First and foremost, search engine optimization starts with your website. The goal of a search engine is to deliver searchers the most useful location/resource, and this is where SEO comes into play. A main component to the search engines’ results algorithms are onsite factors. The organization of your website plays a major role with how a search engine determines what your site offers and its value. Your website should always be built with your visitors in mind, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tweak a few elements that search engines focus on. If you are new to SEO here are a few basic SEO starting points:
- Keywords: The backbone of every search engine is keywords. The goal is to have your site appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) for most (if not all) of the relevant keywords describing your site. Google provides a keyword research tool that shows global and local search results for search terms. This tool helps you determine which are the most valuable keywords for your site (and individual pages) and arms you with knowledge you need to incorporate these keywords into your site’s content as well as page headers, titles and meta tags.
- Page Titles: There are varying approaches for proper page title syntax but the primary objective is to get your keywords at the start of the title. The reason for this is because search engines place more value on the first few words of a page title and header. Include your site’s primary keyword phrase in every page title so that search engines will categorize every page of your site based on your primary keywords. For interior pages include that primary keyword, too. If you have an ecommerce site for widgets here is an example for the homepage: “Widgets for Sale” and the blue widgets page: “Blue Widgets for Sale.”
- Page Headers: Every page must have only one H1 tag because search engines view this as the primary heading for a page and use it to understand what the page is about. People often try to be creative with their H1 because they don’t know the value it possesses; so, they will make it something catchy without involving keywords. Using only your primary keyword phrase, keep your H1 short and to the point. If the page is has information on blue widgets make your H1 “Blue Widgets Facts and Information.”
- Content: Content is another major element search engines comb through to understand what is delivered on that page. Much like your page titles and headers, you must sprinkle in keywords and phrases throughout the page, although you can be more general and add a few secondary keywords. You can suffer some penalties from search engines if you stuff your pages with keywords, so the best rule of thumb is to write for your audience and not search engines.
As far as SEO is concerned, these four elements are the primary starting point for onsite search engine optimization. If you would like to know some higher level SEO tactics, continue reading through our blog.