Optimizing Your Website & Content for SEO: A Cheat Sheet
If you’re like every other business, looking to stay competitive and relevant in your market, then SEO is your best friend. Optimizing your website and content for SEO is a bit of a process that involves multiple steps and lots of coffee. What does it mean to optimize? Well, Google has these things called web crawlers and their job is to crawl on existing websites and content to rank those pages and sites according to how relevant and rich the content is. Google’s fancy algorithm considers over 2,000 components to rank your business’s website – crazy, right?
I use a checklist to make sure that when I’m putting together content for clients I optimize it as much as possible. Once I’ve finished outlining buyer personas, I compile an extensive keyword and keyword phrase search and ranking list. These two steps lead into the actual content crafting, and if you’re looking to “do it right,” you definitely don’t want to jump straight to writing.
Remember Your Audience
Maybe you sell shampoo or you’re a dog sitter, either way, you have a specific type of customer. Among your customers are distinct buyer types. You know how you like to only buy clothes by sweatshop free brands (me too!) you are a distinct type of buyer, so organizations that sell that type of clothing work to create content that appeals to you. In case you missed it, check out our article, “Understanding Your Audience: SEO Marketing.”
When writing website content for a business’s site, you want to remember who your audience is and craft content that not only would appeal to them, but also answers questions that they might have. The idea is to draw people to your awesome content and keep them coming back. The more traffic that you can drive to your site the better, and Google uses this as an indicator of relevance and will rank your website higher.
Keyword Rich Content
If you’re searching the web for particular products, like those super insulated coffee tumblers, the words that you type into Google’s search bar are keywords. Google looks at the types of keywords and phrases that consumers use when looking for products and services and ranks those keywords according to how often people are typing them in and using them. You can, and should, also use relevant keywords in your website URLs.
In case you missed our last article in this series, check out, “Capturing Keywords & Amping-Up Your SEO,” to guide you through keyword research and utilization.
When you’re writing content for your website, you want to make sure to include those keywords and phrases that
Google (and other search engines, like Bing) have given high rankings, especially within your industry. If you’re in haircare, keywords like “shampoo” and “brush” are more relevant on your website than “dog” or “cereal.” It seems intuitive, but it’s harder to get a solid keyword list than you might think.
Less is NOT More
Have you ever been on a website that barely had any text? Me too. The issue with this is that Google’s infamous web crawlers considered how much written copy is on websites, and this is factored into how that website ranks in SEO. Now, maybe you’ve stumbled upon those websites with A TON of written content, that maybe seemed a bit redundant when you read it. I use a balance act when I’m working on content writing.
Be weary of the “word count” method for writing copy on your webpages. What I mean is that some businesses get fixated on meeting “500 words” or “750 words” on their webpages, thinking that by having a set number of words on their pages will bump their SEO. While having significant content can help with SEO, the quality of the content and the use of relevant and high-ranking keywords is arguable more important. Google can detect when the written content on your website is weak or thoughtfully developed. I write content that is both relevant and substantial for web pages.
It’s All in the Headers
You know how when you’re in a hurry to understand a new article, those headers can be helpful indicators? Well, on websites, headers and subheaders are analyzed and given weight by Google, which affects your website’s SEO.
Keywords should definitely be used within your headers in a strategic and natural way. There’s nothing worse than reading through a website that has super generic headers and subheaders, that have been obviously fashioned for Google web crawlers. I sometimes use CoSchedule as a headliner analyzer.
There are four different types of meta tags that you should know about if you want to really amp up your SEO. Now, not all of these are as important as they once were but knowing about them can help you be strategic about your SEO strategy and keyword usage.
- Meta Keywords Attribute - A series of keywords you deem relevant to the page in question. Google doesn’t actually even consider this anymore when they rank your website, because people were using “keyword stuffing” and would dupe Google.
- Title Tag – You know that text you see at the top of your browser, that’s called the “title” of the page, and it’s extremely important to your website’s SEO.
- Meta Description Attribute – The brief description of the web page. Try to write a description that will entice consumers to want to click to your website.
- Meta Robots Attribute – This tells those web crawlers what they should do with the web page, whether they should show your pages in search results or how to treat links on your site.
Really, meta tags are almost behind the scenes indicators of what’s going on with your website, and Google takes them seriously.
External & Internal Linking
I love going to websites that have great content and use links on their webpages to send you to other great content, like vegan recipes. Well, not only do consumers like thoughtful linking, but using external and internal linking can help you optimize your website for SEO.
How does it work? If your website wants to have a stronger authority on the web, Google looks to see if you use internal links. You can use links on your webpages, like your “Contact Us” page or “Meet the Team” page. Depending on how strong your content is on those pages, you can even further optimize your website.
External linking is all about linking your website to other sources that have strong authority. Maybe you own a hair salon and you choose to link to an article written by Paul Mitchell, because that brand has so much traffic to their website and SEO optimization, linking that external source and improve your website’s SEO.
Backlinks – What Are They?
Now, Google looks at backlinks, also called inbound or incoming links, as the strongest indication of authority. Am I losing you yet? You know when you are on a well-known brand’s website and they feature a partnering brand, and share a link to their site? Think: Betty Crocker and Hershey’s. If Betty Crocker’s website has a recipe that calls for a Hershey’s product, there is a link to Hershey’s website, that’s called a backlink to Hershey’s.
Search engines look at backlinks as indications that a website is popular. When a website adds a link to your business’s website, they are basically giving you the thumb’s up and showing customers that they think your site is worth a visit.
Google and other search engines look at two things when considering backlinks: link score and anchor text relevance.
How does Google quantify backlinks? The link score is summed up by every incoming link’s individual quality score. So, when a brand like, Coca-Cola, partners with McDonald’s and places a link on their homepage that leads customers to one of McDonald’s pages, that incoming link’s quality score is probably pretty high, since Coca-Cola is such a popular brand with plenty of customer traffic. Now, McDonald’s will want more incoming links like this one, which will up their overall link score.
If your business is looking to have lots of incoming links from other sites, try to make sure that the businesses and influencers that are giving you the thumbs up are high quality places. I like using tools, like PageRank, to checkout how good those sources are.
Now, the anchor text relevance is the clickable text in a hyperlink. You know how some pages have those blue words and phrases that you can click on to learn more about whatever the text is all about? That’s what I’m talking about! The words used within the anchor text help those Google bots determine that ranking that the page gets. You want your link sources to use keywords associated with your website and the content on your site, the higher the keyword ranking, the better.
When I go to a website there are some things that I always check for, and search engines have gotten SO MUCH smarter when it comes to consumer experience. There are some “Mickey Mouse” things that you want to double-check.
- Is your content clear?
- Do you have any grammatical errors?
- Is your content factual?
Rock your content, and see your engagement fly!
Blog Posts, Anyone?
Of course, I know how much you love writing blogs, and guess what? Those blogs can help with your website’s SEO! I’ll be sharing a bit more about that process next week, but for now, just know that you can write relevant, high-quality blog content that can help you get even more love from Google bots.
SEO optimization is crucial for any business that wants to compete in today’s marketplace, and nothing helps with SEO as much as having solid content. At HammockWeb we take it seriously, and our team of SEO experts work closely with each client to roll out strategies that are crafted to bring the best results. Interested in working with our team, contact us TODAY.