5 Pro Tips To Help You Win the SEO Game
September 18, 2012 Leave a comment
You may have a real life business and you want your site to get new customers in the door. Maybe you want to make a little extra money on the side by selling a product online.
In any case, there are rules you can’t ignore if you want to succeed online. So here are 5 tips you can use right now to improve your chances of ranking well in search results.
1. Get your titles right!
The first thing to consider is the wording of your titles. Write your titles like someone would type it into search.
For example, if your business is selling antiques in Anytown USA, you are really missing out if your “About Us” page is entitled “About Us”. Seriously.
There are about 9 bajillion sites out there with a page called “about us”. Stand out! Get found! Be creative!
Why not try “All About Anytown’s Oldest Antique Dealer!” Why should this matter? Well, we can promise you no one is going to Google and typing in “About us” if they are trying to find your business.
Instead, someone might type in “where to find antiques in anytown usa.” Even if there are ten competitors, if they all have boring page titles, you are more likely to rank highly because of that simple bit of forethought.
- Titles!? What titles!?
In HTML your page should have a “title” tag in the “head” section of the document. If you made your own site, then you are probably already familiar with this. If not, sit down with your web designer and have them better explain the process to you. Or, go online and find an HTML cheat sheet that can help you learn the basics.
Also on the page itself (not in the “head” or invisible part of the page) you have “heading” tags. These are h1, h2, all the way through h6 – even though most people stop at h3. This is what you see in a bigger font, sometimes a different color above your article.
- Listen up! This is key!
Once you’ve decided on your awesome title, set that as your HTML title, AND your h1 title on the page (or h2 if h1 is dedicated to something else). This is like telling the search bots “Hey! This page is about a place for antiques in Anytown USA!”, and then the bot says “ok, we’ll just see about that…” and then gets to the page itself, and BAM! The bot says “well it sure is about antiques in Anytown USA.”
This applies to standard pages like About Us, but is even more important if you are actually selling products online. Don’t waste a Title opportunity on a product page!
2. Forget about “Keyword Density”
That was one hot buzzword in SEO nerd circles a few years ago. It was the thought that if you had your keyword on the page a specific number of times or ratio to other words then you would magically float to the top of search.
Well, they got smart about that and if there ever was a magic number, it’s gone now.
It’s more important to make sure that the page content is at least somewhat about your keyword subject. Very low content (like 20 words) is not recommended as the bots may think you just put that page up hoping to rank.
So make sure your page has some meat to it, but don’t be overly worried about keyword density.
Also, don’t be afraid to use “related” keywords in your text. This will probably happen naturally as you create your content. So a page about cars may have words like tires, gas mileage, windshield in there too.
The bots are getting pretty good about knowing what things go together.
3. Meta Description Tag
Remember how I said your title tag needs to match your h1 tag? Well your META description tag (another HTML element in the Head) needs to be very closely related to your actual page content.
It’s the same scenerio as before, you tell the bots what the page is about, they check to see if you’re telling the truth.
Also that meta description is what shows up below the link in a search engine result page, so it’s good if you can throw some type of incentive for people to click through to your site.
4. Quality Content
If this isn’t the first SEO article you’ve ever read, you are probably tired of hearing about “Writing EPIC content“.
But let’s face it, the internet is FULL of websites that ALL want to be first. You have to give the search gods a reason to put you ahead of the other guy.
Search robots don’t care how good your hair looks or what color you painted your sign out front. They only care about giving people the best result for what they typed. If they are doing their job, then your job is to BE the best result. Think about it.
5. Don’t let them forget you.
This isn’t something you will find in many SEO articles because it falls more under conversions/usability/User Experience than technical SEO. But do you care about succeeding online? Read on.
One of the worst things you can do is work hard to get a person to visit your site and then let them leave and forget all about you. Maybe you paid for Adwords clicks, or put an ad on someone’s site. Maybe you just put your website on your store brochure. Whatever you did to get that visitor, you need to make the most of it.
Social buttons are popular. Tweet this page, or Like us on Facebook, or post to Google plus are all common these days. Of course just having them there won’t help, you have to … well… see number 4.
But even better than that is giving them a reason to share your page. A better reason than just good content. What if you saw this pop up: “Like us on Facebook to get %25 off your next order!” BOOM! I’d like you even if I didn’t like you or wasn’t planning on buying today. Why? %25 is a sweet deal! I’d be an idiot to pass that by!
Another tactic is to have visitors submit their email address in order to get a $10 coupon sent straight them. In the fine print you let them know they can un-subscribe any time and they will only rarely ever get stuff from you. You think people will do it? Yep.
- Why is this so important?
If your visitors share you socially, it’s like an endorsement and it gets your name in front of others who have similar interests. If you get their email you can send them the occasional message of a great sale or deal coming up to give them a reason to come back.
There is a lot to SEO – this article doesn’t even touch on “backlinks” or video or blogging, or any of that good stuff. This is just a pro-tip primer. However these tips will get you going in the right direction and give you an excellent head start if you’re just getting into SEO. Once you master these basics, then you can move on to more strategies to optimize your pages even better.
George Featherstone is a web developer and SEO at KeyCreative, a full service web design and marketing agency. He writes occasionaly at the Texas SEO blog and loves all things related to SEO and the state of the internet.