Here’s the deal. SEO, Search Engine Optimization, is a nice fancy word that tends to freak people out. After all, when you use letters instead of words, it’s got to be important. Right?
One of the misconceptions a lot people make about SEO is that it’s about optimizing a site.
It’s Impossible to Optimize a Site
When you go to Google and search for ‘hermit crab food,’ you don’t expect Google to send you to a site, you expect to be sent to a page about hermit crab food.
Google serves up ten pages that it deems relevant to your search. You click on the first link and the PAGE is in fact about hermit crab food and how wonderfully nutritious it is and how your hermit crab will love it. You have landed on a well optimized page even if the site is poorly optimized.
The Four Must Haves
There are four key elements to making sure your page is optimized for a specific keyword or keyword phrase. If you hope to rank on the first page, you must have these four elements. These are the MINIMUM!
1. Keyword in the Title
You must have your keyword in the title. This is arguably the single most important on-page element for optimization. It helps search engines understand what this page is supposed to be about. The closer to the first word the better, but it needs to be natural! Don’t force it.
2. Header Tags
The second element is H1 and H2 tags. The heading tags serve as triggers for search engines. When the spiders are crawling your site and come across an H1 or H2 tag, they notices the terms identify them as important.
It’s like highlighting text with a bright yellow pen. It triggers a response from search engines and lets them know what keyword is relevante for the page.
3. Document Title
The document title is what is displayed in search results. You know the ten listings from Google, the title is the headline of your search result. That title is important in identifying the relevant keyword for the page. Make sure to get the keyword as close to the beginning of the title as possible.
You do not have to make the Document Title and the Title of the page the same. These can be different. Just make sure they are keyword specific and relevant to the copy of the page.
In SEO, a link is like a vote. Inbound links from other pages on your site or from other websites count as votes for quality. The more links you have to a page the better.
When you are optimizing a page, you must be sure to include some links OUT of the page to other content on your site and to other pages on the web. Make sure the links are using anchor tags and are using relavant keywords for the link.
It’s all in the Page
You cannot optimize a website, you can only optimize a page. It’s the accumulation of optimized pages that lead to optimized sites. Pay attention to these four elements and you will see your pages begin to show up higher and higher in search results. And the higher you rank, the more traffic you will get.
What other factors do you use on your pages? Share with us in the comments below.