Chris Raines: Hey there. Welcome to episode 44 of the Dodgeball Marketing Podcast. My name is Chris and this guy. . .
Michael Utley: Hey, I'm Michael.
Chris Raines: And you know, we've been doing some research on YouTube topics.
Michael Utley: Yeah.
Chris Raines: We're deciding to catch a trend. So we're going to be talking about Bitcoin today.
Michael Utley: Not true.
Chris Raines: Instead of. . . So Michael, let's start off. Next.
Michael Utley: We're not talking about Doge either.
Chris Raines: I wish. Yeah. Okay. No, we're going to talk about keywords, specifically different places you can use keywords on your website. So obviously Google is very keyword focused, even though they're moving beyond that, to sort of intent-based stuff, there's keywords that are still a huge component and there's more places you can put keywords than just like the headline of your page. There's all kinds of places you can put it. So we're going to talk, we're going to give you five things today about where you can use keywords to completely maximize your use of your given keywords across your website.
Michael Utley: Yeah. So number one is use keywords in your URLs. Now we typically, when we say URL, we're thinking maybe about the website address, so we're not really getting into the domain name right now. We're talking about kind of everything to the right of that in the address bar. So if you have a list of services.
Chris Raines: So the slug, look at the slug, yeah.
Michael Utley: Yeah. You might call it a slug, especially WordPress and certain other ones might have that.
Chris Raines: But not the root, but not the root, right?
Michael Utley: I have that. I'm not, yeah. We're not talking about the root domain, but the, either the directories and then essentially the page name.
Chris Raines: Got it.
Michael Utley: But yeah, the, and not, not the page title. We'll talk about that in a moment, but the URL. So if you have a list of services, you could load them to your website and you can have pages that say service one, service two, service three, and that would work. Pages would load.
Michael Utley: And you would have those, those pages there. But one of the big things that Google is looking at, and this has been true for, I think probably 20 years, longer than Google. So this predates Google, it's true that when the search engines are looking at the page, they're taking that URL string and they're seeing what all the keywords are. So whether you're using a directory and you've got things essentially nested in a folder in your URL, or just the page names themselves, it's going to be the case that keywords in that string of text are going to help describe the content of the page. So you don't want to have something kind of random like service one, service two, or some cryptic weird thing. You want to think about what your target keywords are that you're going after and make sure those are represented and what you don't want to do.
Michael Utley: You don't want to fall into the trap of having anything too long. Like you don't need 10 keywords, but if you've got a for example, a localization page, if you're creating a standalone page, that's just for attracting people looking for a particular service in a particular city, including that service name and city-state, that's a really good way to get all those keywords in because it's highly relevant to the content of the page. Google is going to see that string of words in the URL as being descriptive and helpful to tell people about the page.
Chris Raines: Right? Yeah. That's good. So another thing, and this is kind of related to that is hyphenating URLs inside, or I'm sorry, hyphenating your, in-between your individual words inside your URL. And this is really, I don't think this is so much for Google, but as it is for users, I think Google is.
Michael Utley: Probably not anymore. Probably at one point, it was.
Chris Raines: So for the example, we have here is if you do circuit board design services, instead of just writing circuit board design services, one giant string of letters put a dash between circuit and board and design and services. And I think it does kind of, I think it's helpful to Google. I think they can obviously parse out which words, the individual words.
Michael Utley: Yeah. At that point, they probably could. Yeah.
Chris Raines: Yeah. But it just looks cleaner to have a hyphen in between, so the user can look up. If they're looking at the URL, they can see exactly where they are. But yeah, that's another good practice. Just if you have more than one word inside of a slug after your root URL, hyphenate in-between words. It's a lot cleaner for the user and helpful for Google and parse it up.
Michael Utley: Yeah. And so kind of adding onto your item there about using keywords and locations. So often what we'll do, if it's, well, we'll just push this example further, circuit board design services, Nashville, TN, we would have all of those in one file name as a set of words that are each separated by a hyphen. And the only other thing I've ever seen anyone do is use underscores and underscores are a pretty common way of handling file naming from just sort of the world of developers and programmers, but hyphens for whatever reason became the dominant thing. I don't know, five, 10 years ago.
Chris Raines: It's more pleasing.
