The Stitched Up Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization, or SEO is a term foreign to many. Oftentimes people who have heard about it say that it is how you get on page one of Google. While SEO can certainly help you do that, there is more to it and it isn’t that easy. This guide I’ve put together is going to answer a lot of your questions about optimization of your website. Let’s start with the most basic question: what is search engine optimization?

Contents

Chapter 1: What is SEO and Why You Need It

A Brief History of Google

The answer to, “What is SEO?” is many things. Before I can dive more into what SEO is, I need to explain a little of how Google (and other search engines) work. Doing so will make it easier to understand the need for optimizing websites.
The internet was in its infancy. People put up websites but there wasn’t an easy way to find other websites.

Google changed this. They set about indexing all the different websites using bits of programming they called Googlebots. This was still difficult to do because there wasn’t a database of websites that the bots could visit and check off a list. However, thanks to online directories (think of a phone book for websites) Google was able to index these websites. Websites began linking to one another because of the web search feature. Now, rather than following directories, Google could crawl (a fancy word for indexing a website) a page and follow the links to another website. Which would lead to another website and so on. Not only was this faster, but Google began to see how all the web was connected.

This presented some problems.

The Birth of Ranking and Search Results

Not all websites are created equal. Google created a ranking system. Their solution followed the idea that the more links you had to your website, the more authoritative it was. It used to be you could submit a website to a directory and over the next few days, you’d get 100+ plus links to your site. However, not all of those links would be relevant to what you do. They could be spammy. People were gaming the system in order to get their results to the top of search results.

A search engine like Google needed a way show the websites that matched the user’s intent without spam coming up.
A logical thing to do in order to match users is use keywords. Google thought, “Hey, if someone is looking up elephants, it only makes sense that websites that talk about elephants the most should be first.” Web sites that used the most of a specific keyword began showing up first. Again, people began gaming the system by stuffing the words they wanted to rank all over their website. To the point where their content was annoying to read because elephant showed up every other word. Sometimes even changing the text color to white (so you couldn’t see the words) while stuffing them all over the site.

This began a long series of algorithm updates that continues to this day.

I won’t go into the major updates and how they affect websites in this post. Suffice to say, Google doesn’t release many details surrounding exact changes it makes to the algorithm. This cuts down on the potential for gaming the search results.

Now let’s talk about how search engine optimization plays into what Google does.

Specialists in Search Engine Optimization

Remember how I told you there were those that gamed the system? Those were the early days of SEOs (those who optimize websites). Things were much simpler back them. As Google began making updates to their algorithm, tactics like keyword stuffing and getting links from spammy directories became frowned upon. Web sites that continued these and other black-hat (a term that means illicit) practices were penalized until they stopped. As long as you didn’t do x, y, or z, your website was good. Best practices developed such as researching and writing content around certain keywords, adding the proper labels to images, posts, and other web content, and obtaining natural links.

But the only constant in life is change.

Don’t get me wrong, those best practices are still fundamental to good SEO. Yet, as Google’s algorithm became more complex, so did making sure your site ranked well. In October 2015, the search engine giant officially announced that RankBrain, Google’s machine learning algorithm, had been in operation for months.

Here is where things get tricky.

Machine Learning

Along with other updates that gave priority to websites with quality content and mobile versions, Google now had an algorithm that could teach itself.

There are approximately 40,000 searches made per second, 3.5 billion searches per day, and 1.2 trillion searches made per year. Each one of those teaches Google’s algorithm. It’s learning what type of content goes along well with searches, when certain types of content should be shown when, to whom, at what age, and in what location of the world. Not only that but when you perform searches logged into your Google account, it’s tracked. Over time, Google learns what type content you like in order to show results you’re looking for.  In summary, not only is Google discovering the demographics of searches all over the world, it’s doing it on a personalized level as well.

A Food Blog Example

You have a food blog and want to rank well on search engine results for recipes you create. There are hundreds of food blogs all over the world, so we’ll stick with the U.S. for now. You decide to work on SEO in order to help your rankings. After hiring an SEO specialist, your technical issues are all fixed. This boosts your rankings a bit. Now you are above sites that aren’t optimized.

However, that is just the beginning.

Due to the machine learning algorithm, your website will be ranked among the food blogs based on engagement. You may have an “optimized” site, but if no one is going to it, posting about it, or otherwise talking about it, the algorithm will realize that and begin reducing your rankings. Even if you have quality content.  This won’t happen all at once, but rather, slowly over time.

Like a dying animal.

This is why you need to hire someone.

SEO Specialist: A Never Ending Race

As has been shown, Google is consistently updating its algorithm. Just in 2016 there were 11 major updates. That’s not counting all the small minor ones that aren’t publicly announced. Plus, the details of those updates aren’t always…well, detailed. If you are serious about ranking on the web, you need to choose a company who can not only keep up, with the every changing field but give you personalized attention and educate you as go.

As daunting and exciting as racing a machine learning algorithm is, as humans we have the advantage. It’s a lot easier for us to learn and comprehend complex ideas than it is for machines. In order for an algorithm to figure out what type of content an audience likes, it has to process millions of search queries. As humans, we can talk and interact with our customers in minutes and know. If you know your audience well and can write content around things they find important, the SEO battle is nearly won. If you don’t know your audience well, no problem. Any SEO that knows what they are doing can help you find the topics your audience likes. That’s a good place to start. It’s only a matter then of building content and getting engagement.

I know, easier said than done.

Sure, search engine optimization takes time. You typically don’t see results until after 4-6 months. What you are doing is building a relationship not only with your audience but with Google. Investing the time to pursue SEO can lead to increased traffic, sales, brand authority.

Chapter 2: SEO vs. SEM: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to improving website rankings, there are two methods you can use. Search engine optimization and search engine marketing. Oftentimes these words have been used interchangeably. Yet, they do not mean the same thing. While they have similar goals, the processes involved are quite different.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization, or SEO as it is usually called, is the process of increasing organic search rankings for websites. There are a few facets involved in SEO such as link building, keyword research, site, and content audit. These topics will not be discussed in this chapter. If you’d like to learn more, check out the chapters later in this guide. Search engine optimization takes a lot of time. There can be a temptation in the short term to quantify SEO spending.  Often results don’t begin showing up until after 4-6 months have passed. Despite the length of time it takes for results, there are some upsides. It is a much much better long-term strategy than search engine marketing. It’s free and more permanent.

Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing, or SEM, includes the who gamut of practices relating to search engines. Certainly, SEO is involved, however, typically SEM is thought of in terms of advertising using pay-per-click (PPC) on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google’s Adwords, and Bing.

Pay-per-click is one of a few options you have when doing search engine marketing. The name refers to when you pay for your ad, that is, per click on the ad itself. There are many nuances to PPC advertising. I’ve seen thick textbooks on the subject.

Advertising on these platforms can be costly, but in return, your website is guaranteed to feature prominently. However, once you halt payments, your website resorts back to its organic rankings along with the traffic associated with those rankings.

Should I Hire a SEM or SEO expert?

You should hire one of each. This will ensure maximum efficiency in web rankings. Best practices for search engine optimization are always changing and requires constant vigilance in order to keep up to speed with Google’s algorithm changes. Search engine marketing, on the other hand, is a little more even-keeled. The best practices are more constant. Don’t be lured into a false sense of thinking SEM is easier. There are technicalities that need to be learned such as time of day, location, demographics, text placement, picture placements, links, phone numbers etc…Both SEO and SEM compliment each other and therefore each deserves the attention of their own specialist.

Summary

Running an effective bid for the top spot in search engine results is tough. Search engine optimization is a long-term strategy that focuses on earning you organic rankings. This is done, among other things, through link building, keyword research, and creating content. Having an SEO strategy in place is crucial to the longevity of your site. On the other hand, there is search engine marketing. This is primarily done through PPC campaigns. Advertising through Google Adwords and other social platforms can immediately increase rankings and generate awareness for your business quickly. However, once ad campaigns stop, those rankings, along with the traffic will return to normal.
Hiring both a SEM and SEO expert should be a priority for any business. This will allow the two roles to work in harmony and result in a more effective digital presence.

Chapter 3: The Foundation of SEO: The Site and Content Audit

Let’s dive in a little deeper and talk about the foundation of SEO efforts: audits. Doing this for a website can be overwhelming. Especially when your website has many pages. How do you know where to begin? How do you know what plan of action to take? There are two types of auditing. The first is the site audit and the second is the content audit. In order to have a well-rounded site, both are crucial.

Fixing the Nitty-Gritty Errors with the Site Audit

When Google bots, Bing bots, or any other type of search engine bot crawls your website, they may not understand everything.  You have to remember the bots are bits of programming, not humans. It is more difficult for programming to understand say, a picture, without a little help from human intervention. If a search engine bot can’t your website, it will be hard to rank you properly.

This is where the site audit comes in.

When a site audit is conducted, bots from SEO software crawl your website and report on all the errors that cause the search engine bots to trip up. For example, you may have pictures without alt text, pages lacking in content, meta descriptions, proper title lengths, and broken links. These are just a few of many errors. All of these things, when not taken care of, result in a reduction of ranking.

Helping Google to Understand Your Pictures

Whenever you insert a picture into a web page, you are able to specify a title, alt text, and a description. It can be tempting to leave the title of the picture as DCM229382 and leave the alt text and description blank. I understand it’s a lot of work for just a picture you want to include in a post.

Resist the urge. Don’t do that.

Take a split second to make the title something relevant. Make sure you also add some alt text.  This is what shows up when the picture fails to load or a screen reader is used. Finally, add a description to the picture. It doesn’t take long to add a brief description of the picture. The description is a longer form of the alt text.
Why does this matter?

Google doesn’t just index web pages (surprise!). By providing a title, alt text, and description, you are helping Google index the pictures on your site. If you have ever used Google Images, you’ll notice you can see the description of the picture from the website, in addition to a link to the website.

Another way to get people to your website. Imagine if you left your photo title as DCM229382. No one is going to Google that.

Give the People Something to Read!

Pages lacking in content are not only bad for SEO, but also for user experience. Imagine seeing a page with less than 100 words. You may just skim the page and think it isn’t worth your time. It’s short after all. Someone who didn’t take the time to put enough of their ideas down probably has nothing good to say. Google thinks similarly. In fact, you probably will be relegated to the butt end of the search results. The recommended minimum word count for search engine ranking is 300 words.

Of course, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Home pages, for example, may rely heavily on images rather than text. While it is still a good practice to shoot for at least 300 words, since home pages are the main page of interaction, they usually rank quite well because they command the most engagement with users.

Describing Your Pages Through Meta Descriptions and Proper Title Length

Just as with pictures, Google needs help understanding your pages. Yes, it scans the individual page content but the meta descriptions play a crucial role in help search engines return results most relevant. Meta descriptions are simply brief summaries of the content of your page. Usually, they are no more than 156 characters. Anything longer and they are cut off.

How’s that for killing user engageme

See what I mean? Who wants to go to a website with incomplete sentences? It’s a simple search engine optimization strategy. Same thing goes with titles. Make sure they are around 75 characters. Anything longer and it’s not viewable in the search engine results.

Having Broken Links Stinks

When visiting a website have you ever clicked on a link, hoping to see a source or bookmark further readings, only to find the link broken?

It’s the worst.

Every time it has happened to me, I feel betrayed and let down. The author added a link to further support his ideas or provide further readings but then he failed by forgetting to check it. When ranking websites, Google checks to see if the links not only work but are relevant to the context you are using them in. If anything is off, your rankings are reduced. Always make sure to check them.

The Foundation of How SEO Works

Conducting a site audit and fixing the errors are merely the starting point of a finely-tuned website. There is more to it, though. The site audit is only a passive SEO strategy.

It’s time to proactively take search engine optimization into your own hands!

The content audit is the meat and bones of how SEO works. Performing one of these allows you to zero in your audience needs and begin building your authority around your niche.

Taking Control of and Strategizing Content With a Content Audit

A content audit examines the content of your website, takes inventory of all the resources you have available, and then suggests strategies for creating more content based on research. For example, a high-level content audit of my website would find that I have content (mostly blog posts) around writing, editing, teaching writing, and search engine optimization. After conducting a little bit of keyword research, competitor analysis, social media tracking,  I would be able narrow down those wide topics to smaller topics my audience are most interested in.

Before I go into discussing specific parts of the content audit, I wanted to address the timing of the content audit. Should you work on the content audit and strategy after or during your time fixing the issues discovered in the site audit? The answer is: it depends. If your site audit reveals your website has major issues affecting your ranking, it may be best to spend your efforts overhauling your website before creating more content. Creating more content may create more backend problems. However, if there are minor errors revealed from the site audit and you can handle a content audit, making a content strategy, and then producing user related content, by all means, go for it.

