SEO Best Practices
Your website is competing for attention with millions of other sites. Your goal is to have your website found and used. Searchers use the internet looking for quality information, services or products.
Search engines are the tools of choice. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the term used for preparing your website to rank high in searches. Optimization involves relatively simple steps that work together to improve your sites search rank and usefulness for visitors.
Keywords are the Foundation
- They type KEYWORDS into sites like Youtube, Google, Bing, Facebook
- These sites rank sites based on RELEVANCE and AUTHORITY.
Choosing the Right Keywords
Keywords are the base upon which your ability to “get found” is built. Keywords/keyword phrases are the words people type into the search box when they are looking for something on the web.
- You should brainstorm as many keywords as possible before starting your webpage. Create a comprehensive list of words that are relevant to your business.
- There are many different tools available to help you find out what words and phrases people are using.
- Prioritize the keyword list. This will be the keywords you will track in the rankings.
- Categorize Priority Keywords. This will allow you to map your keywords by business goals, products, sub brands, etc.
- Map Keywords to specific webpages. These pages will be the target of your optimization for the priority keywords. You will find it easy to on-page optimization of page titles, meta description, H Tags, and content for landing pages.
- Refine and evaluate – overtime you will be able to use analytics to create new opportunities for your SEO.
Knowing Your Competitive Advantage
Authority – understanding your link profile
Links are the biggest factor in authority and search engine ranking.
- Number of links to website (more from various domains the better)
- Number of links to specific page for keyword
- Anchor text of links to the specific page
On-page relevance can be assessed by:
- Keyword match in the Title of the Page
- Keyword match in Site’s Internal Navigation
- Keyword match in Domain Name
Steps to Improving your ON-Page SEO
Title Tags – Unique, accurate page titles
- The title should be an accurate reflection of the page’s content.
- Titles should be short and informative.
- If your page shows up in a search result, the title is usually the first line of the results.
- Use keyword first instead of your company name. Ideally the title will contain one or more of the popular keywords you have identified as relevant to the content of the page.
- Title Tags should be limited to 40 – 69 characters
Meta Tags – Use the “description” meta tag
- Like the page title, the description should accurately summarize the page’s content and be unique to that page.
- Unlike the title, which should only be a few words, the description can be a sentence or two. Rule of thumb is under 200 characters
- The description should contain keywords relevant to the page’s content.
H Tags – Use heading tags appropriately
- There are six sizes of heading tags. <H1> being the most important and <H6> the least.
- Use headings similar to how you would write an outline. Headings denote main points and sub-points of the page.
- Use heading only where it makes sense. They should help readers determine where one topic stops and another begins.
On-Page Copy – Offer quality content and services
Use the “keywords” meta tag?
HTML protocol allows for a keyword list visible only to search engines and viewer of the page’s source code. The keyword list should be only keywords related to the site’s content. Because of abuse, not all search engines use the keyword list. Google does not list the keywords meta tag as being important.
File and Image Names
It is the small stuff that counts. Naming files and images correctly is important to SEO. Use keywords instead of index.html or logo.jpg
Writing for the Web
- Be succinct
- Write for scanability
- Use keywords in your content
- “Wasted words, wasted space’
- Limit a page to one topic
- Put information – carrying content within the first few words of the headline and paragraph text
- Avoid words that do not have a specific, concrete meaning. (a historical offender: Facility)
- Concentrate on keywords that your audience will be using to conduct searches
- Opt for real-world examples that readers can relate to, instead of theory, when possible
- Clear writing
- Focus on the reader’s experience and needs. As you write, put yourself in the reader’s frame of reference.
- Make content actionable. The web surfer’s purpose is to find information, not be told a story.
- Usually, the active voice is clearer than the passive voice; but not always.
- Favor clear over clever.
Make it Scanable
- Two or three levels of headlines (page header, subhead, sub-subhead)
- Highlight keywords (boldface, colored, or hypertext links)
- Use hypertext links to split up long information into multiple pages.
- Bulleted lists
- Short paragraphs – one idea per page
- Inverted pyramid style of writing (Bottom Line Up Front)
- Half the words (or less) of conventional
- Improve the structure of your URLs
- Make your site easier to navigate
- Write better anchor text
- Optimize your use of images
- Make effective use of robots.txt
- Be aware of rel=”nofollow” for links
- Promote your website in the right ways
- Make use of free webmaster tools
- Take advantage of web analytics services
- Google’s Webmaster Central is a great source of information, as is Bing Webmaster Center. Ask and Yahoo also provide information for webmasters.
- Jakob Nielsen is the authority on website usability. His website useit.com contains a wealth of information on writing for the web and how to make websites easier to use.
- SEO – http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/2012-on-page-seo.html