SEO 101

SEO can sometimes feel like it stands for “Something Extremely Obscure,” especially for busy marketers who just don’t have the time to sit down and figure it all out. The rules are always changing and staying on top of it all is just a nightmare for any busy marketer.

Luckily there is an old method that still and most probably always will help: optimizing your website with relevant and targeted keywords. By having a well-optimized site, you will notice improved visits, better quality visitors and greater conversions which will in most cases result in more sales, which is what it is all about for businesses of all sizes.

Keyword research is the key to success here, but that is a topic we will cover at a later stage. For this article, I’m going to talk about how to add those keywords to your website once your research is complete. This article is appropriate for anyone just getting started with SEO, or adjusting their keyword strategy.

Do a Site Audit

Once you’ve identified the keywords you’re going to target, you need to start adding them to your site. The methodology I’m outlining is one to keep with you as you add new site content in the future — but is also good for a one-time SEO overhaul.

The folks over at WebCeo, can assist any novice with a pretty basic but handy audit of their websites existing pages. But if you’re looking for the quick and dirty, here’s what you can do:

  • Export all your site pages into an Excel spreadsheet.
  • Sort by the most frequently visited pages.
  • Decide which keyword category each one falls into, and add that category into a column beside the page name.
  • Add another column in your spreadsheet to add more specific keywords that you want to add to that page. Keep in mind that they must be relevant to the content on that page, as well as terms your target audience would be searching for.

Once you’ve completed this process for all of your pages you can jump into your site to start adding keywords.

Start Adding Keywords

When optimising your site or new pages, you have to add relevant keywords to the pages. Here are some of the most important places to optimise for your chosen keywords on your site:

  • Titles
  • Descriptions
  • Headings and Content
  • Image file names
  • URLs

If you haven’t done any of this on any of your pages, there definitely is some work to do, but if you do have a lot of pages, a good tip would be to look at your analytics(you have analytics installed right?) and start optimising the most visited pages first.

Titles

Titles are shown in the browser tab and search results, and have a direct impact on searcher clickthrough rates (CTRs) and search rankings. When writing a title, try to keep it below about 65 characters, and include one of your target keywords or phrases so it’s easier for searchers to identify that your results are relevant to other query.

seo 101

Descriptions

Descriptions are also shown in search results and can help increase CTR — but remember that nowadays, they don’t have a direct impact on rankings. They exist to tell searchers why they should click on your result. Use one of your target keywords or phrases in your meta description and use effective cta’s or call to actions in there for good measure.

seo 101

Bonus Tip: You can use this cool tool  to preview what your search result would look like before deciding on what description to use.

Headings and Content

It’s important to use your keywords in your headings and conten. However, it’s critical you use these keywords naturally — so write for readers first, not search engines.

Using keywords in your content is also used by Google as a ranking factor, so doing this can help improve your SERP placement. Just do not overdo it, Google does not like that, and your clients will not like it either, and you should always be providing content for your readers first, not search engines. Your visitors will be buying from you after all, and they deserve to see content that is relevant to their needs.

Image Titles and Alt Text

Although a minor seo factor, adding titles and alt text to your images will not only help search engines find your images but it also improves accessibility for people with poor vision using screen readers, and is also used as a minor search ranking factor.

Again, rather than adding keywords to image titles and alt text for the sake of SEO, try and be as accurate and descriptive as possible with your images.

URLs

It’s a good idea to include keywords in your URL if they accurately describe the page contents.

But beware — search engines will penalize exact match domains that are keyword stuffed. So if you’re thinking of starting up bestpizzashopincapetown.co.za, think again. Keep it to yourname.co.za/topic-topic, and you should be fine.

Avoid Search Penalties

There are a couple of things you should also avoid when optimizing your site for keywords, so be careful of the following sketchy SEO practices some people (mind-bogglingly) still use:

1) Never hide keywords.  Doing this is not approved by search engines and can result in penalties, and just simply won’t be effective.

2) Avoid keyword stuffing.  This appears spammy and is not approved by search engines.

3) Don’t force keywords where they don’t belong. This isn’t quite the same as stuffing a lot of keywords into a post. This is more about not forcing a keyword in — even if it’s just one — if it doesn’t belong, contextually.

The most important thing to consider is your visitor’s user experience. Think about them first, and search engines second, and you’ll be alright.

If you would like know more about seo or need some assistance,  drop us a line, we will be more than happy to assist in any way we can.

 

SEO 101 was last modified: October 1st, 2014 by Quinton Grobler