In my last article we discussed keyword generation. It is only natural then that we should next talk about the pages upon which your keywords should be targeted…
When it comes to SEO, it is important to keep in mind that search engines don’t actually rank websites. Search engines rank individual web pages, thus, in order to be successful with search engine optimization, every page of your site must be optimized for the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Most important is relevant content, but there are many other structural factors that you can optimize to ensure that you rank well in the SERP.
Optimizing factors like correct file names, title tags, meta tags, and meta keywords, is paramount in making sure that search engines can determine the relevance of your site. After your domain, the first thing search engines discover are your file names. Every page of your website resides in a file (in some more complex sites today they exist in virtual files that don’t really exist at all!). If you do not admin your own website and a provider or vendor does this for you, it is important to know that they use SEO friendly files names. Ask! And don’t just take their word for it. Ask for proof! By titling your pages file names with SEO in mind you can establish the primary keyword of each page.
One of the biggest mistakes that website builders make is to duplicate title tags. This happens often due to the misguided thinking that you should brand your company via use of title tags. Search engines heavily weight the text contained in your pages title tags. It is a primary indicator of what your page is about. Your title tag should include your target keywords for that page. Also bear in mind that you can’t just stuff your title tags with every keyword in the book. Search engines generally discard everything beyond 60 characters. Make sure you have a game plan. Each page should have a unique focus and thus, unique title tags.
Search engines do not use description and keyword tags to rank a page, but they will use them as identifiers of what content they should be placing more weight upon within the body of the page. Where the title tags are a main indicator, these are secondary indicators allowing you to expand upon the main focus with additional keywords. But keep in mind they should be related to the main focus. For example, if your main focus is “nissan cars” your secondary focus could be “2010 nissan versa boston ma”. In addition, the first 160 characters or so are generally what search engines display as the text below the title tags in the SERP. This is where you can include call-to-action marketing so that your listing stands out.
You can also modify your content with with header tags and other modifiers in order to further stress the main ideas of your page. Header tags are HTML tags used to apply significance to keywords or phrases on a page. You can also use text modifiers such as bolding, italicizing, or underlining. Additionally, increasing the font size of certain words can add significance.
You must also take care to optimize your images. Many so called experts will tell you that images cannot be read by search engine spiders. This is only a half-truth. Poorly or unoptimized images may not be read by search engines. It is important that every image on your page have an optimized file name, title, and alt tag. Additionally, you can link images to other parts of the website further placing significance on those other pages based on its name and title. Remember that links are the pathways that search engines follow in order to discover and rank your web pages. Creating links with SEO in mind is paramount for greatest results.
Thanks for taking the time to learn your craft. In my next article I’ll discuss basic web site structure. Don’t for get to comment and REMEMBER: There are NO stupid questions!