In part two of this SEO series, we covered preparing to start your SEO campaign by finding out which pages on your website are already listed in search engines and by creating the list of keywords you want to be popular for. Once you have the list of your website pages that are indexed in search engines already and the list of your target keywords, you are ready to start work on your website.
The first thing to do is to make sure that all the pages you want the search engine to find have links from somewhere, and that all of the links on your site actually go somewhere. You can do this by manually clicking around your site, making a list of all your pages (make sure that you can get to every page from another page) and that none of the links you have on your site are broken (search engines don’t like broken links, so if you find any remove them!) Alternatively you can use an online link checker, like the W3C Link Checker, which will automatically check your links. You’ll need to remember to do this frequently as you update your website.
When you have determined that your site is clean from broken links, your navigation is tidied up and every page you want search engines to find has a link to it, you can start looking the content on each of your pages. Assuming you have decided on your keywords you can begin to populate them on your site. This is one of the few times when you should do something that is a bit different for search engines than for human visitors on your website. This is because search engine spiders will look for content specifically created for them in your website’s HTML code. This content is not normally seen by human visitors (although you can see it if you click on View> Source in Internet Explorer or by pressing CTRL+U in Firefox).
This is an example:
- The title of the page tells search engines what the topic of a particular page is. The title is found at the top of the browser. In the HTML code, it can be found within the tags in the page. The title of the page is a key factor in how a page is ranked within search engines. The title also serves as the title that displays in the snippet on search engine results for humans to see. The title tag for your homepage should describe your site’s specific content and include your primary keyword, but it should be very brief.
- The meta description is designed to provide a brief description of your page which can be used by search engines. The meta description contributes to your search engine ranking. It also influences the likelihood that a person will click on your listing and visit your site by offering information about your content in the search engine result. The meta description takes the following form: <meta name=”description” content=”Brief description of the contents of your page.”>
You should also include your keywords in the body of the page, which is the content that both human visitors and search engines see when they visit your site. The body of your web page should contain the main meat of the page, such as text, images, and links. Content here can help to enhance your page’s position in search engines, therefore, it’s important to include your primary and secondary keywords in the body of your homepage. Don’t overdo this, known as “keyword stuffing” – search engines consider this to be spammy and may penalize your site, plus it will read awkwardly to humans. Remember to repeat these tasks on every page that you want to be found in search engines.
Image via Flickr (creative commons) by Buou
- SEO Series #1: What is Search Engine Optimization and Why Should you Care?
- SEO Series #2: Audit what you have and plan for success.
- SEO Series #3: On-site Optimization: Get your website ready for visitors
- SEO Series #4: Link Building: Now You’ve Built it, Get it Linked
- SEO Series #5: Add a Dash of Social Media
- SEO Series #6: Market Your Business Locally