With millions of businesses on the web, showing up in organic searches has never been more important. To make this happen for your website, basic search engine optimization (SEO) is a must-have. Regardless of how much time and money you put into designing a beautiful website, without SEO your website can remain virtually invisible to users.
Here are some SEO basics that will optimize your site and help you appear on search engine result pages.
The first step in optimizing your site starts with URL structure. URLs should be consistent throughout your website and reflect the path users take to get to that page. For example, if a user reaches a page through your Services page, the URL should be: www.domainname.com/services/pagetitle
URLs should also include business name, primary keywords, and hyphens to break up content. Hyphens should be used sparingly, as having too many could make your site look like a spam site.
An important factor in page titles is consistency. Page titles should have the same structure throughout all pages on your site and reflect the page title in your URL. It's also important to include the primary subject and keyword for that page at the beginning of the title. And for best optimization, try and keep your page titles between 50 – 70 characters long. For example, page titles should be structured: Primary Subject - Secondary Subject | Company/Brand Name
Keywords are the most important SEO element for search engines. Keywords are the common phrases that users search for. With millions or searches a day, search engines use keywords to decide what they should refer visitors to when searching a specific keyword or category.
There are two different types of keywords: short-tail and long-tail keywords. Short tail keywords are very broad and have very high search volumes. A good example of a short-tail keyword is the word: smartphone. Long-tailed keywords are more specific and give you better results because they hone in on a user’s specific interest. Following the smartphone example, a long-tailed keyword would be: Apple iPhone 6 smartphone.
When choosing which keywords you want for on-page and metadata content, you want to include a variety of top ranking short keywords as well as long-tail keywords for specific searches. You also want to include localized keywords that include your city or state name. You can use tools like Google Keyword Planner to see what your customers are looking for, how many searches keywords get, and which keywords make the most sense for your target audience.
Meta descriptions are a website's opportunity to entice a user to click-through. Meta descriptions are brief paragraphs that show up during a search below the page title and link. They tell users what they can expect to see on your site before clicking into it. This short description, at 155 characters or fewer, should be unique to each page and should incorporate primary keywords for an easy-to-read and compelling description.
Heading tags are used by search engines to differentiate the overall theme of each page. Search engines place the most importance on the H1 tag, followed by H2, H3 and so on. Header tags should include keywords that closely relate to the page title and content. Most commonly, the H1 tag is your page title and the H2 tag is a subheading of other primary keywords.
Alt text makes your website's images SEO friendly. It's another avenue for search engines to find your website based on keywords. The text description you provide for an image helps give search engines an idea of what the image represents and what the context is. Because of this, it makes your images more accessible - and this means it's important to use keywords in alt text.
All of these elements are key components to search engine optimization. If done correctly, they can help your business rank on search engine results. If you're looking for more info on SEO or need help with SEO for your website, let us know. We'll help your website get in front of the audience you want to reach.