Develop Your Strategy First
SEO is all about strategy. You cannot just begin “doing” SEO, which is how many people like to phrase it. SEO is similar to baking a cake in that you have to know what kind of cake you want to end up with before you start putting ingredients together.
When optimizing your site for SEO, decide on what you want to rank in search engines for. For example, say you sell baby strollers. Ideally, you want to rank for “baby strollers”. But that’s a very general term. Instead, focus on something specific that your ideal buyer would search. If you sell locally, choose something like “baby strollers in Miami” or if you sell very expensive, high quality baby strollers, start with “best high quality baby strollers”.
Eliminate concepts and keywords that don’t apply to your audience. Because you sell pricey strollers, things like “how to save on baby strollers” or “how to find a good deal on a baby stroller” may not appeal to your audience to whom quality is more important than price.
Once you have your keywords chosen, get even more specific. Develop a list of things people may search when in the market for a new baby stroller. We call these long tail search terms. Here are some examples:
- What makes a good high quality baby stroller?
- What should a high quality baby stroller be made of?
- Best features for a high quality baby stroller?
- How much should I pay for a high quality baby stroller?
Now that you have a good main keyword and some long-tail search terms that contain your main keyword, you can start optimizing your website.
Have SEO Optimized Your Images
Every image you upload to your site should be named properly. Instead of IMG_23455.png or stroller.png, name them with your main keyword and then details so you can differentiate between photos. For example, if you have a red, blue, and pink stroller available, you might want to name them “best high quality baby strollers - red.png”, “best high quality baby strollers - blue.png”, and “best high quality baby strollers - pink.png” respectively.
If you are uploading one of those photos to a blog post page called “What Makes a Good High Quality Baby Stroller?”, your image name should be something like “best high quality baby strollers - what makes a good high quality baby stroller.png”. This may seem long, but it will tell search engines that everything on this page, even the images, are relevant to your topic. Remember that Google wants to show the most relevant search results possible and so you should have at least one image on every page of your site.
It’s also important to add your keyword to the ALT tag for the image. In your image editor within your site, you should have the option to change this.
Follow The Content Best Practices
When writing content for your site, it’s important to keep your SEO in mind. Here are some guidelines to writing strong SEO enabled copy for each page of your site, including blogs, your homepage, your contact page, product pages, about pages, etc.
- Include your keyword in your page titles and page URLs if possible
- Have subheadings and at least one bulleted or numbered list on each page
- Each page should have a minimum of 300 words on it.
- Within your copy, your keyword should appear 4-5 times
- Make sure your keyword appears within the first paragraph of your copy.
- Included bolded and/or italicized text in your copy.
Links, Links, Links
You want to tell search engines that all the pages of your site build off of and are relevant to each other. It seems obvious, but you want to build a site that flows from page to page and that has content that connects. To accomplish this, include a link on every page within the copy that goes to another page on the site.
For example, for every blog post, you should link to one of your products somehow. If you’re talking about what makes a baby stroller safe, maybe link to a page you have about how safe your strollers are. And on that page, you should link to the blog post about what makes a baby stroller safe. A linked connection between the two pages makes each of their SEO stronger.
You should also work to build external connections from other sites to yours. Don’t just always link to your homepage. When posting on social media or publishing press releases, link back to inner pages where some of your most compelling sales copy is. This is considered off-page SEO and can be time consuming, but very rewarding.
User Proper Meta Descriptions and Titles
Meta descriptions and titles tell search engines what each of your pages is about. When you search on Google, the text that comes up are the titles and descriptions for the pages you’re being offered. Platforms like WordPress offer plugins that allow you to edit your titles and descriptions.
Your keywords should appear at the beginning (if possible) of your titles and descriptions. Your titles should be between 50 and 60 characters long. Your descriptions should between 120 and 160 characters long and you shouldn’t have duplicate ones; each page should have a unique description.
Pay Attention to URL Structure
Each web page URL should look something like this: http://miamibabystrollers.com/why-our-baby-strollers-are-the-best instead of something like: http://miamibabystrollers.com/?p=2473543. While they may both go to the same page, the former has your keyword in it and immediately tells people what type of content is on that page. Your website builder should give you an option to edit this (for example, on Wordpress, once you log in to your Dashboard you can go to Settings > Permalinks to edit this.)
Build Your Site With the Best Tools You Can
Good SEO starts from the very beginning. Most people agree that WordPress is the best platform for SEO rich sites. Other platforms can accomplish fantastic SEO goals too, but may take much more time and work. With plugins like Yoast and All in One SEO, you can accomplish everything described above with simple controls and zero coding.
Next time you’re working on your site, make sure to follow these tips:
- Develop your keyword strategy with your ideal audience in mind.
- Name your images according to your strategy.
- Include an image on every page.
- Update your image ALT tags.
- Have SEO optimized page copy.
- Link your inner pages to each other.
- Link back to your pages from other places.
- Have SEO optimized meta descriptions and titles.
- Use proper URL structure.
- Use the best tools possible.