Create a List of Content Available and Content Needed

The idea behind making an inventory of all the content you have is to see which topics are addressed and which ones aren’t. Make a list of all the blog posts, pages, white papers, brochures, guides, etc… you have. Ideally, this content should be sorted into categories, perhaps the same ones you use on your blog (if you have one).

Once you have the list compiled, consider if there are any categories or content forms lacking. For example, when I first was doing this, I found there weren’t many blog posts on tips and tricks for writing. If there are content forms lacking, say you only have blog posts, but no ebooks, white papers, or videos (like me). It would be a good to try different forms of content to ensure users can digest information according to their preferences.

What if you don’t know what type of content to produce?

Good question.

This is where keyword research, social media tracking, and competitor analysis come in.

Identifying Keywords and Phrases Through Keyword Research

If you are having trouble learning the phrases and words used by your audience, there are a variety of way to discover their vernacular. The first of those methods is through keyword research.

Keyword research involves coming up with keywords or phrases to target your content around. Usually the longer the better. Ranking well for general words such as “writing” or “swimming pools” is difficult due to all the competition. By narrowing down the audience and increasing the length of the key phrase, the competition decreases. This increases your chance of ranking for that term. Some of the ways you can conduct keyword research are through Google trends, Moz keyword explorer, SEMrush, and Google searches. I won’t go into these in detail but all are useful in discovering what topics to base your content around. In addition to these tools, tracking your competitors is great ways to find out topics.

Tracking the Competition

Chances are there are other people doing the same thing you are. Look at the content they are producing. See the keywords they are using. This is a great way to get started on building a content strategy and calendar. Now, if you are a retail store and are looking at Amazon as a basis for what to rank for, it is going to be difficult because they one of the top retailers. They hold a lot of authority with Google. Outranking them will be a steep uphill battle. Consider examining your competitor’s content as a source of inspiration. Put a new spin on what they have produced. Make it more relevant or update the research. Last but not least, check out social media.

Find Out What People Like

People feel more relaxed on social media. It’s where we share ideas informally. Browsing social media for topics can be a powerful way to find out exactly what matters to your audience. You’ll also see what phrases are used. For example, if I identify in my keyword research the word “black superhero costumes” has low competition (and I’m sure it does) and decide to target that word, but then on social media, I see people talking about “batman costumes” I may rethink my strategy. This is a friendly reminder to always verify your research through social media or talking with your customers directly.

A Final Word About Content

Google’s search algorithm is becoming smarter and smarter every day. Extremely personalized search results are becoming the name of the game. What content strategy may work for your audience as a whole may not work on an individual level. This makes doing keyword research difficult. What it ultimately comes down to is if people are engaging with your content. Are you writing for your customers’ intent? Are you answering your users’ questions and concerns? If you aren’t of value to your customers, no matter how much content you write, the customers won’t be there.

Both Audits are Worth the Effort

Both the site audit and content audit are crucial to starting with search engine optimization. They allow you to fix the technical errors of your website and provide a roadmap to engaging your audience. Anyone who wants their website to rank well needs to conduct these. Both of them are highly detailed and it is a lot of work to fix the errors. However, the long-term planning and pay off these both provide are worth it.

Chapter 4: What is Linking Building and How Does It Increase My SEO?

In my the first chapter, I talked a bit about how old school SEO involved submitting sites to directories in order to conduct link building. The result was hundreds of links to a site in short period of time. This artificially inflated the site’s authority until Google cracked down on it. In 2012, Google released an update to their algorithm, dubbed “Penguin,” that cracked down on sites deemed “spammy”. Sites connecting to content that wasn’t relevant to their niche, such as certain web directories, were penalized.

The websites that gained this penalty had to not only remove the spammy links but also petition Google to remove the citation so they could begin showing up in search results.  In 2016, that changed. The Penguin update became “real-time.” Rather than having to go through the trouble of petitions, Google devalued your site in the search results until the changes were made. That devaluation would be lifted once Google re-indexed your site. While this was a boon for some, it also made the process of link building, a lot more precarious.

Two Types of Links

There are two types of links that you can have on a website. Natural and unnatural.

Natural Links

There is some debate among SEOs about what constitute a “natural” link but generally speaking, they are the links that deserve to be on your website. What I mean by this is only having links that serve to help your fellow humans out. They were not placed on a website with malicious intentions.

Let me give you an example.

When you go to a website and read an article such as this one, there will be many links. Natural links are the ones that provide a further reading (such as in the first paragraph of this section) or take you to the web page of a mentioned company. They enhance the user’s experience and increase the authority of the site being linked to rather than detracting from it.

Natural links can also come from doing nothing. Using the same example as above, the website I linked to, searchenginewatch.com, did not pay me to link to their site. I linked to them because they are an authoritative source on SEO and they had an article that answered my search query. Basically, they were there when I needed them.

It’s only common courtesy to link to them.

Unnatural Links

Unnatural links on the other hand cause issues. These links come from spammy sites. They often have nothing to do with the context of the web page. Unnatural links include purchased links and those from spammers seeking to artificially inflate their Google rankings. The Penguin update not only targets these sites, but also any links on websites coming from them.

Now you know the difference between links. How can you know what websites link to your site?Performing a link audit of your website and then staying on top of the links coming to your website is imperative to maintaining good rankings.

Conducting a Link Audit

Conducting a link audit of your website through an SEO company or using Google Search Console will help you determine the links to your site. If you identify any unnatural or inappropriate websites linking to you, you can do one of two things. First, you can reach out to the webmaster of that site and ask them to remove the link from their site. Typically, the webmaster will comply and it won’t be an issue.

The second thing you can do is compile a file of all harmful links and then submit it to Google through search console. I won’t go into how to do it, but here is a link to the instructions on disavowing links. A word of caution. Disavowing links to your website can seriously harm your SEO rankings. Make sure you want to disavow the link before proceeding.

Now that we know what links there are, how to find them, and remove bad ones, let’s talk about link building.

Link Building is Difficult

Before you start link building you have to clean up your own website. No one wants to link to a website that has its own issues. Let’s say that’s already been done and you want to move forward with building your authority. Link building is how you do that. It takes time and in the ever present demand for results, people can resort to cutting corners.

Do You Have Value?

Link building takes time. Pretty much what it boils down to is the question, “Do I having something of value offer to offer other websites?” Not in the sense of money for paid links, though. Do I have articles, blog posts, ebooks, guides, or some other offering that entices people? If the answer is yes, then it’s time to reach out to websites.