Michael Utley: It's a little bit more readable.
Chris Raines: It's a sort of in the middle, it's more elegant to look at.
Michael Utley: Yeah. I think if you're working on any kind of technology if you've got any technology that's running your website that is using those underscores for those, it might be accomplishing the same thing with SEO, but kind of fall flat on the usability and look a little different and different when you're talking about a user and split-second decisions means scary. And so you don't want that. You want stuff to go down easy. So if you have some kind of weirdness or you have some limitations, talk to your web design, web developer folks, and see if you can get things that look like the way you see most of the internet working when you're clicking around on websites like yours or your competitors'.
Michael Utley: Yeah. Next up, optimize H1 titles with SEO keywords. So one of the biggest things on any given page is the first H1, the header.
Chris Raines: Michael, just as a— what is an H1 for people that might not know what that is?
Michael Utley: Yeah. So anytime you're looking at a webpage, what's being shown to you by the browser is called markup language. It's not programming, it's markup programming. I think of it as being similar to a kindergarten classroom where a teacher has gone in at the beginning of the year, and they've decided on this cork board to put a border around the board and then in the top left quadrant to put this content, the top right quadrant to put this content. And then the bottom half of the board to put content item number three. So this is not necessarily architectural or doing anything dynamic. It's not programming. It's more just markup. It's telling stuff where to show up and how to look. And so a lot of this with websites has done with HTML and CSS. So as you're getting to do more marketing and getting more active and thinking about these things, you're going to hear some terms that are going to be a little bit like code and it's okay to get kind of get familiar.
Michael Utley: And once you hear the definition of these once, you'll remember it forever because they're pretty easy, but H1 is header one and it...
Chris Raines: So basically the big ticks, the big title on the page.
Michael Utley: Yeah. The big title of the page. So it's like a headline one or header or yeah, a headline one is what it is. It's really headline is what it is.
Chris Raines: And then usually H2 and H3 are smaller and smaller.
Michael Utley: And so you can have more than one H1 on a page, but if your text is set up the way that most websites would use H1, H2, H3, they're going to get to be smaller and smaller. And they form essentially an outline format that you can use throughout your page. So you can have a major title for the page being H1, but then subtitles for the page is H2s.
Michael Utley: And then if you have any interior titles in a body of copy in an H2, it can be an H3.
Chris Raines: I didn't mean to rabbit trail there, but. . .
Michael Utley: No, no, that's great. Yeah. Thank you. And yeah, as always, this podcast is for practitioners of marketing and people who are founders and business owners. It's not for website developers or SEO gurus. So yeah. So with, when we get into thinking about these titles, this is really important. This first H1 on the page is one of the main anchors that Google is using to say, we know what this page is about because this is the title of the page. And so one of the traps people fall into is using something sort of abstract or creative. So like the title of the book might be "A Day I'll Never Forget," but if it's a story about a train robbery, guess what you need to say, train robbery: "A Day I'll Never Forget." You need to get those keywords in there somehow, even if it's a little bit horsey.
Chris Raines: Yeah. And it shouldn't be your like byline, like your, you know your slogan or anything like that.
Michael Utley: Yeah. Yeah. You don't want it to be something so abstract and so indirect that you don't do the basic thing of saying what the page is about. So when you're writing content for page titles, you have two audiences. One of your audiences is people. The other audience is search engines. And for a search engine, what you have to do is use very clear, direct language to say this page is about this topic. And so these abstract or more creative, even more, literary titles, they don't really translate over well to the world of internet publishing. When you're trying to raise your hand and say, we offer services in this market, or we, you know, we're a dermatologist and you can come in and see us and get help with this particular medical condition
Michael Utley: And a hack, if you need to, is to put the keyword that it's really about at the beginning and then add a colon and then add something more descriptive if you feel, you need to say something about how you do it differently. And then of course in these H1s, you're not going to use titles or hyphens, like in a URL, this is just going to be readable text. And we really like using title case where the important words are all sort of upper case initial letter, but a lot of companies have tested and found that sentence case even sentence case without punctuation tends to work well for mobile devices. So I would say be open-minded about what you choose to do and try to do some testing. But yeah, those, those H1 titles absolutely have to have those good keywords.
