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SEO 101: Context and Authority

Posted Wed, December 17, 2014

We’ve already covered a lot of ground in our SEO 101 series, explaining how Google uses small bits of automated software to scan and analyze websites, as well as what you can do to make your own pages easier to find and understand.

When it comes to the reasons search engines have to prefer one website over another, however, not everything comes down to the text that’s on your page. That’s still the biggest factor, but it’s not the only one. After all, Google has to have a way of separating two websites with similar content and keywords. Just think of all the different pizza places or accountants, for example, that could have websites in a given area. How do search engines decide which ones are given a priority?

Beyond the content on the websites themselves, it often comes down to context and authority. Let’s take a quick look at each one.

Context in Search Engine Results

Psychologists will tell you that context and nonverbal communication are actually key to the way humans interact with and understand one another. Google can’t read your facial expressions or tone of voice (yet), but it can use context to try to figure out what you’re actually looking for, even if the piece of information you want doesn’t exactly match your search string.

For example, if you type in a question about a baseball player, it may steer you to a site with a matching keyword and a lot of other baseball-related facts and articles. Additionally, it may consider other websites you’ve recently searched, or topics you’ve been looking for more information on, along with your geographic location, preferred language, and other demographic data to try to sort out a set of results that are most meaningful to you.

This is incredibly helpful as a searcher, but it has important implications for marketers, too. The more useful your website is as a whole – meaning the more pieces of interesting and unique content it has – the more potential it has to answer questions. So in that sense, context is all about identifying your location and having lots of great content.

How Authority Factors Into SEO

If context is all about delivering the best match, authority is about finding the most trustworthy answers. To help searchers get the right answers to their questions, and not just the best keyword matches, Google has to consider the authority of your website.

Authority is built and demonstrated in a few ways: by having other respected websites link to yours, with lots of social activity, and by having an abundance of recent, unique, and in-depth articles (usually in the form of a blog).

With all of these factors in place, Google can feel confident that you know what you’re talking about and are a relevant source of information on your topic or industry. Then, it can begin to favor your website over the competition.

Context and authority aren’t quite as straightforward as things like keyword placement are, but they are important to understand and take advantage of if you want to rank highly in a market with lots of different competitors. In the final installment of our SEO 101 series, we’ll take things further and look at some of the newer trends in search engine optimization.

Check back next week for the conclusion of our SEO 101 series. Or, for customized advice on web design and Internet marketing, call or email the WebRevelation team today to arrange for a free consultation.

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SEO , context , authority , google


SEO 101: Making Your Pages More Visible to Search Engines

Posted Wed, December 10, 2014 by Julie Short

In the first part of our SEO 101 series, we looked at the way Google uses automated “spiders” to go through your site and decide what your content is actually about. That’s actually a fairly simple process, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

After all, there could be hundreds, thousands, or even millions of webpages out there relating to your topic or industry. Search for “San Antonio web design” and you’ll see exactly what we mean. We know how tough the competition is out there because we deal with it every day.

It’s one thing to have Google be aware of your website, and another thing for the world’s largest search engine to be sending you visitors every day. So making your pages more visible, in a search engine optimization sense, is an incredibly important topic.

Here are a few things you can do to make your pages stand out, and the reasons why:

Pay attention to page titles and meta descriptions. The title of your page is important because it tells Google what a specific piece of content should be about. You want yours to be short, but also to contain important search keywords.

Meta descriptions, on the other hand, don’t have any search engine optimization value but are displayed in search listings. That means they can be helpful in getting visitors to click through to your website.

Add more in-depth, keyword-rich content. All other things being equal, Google likes longer pages with important keywords used more than once. It’s not hard to understand why – a more comprehensive search result, and one that’s narrowly devoted to a certain topic, is more likely to give a searcher the answer he or she is looking for than a small blurb of generic text.

Be careful, though, that you don’t go overboard with either of these concepts. Having too many keywords, or too much content, can be worse than having none at all. If Google feels like you’re building pages for the sole purpose of SEO, it will ignore them (and the rest of your website) altogether.

Create lots of pages on similar topics. In the same way that a longer page with lots of information is usually more valuable than a shorter one, Google knows that a comprehensive website with many related posts or articles is probably more helpful to a searcher than one with just a few offerings. That’s why building lots of pages that relate to each other is important for SEO.

Keep your content fresh and up to date. We live in an age where millions and millions of pages are being added to the Internet every day. That means Google can afford to be picky and look for more current search results for its users. The more often you update your pages, the more relevant your website will seem and the more search engine traffic you’ll be rewarded with.

There are other, more advanced techniques you can use to make your pages stand out to search engines, but just paying attention to the basics is often enough to separate you from your competitors – or at least make a good start at a more comprehensive search engine optimization campaign.

