I’ve been making it a point to brush up on my SEO knowledge lately partially inspired by Google’s recent algorithm update. As much as optimization should be near the top of my to-do list on a daily basis, I openly admit it sometimes gets left on the back burner. As I work through aging content and landing pages in the name of optimization, I’d like to share a few easy SEO tactics that will help you get started, or restarted, optimizing your content.
5 Easy Optimization Tactics You Should Know
- Write page titles like a boss. Your page titles are an extension of your page content and brand. There are a thousand ways to write them, but unless you’re a billion-dollar brand I recommend keeping it simple and effective. Start by reviewing the content on the page and determine what was, or is, your keyword strategy. After that, compose your page title in under 80 characters to include several of the most important keywords (no keyword stuffing!), be sure to leave room for your company name at the end. So for example, for this post if I were to add a proper page title I would write it as so: “5 Easy SEO Tactics Every Online Marker Should Know – Joshua Hays”.
- Don’t let page (meta) descriptions get left in the dark. It’s easy to name a page but even easier to forget to add a well-written description. Often, marketers will leave it to Google to compose the description by automatically pulling text from the page content. Though page descriptions are less important when it comes to search algorithms, they can greatly affect your CTR. Why? Think about it as the way SERPs are displayed…
When you search for something, the page title followed by the description are the items that are displayed. Keywords used in the search are displayed in bold if they match the keywords in your page title and description, see the example above. But it isn’t the bold font that helps you, it’s the quality of the description that helps searchers decide if your content is most relevant to their query. Try to compose your description in under 160 characters and make it as relevant to your content as you can. Don’t go overboard on keywords and think about what snip-it of information might make you want to click on something to read more.
- Pay close attention to those <h1> and <h2> tags. Every great page has a heading to match, does yours? Headings should be used to break up the content and help visitors navigate their way through your information. By now I’m sure you’ve caught on – keywords and great content are everything. This applies to your headings too. Search engines crawl your pages and give special attention to headings, H1 being the highest priority followed by H2 and then H3. Carefully craft the headings on your pages to match your keyword and content strategy. Use caution though, if you repeat items too many times or stuff too many keywords your rankings can and probably will be penalized.
- Add images with SEO in mind. While images aren’t necessarily the first place you’d think to incorporate keywords, it is an important one. Everything on your page is crawled, everything. This includes image names and alt tags, these too will help search engines prioritize content offering. Most marketers are quick to include images with their content, quite often they forget to rename the file. Right click on the image I included above and look at the file name: “5-easy-seo-tactics-joshua-hays.jpg”. I’ve included keywords in the file name and alt tag that are directly related to the content in this post. If you haven’t done this yet, it is worth the time to go back through and ensure file names and alt tags for your images match your content. Note: Include hyphens/dashes between the words in your file names.
- Links need titles too. Links can help you guide visitors to more information deeper within your site or point them to content elsewhere that is related and helpful. You should already know how links can benefit your rankings but setting them up correctly is key. It’s an easy thing to forget, we all do it once in awhile. The point is, every link should include a keyword-enriched title.
These 5 tactics are the very basics to SEO and if you’ve been doing it for awhile it’s like a second language. However, some marketers get pulled in a million different directions daily and remembering to do the basics will not come as naturally as it does for those concentrated only on optimization. If you’re just getting started my advice would be to concentrate heavily on these 5 things first so that you don’t get distracted or overwhelmed. Finally, don’t limit these tactics to just your blog, every page on your site needs the same amount of love – so get to work!
Have fun and good luck. Have a question? Disagree? Want to exchange pleasentries? Leave a comment below. As always, you can reach me on Twitter @joshuahays or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org