Today we released our second episode in our Big Tip Tuesday series where we educate dealers on digital marketing in today’s ever-changing space.
Below is the video and transcription of the video. IT’s all about on page search engine optimization:
Welcome back to our series of education videos called Big Tip Tuesday!
My name is Catherine Ponomarenko and I am the Director of Managed Services for DigiSphere Marketing based out of sunny Sarasota, Florida!
In today’s video I’ll be providing SEO Tips in an episode we call… On Page Optimization.
I want to talk about what is involved in on page optimization, what it means, how it’s done, best practices, and pitfalls to look out for!
SEO is a lot like video games. Anyone one can pick up a first-person shooter and start killing people online, but if you want to be really good at it, you have to understand the nuances and the mechanics of the game to be in the upper tier of players.
It’s like the Force because the worthwhile path to mastery is paved with consistent training and thoughtful application. The quick and easy way leads to the DARK SIDE with all kinds of pain and suffering!
People over complicate SEO for several reasons. One reason could be that they don’t fully understand it. Another could be that they don’t want YOU to understand it!
On Page optimization is the manipulation of elements on your website in order to try to help Google better read and index the pages of your website in their search engines.
By accomplishing this first part of the SEO process as effectively as possible, you are ticking off the biggest and most difficult checkbox of search engine algorithms. We have to get the foundation as strong as possible before we start building on it!
I’m not looking to make you an Automotive SEO professional, however, I want you to know what IS important so that you understand what a company should be doing for you and what kinds of questions you should be asking your vendors.
What makes up on page optimization? Good question. I’m going to present the major items in the order of importance.
First and foremost every single page of your website should be optimized individually. Each page is speaking to a specific set of content and we need to optimize every individual page as if it is it’s own website, for it’s own keyword set.
Let’s start with title tags. They are a line of code that tells the search engine what the page is about. It’s also the big bold line of text that is shown on the search results page when your website shows up in the search results. This is a very critical piece of real estate on each page of your website. The words you choose to use, the order you use them in, and even the number of characters used in this title tag are all a critical part of the SEO Process. Because of the very high value and it’s limited real estate, keywords should NEVER be repeated. This is a huge red flag to look out for. If you see Long Island Kia Dealer you better not see any of those words further along in the title or you are not using this space wisely.
The nice thing about title tags is that Google is smart enough to mix and match the keywords that are found in the title tag. This helps from having to repeat them for grammar purposes. We have a very specific way that we structure our Title Tags to maximize the real estate, order, and impact for each page’s title tag throughout the entire site.
If you find multiple pages of the site have title tags that are too similar, it’s time to think about combining those pages rather than diluting the SEO power of your site.
Next we are going to talk about the meta description tag. These are not seen from the front end of the site, they are only visible in the code of your site, however search engines use them as the longer description under the Title on search results pages.
Because Meta descriptions allow more characters, it’s much easier to craft longer, more coherent sentences together and even includes more attention-grabbing and even sales pitchy content there.
The meta description is a longer form description to both users and search engines about the overall content on each page of your site. Again we don’t want to see duplication of keywords or keyword stuffing, and Google recommends a specific character count be used.
Now on to Meta Keywords. Honestly, they just don’t matter. For years search engines have stopped looking at meta keywords since they were horribly spammed by SEO people that found an easy way to plug in all the terms they wanted to rank for.
These days, we use them for competitive intelligence. If a competitor is stuffing the keywords in the meta keyword tag, we know exactly what terms they are attempting to rank for on those pages.
Search Engines generally don’t look at this anymore, and therefore we recommend not even using them. Some directories and other sites may use them for one purpose or another, but it’s just not worth the return to even bother using the meta keyword tag.
The next most important element to pay attention to are the H1 and H2 tags. These are abbreviations for Heading one and Heading two. Once a search engine bot is crawling your site, it first looks at the Title and Meta Description to categorize the content that it’s about to read on the page.