In the next post, we’re going to go a bit deeper into the concept of linking, relevancy, and currency as we look at the broader SEO meaning of context and authority.

Be sure to stop back and check out that post, or contact a member of the WebRevelation team to get a free consultation today.

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SEO , google , keywords , content


SEO 101: How Google “Sees” Your Website

Posted Wed, December 3, 2014 by Julie Short

Every business owner or marketing manager knows it’s important to rank well on Google. By processing more than 2 billion search queries every day, it’s the one Internet marketing portal that can literally make or break your business overnight.

Google’s importance is well understood, however, the way it “sees” and ranks different websites isn’t. We regularly meet with new clients who either have mistaken ideas about what it takes to improve their search engine optimization campaigns or literally have no idea how Google and its competitors process searches at all.

That’s understandable, if you’ve been outsourcing your SEO activity for a long time. Still, by understanding what Google actually looks for, and how the different pieces work together, you can go a long way toward building a website that attracts more traffic and turns those visitors into customers.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to produce a short series of articles we’re calling SEO 101. In this post, and the three that follow, we’re going to give you a quick bit of insight into the world of search marketing and offer some easy-to-follow tips you can use to make your web content stand out.

How Google Views and Analyzes Websites

Before you can give Google what it wants to find, you have to know what that is in the first place. That starts with the understanding that the engineers at Google don’t usually consider individual websites at all; instead, they generate pieces of code – called search spiders – that crawl all over the Internet constantly, cataloguing and evaluating everything they find.

As you might imagine, search engine spiders look at websites a bit differently than an actual human viewer would. Here are a few of the most important differences:

  • Search engine spiders generally follow links, both within websites and throughout them. So if a part of your website doesn’t have any links pointing at it from your other pages, it may be “invisible” to Google.
  • Search spiders understand text but not images. So, unless you have given your pictures or video files a written title and description, they aren’t going to count for anything as far as SEO goes.
  • Once a search engine spider has viewed, or “crawled,” through your website, it will catalog what it has found in terms of content and then return later. If it finds more fresh and unique content along the same topics or themes, that’s a good sign your website is relevant and up to date.


The net of all of this, of course, is that Google can know what your website is “about” in the form of search terms (keywords) it finds on your pages. Later, when human searchers enter those keywords into Google, it can match that request against what’s found on your website.

There’s a little more to it than that, of course, especially when it comes to deciding which websites should be shown first in Google’s search listings. For now, though, you know how Google actually sees your website, and why the text on your pages is more important to search engines than anything else.

Check out the next article in our SEO 101 series, or contact WebRevelation today to see how we can help with business web design and Internet marketing.

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SEO , websites , marketing , google


How to Claim Your Google Maps Location (and Why You Definitely Need to)

Posted Wed, November 26, 2014 by Julie Short

If you’re over the age of 20, you can undoubtedly remember a time when looking for a business in your area meant turning to your local Yellow Pages directory or seeking the advice of a neighbor.

In the past few years, Google Maps (along with the spread of web-ready smartphones and tablets) has changed all of that drastically. Most of us wouldn’t dream of turning to an out-of-date print directory anymore: We simply go to the world’s largest – and smartest – search engine to find what we’re looking for, whether it’s down the street or across the globe.

That’s incredibly convenient for users and shoppers, but it also underscores just how important Google maps is for businesses. After all, if you aren’t visible on the most popular referral network of all time, then you’re probably missing out on a big chunk of business that’s there to be won.

So, having told you exactly why it’s so important to be represented on Google Maps, let’s take a look at what you have to do to claim your location:

The first thing you have to do is create a Google account for your business. This can literally be done in seconds by going here, but we encourage you to pair your listing with a Google+ profile complete with a logo, photos, a link to your website, and anything else you can add. That way, interested customers can see additional information, such as photos and star ratings, that can go a long way toward convincing them to try you out.

In many cases, you’ll find Google already has a listing for your business because it’s gotten your address, phone number, and other information from elsewhere on the web. Either way, it’s critically important that you enter in an accurate street address.

Add any details that are missing. Your Google business account works, in many ways, like those old Yellow Page ads did. That means you can add a company description, link to your website, videos, hours of operation, and other details. These will all become part of your listing and will be displayed when searchers click on your location to find more information.

Photos of your location are especially helpful, particularly if you have other buildings and businesses around you, since they can assist people who are trying to find you from the street.

Submit your listing for review. In most cases, your Google business listing should go live within a couple of days at most. However, you may have to clarify details or add more information if you have multiple locations, another nearby business with similar name, or other issues that might cause confusion.

