Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Beginners - Tutorial Part 2

SEO Title Tag

The first and most important part of your on-page SEO is the title tag (<title></title>). Many people who outsource or create a site in a WYSIWYG editor completely forget about the last of the meta tags that still gives some quality ranking love from search engines.
The benefits of using optimized title tags are three fold:
  1. A user searching for your keyword will see your site's link highlighted in the search engines if your page's title is the same as the phrase they searched for. This drastically increases click through and can even give you more traffic than those who rank above you if their title tags are not optimized.
  2. Increase your rankings on the search engines.
  3. Help the engines distinguish between pages that might look similar.

Higher Clickthrough Rates

Search engine optimization isn't just about showing up number one on search engines. Rather, it's about getting the all the traffic that you deserve from the search engines. If you rank #6 for "free hats" and you and your competitors forget to include that in the page's title tag, chances are, the person doing the search won't see much difference between your site and the others.
However, if you were to change your website's title text to target your most important keyword phrase "free hats", then when someone completes the search for "free hats", they'd see your site show up in bold. This technique will greatly increase the user's desire to view your site first, as your site looks much more relevant and targeted.

Better Rankings

All too often, people believe that the title tag is a place to list the business and domain name of the website. This is wrong and is wasting one of the easiest ways you can tell the search engines what the a page is about and how they should categorize it. While humans might not notice the title tag, search engines certainly do.
Use this opportunity to choose the most important keyword that you want to go after and get the free ranking boost that so many websites are missing out on. If you still want to include your domain or name of the company, do it after your keyword, followed by a dash (e.g. "free hats - hatsemporium.com") to show that your keyword is the most important.

Help the Engines Distinguish your Pages

It's not easy being a search engine. They crawl the web day and night, taking the information from the web and trying to categorize it in a useful manner so that users can find what they're looking for. Make their job easier. Post clearly what the topic of each page is, using title tags, and help the search engine to distinguish one page from another.
You may have two pages that are quite similar and it may require a little thought to point out how they different. Don't make the search engines figure out for themselves because they might make a mistake. Instead, make the decision for them. Spell the differences out for them and help your rankings in the process. This is just one strategy in avoiding the duplicate content penalty, which we'll be getting into greater depth later.

SEO Header and Bold Tags

Although the internet has changed a great deal in the last ten years, one thing that has remained status quo is the way that webmasters designate topics and things of importance. Topics of a page are often set with header tags <h1> though <h6>, while important items are put in bold to make sure that the user noticed them. However, not just the user notices these attention-grabbing tags. Search engines also use these as primary indicators of what a page is about and what content its creator thought was most important.

Header Tags - <h1> through <h6>

Header tags are a great way to help boost your search engine rankings. If you're creating a page about "free hats" and would like to rank for it, there's nothing shady at all about including a nice big <h1>Free Hats</h1> at the top of the page to make sure your users and the search engines know what your page's subject is. However, as with other search engine strategies, it is important not to stuff too many keywords into these tags. A good rule of thumb is to include no more than 3 or 4 <h1> tags per page, and always have at least a paragraph or two of text between your header tags.
A page that consists entirely of header tags looks pretty spammy to search engines, and it isn't very useful to your visitors.

Bold, Italic, and Emphasis

When you've used up your quota of header tags on the page, don't stress out. There are still plenty of tools to target your keywords with. When mentioning your keywords throughout the page, it's helpful to put them into italics, bold, or emphasis (<em>) to make sure the search engines know that these words are important.
Often people use a lot of flash animations and CSS <span> tags to format text, but search engines don't have an easy way of determining either of these. Why make the search engines work harder than they need to? Use these basic HTML tags and help yourself (and the engines) out!

SEO Keyword Use

So you've researched which keywords you want to target, but just putting the keywords in your <title> and <h1> tags is not enough. If you stop there, you're not going to be able to cover all the bases or pull in as much search traffic as you could. When doing on-page optimization for your selected keywords, there are three things to take into consideration:
  1. Keywords Density - How many times is your keyword mentioned on your site? If it's too much, you'll look like a spammer; if it's too little, you won't look like a relevant match and the search engines won't consider your site.
  2. Keyword Variation - Altering versions of your keywords will help you capture hidden search engine traffic.
  3. Similar Keywords - These are closely related topics to your keywords that will aide the search engines in correctly categorizing your traffic.

