Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Here are some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tips that anyone can use to get started on improving your ranking in the search results of the major search engines.

  • Use Google information to find out what search terms people use to search in your industry. Those are your keywords.
  • Maximize internal links with keywords. When one page mentions the topic of another page, link it. In the link, use the right keyword for that destination page in the link. Make links visibly underlined. Search engines may interpret invisible links as attempts to overuse linking and may penalize your site for it.
  • Use keywords in your website’s text:
    • Use keywords throughout text of all content. But don’t overuse keywords, and don’t just inject them out of context. Search engines can detect this and penalize your site for it. Natural copyediting for SEO is a valuable skill.
    • Main keywords should be the first words in the first paragraph on the homepage (same principle for keywords that are specific to other pages).
    • Focus appropriate keywords on the page targeting search results. If you don’t want a certain page to be the one returned on searches, don’t waste the main keywords on that page.
    • Phrase keywords exactly as Google information tells you people use them in searches (for example, if your business is repairing air conditioners in Toledo: “air conditioner repairs in Toledo” instead of “repairing air conditioners in the greater Toledo area”)
  • Use keywords in your main tags:
    • <title> concentrate key words </title> and <h1> concentrate key words </h1> (e.g., Put “Air Conditioner Repairs in Toledo” in the main heading in an <h1> tag on the site’s homepage, as well as in the <title> tag.
    • meta text and key-placement text, levels of importance:
      • title (most important)
      • H1 (next most important, the higher on the page the better—H2, H3, etc., in descending importance)
      • meta-description (medium important)
      • meta-keywords (least important)
      • comment text in source code (not important at all)
  • Have as many outside websites (by your own other websites, link exchange, etc.) link to your main website’s primary landing page, using your main website’s most important search-term  keywords and keyphrases.
  • Photos are another opportunity to link. When possible, link them back to your primary landing page, using the main keywords in the text of the “alt tag.”
  • Main keywords for the whole website, sprinkled throughout the website, should  link to website’s primary landing page (homepage)
  • Update pages often, even if little changes that aren’t noticeable, to have a more recently saved pages. Search engines tend to like freshly updated pages.
  • Find out (from Google information) which keywords that you thought were keywords, but are actually not used much by searchers. Purge those terms from your site, and replace them with the terms that searchers actually use.
  • Register your website at Google with your “crawlsitemap.”

These are just some starter tips. Implementing good SEO copy is a talent that comes from being a Web Editor for a long time. You have to be a seasoned editor in the traditional sense, and be able to think like a search engine as you are editing the text. Your copy should appear natural, written to be read by people, not written to be crawled by robots. Believe it or not, the robots as well as the people will notice.

SEO doesn’t always work. Here’s a link to more info on other non-SEO digital marketing if you’re in a highly competitive vertical where SEO just doesn’t help:
"Give Up the SEO Dream?"

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