Natural Link Building

Let me be clear, it is not unnatural to promote your content. If you are browsing through a blog or other website and you notice a subject your content can expand upon, it is ok to reach out to the webmaster and ask for a link. You are being of value. However, be cautious in doing this. If a random person reached out to me, asking for a link, and they have, I would be hesitant. This is where relationships come into play.

Receiving links requires you to build a relationship with the site. If you can’t be direct friends with the webmaster, become an active part of their community. Read and comment on their blog, download their material etc…If an effort has been shown to build a relationship, who wouldn’t be more inclined to post a link? The point of link building is to have relevant links coming to your site. It can take longer than plug and play methods, but in the end, your ranking will increase and fluctuate less.

“Get Rich Quick” Schemes

There are a few methods for link building you should be wary of. Before I begin, I want to note there are exceptions to these cases. If for some reason, these methods make sense and will drive business and website authority, feel free to pursue them.

Web Directories

The first one is submitting your website to online directories. In the early days before search engine were advanced, web directories helped search engines link the web together. Hundreds if not thousands of links could come from web directories. However, these days things have improved.

We can do a Google search and have the result come up. No longer do people need to go to a website directory and search under SEO companies to know which ones are available. Often times web directories are spammy and can wreak havoc on your site’s authority. A quick Google search for web directories showed an ad allowing submission to 200 directories simultaneously. For someone who doesn’t understand links, this could be an enticing, yet destructive offer.

As I said above, there are exceptions. Not all web directories are spammy. There are reputable ones. My recommendation would be to conduct research on the best ones and if they are relevant to your site, use them. I have heard stories, not many, where companies have derived benefit from web directories.

Social Bookmarking Sites

Social bookmarking sites allow you to share documents or websites references, called “bookmarks” on a website. Some examples of social bookmarking sites are Digg, Reddit, and Scoop.it. While these sites can provide links to your website, they best cater toward potential “viral” content.

The same advice as with directories applies here. Conduct your research and get links that add value and are relevant to your website. A good question to ask yourself is, “Am I getting this link for the sake of links, or will it actually increase my authority?”

The Bread and Butter of the Internet

Links are the basis of the internet. They are what connect people to one another. While Google is trying to knock down the number of unnatural and spammy links, there are some that still slip through the cracks. It’s important when link building to do it in a “natural” way. Seek to build relationships and add relevant value to your website. Avoid the web directories and social bookmarking sites unless you expect to drive business from them. By conducting reasonable and ethical link building, you not only increase the authority of your website but also make the web an easier and friendlier place to be.

Chapter 5: How Blogging Increases SEO and Authority

I started my first blog in the spring of 2016 . At the time, I had no idea what search engine optimization was or that blogging could help you improve your subject matter authority. Fast forward to the present day, and I’ve published over 140 blog posts between the two blogs I run. Blogging is one of the best ways to improve a website’s SEO and authority.

How Do Blogs Improve SEO?

In my the first chapter of this guide, I talked about how search engines like fresh content. That means websites that are updated frequently. What better way to do that than through weekly blog posts? Posting on a consistent basis will tell search engines that your website is still being used and is updated on a frequent basis. Search engines will demote a website that hasn’t been updated in a while on the search results.

Think of it like this, if your objective is to get knowledge about developments in astronomy, would it make sense for Google to show a website from 5 years ago? No! The field of astronomy is constantly changing. The information that was new back then, won’t be new today.

Google also holds engagement as a ranking factor in its search results. Therefore, if you have a blog in which you regularly post, and then promote through email subscriptions, social media, and paid advertising, sending people to your blog, the engagement is telling Google that your site is worth going to and it’s going to rank your site and content higher than those with less engagement. In addition to search engines favoring the engagement, your authority will also increase in view of your readers.

How Does Blogging Improve my Authority?

Think about your favorite brands. Why do you like them? Chances are, you share common beliefs and they provide a product or service that fills your need. For example, Apple products offer an eco-friendly computer geared towards simplicity and creating beautiful things. Naturally, those who identify with those values will want Apple products. Blogging is an outlet for you to share those values and connect with your customers and prospects.

It’s also a way to give back to your customers by being helpful. If you are publishing well written how-to articles or tips and tricks on a topic(s) that your customers care about, chances are you are going to generate a considerable traffic. While you may not be their go-to person for a specific product or service (yet), you will still have filled a need for knowledge. That improves your authority on the matter. By providing a steady stream of blogs posts, your authority will increase over time. Not to mention increase the chance of appearing in the search results if you consistently write around a topic. This will only be compounded by efforts in marketing, increasing both exposure and authority.

Setting up a Blog to Maximize SEO

It’s all well and good to know that blogging helps my site be optimized and gain authority, but how do I get it that way?
Great question!

If I could go back in time, I would have spent more time setting up the structure of my blog. However, since I didn’t and there are many posts, restructuring can take time. Here’s what I would have done if I could do it all over again.

Figure Out the Categories

There has to be a clear structure to your blog in order to maximize effectiveness.  Once you decide how you are going to use your blog, it’s time to figure out the categories. Your blog categories should be around the products or services you offer as a company. If I was an automotive company and setting up a blog, some of my categories may be, “Car Repairs,” “Certification,” or “New Cars”. These are all high-level categories that will be talked about in the course of your blog’s lifespan. However, to ensure there aren’t any duplicate content issues, you need to make sure the names of those categories aren’t the same name as the products and services pages themselves. For example, having a copywriting page and a copywriting category would create a duplicate content issue.

Don’t Overuse Tags

Tags identify what a blog post is about. Usually, 1-3 tags are enough. When there is an overload in tags, trying to find articles that match the topic you are searching for can be difficult. Tags should be subsets of categories. Going back to the automotive example. Some tags that could be included in the “Car Repair” category are, “oil changes”, “brakes”, or “alignment”.  If one of my categories was “Copywriting”, tags could be “social media copywriting” or “website copywriting”. Try to prevent the unmitigated expansion of tags. If there is only one blog post attached to a tag, consider if you can consolidate it into another tag.

Write Cornerstone Content

This is the third step I would have done in the creation of my blog. Cornerstone content comprises of the blog posts that don’t need to be updated. They are long, usually more than 2,000 words, and extensively cover a subject. For an example of cornerstone content, check out our Stitched Up Guide to Writing. Having cornerstone content on your blog will help you blog perform well. Long-form posts consistently outperform shorter blog posts. In addition, these cornerstone articles can be developed into ebooks, or videos, further enhancing their potency.

