Increasingly, we’re hearing from clients and prospects who are seeking help with optimizing the online search results for their business website. Search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential part of successful online marketing.
Interested in knowing more about SEO? Check out our July post on the topic.
Once initial SEO measures are in place, it is important to monitor your results going forward. Doing so will keep you informed about what is and is not working and help you identify early-stage problems – like a “healthcare” check-up for your website. Each time you monitor your results, you will have information to help you make adjustments for maintaining or improving your search results.
When thinking about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), many people immediately think of keywords – using certain designated words frequently throughout a website in order to be picked up in searches for those words. Several years ago, this practice was a primary way to optimize a website – but search has changed (led primarily by Google, the largest and most frequently used search engine). Keywords still play an important role but in a different way.
Staying up-to-date on SEO is essential for increasing, even maintaining, traffic to a website – but it can be a challenge as the “rules of the game” are continuously changing. Here’s a look at 6 current factors for optimizing a site.
Where do you turn when you’re looking for a local business? Chances are you pull up Google and search either by business name or service. Gone are the days when you turn to the big Yellow Pages phone book stored on a shelf.
Google Places is the new ”Yellow Pages.” This is particularly good news if you are a small business owner (especially one with a brick-and-mortar location) because Google Places listings are free. By simply claiming your listing and keeping it updated, you help customers and prospects find your business – both virtually and physically.
Looking for Google’s Keyword Tool? You won’t find it. The search giant has replaced the well-known, frequently used search engine optimization (SEO) research tool with its new Keyword Planner.
The Planner combines features of the previous Keyword Tool with the AdWords Traffic Estimator — both of which were general purpose tools. The primary focus of the Keyword Planner is making it easier for advertisers to create Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns. With its “wizard” type interface, one article on SearchEngineLand calls it “an ultimate AdWords campaign building workshop.”
If you’ve been following our last few posts, you now have spent a fair amount of time making your site search engine optimized. And, chances are, you are already seeing a bit more web traffic. However, your website SEO is not complete, nor will it ever be 100%. This is due to step four of the SEO process.
Perhaps the most important aspect of improving your site’s SEO, content optimization and submission can also be quite time consuming and somewhat frustrating. There are 4 primary parts of optimizing your website for SEO (This list of 4 is certainly not exhaustive, but they are the key ones to focus on):
using keywords in your title tags
using keywords in the H1 tag
using keywords throughout the body copy
using keyword phrases as anchor text of links on other sites that point back to your website’s pages
Keywords in Title Tags
Title tags should tell both users and the search engine what a page is about. You will want to have a well written title that is both brief and descriptive for each page of your website so that they show up in the search results of search engines and can increase clicks from targeted searchers. Do not write title tags that have vague titles like "homepage" or "page 3." Titles that are stuffed with keywords and are longer than 60 characters will look spammy and also won’t help, so keep it concise 😉
Keywords in H1 Tags
Using keywords in your heading tags is also very important. There are six sizes of heading tags (H1 to H6) and they work as clues for readers to know what information is to follow. These assorted title tags should be used sparingly, generally no more than one H1 tag to a page. Also, be sure that the H1 tag represents the thesis of the page and is as close to the main targeted phrase as possible. Title tag faux pas are inconsistency in tag size, putting all the information in a title and using heading tags for styling text rather than content structure.
Keywords in Content
As you write the content for each of your site’s pages, it is important to incorporate your keywords throughout the body copy. You should use bold and italics whenever possible, without being overdone, as well as have a list (numbers, bullets, check boxes, etc.) that includes your keywords. Keep in mind that according to Jon Wuebbon, author of Content Rich: Writing Your Way to Wealth on the Web, key phrase use should make up 3-8% of an article or page, but at the same time, don’t get too concerned with the numbers when it comes to keyword density. Just make sure you are aware of the key phrases you are going after and that your text reads logically and doesn’t sound like you are stuffing in as many key phrases as you can. As you create your web page content, be sure that it is easy to read, has a unique approach, focuses on the subject, showcases your services or products and is written with people, not search engines in mind. You should not have duplicated material – even if it is original work – on your site. In addition, your webpage(s) should not have poorly written material with grammatical errors, extensive misspellings (intentional misspellings not withstanding) or excessive amounts of writing on a wide range of topics without using paragraphs, headings or subheadings.
Keywords in Anchor Text
Using keywords and phrases as anchor text on other sites is a great way to direct people to your webpage. Submit articles that contain anchor text links back to your site on sites such as Ezinearticles.com, Buzzle.com, Ehow.com and others. Be sure the text is descriptive yet short and is easily spotted. When using anchor text, do not use long text (e.g. whole sentences), overloaded keyword articles, unneeded links that detract from a site’s usefulness or use generic terms like "page" or "click here".
Once you have implemented content optimization and submission as part of improving your site’s SEO, you are nearly "finished." As you will find in step four, found in our next post, there is no such thing as being completely finished with SEO, but knowing the steps to bettering your site’s SEO is one of the best things you can do to increase business.