Search Engine Optimization – SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving a website's visibility of your website in a search engine’s unpaid (organic) search results.  A sound SEO strategy is an investment in the future.  While paid search gets immediate results, the second the ad spend stops the results stop. In contrast, efforts made in SEO continue to bear fruit long into the future.

A solid SEO strategy must be part of every direct-to-consumer marketing plan. Through on-page optimization, proper site indexing, and off-site authority building, Barrels Ahead achieves high rankings for its customers that lead to more website visits and online sales.

The Components of Winning SEO Strategy

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process of analyzing relevant search data to understand the most appropriate keywords for your business.  These keywords are search terms that your ideal clients are typing in every day to research trips to your region or discover new wineries and craft beverages.  A solid keyword strategy will help your website rank highly for terms that matter most to your business.

Quality Content

A system to continually update your site with quality, relevant content is important for two reasons.  One, a steady stream of content that is optimized for your chosen keywords creates authority in search engines by providing more opportunities to index.  Second, relevant content creates engaged website visitors. The more time they spend on your winery website, the more will Google perceive it as a highly valuable resource.

Business Listings

Having consistent and accurate name, address and phone number (NAP) information across the web helps build search engine’s trust which results in being rewarded in the search engine’s results page.  It is vital to have a system in place that keeps all this information consistent across all local listing. If you hours change or there is an emergency closing you want to make sure all websites display the same information.

Page Structure

Solid organic rankings start with building a proper foundation. Every web page on your site should follow best practices for page titles, headers, web page structure, meta descriptions, and alt text.  High value pages should be enhanced with featured snippets such as a FAQ section, lists, and relevant tables. Search engines are now displaying these snippets along with links to give users immediate answers.

Website Framework

One the proper SEO framework is in place, technical SEO ensures that your website rankings continue to increase. Factors include on-site errors, canonicalization, correction of duplicate content, proper sitemap creation, and schema markup. Routine audits ensure that errors and warning are quickly resolved before they can harm organic results.

Authority Link Building

Active link building from other websites trusted by search engines helps build authority and trustworthiness. The rational is easy to understand.  If all these respected sites link to your websites content, then it must have value.   An active and passive link building strategy is a critical component used to increase overall organic rankings.

SEO Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Website SEO Audit?

This is the process of going through a site and assessing its performance based on major SEO factors such as visibility, meta data, content, image, and link issues. This process exposes many SEO issues and helps formulate a plan to make a healthier (SEO friendly) site for the client.

What is On-Site SEO?

SEO research firm MOZ defines SEO as

On-site SEO (also known as on-page SEO) is the practice of optimizing elements on a website (as opposed to links elsewhere on the Internet and other external signals collectively known as "off-site SEO") in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic from search engines. On-site SEO refers to optimizing both the content and HTML source code of a page.

The ultimate goal of on-site SEO can be thought of as attempting to make it as easy as possible for both search engines and users to:

  • Understand what a webpage is about;
  • Identify that page as relevant to a search query or queries (i.e. a particular keyword or set of keywords);
  • Find that page useful and worthy of ranking well on a search engine results page (SERP).
What is Off-Page SEO?

Off-page SEO embodies any efforts taken outside of a website to improve its search engine rankings. For many people this strategy equates to link-building. However, there is much more to it than just obtaining links.  Other off-page tactics include consistency in NAP citations, Reviews, and Brand Mentions.  Each of these tactics work in unison to build trust and authority. SEO research firm AHREFs published a great article on Off-Page SEO for those who want deeper knowledge of the subject.

What is Keyword Research?

The processing of determining which keywords (search terms) are most relevant for a company's website and its marketing goals. A proper keyword set is one that draws a balance between search volume, ranking difficulty and relevance to the page itself.  For example, while the keyword "Napa Valley Chardonnay" might have great search volume and relevancy for a local winery,  this term is very competitive and difficult to rank highly. 

Google recently updated its search algorithm and is now placing great importance on a search intent. When researching keywords it is important to understand that every keyword comes with an embedded search intent.  Here is an example from one of our recent SEO guides for wineries:

How to Optimize Your Winery Website for Search Intents

Every keyword comes with an embedded search intent:

  • What are wine clubs?” & “Best wine clubs 2019” – Informational intent. Your potential customers want to educate themselves.
  • Tasting Room wine club” – Navigational intent. The customer already knows which wine club they want to join.
  • Wine club free trial” – Transactional intent. The customer wants to join a wine club immediately.

In order to boost your sales, you should focus on transactional keywords and search queries such as:

  • Wine club free shipping
  • Wine club free trial
  • Join a wine club
  • Wine clubs [your (shipping) area]
  • Wine club membership
  • Wine club subscription
What is Title Optimization?

Creating a page title that is within the search engines recommended guideline length and contains the page's targeted keywords. A proper title is one of the most important aspects of a page when targeting specific keywords.

What is Meta Description Optimization?

A proper meta description provides concise explanations of the contents of a web page within the Search Engine Results Page (SERP’s). This is particularly important to help describe your page content and entice the browser to click your site. If your page lacks a proper emet description search engines will do there best to describe what is on the page.  Usually this is done by displaying the first few words. Don't put a robot in charge of convincing people to click on your page.  Take the time to optimize meta descriptions.

What is Image Optimization?

Image optimization is the process of entering descriptive alt text that explains the image and contains keywords and topics matching contents within the web page. This helps increase keyword relevance and enhances your image’s searchability within google images search.

What is Page Optimization?

Page optimization is the process of ensuring that the structure and the content on the page follows search engine best practices. The page structure needs to flow logically with proper headings and targeted keywords. Targeted keywords that are highlighted in H1-H3 tags, can increase visibility in Google. Content within a page is one of the most important ranking factors in the Google search algorithm.

What is Page Speed Optimization?

One of Google’s major algorithm rank factors is based upon page speed.  Pages that load faster rank higher.  Our site audit will identify those elements that are slowing down your site.

What is NAP Consistancy?

NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number.  It is vital that this information be consistent among all references to the the business.  Search engines place a greater authority and trust on businesses that have a consistent presence on the internet than those who do not.