Start Producing Posts on a Consistent Basis

Blogging isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s time-consuming and oftentimes people give up. If you are going to invest the time to blog, make sure you know what you are getting yourself into and commit to taking the time required to do it right.

What constitutes a “consistent basis”? That depends on your audience. Is your audience willing to read daily posts or weekly posts? Bi-weekly or monthly? In order to answer that question, you have to know your audience. It requires experimentation. Try switching it up and see what the results are. Whatever frequency works, stick with it. This will help garner a loyal audience. If adjustments need to be made to the publishing schedule, be sure to let your subscribers know and why.

A Quick Note on Blogging

When writing, it’s more important that you focus on writing for your people. Writing about topics customers care about, in a way they will enjoy, produces quality SEO rankings more naturally. Overly concentrating on writing for search engines runs the risk of content that doesn’t flow and is stuffed with keywords. Remember this mantra: Write for people, optimize for search engines.

Conclusion

Blogging is one of the best ways to improve both your presence on search engines and topical authority. It takes time to garner and audience and content, but it’s a long-term solution that can pay off for your company. Therefore, it’s important to structure your blog in a way that is conducive to achieving maximum efficiency. By planning out the categories and tags, one is able to focus the content creation strategy. By writing long-form cornerstone content and producing shorter, more frequent posts, one establishes a loyal audience and sets oneself apart as a topical authority. Indeed, blogging, when tenaciously stuck with, produces many benefits for both customer and search engines.

Chapter 6: Duplicate Content and SEO

Having duplicate content on your website is one of those things you don’t realize you have until someone points it out to you. In my case, an SEO web application. It causes panic because Google is seeing one of your pages in multiple places and your page rank is decreasing fast. Well, at least, I panicked. I was staring at a couple hundred duplicate pages and I wasn’t entirely sure how to fix it. I’ve since fixed it and I’m here to tell you not only how to fix your duplicate content issue problem, but also that you don’t need to panic.

Where Can Duplicate Content Pop Up?

There are a few places where duplicate content is prone to grow. Two of the most common are blogs and eCommerce product pages. Both of these pages can produce hundreds of instances of duplicate content in a short amount of time. That’s why it’s important to set up a process to ensure these don’t become a problem.

Blogging

We’ll start with blogs. This was my problem. In fact, it was with this very blog. I ran an analysis of my website and my results showed that I had my blog posts listed in multiple places. This was perplexing because I was sure I had only posted it on my blog. Well, turns out that every time you add a tag to a post or category, it creates a copy of it. For example, if my blog post was in the “search engine optimization advice” category with tags of “link building”, “content farms”, and “white hat SEO”, that’s four versions of my blog post plus another for the original copy. Multiple that by 50+ blogs and you can begin to see the scope of the problem I had.

Fixing the Issue

At first, I attempted to rationalize it because, well hey, it’s just the categories and tags. No one looks at that anyway. Yet, a nagging feeling continued to plague me. I searched SEO blogs for an answer. I don’t even remember where I found the answer but when I read it, the planets aligned and it all made sense. De-index the blog categories and tags.
The Yoast SEO plugin is the best way to manage this so I hopped on over to the plugin settings. Under “Titles and Metas” there is an option for “taxonomy”. Click on that and you will see that you have the option to enable or disabled indexing of the categories and tags. Toggle both to disabled and the problem is fixed!

Sharecropping

Another thing to note while on blogging is called sharecropping. This is when you post your blog posts on other sites. This can be a form of duplicate content and can take aware from your original posts authority. Especially if the other websites rank high (LinkedIn, Quora, Medium etc..). What I do to ensure that my content isn’t counted as a duplicate is to post part of the original post other sites. I then include a link to the original post. On the back end, I make sure the canonical URL is listed as the original post. This tells Google that all other instances other than the original post are copies. Yoast SEO automatically sets the canonical URL as the original unless otherwise specified. That’s a nice touch.

eCommerce Sites

Websites that sell products, known as eCommerce websites, also commonly have duplicate content issues. Rather than in the form of blog tags and categories, their problem usually lies in product pages. Have you ever been shopping at an online retailer, found a shirt you liked, and then switched the color or size? Yep, that creates duplicate content. Every single color and size is another version of the same product. Let’s say you have three colors and three sizes available. That’s six versions of the same product and then another for the original. These types of pages can add up even more quickly than blogs can.

The way to fix duplicate content on an eCommerce product page is two fold. First, you add a canonical tag to the unaltered product page (i.e. hasn’t had size or color changed). This is what I would recommend doing. Or second, make sure there are unique descriptions for each color and size. This can be time consuming but could be worth it if you come up with fun descriptions and your customers respond positively.

Filtering Products

Most eCommerce websites have filtering pages for their products. This can also cause duplicate content similar to categories and tags on blogs. The best way to fix this issue is to de-index the categories and/or tags of your products.

Don’t Panic

I hope this chapter has helped you see that you don’t need to panic when it comes to duplicate content on a blog or eCommerce site. At first it can be scary seeing hundreds (heaven forbid even thousands) of pages affected with this issue. However, by simple de-indexing the category or tag pages, adding a canonical tag, or providing unique content, a majority of these issues can be taken care of. If you have any specific issues that I haven’t covered, comment below.

Chapter 7: SEO Tools for Webmasters

Whether you need to do small business SEO or enterprise-level SEO, many of the same tools can be used. In today’s post I’ll examine some of the SEO tools that I’ve used. Keep in mind this is not a comprehensive list. It’s best if you find out what works best in your situation. I’ll be talking about Google Analytics, Google Search Console, SEMrush, Moz Pro, and having a knowledge of your content management system.

Google Analytics

Search engine optimization is all about knowing your audience. When you know your audience, they interact with you on your website. Search engines such as Google or Bing will see this and rank you higher on their search results. Having Google Analytics is one of the most basic things you can do to help improve you SEO.

First off, you are able to see the data for what pages people go to. You can see which blog posts or pages are most popular. This helps you understand the type of content your audience is digesting and finds helpful. Along with other tools such as being able to see what times your site is visited most, the bounce rate, time on a page, and which page people leave your website from, you are able to paint a picture of what your customers are like and what topics they enjoy.

Google Analytics offers many other tools. Really, I could write an entire blog post on just what you can do with this powerful tool. Explore it and become familiar with it. Then set it up according to your needs.

