4 Tips to Optimize Your Website for SEO
Recently, I had the chance to offer an SEO 101 seminar to local small businesses from the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. We covered many of the basics, but also dug into some of the nitty-gritty details related to Search Engine Optimization. In a perfect world, I’d love to be able to answer all of your SEO questions individually — but for now, I will offer a summary of the advice I shared with these business owners.
1. Focus on 3-5 keyword terms per page
The first step to any good SEO-infused content strategy is keyword research. I’d recommend either hiring an outside source to perform your keyword research or take the time to learn some basic methodology. There is a helpful section regarding keyword research in the Moz Beginner’s Guide to SEO.
Once you’ve completed your keyword research, narrow your focus to 3-5 keywords per page. Try to incorporate these terms into the content on that page. Be sure to keep the focus of that page to those few terms. If you find that a page has more than one theme, you may want to break it into two pages. Put yourself in the user’s shoes and ask yourself, “What is the purpose of this page?” If the answer is not clear, consider reworking the content to make the message clear. If you find that the page does not have a purpose from the user’s perspective, consider getting rid of the page.
2. Start general & get specific
Often, websites will provide too much information on each page. This will not only make for a bad user experience, but will also confuse the search engine robots crawling your website. A great way to remedy this issue is to build your website with a pyramid in mind. Consider your homepage the top of the pyramid. As you go down the pyramid, there are more specific, but still high-level pages. Those pages link down further to even more specific pages. For example, if you run a clothing website, the homepage might link to the pants page, the pants page to the men’s pants page, the men’s pants page to the men’s dress pants page, and the men’s dress pants page to a product detail page for black Ralph Lauren wool dress pants.
As you are determining what content to create, consider if someone were to land on that page based on the terms you are targeting. If someone was searching for men’s pants and landed on the very specific product detail page, it would not be the best user experience. On that same note, if someone were searching for a specific pair of pants and ended up on a very broad page, it would also be a bad experience. Taking this into consideration, start with high-level pages and get more specific as you drill deeper.
3. SEO Elements
While there isn’t any kind of magic sauce you can sprinkle on your website to magically improve organic performance, ensuring your ‘SEO pieces’ are compliant will help you make search engines happy. This means correctly utilizing page titles, meta descriptions, meta keywords, and heading tags.
Page Titles: Approximately 55 character limit. Include an explanation of what the page is about and include brand name if possible. For example, if your company, Magical Lunch Box Company has a Purple Unicorn Lunch Box, your title for that page should look something like this:
Purple Unicorn Lunch Box | Magical Lunch Box Company
Get a preview of what your titles will look like on search result pages with the Title Tag Preview Tool.
Meta Descriptions: Approximately 155 character limit. A few sentences/ short paragraph summarizing the page. Include keywords, brand name, and call to action where possible. Note: If you do not write your own meta-descriptions, search engines will scrape your on-page content and generate a meta-description.
Meta Keywords: Put your list of the 3-5 keywords you are targeting here.
Heading Tags: Heading tags are the titles that appear on a page and range from H1-H6. Best practice is to have only one H1 per page, but you can have multiple H2 – H6 tags. Heading tags are viewed as a hierarchy with H1 as the most important and lesser importance as you progress to H6.
4. Local Listings/ Optimization
While on-page optimization is extremely important, off-page optimization plays an equally important role in getting the most out of your online presence. Off-page optimization refers to being present on other websites. For small businesses, being present in local listings is key when trying to reach local customers. An easy way to get started with local optimization is by checking your listing score via our Online Presence Report. Simply type in your business name and zip code to see where you are listed and where you are not.
Take some time to check out these other resources regarding local SEO to maximize your local online presence.
- 7 Simple Tactics for Getting Local Links by Adam Dince
- Guide: Top 20 Places to be Listed Online by Deluxe
- Free Local SEO Tools that Belong in Your Kit by Miriam Ellis
Other great SEO resources: