Basic search engine optimization in 5 quick steps

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a very complex, involved science. That’s why there are tons of firms that specialize in it.

With that said, here are five basic things you should do to optimize your website for search. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much your results will improve over a few months just by doing these simple things. Remember, they are cumulative. You’re essentially trying to score credibility points. So to optimize your ‘score’, you need to do them all, and you need to do them all of the time for all of your pages. (HINT: a content management system helps A LOT with this)

1. Keywords in your page <title> tags

This is one of the most important places to have a keyword because what is written inside the <title> tag shows in search results as your page title. The title tag must be short (6 or 7 words at most) and the keywords should appear most-to-least important (HINT: your company name is least important), left-to-right, separated by a single special character like a comma, pipe, or hyphen.  It should end up looking something like this:

<title>Specialty Area | Important Keywords | CompanyName</title>

2. Keywords in your page URLs

Keywords in URLs help a lot – e.g. – https://www.yourdomain.com/specialty-area/important-keywords.html, where “Specialty Area” and “Important Keywords” are the keyword phrases you want to rank well for. Resist the urge to trim the URLs for brevity…don’t think of them as directory names that you’ll need to type into the command-line later. The title and body text on the page needs to also include sufficient reference to the same keywords though.

3. Keywords in headings (<H1> tags)

You should only ever have one H1 tag on a page, and that heading should include the same (or similar) keywords to your page title (<title> tag) and page URL. But your page must have actual body text about the particular keyword, too.

4. Keyword density on the page

You can quite easily have too much, or not enough, keyword density. Inside the range of 3-7% for your primary keywords is best, 1-2% for your secondary keywords. Keyword density of over 10% is suspicious and looks more like keyword stuffing, which will count against your ranking.

5. Keywords in anchor text from external inbound links

If you have your keywords in the anchor text in a link from another site, this is regarded as getting a vote of credibility from this site not only about your page in general, but about the keyword in particular. Remember this when hyperlinking text in everything from URLs in your LinkedIn profile (change default “My Website” text to “CompanyName Specialty Area”) to links you include in blog post comments, forum posts, etc.

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