Many of us have heard this information before, but it never hurts to review the basics of SEO.
Once you’ve chosen your keywords, your next goal is to optimize your web pages and content for those keywords. To do this, you will want to make sure the main keyword phrase for each page appears in the following places.
The SEO Title
Websites that have been properly optimized usually have their main keywords in the title of the page. This is the most important on-site optimization element. Not only that, but it shows up in search results, in the tab when someone is viewing a particular page, in the bookmark when people save your page on their browser, and in the social share of the page if they tweet it, like it, or bookmark it online. In short, it’s seen just about everywhere that page is referenced.
If possible, make sure that your website’s URL structure uses your keywords. For example, your web design services page should be yourdomain.com/web-design-services and not yourdomain.com/p=1139.
The Meta Description
While this isn’t as important as far as ranking for your keyword phrase, it does show up in almost as many places as the SEO title, which makes it important regardless.
You don’t want to go overboard and mention your main keyword phrase in a way that seems unnatural. But you do want to make sure the content on your page represents the main keyword phrase and is mentioned within it. At bare minimum, it should be in the opening paragraph on a page. Also, try to use it in a header tag (like H2, H3 tags).
The Image ALT Tag
If you have an image on your page (and you should), include the main keyword in the image’s ALT tag. So if you have a photo of yourself on the homepage, ALT tag the photo with your name + your keyword like John Smith, Freelance Web Designer.
Proper on-site optimization will tell search engines what each page is about, and help ensure that they earn better rankings for those keywords. Also, be sure to consider on-site optimization for your social media profiles. Primarily, you will want to add your main keyword phrase to your social profile’s about section, introduction, or bio. Also try to use your main keyword phrases naturally in status updates. Both will help more people discover your business through social media.
Tips to Avoid Search Engine Penalties
Don’t over-optimize on your website or your social media profiles. The most common form of over-optimization is keyword stuffing, or using your keyword phrase an unnatural amount of times on a page. This is generally frowned upon by Google and could hurt your search rankings if discovered by Google’s algorithm changes.
Local Search Optimization
If your business has a local focus, such as a physical location that customers visit or offers services within a specific area, you will also want to optimize your website for that location. Go back to your keyword research and see what locations you can optimize your pages for.
There is a lot to learn when it comes to SEO, but these are the basics that will help you get going in the right direction, or at least help you make sure you are paying for good service.