When we do an evaluation, we look to see if people are using these heading tags properly or are they duplicated them throughout the site. If they are, again you may need to look at combining pages that are too similar or adding more diversity to pages that need to remain separate but are similar.
Finally, we’ll talk about Alt Tags and Title Tags for images and links
Every image and every link on your site can be optimized with additional tags that help search engines understand what the content is. If an image can’t be loaded for some reason, the browser will show the alternative tag or alt tag that we assign to that image.
In addition, search engine bots index the image easier because we are telling them exactly what the image is with the use of an alt tag.
It’s the same concept for links to other pages of your site. Using a title tag can help describe the context of the link on a page to search engine bots, helping them better flow traffic and relate content throughout the site.
Okay, now, these are the basics that everyone MUST be doing on every page, every heading, every image, every link, throughout your entire site. While automation might be able to make sure there is SOMETHING that is being implemented in these important areas, I can guarantee you that manually optimizing each of these areas is going to have a far greater impact on the results.
Of course, there are more elements to consider such as site speed, the site architecture, unique relevant content, outbound link authority, and much much more, but what I just covered so far in this video is the core of your on-page search engine optimization.
There are many inexpensive tools that can be used to measure the core optimization. We highly recommend asking for an analysis of your on-page SEO so that you can see missing tags, duplicate tags, and weak tags.
These reports can be run and shown to you nearly instantly, so there is no reason that your provider can’t offer this to you. As long as they are capable and willing to fix all the issues that are going to be uncovered, then you have saved yourself a ton of additional traffic to your site just by being an engaged customer that knew what to look for, so… congratulations!
If anyone would like to utilize some tools to measure this information for themselves, I’ll go ahead and drop the links to some popular ones in the description section of the Youtube Video or feel free to leave a comment or email me and I’ll be happy to provide anything you need.
One of the challenges for car dealers is inventory pages. These pages are dynamically generated, which means it’s impossible to individually optimize these page. The ability to optimize these dynamic pages is typically very limited by the web provider’s technology.
We almost never see the ability to add alt tags and title tags to images and links. Most providers, however, do offer the ability to use shortcodes to dynamically build Title Tags and Meta Descriptions for each page.
This is where we see some of the most duplications of meta titles and meta descriptions for car dealers. Imagine, you have potentially hundreds of new cars that are all virtually the same.
So how do you make sure you aren’t duplicating these tags which are lowering your site’s authority and making it more difficult for search engines to crawl and index these pages?
Well, at a minimum make sure you are seeing unique identifiers such as VIN numbers or Stock numbers being used to show search engines that this page IS unique and not like the others.
This can be done on most web provider platforms, so go check your website pages and see if you are doing it right as soon as your done watching! If you find you are not, get whoever you are paying SEO to on the phone immediately and ask them to correct this for you.
If they say they can’t change it because of the web provider, well that’s just not an acceptable answer. It’s their job to make these optimizations, so it’s their job to make sure it gets done.
What we often wind up having to do is keep an Excel spreadsheet of all of the items that we CAN’T optimize because we don’t have access to be fully optimize the site. Once we are done optimizing the entire site, we then have to send our excel sheet of changes off to the web provider in a ticket and make sure fix the things we couldn’t.
If the web provider can’t make the changes on their end, at least we have a report to provide to our dealers of what we couldn’t get done, showing that we did everything in our power and in their web provider’s power to get it done, no excuses.
I hope that you found this helpful. I would love to hear from you guys.
What have your experiences been in dealing with SEO vendors?
Do you have any specific questions that I haven’t answered but you have always wanted to know about on page search engine optimization?
Ask them in the comments and I’ll make sure to answer!
I’m working on our next video over the next couple of weeks where I’ll talk about Off Page Optimization or Link building.
There plenty of myths to bust on that topic and I’m looking forward to talking to you about it!
Until next time that’s it from us here at DigiSphere Marketing… Digi Out!