Chris Raines: Awesome. All right. Number four, keep page titles short for SEO. So when we say page title, Michael, we're talking about something different than H1. So you don't actually see the page title when you go onto a website, you have to hover over, you have to take your mouse, you got to hover over the tab in your browser. And then the thing that pops up, if you hover over long enough, that's the page title, or if you're doing a Google search, whatever pops up as the blue link inside of the Google search, that's your page title. And the key here is to keep that 60 characters or less. And the reason is it gets truncated. If it doesn't, if you go longer than that, you can presumably I think make a page title as long as you want to.
Michael Utley: Yeah, it's been tested, people have done crazy stuff. Yeah.
Chris Raines: But you can make as long as you want to, but it doesn't matter because Google is only going to show the first 60 characters. So two things, make it readable for your user, make it succinct. And it's essentially like an ad. I mean I do Google ads and we put a lot of thought into how we make that first headline. So it's essentially the same thing only it's organic results. So think about what would make users want to click through to your website and then two, from an SEO perspective, I don't think this is, might not be as big of a deal as it used to be, but it's still a thing. If you have an important keyword that you want to include, if you can, put that towards the front of your page title, if you can.
Michael Utley: Yes.
Chris Raines: And so those two things, 60 characters or less make it persuasive, clickable, unique, and keywords towards the front, on your page titles.
Michael Utley: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. That's all good stuff for having good page titles since page titles work well with the H1 and the content of the page. It all works together. Yeah. Okay. So last item for this episode, use keywords in the first few paragraphs. It's easy when we're thinking about the content for a page to have our page title and then drop back to a more abstract or indirect introduction. And this is a literary style of content creation that is natural to us when we want to convey something in a broader way at the beginning, and then get into the details. It's better though, with internet communications to flip that and use a more journalistic style where you get the most important details and information and facts upfront, and then you build supporting information. Because the attention span of someone reading a webpage is scan and it's split-second.
Michael Utley: And then this also works well for search engines. Search engines are looking at the initial blocks of copy, not just the headlines or the meta content or any images and their supporting SEO information, but the first big paragraph that's on the page, they're looking at that and saying, this is what the page is really about. Let's see what the content here is. And if it's very abstract or generic, or it's kind of a tangent that supports where the page is going in terms of its meaning, it can be a little bit of a disconnect for search engines. So we recommend having good, valuable, relevant information to the top of the page right there at the beginning. And there's been a big change with Google in the last couple of months. We're recording this here June 11, 2021. And there was a June Core Update, but really more thinking about what happened in May, but we've seen a shift toward Google really focusing on pages that are more comprehensive about a topic.
Michael Utley: So something that I recommend anyone do it for any page, any subject matter, start with a good definition. And I don't mean the whole kitschy kind of "Merriam-Webster says," not that not the bad wedding toast approach to a definition, but define the term and the core benefits of the concept, whether it's a service, a product, anything, but define it a little bit in basic ways. And that's going to open you up to a much broader connection with Google for defining that term. And it's not bad to imagine sort of a Q and A format happening between you and the search engine. So if your service is circuit board design, it's not bad to start off as if you're answering the question, what is circuit board design? Or what are the best practices of circuit board design? That may seem very high-level and primary or elementary to you with your target audience.
Michael Utley: But the way search engines work is they are trying to figure out if you're a dentist office, an oil change shop, or a dermatology practice. So what you have to do first is say something very basic and make it clear what your page is about, and then get into the supporting details and nuances. And this is really difficult, Chris, for a lot of folks, to understand. A lot of companies feel a compulsion to communicate and demonstrate how sophisticated they are. And is saying no, no, no, we absolutely have to know what the page is about, brass tacks before we can highlight it. They're not impressed by your credentials. What they're impressed by is a straightforward definition of the topic that matches the keyword. And if that's in that first paragraph of copy, both the keywords that you're going for and just some kind of basic information that defines it for the world, then that page is going to be a more valuable page. All right. This has been, did you intro this one for me?
Chris Raines: I think I did.
Michael Utley: Chris, would you outro us?
Chris Raines: I will outro. This has been Episode 44. I hope this was helpful. Keywords are something you can use in a lot more places than just your headline text. So hopefully this was helpful for you to deploy those throughout your website. So we will see you on the next one.
Michael Utley: Thank you.