SEO Basics

There are a few simple steps you can take to make sure that the search engines understand your pages and index them appropriately.

Know Your Keywords

What is your website about? Chances are there are several words that come to mind. Which ones do people use when searching online for the answers your website can provide? There are a number of keyword tools you can use to find out how many people search for a term each month.

Long Tail Keywords

It can be almost impossible to break into the top page of search results for a single keyword. When you are beginning your website, you want to find longer search phrases that will be easier to rank for. As your website becomes known you will get links and traffic that signal the search engine to rank you more highly and for more terms, including the shorter, harder to rank for terms.

Title Tag

Make sure you include your search phrase in your title tag. This is not only what shows up in the browser tab, but what will show up on the search results page. Besides containing your search phrase, it should encourage people to click on the link to learn more.

Description Meta Tag

Including a meta tag for your site description gives you more control over your search results. If you skip this tag, then the search engine will use random text from your webpage. Remember, the key here is to include your search term at least once for the search engine, but to focus on giving the people who see your search listing a reason to click and visit your website.

H1 Tag

This is the main headline on your web page. While people may forget the title and description tags, more often they waste the H1 tag on the business name or a completely irrelevant phrase like “welcome to my website”. Be sure your search phrase is in the H1 tag – and just like the title, try to make your headline entice your visitors to read more.

First Paragraph

Remember that “main topic sentence” you started all your high school essays with? Search engines are programmed to look at your first paragraph to determine how important a term is on your web page. Be sure to include your main search term(s) in your first paragraph so that there will be no doubt about what your webpage is about.

And Beyond…

The most important thing for good search engine ranking is to have plenty of good, relevant content. Now that you have the basics for your page managed, be sure that you follow up with a page full of useful information. Organize it and present it so that people can find what they are looking for easily.

The happier your visitors are the more likely they are to share your page with their friend or link to it from their own blogs and articles. Those links are one of the major factors in search ranking… so go out and earn them!

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