10 Tips to Build SEOOctober 11th, 2013
It’s not always easy to know the best practices for improving your search engine optimization (SEO) ranking. While some SEO can be very technical, there are many basic SEO practices that can offer dramatic improvements to your overall ranking on search engines. We have compiled the following 10 tips to build SEO to share with you and help grow your online presence.
Tip 1) The Title Tag
The <title> tag is an essential aspect to improving your SEO ranking. More often than not, you should view the <title> tag with the following attributes:
It has the most SEO power of any tag on the page for establishing keyword relevance
It’s the best place to get a quick and concise description of the content on the page. It should be well-crafted and contain 70 characters or less
Its contents are the source for the top text shown in the search engine results pages (SERPs)
Given the idea that the <title> tag’s text is supposed to describe the page it is attributed to, search engines tend to prescribe a massive amount of SEO value to the <title> tag’s content, but only if it’s well-crafted, contains page-relevant text and reflects in 70 characters or less what the page is about. It is also important to make sure that the keyword or keyword phrase is always the first thing stated in the <title> tag—unless the entire <title> tag is the keyword phrase.
For example, if your keyword phrase is teeth whitening services, a bad example for a <title> tag would be something like we offer outstanding services on dental whitening. While a good example would read: teeth whitening service with outstanding results!
Web Design Houston | Houston Custom Website
This is an example of a properly utilized Title Tag. The keyword of this page is “Web Design Houston” and the <title> tag properly uses this keyword.
We can work with you to optimize your website and improve your SEO
This is an example of a poorly used <title> as it is entirely too long and does not highlight the keyword phrase of “Improve your SEO” at the beginning of the title.
Additionally you will need to keep the <title> tags unique between pages and avoid duplicating the exact text string on other pages as well as avoid making all letter caps.
The title tag is quite simple to write in HTML and looks like this:
<title>Title Goes Here </title>
Tip 2) Description Tag
The <description> tag—also known as the meta description—is the HTML attribute that provides concise explanation of the contents of a specific web page. Like its counterpart, the <title> tag, the <description> tag is commonly used on SERPs to display preview snippets for a given page. Unlike the <title> tag however, the <description> tag is not extremely important to search engine rankings; however they are of the utmost importance in gaining user click-through from SERPs. Because of this, they should be taken seriously and should employ the keywords intelligently, while also creating a compelling description that a searcher will want to click to learn more about. Meta descriptions can be any length, but search engines generally truncate snippets longer than 160 characters. It is best to keep meta descriptions between 150 and 160 characters.
Also similar to the <title> tag, it is imperative that the <description> tag be unique for each and every page. What is crucial about adding a <description> tag is that this is the tag that will market and sell your product to your audience. Having a captivating <description> tag will lure a searcher onto your site, acting as a sort of free self-promotion.
<meta name=”description” content=”This is an example of a meta description. This will often show up in search results.”>
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This is an example of a good description tag.
Custom website. Mobile Responsive. Web Design. Graphic Design. Free Quote.
This is an example of a bad description tag
Notice how the first <description> tag featured shows a succinct and precise description of what the website it is attributed to represents, while the one on the bottom is jumbled and jumpy, ending one sentence and immediately beginning another sentence that does not correlate with the web page it is attributed to.
Tip 3) Keyword tag
The use of the keyword tag in relation to SEO has be around about as long as the concept of search engine optimization itself. While many people have implemented the use of the keyword meta tag, the truth of the matter is that, in regards to Google searches, they don’t utilize them at all as far as SEO rankings are concerned. According to Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team (which deals with how Google handles SEO), keyword tags are no longer used by Google, and probably never will be again. So our recommendation is don’t waste your time adding them. And if you absolutely want to add them, only add one or two keywords.
<meta name=”keyword” content=”keyword one, keyword two”>
Tip 4) Alt Tag for Images
Alt tags–or alternative descriptions–refer to the descriptive data that web developers often include with images on their websites. Because of the frequency in which images are used alongside text for content on websites, most content creators and web developers attribute alt tags to their images. As it turns out, this is one of the factors in Google’s search placement algorithm. The creation of the image’s alt tag occurs within the code, such as in the example below
<img src=”pciturename.gif” alt=”tell what the picture is about”>
Because the alt tag is put into the code, it is easily scanned when the search engine is performing its crawl. Likewise, by attributing important keywords to each image, you can help boost your SEO. When attributing your alt tag, you have to consider the page that the image appears on and what relative terms will help boost that page. If you have a page dedicated to “cheap running shoes” with an image of the shoes you could make the alt tag “cheap running shoes that are red” in keeping with theme, title, and keyword of the page without it being considered spam, resulting in a boost of your SEO.
Additionally, if the image is full of text, such as an infographic, the alt tag should be the text contained in the image, word-for-word, for no more than the first 40 words. This will boost your SEO and isn’t considered duplicating content. If it is a decorative image, the alt tag should describe the image and nothing more. Remember to keep the alt tag short, succinct, and to the point. The point of the alt tag is to help make your site easier to scan for humans and crawl for search engines, so anything that would hinder that is advised against.
Be careful with uploading images onto your site; it’s very easy to infringe on copyright laws online so make sure that you own all rights to an image before using the image on your site. To ensure that you have full reign to post the images you like without infringing on copyright laws, subscribe to a stock photo company such as Deposit Photos and know that you have full authority to use those images.
Tip 5) Content is King
Your content is arguably the most important aspect to your SEO ranking. It is absolutely imperative to keep your content up-to-date and lively. Recent updates in Google (Panda) have suggested that the algorithm is learning to read more and more like a human. Because of this, it is essential to write for a human audience—known as White Hat SEO—and not for a search engine, or automated audience—known as Black Hat SEO. The content for each page should set the theme and precedent for that page; highlight the keyword phrase for the page within the content, but don’t over-saturate the content by plugging in the keyword phrase unnecessarily–known as “keyword stuffing.” Likewise, having less than a 240 word count on any given page will offer negative results from most search engine rankings. For ideal ranking, having between 300-500 words per page is recommended, though the more words the better. It is also important to not maintain any duplicate content whatsoever on your site; make sure that each page contains unique, well thought out, and informative content for the best SEO rankings.
Tip 6) Keep content informative and on topic
When it comes to your content, the last thing you want to be is stingy. Make sure that you spend the time and resources to research all material that you will be placing into your content. Avoid using thin or duplicate content–thin meaning a small amount lacking in-depth discussions on specific topics; as stated above, try to have at least 300 words on a given topic, but the more the better. Duplicate content is similar to just copy/pasting the same information onto different pages on your website or copying from other websites. Doing this will not only alert the search engine to negate points from your SEO and SERP ranking, but it will also cause your bounce rate to go up tremendously. Remember, people use search engines to find answers to questions about specific topics, so if you are not answering a question on a product or service, you are wasting your time and theirs, and their immediate leaving your website will negatively affect your SEO–always write for a human, never write for a machine. Likewise, never include meandering, meaningless text just to supplement space and “add” more content. Always be sure to be clear, concise, and to the point. The clearer and more informative your content, the more you can ensure that visitors will stay and read more. Concurrently, leaving out meandering text will help your SEO and rankings as Google’s Panda and Penguin updates continue to get more and more complex while making your content clearer and easier to read for your visitors.
Writing for the customer will not only positively affect your SEO and rankings but it will ultimately boost your sales. Think about times that you’ve visited a company online only to find that their website is terribly designed and the content contains little-to-nothing but keyword-stuffing. Their “content”–if you can call it that– was ripe with sentences that ran-on for days, or jarring and jolted fragments, riddled with typos and incorrect grammar placements. On the other hand, think of a different company that wrote exactly what you wanted to know with clear, concise language and detail. They wrote to appeal to you, not to the search engine. Odds are you will likely buy from this company, and be more inclined to stay on their page and browse other products, services and content they have available.
In addition, by using “contextual language” throughout the paragraph to call back to the keyword in the first sentence, the viewer clearly knows what is being discussed while the search engine is able to crawl the words of the website and see that while the keyword is utilized only once in the entire paragraph, the language focuses on the keyword, thus strengthening its appeal.”Contextual language” can be defined as the surrounding and supporting text in a paragraph that refers to the subject of the paragraph, typically the keyword.
This will help boost the site’s SEO as the keyword is utilized in a meaningful manner and not over-saturating the rest of the text, while also not written specifically for a machine so as to appeal to a human audience which will in-turn build customer satisfaction and potential clientele.
The use of contextual language in your content is a process known as implementing “synonyms,” or words that correlate with the keyword. For example if your keyword is “running” you will want to use words synonymous with and related to running within the body of your text such as “walking,” “exercising,” “cardio,” etc.. Search engines recognize that words have multiple meanings, so by adding synonyms and words that point back to, or reference, the keyword, the search engine will detect this and rate your content higher than if you had not implemented synonyms. Though Google tries to remain elusive with every Panda update that comes out, it is obvious through tracking specific strategies that one thing Panda does look for is the implementation of synonyms. Because Google Panda is reading more and more like a human with every update, synonyms help Google remain relevant and on-topic, so they tend to reward the sites that implement them. Having a variety of related words also means that your site is more likely to have created content of value and substance rather than meaningless, meandering filler to try and boost your ranking through cheap and lazy tactics.
