Search Engine Optimization – or SEO – is ever-changing and can be rather daunting. But like anything, it’s best to start with the basics. If you already have a website and want to improve its rankings, use these five tips to guide you.
1. Target 10. Determine a "top 10" list of keywords you want to target for search engine rankings. Are enough people searching for the term for you to worry about how it ranks, or should you focus on a different keyword? Think about terms your customers use, not just what you call your business. Include keywords related to your customers’ problem as well as your solution to their problem. If a lot of other sites use the same keywords, the competition level may be high; avoid highly competitive keywords in favor of medium to lower competition.
2. Meta Tags – make 'em different, write 'em uniquely. Based on your Target 10 keywords, write clear and unique meta tags. Consider all the following:
- Title Tag – 70 characters maximum. Start with the page topic, possibly use your company name, and add additional keywords relevant to that page – especially keywords from your Target 10 list.
- Meta Description – 150 characters maximum. Describe the page. This often appears as the "teaser text" when your site appears in search results, so make it descriptive enough to entice the right person to click on the link.
- Meta Keyword – Around 200 characters. This is a list of relevant keywords. Google doesn't currently put very much weight on the Meta Keyword tag, so we recommend including it but not spending too much time on it.
- Alt Tag – One per image on your site. This is essentially the caption of your photo. It's used to tell search engines and screen readers (or Braille displays) what is shown in the image.
3. Read it and sweep. Incorporate your Target 10 keywords into the regular text on your page as well. First, start by writing the page's content naturally, without worrying about the keywords. Then revise your text to include additional keywords when possible. Finally, read it aloud and make sure it still sounds natural; if it feels like you're saying the same keyword over and over and over, you probably used it too many times. Then sit back and let the search engines sweep up your pages.
4. Make sure your tires have air. Regularly update your content. Search engines like well-maintained websites and look favorably on new content, so be sure to keep your site current. Also remember to monitor how your site is ranking for your Target 10 Keywords.
5. Keep shaking hands within your circle. Having relevant inbound links to your website can help improve its ranking in search engines. The links should be relevant to your business, such as links from vendors, partners, customers, industry associations and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Don't ask for links from everyone you know, and don't buy links to your site. In some cases, a company’s Facebook page or Twitter account may even rank better in search engines than your website, and links from those sites to your website can help the site’s ranking too.
Get a prescription from a professional. Want a second opinion? We can review your website using the guidance above, and our digital marketing experts will also dig deeper into some more technical aspects. Sign up for a one-time SEO review of your website.
Lay a solid search foundation. Read our blog post later this week with six more things to check if you’re building a new site.