting on some of the CMS platforms (like WordPress) that allow you to set a default image size. So think smaller, like 300×300 px, and we won’t have to wait for the “spinning wheel of death” as often.

Get to the point and allow me to buy

So now everyone has an eCommerce site, too. Just get me to the buy button soon, ok? There have been eye-movement studies done, and people’s eyes tend to track in an “F” pattern while viewing sites. They start at top left, go a little to the right, then back down usually ending up bottom right. People are just trying to get to the pertinent information to decide to buy or not. You just need a small simple image of the item with straight-to-the-point information about the doodad you’re selling, then a “buy now” button. That’s it. You can, if it’s needed, make the whole listing a hyperlink to a detail page, for those who want to drill down on the specs. Save the words for the blog, where pontification is a best practice for SEO.

So with your help, let’s ask the newbie sites out there to keep it short, small, and easy.

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