Keyword Density

Although some SEOs will talk about aiming for an exact proportion (e.g. the number of times your keyword appears divided by the total number of words on the page), it's a little too much work for something that will take care of itself as long as you know how to write well! Use your keyword frequently on your site, but not so much that it makes the page look weird or a sentence sound awkward. If you just use the keyword once at the top of the page and then reference the keyword as "it", for the rest of the article, you'll definitely be using it too little.
If you want some numbers, you should use your keyword at least three times on the page. This does not include keyword variations.

Keyword Variations

You may have found a couple of high traffic keywords using a keyword research tool, but those estimates often group similar keywords, alternate spellings, and plurals into a single word. Valuable traffic is hidden when using those tools. This hidden traffic lies in all the subtle variations of your keyword that someone may search for.
  • Plurals - The easiest way to optimize your site is to include the plural version of your keyword at least a couple of times on your page. Nearly every keyword can do this (instead of "free hat", try "free hats").
  • Misspellings - Although it may make your site look a little unprofessional, including a very common misspelling of your keywrod is one of the easiest ways to rank #1 for that exact spelling and get some free traffic. This is one of the fun things to experiment with after you've optimized the rest of your site.
  • Acronyms - If your keyword is an acronym like SEO, write out the words completely (Search Engine Optimization) so that you can target those people who do not know the acronym.

Similar Keywords

If you're making a page to target "big hats," consider changing up the adjective "big" to its synonyms, like "huge," "giant," "large," "humongous," or "oversized." You can also use the names of specific words that relate to "big hats," like "cowboy hat" and "sombrero." By using this tactic, you give yourself a chance to rank for those similar keywords, plus you let the search engines know more about your page and what it's about. The more a search engine knows about your page, the better off you're going to be!

SEO Internal Linking Structure

The honest fact is, if company owners knew how important that the internal linking structure of a site was to a site's performance on the search engines, they'd have multiple dedicated staff working just to make sure they had it optimized 100%. This topic is a little advanced, but it's helpful to break the inner linking structure down into three parts:
  1. Page depth
  2. Quantity of Internal Links
  3. Quality of Internal Links

Page Depth

Page depth refers to the number of required clicks to get to a page from the homepage. Pages that are available in one click are deemed more important than those that are nearly hidden and require more than 3 clicks to reach. It might seem a little strange, but if you can visualize your website in a tree graph, you will easily notice why certain pages are performing poorly in the search engines.
By organizing your site in this format, you can see which pages are getting a lot of page depth love and which are hurting. If you have a lot of worthless pages and few important product pages, you might take this opportunity to restructure your site.

Quantity of Internal Links

This point is simple; the more internal links you have that point to a certain page, the more important search engines believe that page to be. A common page that ranks well on almost every site is the homepage. This point will continue to be true for many years because nearly every webmaster programs their site so that every page has a link back to the homepage.
So how do make your other pages benefit from this? Does that mean you should have every page on your site include a link to EVERY SINGLE PAGE in your site? No. That's an obvious red flag to search engines, and you'll be seen as a spammer if your site has a couple of paragraphs and then 500 links to every other page on your site.
A better strategy would to have a "Top Products" section that includes a link to pages you want to receive the most link love. Another strategy is to have a link for each of the major areas of your site. This will help give those areas a lot of link love, and in turn, they'll be able to get more link love to the pages contained within them.

Quality of Internal Links

Just including a bunch of internal links to an important page is not enough; they also need to be high quality links. For your most important pages, make sure the links they receive have as many of the following criterion as possible:
  1. Anchor Text - If you're targeting a certain keyword(or keywords) make sure the internal links have the keyword in the anchor text. Also, bonus points for using slightly altered anchor text throughout your site.
  2. Link Position - The higher a link occurs in the HTML, the better. If you link to "cowboy hats" at the top of the page, but "sombreros" towards the bottom of the page, search engines are going to view the link to "cowboy hats" as more valuable than the link to "sombreros."
  3. Link Zone - The best scenario for link love is to link from one page to a highly-related page. The closer the subjects of each are in topic, the higher the amount of link love that will be transferred. For example, it is better to link form a page about "cowboy boots" to a page about "cowboy hats" than it is to link from a page about "tacos" to a page about "cowboy hats." This doesn't mean you shouldn't include links on pages that are different, but just keep in mind that the link love will not be as strong as it could be.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Follow by Email

 

Blog Archive

Contributors

My photo

Anika Devi received her Bachelor’s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University in 2012. She began freelancing for Business Solutions BD in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor.
Worked well for Website DA, Entrepreneurship, Starting a Blog, Payoneer MasterCard, Sex Tips, Phone Sex, So how do you think? Want to get into her pants? Read here