Tip 7) Content strategies
For all the great content that you create on your site, you must implement concrete strategies through which to exhibit them. By utilizing such strategies as establishing a portfolio page, testimonial page, newsletters, etc., your content will be easily accessible and organized in a way that allows your visitors to spend more and more time on your site. Through a portfolio page, you can showcase examples of past jobs and worksites completed by your company for visitors to view. Make sure that each separate page on your portfolio contains well thought out and specific details on each job to ensure that the content is rich and diverse. Also be sure to specify each locality and if at all possible. Additionally, performing functions and actions such as sending out time-based (weekly, monthly) newsletters informing your clientele of changes, advancements, and updates in your industry and/or company. These newsletters can be utilized by generating them with email blasts, however make them also available on your website. Along with newsletters, you can also use social media outlets associated with your company to keep your followers up-to-date with the goings-on of your business.
Additionally, there are various content strategy implementations such as offering downloadable tip guides (like the one you are reading now) for various topics associated with your industry; call-to-actions; and the use of “Continue Reading” links in your email blasts and newsletters.
If you send out email blasts or post articles on social media, utilize “Continue Reading” link strategies by cutting off 80% of the article and placing a hyperlink such as “Continue Reading” or “Read More Here” that links directly to the entire article (many times located on a blog) thus generating more clicks and traffic to your site. If you’ve gotten someone hooked with a catchy title and your opening text, odds are that they will click on the “Read More Here” link and visit your website to continue reading the information you’ve blasted out. Likewise, this allows for a convenient way for the viewer to go back and revisit the article blog later. After you have attracted someone to your blog, you can utilize “Related Posts” hyperlinks to other blog posts related to the topic at hand on a specific site. By implementing “Related Posts” you will generate more and more clicks and traffic throughout your site while providing content and answers to interested parties, which in turn will lower your bounce rate and boost your chances of gaining new clients through your website.
Expanding Your Content: One important thing to consider when writing your content is the way you present it. An example of this is your company’s services. Rather than placing all of your services onto one page (as many people do), it is better to split them out into individual pages. Why you ask? Because search engines often times don’t understand when you place all of your services together on a single page, they may instead assume that there is no theme to the specific page. Splitting each service into an individual page and creating its own service theme for that page will greatly improve your SEO by allowing you to add more unique content to your website as well as more pages.
Tip 8) Call-to-actions
Having effective call to actions is an essential part of any website. Every website should have an objective it wants users to complete, whether it is a phone number to call, filling in a contact form, sign-up for a newsletter, etc. More than anything, the call to action on your site should be immediately obvious and should always be “above the fold” of the website. This means no lower than 650px from the top of your website. Most call-to-actions are usually located at the top of a website. If possible, always place your call to actions at the top of the page, generally in the top left or right, and make them large and usually a color that stands out from the rest of the site.
A few examples of call-to-actions:
Receive Free Quote Now
Download Free Tips
Click here for current specials
You want to be sure to provide plenty of space surrounding it and make it a distinct color. The more you do this, the more attention is drawn to it; cluttering up your call to action with surrounding content will cause it to be lost in the overall noise of the page.
Tip 9) Organize your navigation
While adding all that content will definitely help boost your SEO and hopefully your sales as well, having amazing content is almost useless if your site is impossible to navigate. Organizing your navigation is key when designing your website. The easier it is for a visitor to find their way around your site, the more likely they are to do business with you and return to your page. Additionally, containing easy-to-follow and organized navigation allows the search engines to crawl your site more easily, greatly improving your SEO. Organizing your site simplistically and obviously is the easiest way to ensure you get more traffic and create more prospective customers out of visitors.
The simplest and most often used format of navigation is a varying number of buttons leading to different pages located at the top, some of the buttons dropping down to more specific sub-pages within. These buttons should lead to pages such as “About Us,” “Services,” “Products,” “Contact Us,” and others. By displaying large, easily visible buttons near the top of your site you make it easier to attract people to different areas of your site while making it user-friendly and easily navigable will entice visitors to return to your site.