Google Search Console

As a webmaster, this is something you should be looking at frequently. I log into search console at least once a week. Sometimes though, you may need to more often. Search Console tells you lots of metrics that will help you improve your SEO. For example, one tool I use a lot is search analytics. I see which pages people click on, which pages have the most impressions, and what pages rank well.

Another great use for Google Search Console is seeing suggested improvements to your website. The search appearance section can be used to improve your SEO directly. Whether that’s by highlighting data, adding structured data (or making sure it’s formatted correctly), accelerated mobile pages (AMP), and rich cards. Since this website uses structured data and AMP posts, I use those sections a lot.

The last part I want to mention about Search Console is the sitemap section. This allows you to manually submit your site for indexation. Although Google will index your site automatically, it’s nice to see where you are at by submitting a sitemap. You should make sure your sitemap submission is up to date. If you submitted a sitemap four months ago and have since added lots of products or blogs to your website, chances are the data isn’t going to show up for the new material. Luckily, if you have submitted a sitemap in the past, Google saves it and you can simply click a button to resubmit it.

SEMrush

This is my first choice for an all-around SEO analysis tool. It’s got options to do keyword research, competitor analysis, social media analysis, link building, and website analytics. Pretty much anything you could want to do to improve SEO is here. I highly recommend taking a look at this tool. The keyword research tools is one of the industry’s best.

The free plan gives you unlimited access to most of the tools. It let’s you create one project (website) to analyze and up to 100 pages to crawl. The crawl will return all your website errors and tell you how to fix them. However, if you pay for a monthly plan, your ability to improve your SEO is multiplied hundredfold. You’ll be able to create more projects and have increased access to all the tools.

When I was deciding what SEO analyzer I wanted to use, it really came down to SEMrush and Moz Pro (I’ll talk about them next). What sold me on SEMrush was the robustness of the product itself, the easy layout, and customer service. Particularly the last one. The team at SEMrush makes sure there are helps all throughout the product that explain what each section means and what to do about it. When I was new to the product, this was extremely helpful. In addition, the account rep reached out to me and pointed me to a webinar to get familiar with SEMrush and answered all my questions.

I feel like SEMrush values their customers a lot. I wrote them a note one day telling them I appreciated their product and that it was extremely helpful. In return, they reached out and gave me a free month of an SEMrush upgrade! It’s little things like that.

Moz Pro

I know I’m biased towards SEMrush but truly I honestly wanted to give Moz Pro a shot. First off, Moz is a huge leader in SEO! It’s impossible to talk about search engine optimization without mentioning Moz. They’ve played a bit part in pioneering what webmasters and SEO specialists know about search engines. I read their SEO blog several times a week and their community forums can answer literally any question you have. Moz has successfully fostered a thriving SEO community.

Their tool is no different. You can analyze your site, check your backlinks, conduct keyword research, and gives you insights into what your competitors are doing. A lot of the same things SEMrush does. What I liked about the tool was how there are suggestions from some of the experts at Moz on how to fix errors you encounter. By doing this, you gain further connection with the Moz community. It’s not a faceless program that’s teaching you SEO, it’s the people at Moz.

What ultimately was the deal breaker for me between choosing Moz and SEMrush came down to their free tools and layout. There isn’t anything ability wise I disliked, but I feel like the best tools of Moz are available for free. Granted, you won’t have as much access as if you were a subscriber but I feel like your can get by. When I was a subscriber, I also didn’t like the layout as much as I did SEMrush. There are no red flags, it is just personal preference.

Having a Knowledge of Your Content Management System

Content management systems (CMS) are what you host your website on. Examples include WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly. Having a knowledge of how your CMS works and what you can do with it is necessary to SEO. For example, if you find an error on your website through Moz Pro but don’t know how to go back to your website and fix it, your SEO isn’t going to improve. A lot of CMSs have tools built in to help with SEO but that often isn’t enough. You need to know how to go in and fix the issues themselves.

Personally, I chose WordPress. It’s updated frequently, easy to use, and you can do anything through the use of thousands and thousands of plugins. However, it’s not for everyone. Make sure you do your research before choosing which CMS to go with.

SEO Tools are a Must

Attempting to improve SEO without the use of tools such as the ones mentioned is foolish and impossible. Knowing how to use these can improve your rankings on search engines much quicker than if you were to make your website and continue on unawares. If you are serious about gaining online traffic, selling your products, and ranking well on search engines, it’s essential to use these tools or hire an SEO specialist to use them on your behalf.

Chapter 8: Small Business SEO Best Practices

Search engine optimization is a long-term investment. It takes time, resources, and may require strategy changes. Despite this, by the year 2020, companies will be spending $80 billion on SEO. That is a mind-boggling number. Justifying search optimization can be a difficult decision for small businesses. There isn’t always a lot of room in budgets to do SEO properly. And going with cheap search engine optimization agencies may do more harm than good. Today I am going to share with you a few things you can do right now, to start on your small business SEO.

Understand SEO Before Implementing it

Many of the difficulties that arise with trying to optimize your website come from a misunderstanding of how SEO works. Getting on the first page of Google often times is harder than it sounds. And when it comes to links building, it is not as simple as signing up with online directories. All it takes to dispel SEO myths is a little research.

Much of what I have learned about optimizing for search has come through reading. Each week, I check in with blogs from Moz, Yoast, and Search Engine Land. All of which are leaders when it comes to SEO. There are also many guides that have been published to get your started on conducted SEO. Simply doing a quick search will pop up many.

If you don’t have time to go in-depth into SEO, at least become familiar with some of the terms and facets. As a small business, this can be difficult, especially, when you are busy working with clients or trying to obtain new ones. However, taking the time to understand SEO better will pay off in the long run. At the very least, this will equip you to speak knowledgeably about it when looking to hire an SEO agency.

Sign Up for Webmaster Tools

Setting up accounts with the webmaster tools for search engines is one of the best ways to track how your website is doing on search. It is a must for small businesses that want to do SEO. This includes tools such as Bing Webmaster Tools as well as Google Search Console. Read the previous chapter for more details on how to get started.

As part of this set-up, you’ll also want to get a Google My Business page. This will help your company appear in local search results. With a Google My Business page, you can post pictures of your office, hours open, days of the week open, and what types of services you offer. Plus, there are analytics that go along with this to help you understand how often you are showing up in search results.

Doing Keyword Research

How will you be able to improve your rank on search engines if you don’t know which search terms you want to rank for? This is why it is important to conduct keyword research. Keyword research shows you what terms your audience is using. There are many tools to help you get started. I recommend using SEMrush. Their keyword research tool helps you see which questions are being asked around key terms. In addition, using Google’s related search terms at the bottom of the page can help you see what other people search in relation to your term.

