Choosing a Portland SEO Expert: Introduction
The last time you needed to build or redesign the website for your Oregon-based business, did you hire a company to get the job done right? If you answered “yes,” that’s great!
You saved time letting professionals do what they do so you could focus on what’s important to you: managing and growing your business.
You may have taken the same approach for your SEO, social media, and other online marketing components. If you didn’t, you have probably considered it more heavily by now, as online marketing strategies and execution are often more than meets the eye.
SEO is much more than identifying a few keywords your customers are using, and implementing them into your website. Google has tons of signals they use to determine page rankings.
And why do we care what Google thinks? Because they handle 92% of the search queries throughout the world. What they say (and how they rank pages!) matters.
Good news Oregonians – is it’s not too late. Hiring a local Portland SEO expert will get your website and organic search marketing strategy on track. You just need to make sure you work with an expert or team of experts who are capable, affordable, and fun to work with (this is Portland after all).
Read on for a few reasons it pays to hire in Portland, as well as the key components that define and drive a winning SEO campaign!
Why Hire a Portland SEO Expert?
Before we get into the most important elements of SEO, let’s talk about why you specifically want an SEO company from Portland.
You’ve heard of Silicon Valley. That’s the area of California that houses some big names in the tech game.
Well, have you heard of Silicon Forest? That’s the name given to the Portland metro area because of its own surge as a tech capital. In fact, Forbes named Portland the best place in the U.S. for businesses and careers.
Portland is a city chock-full of bright, talented, and creative people looking to make their way in the industry. Because of the high salaries folks in Silicon Valley demand, companies look to California’s northern neighbor for their workforce.
In other words, startups and other growing businesses are choosing Portland to lay down their roots. One, because of the talent in the area and two, economically it’s a slam dunk.
Convinced that Portland is where you need to look for your SEO expert? Now, let’s discuss the Google ranking factors.
What Is Google Ranking For?
Since the advent of the Internet, keywords have been an integral part of how search engines work. But are they as important as they were a decade ago?
After all, Google changes their algorithm what seems like every month. Can keywords still be as important as they once were? In a nutshell, yes. They’re just important in a different way.
So, where do keywords fit in Google’s grand scheme of things? And what else should a company focus on in search engine optimization ranking?
Rumors have swirled for more than a decade that Google uses 200 signals to rank sites. But, don’t get stuck on that number. It’s not possible to focus on every single rumored factor.
What you can focus on are the most important signals. Take a look at 10 factors that determine Google SEO ranking the most…
1. Crawlable and Indexable
Your site must use a crawlable, indexable URL. This means that when Google’s spiderbots go to work, they can find and understand your page.
They do this by crawling and indexing.
In simple terms, crawling is how Google discovers pages. It’s not a paid service, it’s Google’s bots searching and scanning over and over.
You can improve this in two ways. The first is to submit a request for Google to re-crawl your page. The second is by getting your page linked from another site Google already knows.
We’ll get to that a little later.
Indexing is what Google does after it finds your site. The short version is Google tries to understand what’s going on on your page.
It analyzes and catalogs text, images, videos, etc. It stores what it finds in its index. This is a fancy term for saying “Google’s massive database.”
You can improve both by having smart, simple URLs. You do this with subdirectories.
For example, say your company sells coffee. You have a blog that covers beans, brewing, and flavors. You’ll want each post to fall into one of those subcategories.
Your URLs will look like: https://www.yourcoffeesite.com/beans/where-beans-come-from. This makes it easier for Google to crawl and index you. Google will understand how your website relates to the various components of your URL structure.
2. Keywords: Research and Intent
Your site should solve a problem. But, what problem is it solving? That’s where keyword research and intent comes in.
Many years ago, keyword stuffing was a thing. People would jam the keyword “coffee” as many times as they could on their sites and in their blogs.
That’s because Google used to care about how many times a site used a particular keyword. Now, they care much more about the intent of the keyword.
This means you need to have a primary keyword (or keyphrase) along with a set of related keywords. These are secondary keywords. They’re words that are similar or even synonyms to the primary keyword.
The point is no matter if someone searches for coffee, java, joe — they are more likely to find your site than they were in the past (although proper keyword focus and emphasis is still important).
You can use a keyword finder to this, or you can do it yourself. All you need is a little SERP investigating!
Open up Google, start a search for words related to your business. Does a drop-down appear with a bunch of already finished queries?
