#1 Keywords Are Key, How to Choose Them
So much time and effort on optimizing websites with keywords that are not being searched. You should invest your time and energy in finding the best keywords that are suited to the content you are providing. One of the most effective ways of doing this is using Google Trends.
Google Trends allows you to look at the search volume, and rising search terms by category, region, country, and time. For example, you can see what the best keyword searches are related to tech and sports were for the the past 12 months, as well as what the current top 10 keywords are. There are other tools that can do this for you, but this is the one that I personally recommend. If you have a Google account, it also lets you export this data for later use. You can also determine this information by also running searches through the search engine of your choice and they will usually offer “related searches”.
Once you know what keywords you will be targeting, its not only enough to include them in your keyword meta tags, they should be used appropriately within the content of the page. Keyword stuffing is something that marketers and SEO’s are tempted to do and it is a terrible practice that never helps the end user. The true goal of any marketer, web designer, or developer should be to create a positive experience for users in which their needs and/or desires are met.
#2 Optimize Your Page Title If You Want to Reach the Top
Choosing an appropriate title that will tell users and search engines what your content is about is important. Just using the common titles “Home”, “Index”, or “Page 1”, does not tell a human being, or a search engine, anything useful about the information someone is going to find on the page they are going to. I recommend keeping it under 60-80 characters as some search engines cut them off at that point.
If you really want to be on the first page of the search engine results, you have to include your keywords in your title tag. If at all possible, before any other words in the title, Try to put the keywords in the title before any other words if you can. Repeating keywords in the title can get you flagged as Spam, so try to avoid this when you can.
It also helps if your title represents a Call to Action, a statement that compels the user to do something. For instance “Become A Famous Motion Designer” may be and ideal title for a blog featuring advice on how to accomplish that particular goal. Call to Action statements are a good way to attract readers to click on your link. Click Through Rates play a major roll in how search engines determine the relevance of your web site.
#3 Using Headings and Bold Text to Organize Content
Headings are important when it comes to organizing information. It’s similar to how newspapers and other print material are setup and typically how humans recognize important information. Be sure to include at least H1-H3 when assembling your page, and try to set them up appropriately. Search engines, like human beings, notice this, and if you tie your keywords to your heading tags, it helps the search engines understand how valuable or relevant the content of your site is to that particular keyword or phrase.
Bold tags also work in a similar fashion to a lesser degree, and may be used to highlight an important portion of content within a sentence or paragraph.
#4 Using ALT and Title Tags
The importance of website accessibility is something that many web designers overlook. Part of the issue is that in addition to no taking a portion of your audience that may be disabled into account, you’re not looking at the obvious advantages this gives you from a SEO perspective.
Computers by nature are mostly “blind, and deaf”, when you really think about it. The same accessibility and interaction issues that the handicapped would have with a website are the same problems that a search engine will have. Using the title attribute is the direct method of telling the search engines about the relevance of the link. It’s also a standard for making your page accessible to disabled people.
#5 Naming Conventions
People and search engines both only understand what you tell them. How do I know when I can download an image of a dog from your site if its file name is “galleryimage001.jpg”? You can’t really. The search engine referencing images of dogs is certain to over look you as well if your content isn’t named correctly. Naming your image “small-poodle-01.jpg” makes a lot more sense to the search engine, as well as the person who is trying to download an image from your site without renaming the file.
This same logic applies to the directory structure of your site. By naming your pages in a logical way that utilizes your keywords, both search engines and people will have an easier time understanding and navigating the contents of your site. If your keyword is the title of your web page, the file name, the alt and title tags of your links and images, as well as the content of your page, you’re well on your way to having all of your sites SEO squared away.