When it comes to search engine optimization for a new website, some businesses can be intimidated due to the amount of information out there.
And often, if they don’t have the help of an experienced in-house SEO or consultant, they will do nothing.
Today, we’re going to look at some easy things you can do to start your website’s SEO on the right foot – even if you can’t hire a professional to help you out.
Some of the most important elements for search engine optimization happen on your own website.
You may hear a lot about link building (which we will get to in just a moment), but link building without good on-site search optimization isn’t going to be as effective.
Here are the bare minimum on-site optimization elements you should put on each of your website’s main pages, including and especially the homepage.
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The Golden Rule of On-Site Optimization
Before we get started, one thing you want to keep in mind when using any of the following SEO elements is not to overdo it.
You might be tempted to shove a lot of keywords onto your pages, but that is not the goal. In fact, Google has unleashed an over-optimization penalty that targets websites that have too many keywords stuffed onto one page.
So when it comes to keyword optimization, keep it simple – think of up to five keywords or keyword phrases for each page on your website and optimize for those.
The title tag on pages of your website tells search engines what the page is about. It should be 70 characters or less and include your business or brand name and keywords that relate to that specific page only. This tag is placed between the <HEAD> </HEAD> tags near the top of the HTML code for the page.
The meta description on pages of your website gives search engines a little more insight into what your page is about. There is still debate about whether meta descriptions can help with keyword rankings. Regardless, you want to write your meta description with a human audience in mind that includes the page’s main keywords, as the meta description does show up in search results.
The above image shows how the title tag and meta description shows up in Google search results. You can see that the keywords searched by a user are bolded by Google in both the title tag and the meta description. This is why you have to use your business or brand name and keywords in both the title and meta description – it helps your search results stand out to the searcher when they are searching those terms.
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Additional On-Site SEO Elements
While the title tag and the meta description are the most important SEO elements, they are not the only ones. Be sure to incorporate the following into your website’s page content for further search optimization.
Internal Links – Link building isn’t just reserved for external sites linking to your website. You can help search engines learn more about your website by internally linking to other pages on your website within your content.
Header Tags –Header tags are an easy way for you to improve any homepage's technical SEO. There are different types of header tags, categorized by numbers, from H1 to H6. Each header serves a different purpose, giving search engine crawlers like Googlebot valuable information about that page.. Using header tags helps both readers and search engines break up your content into digestible sections.
Image Name & ALT Tags – If you use images on your website, you should think of good keywords for both the image name and the alt tag. On-Site Search Optimization SEO Title Tag” /> as the goal is to optimize it for the keywords on-site search optimization. This helps search engines find good images for their image search based on the keywords specified.
Bolded Text – You don’t want to get too crazy with this one, but occasionally bolding a selection of text to get a reader’s attention can also help search engines distinguish other important information and keywords in the page’s content
2. Why You Need Content
If you keep up with the latest in online marketing news, then you have likely read about content development and content marketing.
Content is great for both your website visitors and search engines. The more content you have, the more likely your visitors will stick around on your website. And the more content you have, the more likely search engines will be to put more of your website’s pages in the search index.
The key to pleasing both search engines and visitors is to have quality content on our website. Quality content can include a variety of things including, but not limited to, the following.
Tutorials & How To Guides
Creating quality content for your website can be a huge investment, but it is worth it. Search engines will love it, and visitors will love it so much that they will share it on social media, leading to even more visitors.
You can start out by simply creating blog posts on your website, and as your audience grows, you can expand your content inventory to additional types of media.
3. Off-Site Optimization (aka Link Building)
Link building is probably one of the most talked-about (and debated about) SEO tasks. The basic goal of link building is to get other websites to link to yours.
If you think about ranking at the top of search results as a popularity contest, then links are like votes saying your website deserves to be ranked highly.
Getting links with keyword anchor text will help you rank specifically for the keywords that are linked to. For example, Adobe Reader ranks number one for the keywords click here because so many websites linked to it using the anchor text click here because so many websites linked to it using the anchor text to download Adobe Reader.
So how do you get links? There are lots and lots of ways to do it – some good, and some not so good. If you read enough about link building, you will hear ultimately about three kinds of links and link building techniques.
Organic Links – These are links you don’t have to ask for, and they are the best kind. Especially if you can get them on sites with high authority such as major news outlets and other well-recognized name websites.
Whitehat – This basically stands for good, quality link building (the kind you should strive for).
Blackhat – This stands for spammy, low-quality link building (the kind you should avoid).
Most websites will have a hard time generating enough organic links to raise their rankings in search engines. This is why link building is such a popular service. But you can get started on building quality links by doing some of the following activities.
Submitting guest blog posts to popular blogs in your industry. Generally, you will get a link back to your website in an author box at the top or bottom of your post’s content.
Reaching out to related (but not competitive) businesses to see if they will link to you. A good way to do this is to see if the businesses you work with have link pages on their site for partners, vendors, suppliers, etc.
Create local search profiles (if applicable) and social media profiles. While the links do not always count towards search rankings, they can attract clicks which will generate more incoming traffic to your website.
Submit your website to applicable industry directories or, alternatively, buy advertising. For example, anyone in the wedding business could get listings with a link back to their website on The Knot, The Wedding Channel, and other similar sites. Bypass low-quality directories that have nothing to do with your industry or ones that link to shady websites in the adult, pharmaceutical, or online casino industries.
Create link worthy content. Infographics are a great example – you create a beautiful image representing important information and allow others to use the infographic on their own website in exchange for linking back to yours as credit.
Data For SEO – Use this tool to get raw SEO data straight to your custom application. You can use their rank tracker API to track keyword rankings, SERP results, keyword data and more.
There are a lot of other valuable SEO tools out there, but these are the best ones to start with to help you learn more about whether your SEO efforts are making a difference.
If you can follow the suggestions in this post, you will definitely start off on the right foot when it comes to your website’s search engine optimization. And hopefully you will start reaping the benefits of getting more visitors through search engines too!
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