That’s Google’s search suggest drop down list. It’s pretty much exactly how it sounds. Google uses its algorithm to suggest the most popular searches for a particular keyword.
They’re assisting you with looking for relevant intent. Go ahead and check it out and see what it suggests is relevant for your targeted keyword. It may give you some fun ideas for blog posts, too.
3. Domain Security
Domain security is becoming more and more important these days. How do you get it? By using HTTPS in front of your URL.
HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. This is the process of transferring your site’s information to a viewer’s browser.
HTTPS is HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. This tells Google it’s safe to index this information.
All you need to do to secure your domain is get an SSL certificate. If you have a WordPress site — and chances are pretty good you do — it’s free and easy to do.
If you’re part of the 40-50% of the Internet that doesn’t use WordPress, you may have to pay for yours. Ask the company that built your site about getting an SSL certificate if you’re unsure.
4. Build Relevant Backlinks
We mentioned having your page linked from another site is important for SEO. It’s even more important that you’re getting linked from pages Google already knows.
Even though you’re not getting all your traffic from these referrals, it tells Google you’re trustworthy. Trust is a key component in Google’s algorithm.
This also makes up a big part of the difference between white hat vs. black hat SEO. Black hat focuses on aggressive strategies to get you ranked, attempting to take advantages of the non-human elements of the search algorithm. It’s keyword stuffing, invisible keywords, and using backlinks that are irrelevant, among many other things.
White hat SEO uses trustworthy link building techniques. They use appropriate keywords, site structure, and content to generate traffic.
Black hat may be an easy way to get SEO results but it’s also an easy way to get yourself banned, too. Both Google and Bing have denounced using these practices in their webmaster guidelines.
5. Topic Authority
This is an easy one. The more you post on a topic, the higher each post will rank over time.
So, if you have a coffee shop, go ahead and blog about beans and flavors. Link internally to relevant service pages on your site to build a healthy link structure.
Don’t blog about irrelevant or unnecessary topics. This isn’t doing anything to help your authority.
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times by now. Content is king.
But not only the content itself, how you structure it. Yes, you must have smart, readable content. But you have to structure it in a way that Google likes.
For instance, Google considers “good content structure” blogs that include:
- Bulleted lists
- Numbered lists
- Supported images
- Cited information
- Short, readable paragraphs
All these points keep readers engaged. Google likes engagement.
7. Loading Speed
Loading speed is all about user experience. Google’s pretty big on UX, too.
If your site takes forever to load, people just give up – if Google hasn’t already.
You know those “timeout” errors you get when you try to load a webpage? If Google deems it takes too long it basically tells you to move on.
But, loading speed is even more important as you’re about to see…
Mobile-friendliness is becoming more important year over year for SEO. There are several reasons having a site optimized for mobile use is important for SEO.
Here are the two biggest: use and speed.
More than 53% of all searches are now done on a smartphone. That means the UX of your mobile site must be at the top of its game.
But, 53% of users will give up on a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Ouch.
If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, make it mobile-friendly. Yesterday.
9. Responsive Web Design
Google also rewards websites who constructed their site through use of responsive web design services. In a way, this piggybacks off of having a site optimized for mobile use. But, the two are actually quite different.
“Responsive design” describes web development done in a way that considers which device the site is getting viewed on. In other words, mobile devices, tablets, laptops, and large screens — all at once. Regardless of what device someone uses to view your site, your site automatically adjusts to fit their screen.
This is important because it focuses heavily on UX. Since Google seems to be moving more and more toward actual human experience, this could be an even bigger factor in years ahead.
10. Meta Tags
You might hear that Google doesn’t care about meta tags anymore. While certain meta tags have become less useful for SEO (as engines have gotten better at figuring out what a page is about by its content), other meta information is still crucial.
They may often get forgotten but they’re still an important part of your SEO. Make sure you’re filling in:
- Title tag
- Image alt text
- Meta description
The meta description is the snippet that appears in SERPs. It should be persuasive, the right character length, and include your focus keyword(s).
Ready to Hire a Portland SEO Expert?
Hiring a Portland SEO expert gives you an advantage over your competition. While they’re struggling to figure out what SEO is, you’ll reap the rewards of having a professional handle it for you as your climb your way to page 1.
Are you ready to get the best and brightest to optimize your site and turn you into a rock star? Great! Click here to get started and set up your free consultation.