Once you have a good list of terms you want to rank for, organize them into groups. You can sort them by geography, targeted page, search volume, difficulty, priority, or even PPC cost. Having these words before will help you to see which words you want to focus on improving your rank. In some cases, keyword research may also help small businesses fine tune their offering or products by identifying specific aspects of focus.

Creating Web Pages

For each of the relevant search terms, you need to create a page. As an example, if you wanted to rank your archery website for terms such as longbow, cross bow, or compound bow, you would need to create a page for each of those. Additionally, having material such as blog posts, white papers, or landing pages for downloadable webinars can also help the terms to rank well.

Having a URL Structure That Makes Sense

Website structure is very important. Not only for helping your users navigate through your website, but also in helping search engines crawl your site. Keep it logical. Here is an example:

  • www.example.com
  • www.example.com/products/
  • 
www.example.com/products/longbow/
  • 
www.example.com/products/longbow/robin-hoods-bow/
  • www.example.com/products/longbow/legolas-bow/
  • 
www.example.com/products/compound-bow/
  • 
www.example.com/products/compound-bow/katniss-everdeens-bow/
  • 
www.example.com/products/compound-bow/lord-of-the-rings-orc-bow/

If you have WordPress, this is made easy by going into the setting tab and adjusting the permalink structure.

Check Indexed Web Pages

Typing in site:yourURLhere as a search pops up all the web pages that have been indexed by that specific search engine. If your website has 100 pages, you’ll want to look for 100 search results. When the number is roughly around the number of pages you have, you are doing well. If the number is less than the number of pages you have, you’ll need to investigate why. This can be done via the webmaster tools. Check for errors in indexability. Should the number be higher than than the number of pages you have, you’ll also want to check to see if there are extra pages that need to be deleted.

Build Content for People, Not Search Engines

In the process of not doing SEO, you are doing SEO. Google and other search engines are constantly updating their algorithms to sort out those who just want to rank well. Search engines want to return results that are the most relevant to the people searching. If you over optimize for search engines and don’t fulfill user requests, your rankings will sink. So, in order to rank well, you need to know your audience. You need to know what types of content they like, what types of questions they have, and what types of products they like. This will allow you to serve relevant material. Therefore, if your customers like your website, so will search engines.

As a good measure, review the titles and meta descriptions of your web pages. Make sure they are inviting and entice the reading to further learn about your product or offering. Then check the copy of the web page itself.
Small businesses naturally deliver great customer service. Channel that great customer service into your content and website and you will naturally have good SEO rankings.

Small Business SEO for Small Businesses

These are just a few of the basic things a small business can do to begin working on their SEO. There are many other things that can help such as link building, optimizing for local search by streamlining NAP, and performing a site audit. Stitch Writing is a company that helps small businesses with their SEO. As a small business itself, we understand what it takes to improve your rankings. If you’d like to learn more, please check out our SEO page, or feel free to contact us.

Chapter 9: How Much Does SEO Cost?

Finding a firm to do search engine optimization for you can be difficult. There are many individuals willing to sell you SEO for cheaper than dirt. On the flip side, there are agencies that charge what amounts to your first born in order to optimize your website. This chapter will examine how much you can expect to spend in order to make your website top notch.

Contributing Factors to the Cost of SEO

There are many things that contribute to the cost of SEO. These factors can be boiled down into two generic groups. The website itself and the industry you are in. Some factors from both of these that you need to take into consideration are the size of your website, the goals of your website, the scope of your campaign, and competitiveness of the industry. Because there are many variables involved and no two sites are alike, putting blanket costs on SEO, such as with packages, is not advisable. Read about the dangers of SEO packages here.

Factors Relating to the Website

There are a few facets in relation to your website to think about when considering the cost of SEO. Among them are size, goals, and scope of the campaign. The first factor to consider is size. Simply put, the larger the website, the more you can expect to pay. Naturally, you wouldn’t pay the same amount to optimize a startup’s website vs. Amazon.
The next one is the goals of your website.

For example, a small mom blog may not be looking to run advertisements, or create new leads. Optimizing her site may just be to help her rankings and gain new followers. On the other hand, the goal of a medium to large sized corporation may be to generate leads, establish itself as a thought leader, and provide educational resources for prospects. In which case, because more needs to be done, the cost will go up.

In line with items to be done, the scope of your SEO campaign must be taken into consideration. Are you looking to focus on the local level such as city or state? Or looking to target customers nationally or even internationally? The larger your audience, the more costly SEO will be.

Industry Competitiveness

The two main points that affect the cost of search engine optimization in relation to industry are competitiveness and project timeline. The competitiveness of the industry is the largest so I’ll start with that.

Niche Markets

Generally speaking, the more niche your company/service is, the less competitive there will be in the Google rankings. If you are trying to rank well for the search term “Piña Coladas on Mars” because you run a space-tourism business, that is going to be easy to rank for because:

  1. You are targeting a very small amount of people (who are probably very wealthy)
  2. Very few companies (if any) offer the same services

What that means is there are not going to be many monthly searches on Google for “Piña Coladas on Mars”. If you blogged every month about your space-tourism business and talked about your offerings, chances are you’d be #1 in the rankings.

Competitive Markets

However, if you are running a web design company and want to rank for “affordable website design”, that’s going to be a lot more difficult. Especially if you are running a national campaign. This is because:

  1. You are competing against everyone else in the nation
  2. Every other web design company thinks they are affordable
  3. They are probably going to be trying to rank for the same word as well (if they haven’t started already)

Just think about how many web design companies there are in the nation.

A lot.

It’s important to know how you differentiate yourself from the competition. This helps create a smaller target audience. In this instance, having a firm grasp of customers’ vernacular will significantly help. For example, if you want to rank for “affordable website design” but your customers are searching for “cheap website design”, it would be better to switch your strategy to the latter.

The more general the search terms you want to rank for, the more difficult it will be to rank. A good indicator of how competitive an industry or search term is by how much the Google ads run for. For example, one of the most competitive industries in the U.S. is paying $600+ for every ad Google ad.  Using free tools such as Moz’s Keyword Explorer and SEMrush are good places to start to get an idea of how competitive your market it.