Because it’s so easy to add your Google business listing and claim your location on Google Maps – and because the marketing impact can be so powerful – it’s something you should do right now if you haven’t already. There aren’t many better, faster, or more cost-effective ways to win new customers in your area.

Looking for a web design and Internet marketing team that wants to help your business grow and not just pad their own bottom line? Call WebRevelation in San Antonio, Dallas and Oklahoma City today.

Posted in : Business Strategy , Online Profile Management , Website Content | 
Tags : googlemaps , business listings


What Is an Online Merchant Account for?

Posted Wed, November 19, 2014 by Julie Short

If you have an online store – or are considering adding e-commerce functionality to your business website – there’s a good chance you’ve been hearing about online merchant accounts. But, if you haven’t used them in the past, you might be wondering what they actually are, and what they’re good for.

In this quick post we’re going to answer that for you, along with providing you with a few quick tips for choosing the right one for your business.

First things first: A merchant account is simply a different type of bank account that allows you to receive and deposit lots of different kinds of payments, such as credit cards and ACH bank transfers. Any retailer or business that accepts plastic, online or off, has a merchant account.

Another related term you might hear often is a payment processor (or payment gateway). While this is often packaged along with an online merchant account, they’re technically separate things. The payment processor is just a piece of software that works with your merchant account and allows you to accept credit cards and other payments over the web.

You can think of a payment gateway as the virtual version of that credit card machine that retailers swipe your card with at an actual store. Instead of being a physical piece of hardware, it’s just located online.

So, now that you know a merchant account is what you need to accept credit cards, let’s get to a few quick points about choosing the right one for your business. Although there are lots and lots of different vendors and choices to consider, your selection should probably come down to a handful of critical details:

Processing fees and transfer policies. Although the percentage rates for credit card processing are fairly uniform, fees for certain services (like foreign transactions, for example) can vary quite a bit. Also, you want to choose a vendor that will give you access to your money quickly.

Versatility. It’s always annoying for customers when you don’t accept their favorite credit card or payment type, so choose a merchant account that’s flexible.

Convenience. Some combination merchant accounts and payment processors have very extensive technical and programming requirements you should be aware of, since the extra work could mean more billable hours from your web development team.

Safety and security. Good security should be a top concern since it protects your business and your customers. Plus, having bank-level encryption for your transactions makes it easier for new buyers to trust you.

Good reporting. As with anything to do with e-commerce, good reporting is essential to maximizing conversions and profits, so make sure your credit card processor has tools to help you take a detailed look at sales and trends.

Choosing the right merchant account can be very important to your e-commerce success, especially if you’re launching an Internet store for the first time. Why not let the experienced team at WebRevelation help you choose the right options and get your business up and running quickly?

Posted in : Websites , e-commerce | 
Tags : merchant account , ecommerce


What Is a Network Gateway?

Posted Wed, November 12, 2014 by Julie Short

This month, we are taking a slight turn away from our normal run of web design and Internet marketing topics to tell you a little bit about what happens behind the scenes as you connect to the Internet… or get Internet users to connect with your company.

Today, we’re going to take a look at network gateways and where they fit into this process.

Unlike a lot of other more technical terms, a network gateway is essentially what it sounds like: a node that allows you to gain entrance to a network or vice versa. In some cases, a computer serving as a node may also work as a firewall, preventing unauthorized access and automatic submissions.

In a practical sense, a gateway is often associated with a networking device (usually a router), although it can be made up entirely of software. Since the point of the gateway is to interchange two different systems using separate protocols – you can think of a gateway as being the last point on one end of an incoming or outgoing network – it usually makes sense to embed security features within it, regardless of how it’s constructed.

Here are a few things that you, as an Internet user or online marketer, might want to know about network gateways:

The function of gateways has changed slightly over time. Before default modes of transmission were established, one big role of a network gateway was to essentially “translate” from one platform or protocol to another. Now, gateways are tasked with making connections, and rarely have to change formatting within the transmission of data.

They are technically separate from firewalls. While the network gateway is tasked with interchanging different networks, the firewall (even if it’s integrated) is really designed to let some packets of information in while keeping others out. So, the gateway is about connecting, while the firewall deals with issues of security.

Gateways are normally integrated with devices. Because your router is the designated router to take information from other networks and direct it to the right places, it’s a natural fit to go along with the network gateway. That’s why the two devices, with an integrated firewall, are normally built and packaged together.

Although a normal computer user wouldn’t have much of a reason to worry about their gateway unless they’re facing a connection problem (be it incoming or outgoing), having a little basic knowledge can make it easier for you to understand how your networks function and explain problems and error messages to IT professionals.

Posted in : Websites | 
Tags : gateways , firewalls


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