7 Common Sense SEO Tips
Often times there are not sufficient budget or resources available to engage a SEO company to drive and support a proper SEO strategy. If this is the case with you and your resources do not permit you to work with SEO professionals or outside organizations it is good to know a few tips in optimizing new website content and/or content which is undergoing revisions.
Here are 7 simple SEO tips to help improve your search engine ranking:
1. Stop for 60 seconds before you write a post
Before beginning to write or edit a post take a minute to think of the best two or three keywords or keyword phrases you feel best describe it.
For example, if you are writing about tennis lessons in Denver think of the phrases you or a friend would use if using search engines to find tennis lesson options in the Mile High City. Perhaps such keyword phrases would be:
“Denver’s best tennis lessons”
“tennis lessons in Denver”
Please note it is critical that you are as specific as possible. As an example, you would not want to choose the word “tennis” as you then placing yourself in competition with every tennis magazine, piece of equipment, tournament etc that is focused on or about tennis.
You also would not want to pick “best tennis lessons” as you are then potentially competing with articles written in Detroit, Dallas, Des Moines and anywhere else that might also have articles about tennis lessons in their area.
2. Put selected keywords in the title of your post
The title of your post, also called the headline or the H1, is a great place to put your keyword phrase(s). For this example, we could name our article, “The 5 Best Places for Tennis Lessons in Denver”
3. Put your selected keywords in the URL
With WordPress or other similar CMS tools, often the URL is automatically generated. To get maximum SEO benefit it is best that you customize the URLS for your posts. As we used “tennis lessons in Denver” in our title we will choose our other keyword phrase for the URL.
For this example we could choose, www.myblog.com/denvers-best-tennis-lessons.html.
It is critical you put a ‘-‘ between each word as this signifies the beginning and end of a word to search engines.
4. Put your keyword phrases in your article or post
Your keywords or keyword phrases must also be included in your content. As a general rule of thumb it is good to aim for 2 to 5 percent of your copy being your keywords or keyword phrases.
As an example, if your article is 500 words, ten of the words in your article should be your keywords or keyword phrases. Please note that “denver’s best tennis lessons” is considered four words. As the keyword phrase “tennis lessons in denver” was placed in the title of the post this brings the keyword phrase count to eight. Mentioning one of the keyword phrases again in the content (or more if possible) would get you to a good keyword density.
5. Put your keyword phrases in your image names
Imagery is often forgotten when doing SEO, however it is a great way to get your keywords in the page. It is also a great way to support appearing in search engine rankings. If in your post you had a photo of a Denver tennis instructor and her student you could name that photo, tennis-lessons-in-denver.jpg.
You can also include your keyword phrases in the ALT Image tag. The ALT image tag is the content which appears when you rollover an image or if images are downloading slowly. As an example of an ALT Image tag for this post you could choose, “Julia Johnson giving tennis lessons in Denver.” Ensuring you use the ALT image tag functionality not only creates a better user experience, but it also helps improve search engine ranking.
6. Include your selected keywords in your page title
The page title is considered the most important SEO element. It is the content that appears as the clickable link in search results.
It also shows up at the very top of your post. Page title should be approximately 70 characters and keywords or keyword phrases should be separated by a comma or a ‘|’ within the title. In this example a good title tag would be:
5 Best Places for Tennis Lessons in Denver | Tennis Lessons in Denver
Many companies make the mistake of putting the name of their organization in the title tag when more important information actually belongs here. Chances are if you Google your company name your website will appear at the top of the first page. In this situation and in many situations we are assuming you are not trying to rank for your company or publication name but for the content of the post. As characters are limited it is best to use your title tag for critical keyword phrases.
7. Put your keywords in your meta description
The meta description is the first few sentences or phrases that appear under your page title in the search results. Although this is not something search engines currently utilize this is a great place to repeat keyword phrases to help potential readers better understand the content of your post. Meta descriptions should be approximately 140 characters.
A good meta description for this example could be: “The 5 Best Places for Tennis Lessons in Denver. Tips on finding Denver’s best tennis lessons.