SEO can be confusing if you’re new to the subject. You may be wondering where to start. Well, we’re here to help. First off, you’ll want to take measures to set your website up for success before optimizing individual web pages for SEO. These are known as technical SEO strategies, and will likely require the help of a skilled SEO specialist if you’re new to SEO or if you’re not very tech savvy.
If you have a good idea of how to navigate your website and are just looking for more ways to optimize each page for SEO, you’re in the right place. Let’s get started.
Optimize Your Meta Tags for SEO
- Include Your Keyword in the Meta Title
A meta title (or title tag) is a “hidden” page title that Google uses to display your website in its search engine results pages. This is the title of the link you see when you find your website in Google search results. Each page on your website has its own title tag, not just your homepage.
- Start Your Meta Title with Your Keyword
Including your keyword at the beginning of your title tag can help. However, this won’t guarantee you outrank your competitors. There are dozens of other factors at play here.
- Include Your Keyword in the Meta Description
As you may have guessed, a meta description is the description displayed under the meta title in search results pages. This tells Google and users what your page is about. Including a keyword in your meta description (and your meta title) is a staple SEO strategy.
- Use Keyword Synonyms in Meta Tags
Including synonyms of keywords not only helps Google with Latent Semantic Indexing, it also helps you diversify the keywords you’re able to rank for.
- Mind Meta Tag Character Limits
Google will only display the first 60 characters of your meta title, and the first 155-160 characters of your meta description. Inadequate character length certainly won’t get you penalized by Google, but it’s important to make sure your keyword is displayed before the cutoff. It’s also a good idea to utilize all the space that Google gives you to include as much helpful information about the page as possible.
Optimize Your Content for SEO
- Include Your Keyword in H1 Header Tag
Your H1 header tag is the title of each individual webpage on your website. It’s important when creating each webpage to use the “<h1>,</h1>” html tags to help Google identify which part of your content is the title. However, many platforms like WordPress add these tags automatically to the text you add in the “Title” field. Start your content off right by including your keyword directly in your H1 to help Google understand what your content is about, and what keyword you should show up in search results for.
- Mind Your Keyword Density
Keyword density is the percentage of which your content appears throughout your content. If your keyword is only included once in your 1500 word article, then you’re less likely to rank in the search engines for that keyword. However, using your keyword too many times in your content can have a negative impact on your rankings. This is known as “keyword stuffing”, and was once a commonly used blackhat SEO strategy in the early days of the internet. Today, SEO experts believe a keyword density of 1-2% is ideal.
- Include Your Keyword in H2, H3 Tags
Similar to H1 tags, H2 and H3 tags help Google identify subtitles throughout your content. Including keywords and keyword synonyms sparingly in subheadings can help increase your keyword density and your rankability.
- Write Longer, More In-Depth, Original Content
The length of your page content can have a significant impact on your rankings. For example, a 1500 word page or blog post can outrank another with only 500 words if Google finds this page to be more informative. However, if your 1500 word article is mostly gibberish, your competitors’ 500 word article will certainly outrank yours.
Google can determine whether your content is more useful to users by looking at the level of depth your content goes into any particular subject. Helpful information like raw data, study findings, analytical charts, personal synopses, illustrative media, and more can all help increase your content’s level of depth.
Make sure you don’t just copy content you find on the web to fill out more words on the page. It’s important that your content be original. Duplicate content can negatively affect your SEO, and Google can penalize you for it.
- Use Keyword Synonyms and Complimentary Keywords
Google not only takes into account the exact keyword you’re targeting, but also words and phrases that are synonyms of or complimentary to your keyword. For example, Google can identify that the keyword “running shoes” can also be referred to as “tennis shoes” or “jogging shoes”, and can also have complimentary words like “arch support”, “shoe laces”, “socks” or “feet”. This also helps Google decipher between similar words with different meanings, such as the word “apple”. It uses synonyms and complimentary phrases to determine whether your webpage is about fruit “apples” or “Apple” computers. Google refers to this as Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI).
Optimize Your Media for SEO
- Include Your Keyword in Media Alt and Title Tags
Images and videos have tags that can help Google identify their content. Since Google bots can’t “see” media content, they crawl information found in alt and title tags to determine what the media is about. It’s helpful to be descriptive about the context of the image or video and include a keyword or keyword synonym in the tags.
- Include Your Keyword in the Media File Name
Like alt and title tags, Google uses media file names to determine the context of the media. Including your keyword here (e.g. your-keyword.jpg) tells Google that the media is related to that particular subject, thus increasing your chances of getting ranked higher in search results.
Optimize Page Links for SEO
- Use Internal Links
One of the best ways to increase the rankability of a web page is to build internal links to and from the web page. By including links to and from your other web pages, you’re helping pass “link juice” or “authority” from one page to another. This can be most effective when linking to/from your most visited pages. Google sees internal links as hierarchical signals, which help it determine how important a particular page is to your website.
- Build External Links
External links (or “backlinks”) are links from other websites that point to yours. Not only is it helpful to attain links pointing to your homepage, but to your other pages as well. Google sees these links as signals that help it determine the popularity and authority of your web page. Google analyzes the quantity and quality of these links to help determine where you rank in search results pages. More specifically, Google also analyzes the “anchor text” of each link to help determine what keywords your webpage should rank for. Anchor text is the text visible in the link that you click to get redirected to the link’s destination URL. The anchor text is usually displayed in a different color and is often underlined.