Many websites that draw visitors in, can end up losing those visitors almost immediately because they fail to engage the visitor with a user-friendly navigation. One helpful tip is to try and keep your main navigation limited to no more than seven buttons. Make sure to consolidate “same topic” pages into categories by adding sub-pages within each navigable button. As an example, dental services button would have a drop down of all individual pages of dental services. Remember proper navigation is important to the viewer and even more important to the search engines.
Tip 10) Utilize a Blog
Anyone can add a blog to their site. In doing so, you are providing for yourself a way to create a seemingly infinite number of pages, multiplying your content tenfold, which in turn will help boost your SEO ranking. One important rule: Make sure the blog is integrated in your website, not stand alone. As mentioned many times already, make sure you are adding useful information and not meaningless text to your blog.
Maintaining a blog is not as strict as maintaining your website. You should allow for a lot of your blog to be informal and shy away from being sales-pitchy in most of your posts. Instead focus on things like industry specific changes, new additions to your office, or traditions that happen in your industry or office, and new achievements or recognitions you have gained through your business. Keeping your viewers informed about yourself, your office, and your industry will keep them interested and entertained, as well as make them feel appreciated as a customer. It will also allow your visitors to get to know you, which in turn will make them more prone to giving you their business instead of a competitor. In addition, activating a blog on your website will allow you to attract long-tail keyword phrases within the blogs content.
Here is an example: As a website company we wrote a blog post about the growing popularity of hashtags. Thing is, most people do not know what they are, so we wrote a blog post about “what are hashtags?”. Did we sell any of our products due to this blog post…no. However, the blog post was not meant to do that. It was meant to attract visitors searching for that information. Well it definitely did that! Over 4,000 clicks to that article in 1 month! In the eyes of the search engines, the makes our site “authoritative” and an authoritative site ranks better!
We hope these 10 topics help you out in your SEO adventure. Good luck and happy hits!
INEXPENSIVE MARKETING MUSTS!
Email Marketing: Email marketing is one of the best ways to deliver information about your company in the way of new products, services, etc., and build customer relations for any small business. It’s effective, it’s inexpensive, and is able to reach an extremely wide audience very quickly. Getting people to sign up for your letter is the most important part. The easiest way of getting people to sign up for your newsletter is to make sure that the subscription process is easy and succinct. This can be a simple signup form strategically placed on your website with Name and Email. Titles may be “Join our newsletter for free coupons” or “valuable tips” or anything else you can think of that will entice your audience to join.
Keeping the required fields limited is also key to getting more people; the longer your subscription area, the less people will want to sign up for it. You also may want to consider including required fields for a birthday and also collect first and last names—you can send them special offers on their birthday, and by having their names, you can personalize the email. For more information about email marketing subscribers, check out iContact.
Utilize Social Media: In addition to email marketing, utilizing a social media site will greatly improve the traffic to your website. With millions and millions of users logging into Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter all at once, creating a site for your business on all of these, and any other social media sites of your choosing will allow you to get more advertising through these sites. What a lot business owners tend to overlook is the fact that starting a social media site for your business is absolutely FREE, and it allows you to interact with your customers and target base on a more informal, personal and immediate level. In addition to advertising on social media sites, you can use them by asking questions, requesting feedback, comment and praise, and getting to know your clients more personally.
Google+ is a must-have for all who are building their SEO. Because Google+ is run through Google itself, the links that are posted on your site share equity and all content posted with a link to a post on your website will boost that site’s SEO fast. Likewise, Google+ also allows all links posted there to be crawled immediately. No other social networking platform allows for this type of internal boost on your SEO. Additionally, there is strong evidence to suggest that receiving a +1 on your Google+ posts directly influences your company’s SEO ranking. Check out Google+ today to get started with your free account.
Local Listing: In the last few years, local listing has become increasingly important to SEO. The consistent rise of tablet and smartphone usage allowing people to search on-the-go has enabled local business listings to be easily found, generate steady traffic, and increase sales. While it can be time consuming, luckily, adding your business to most local listings is free!
Local listings can be added on Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, Yellow pages, Manta, MapQuest, CitySqaures, Etc…
One of the absolutely most important pieces of advice to follow in regards to local listing is to be sure to use the exact same NAP (Name, Address, Phone) on ALL outlets of local listings, social media, web marketing, etc.
If you choose an SEO company
When it really comes down to it, you’re going to want to choose an SEO company that is straightforward, blunt, and upfront with you. Don’t pay attention to companies who claim that they can get you “guaranteed SEO rankings immediately—the sad truth is that gaining higher SEO rankings takes time and effort. As long as you follow these key steps, you’ll be on your way to gaining higher SEO rankings, giving you the online presence and business you’ve always dreamt of!
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