Beware Cheap Companies

When it comes to the cost of SEO, you get what you pay for. I like to think of it in terms of a car mechanic. If you take your car to an Audi dealership, you are going to get a knowledgeable person who gives you a great customer experience. When you go to a local shop, you make still get what you are looking for, but that doesn’t ensure it’s going to be good in the long run and the customer experience may not be the same. Cheap SEO agencies are like the local car shops. They may outsource the writing or indulge in illicit tactics. For a couple hundred buck a month you’ll get lousy writing and a mess of spammy links.

So What Actually is the Cost of SEO?

Like I said above, there are so many factors. It all depends on what type of site you have, how competitive your industry is, the goals of your website, and the scope of the campaign. I’ll give you a few benchmarks to help gauge the cost, but even then, these are not hard and fast. These are not my prices. Beware of anyone that gives you a price without looking at your site or doing research.

First off, I wouldn’t work with any company that charges less than $750/month. Lots of the slippery companies will be cheaper than that. For that amount every month, generally, you are looking at doing local SEO. Optimizing your site for a small geographic area.

I would say from $750-$2000/month you are working with larger than local companies but still fairly niche. Most of your companies will fall between $2000-$10,000/month. Enterprise level organizations will be cranking out $10,000/month+ for SEO.

Please don’t take these prices as set in stone. There are people that will not agree with these numbers. My advice to you is to do your research. If you aren’t prepared to make that much of a monetary commitment, I would recommend getting a site audit, content audit, or backlink audit, to get a better feel for where you are at. This will help you better gauge how much it will cost you in the long run to do SEO.

Chapter 10: How to Find the Best SEO Agency for Your Company

Trying to find the perfect SEO agency can be a difficult task. There are agencies that charge anywhere from a few hundred dollars per month to tens of thousands of dollars per month. At first glance, the cheapest may seem the best way to go when you are just getting started. However, cheap search engine optimization agencies may be doing more harm than good to your site. In this post, I will talk about what to look for in an SEO agency that will take care of you.

The Need for Personalization

First off, let’s talk about the necessity for personalization.  No two website are alike. They can be different sizes, have different audiences, and different objectives. This requires an SEO strategy that is personalized to each website. What works for one website will not work for another.

For example, I read the other day (and I haven’t been able to find the link) about the SEO strategy of CNN. They don’t worry about link building. This is one of the most crucial steps in search engine optimization and they don’t do it! Why? They trust links will come naturally as long as they position themselves as a leader in news. The news is also something people naturally link to.

Contrast this with a startup. The strategy for a newly born company will be aggressive marketing and link building in order to increase their authority on the web. The SEO strategy will differ for competitive vs non-competitive niches, local vs national campaigns, and so on.

Any SEO agency that knows what they are doing understands the need for personalization. Any company that offers SEO packages is “buyer beware”. In preparation for writing this, I checked out all the SEO agencies on Moz’s recommended SEO firms and none of them offer packages.

Why You Need to Stay Aware From SEO Packages

In addition to the lack of personalization SEO packages offer, there are other reasons to stay away from them. In one of my favorite articles on packages, the author notes if an agency is willing to quote you a price without even looking at your website, they are probably one of three things:

  1. They haven’t got a clue about what they are doing
  2. They’ve priced themselves sufficiently high to allow for any contingency
  3. They’re too stupid to be allowed to play with the keyboard or sharp instruments

As I said above, what works for one website will not work for another. It is illogical to think you would pay the same price per month to optimize a small blog vs. a large national company looking to do a bit of SEO. If you are serious about search engine optimization, you will pick an SEO agency that doesn’t offer packages.

Communication is Key

A lot of people want to be able to pay an SEO and forget about it. That is not a good idea. While there are many things to do without communicating to the webmaster or stakeholder, it is better to communicate. Search engine optimization affects all sections of the business. In order to be efficient, those working on SEO need to know everything about your company. They need to know about your company values, marketing efforts, website objectives, access to Google Analytics and Search Console, who your competitors are, and the list goes on and on. Many of the changes SEOs make to a website drastically affect your rankings.

Two Examples

For example, take links. If your website is in many online directories, you could have lots of bad links. Chances are, Google’s penguin update will find you and devalue you in the search results. An SEO can go in and clean that up, but they should make you aware of what they are doing. If they disavow a link from a directory (or any other site) that has brought you business, boom, the authority of your site just went down. It can be hard to get that link and the associated authority back.

Another example is web pages. If you have a lot of useless web pages, it would be a good idea to consolidate or delete them. Without informing the webmaster of your actions, you may delete a page that the company was developing or that was important. The authority, rank, and traffic also disappear.

The point I’m trying to make is SEOs don’t know everything about your company. The more they know about your efforts, the easier it will be for them to work and optimize your website. Communication between stakeholders and the SEO are key. A good SEO agency will make the effort to communicate not only their actions but also verify them.

A Good SEO Agency Will Educate You Along the Way

This one is my favorite. A search engine optimization firm worth your time will educate you about what they are doing. They may not sit you down and give you a full history of SEO, but they should at least inform you of best practices. By talking to webmasters and stakeholders about how you are optimizing their site, you build their knowledge. You correct the misinformation they may have heard, enabling them to make better decisions in the future about SEO. Not to mention the client will typically trust you more.

How Do I Know if an SEO Agency Does the Above?

For companies or individuals new to search engine optimization, contract services are the best places to start. Services like this include a site audit, content audit, and link audit. Each of these will give you an idea of where your website stands in the eyes of search engines. Additionally, these audits come with guidelines on how to fix the issues that presented themselves in the audit. This is a chance for SEO companies to show they know what they are talking about. The audit is a good gauge of how the company will be working with you.

Get a Consultation

If you aren’t willing to throw down money to get an audit, there are a host of free tools online that will analyze a few pages of your website for free. There is one of these tools on our search engine optimization page. By using an online tool and then taking the report to an SEO company, you can get a glimpse of what they can do for you.

Make an Informed Decision

Research is key to making the best decision. There are a lot of people out there selling cheap SEO and performing it in a way that is unethical. Quite frankly, it gives the rest of us SEOs a bad reputation. A company’s unwillingness to do a little research into what makes a good SEO agency tick, can, and often does, cost the company thousands of dollars in wasted spending. When it comes to finding the right SEO firm, gut feelings work. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Thanks for reading the Stitched Up Guide to Search Engine Optimization! I hope this guide has answered many of your questions! If you are interested in working with us on SEO, feel free to contact us or check out our SEO page.

If you enjoyed this guide and are interested in writing, check out our guides on writing, The Stitched Up Guide to Writing and The Stitched Up Guide to Genre Writing on our resources.


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