Today I invited Larry Kim, founder of Wordstream, to explain to the many people I talk to about how to get more visibility and build your brand. Larry is a very smart guy – hope you enjoy his article.
Your boss just walked into the office and announced your company’s website needs to be optimized for search engines…like yesterday. He Googled “blood gas monitor” and your website is nowhere to be found. Oh wait, there it is…on the 20th page of search results!
Not sure where to begin? Don’t worry, here is my personal list of the top 10 tips for search engine optimization to help you ensure you make all the right changes, and don’t waste your time on the insignificant ones.
1. Choose the most profitable and relevant keywords to target
You know keywords are important, but where to begin? Start by identifying which keywords your customers use to describe your offering, and also which are the most popular terms to attract new customers. Use a keyword tool to help you identify the best keyword opportunities. Since you can’t rank on everything you need to pick and group together similar keywords where appropriate.
2. Optimize Title Tags
After identifying the most relevant and profitable keywords for your website, you can begin the process of matching them to pages on your site. Choose a main keyword to be the focus of a page and put it in the title tag.
3. Optimize URLs
Including keywords in the URL is very important to search engine relevancy. Reinforce the keyword theme for each page by using the same keyword as the title tag in the URL. Ideally, it should be as close to the root domain as possible, and words should be separated by hyphens or underscores.
4. Optimize <h1> tags
Placing the main keyword for each page in the <h1> heading tag will help communicate the relevancy of the page on that subject to search engines.
5. Optimize Description tags
Filling in the meta description tag is important because it lets you control how your site appears in search results. Otherwise, Google has free reign to choose snippets of copy from your page. The description tag should reflect the learnings of your keyword research and also deliver a compelling message—tell users why your listing is not only relevant to their query, but is the best result, yielding the most useful information.
6. Optimize Sub-headings
Putting related keywords into the <h2> through <h6> tags helps reinforce your main keyword theme and also provides the opportunity to optimize for keyword modifiers (like “continuous blood gas monitor”). Revisit your keyword groupings and to select related keywords to include in the sub-heading tags.
7. Optimize Copy
The main keyword for a page should appear several times throughout the copy, and should be supplemented by related keywords. Optimizing around keyword groups is a worthwhile tactic because it affects relevancy for the main keyword and also creates additional opportunities for an individual page to rank.