As a print journalist in a tumultuous industry, I regularly get emails from my editors on how to improve search engine optimization (SEO) for online journalism. As a writer, I never before had to worry about this process. Now I know that mastering SEO takes a true knack for blending art with science.
Here is a collection of basic ideas a business should think about in order to optimize website ranking in search engine results:
Think in terms of keywords.
Work with seven to19 keywords that you weave into the content of your site. These should be words that people would most likely use to search for what your business offers. Try to think like your customer to get a better understanding for how your clients would look for you.
Namedrop those keywords frequently.
You must use those keywords frequently in the body of your website’s pages. Some SEO champions suggest two keywords for every five words. Others advise to be more selective – customizing each page. (A page with fewer words should have fewer keywords.) It is a challenge to keep the language sounding natural, but try where you can (or hire someone skilled at finessing SEO into text).
Remember your visuals.
Pair your text with images. Each image should have a keyword-happy title and keyword-rich supporting text.
Make sure your page title gives good indexing.
The words that appear at the top of the browser window should describe the current page. Do not put your product or service name first. Search engines typically look at the first three words and should already detect what you are offering. Make those page title words count.
Keep track of how your keywords rank on search engines. Consider altering them to words that receive a lot of traffic. Tweeking your keywords in page titles and content will help you move up the ratings. You may need to add a few more search terms to the mix.
Mind your URLs.
Another keyword hotspot! Include hyphenated keywords after the backslash to describe exactly what your company sells or does.
Control your H1 tags.
Again, think economically and strategically with these important words. These keywords get prioritized by search engines, so be clever. Usually you need one H1 tag per page.
Tighten your meta description tags.
Slip keywords into a 25-word description of your business. Often search engines will show the description under the links in the search results.
Link. Link. Link.
Link to other pages on your website via keywords. Also try to get other websites to link to you. A good way to do this is to give away a product or useful information. Encourage users to comment and blog about your business. Connect with bloggers and members of the media, and let them know about your business’s happenings. The more prestigious the site is that talks about or links to your webpage, the better. Incoming links have keywords too. Make sure you insert them there as well. Don’t rely on: “Click here.” It won’t get your site anywhere.