Search engine optimization can be very technical and intimidating. Thousands of so-called “SEO gurus” are going to tell you that it’s impossible for you to ever understand how to correctly optimize a page on your website. That’s why you have to hire them to do everything for you!
Of course that’s what they want you to think.
While some aspects of SEO are pretty complex (and ever-changing), it doesn’t mean that you can’t utilize some simple SEO basics on your website quickly and efficiently. At Black Fin, we want to empower and educate our clients, not only so that they understand what we are doing for them, but also so that they can do small projects by themselves if they have the time and inclination.
The truth is that anyone can optimize a web page in a number of fast, easy, and simple ways. Whether you are adding a blog post, a press release, or a new practice area to your site, following these seven steps can help ensure that Google will like what it sees and index your page accordingly.
- Pick a focus keyword. Remember when your high school English teacher told you to ask yourself, “What is the paper really about?” before you started writing? Your web pages should be no different. Before you write the first word, pick a focus keyword and an interesting, relevant, unique topic. Try to answer a common user concern, share some of your personal knowledge, or offer information that isn’t currently on the web. Make sure that your focus keyword appears in your title, your meta description, and in the body of your article.
- Spend some quality time with your title. Your title is extremely important, both to your potential clients and to the Googlebots that crawl your page. On one hand, you want your title to be short (60 characters or less), to the point, and relevant. On the other hand, you want your title to grab and interest readers and potential clients. Try to find a balance, and make sure you include your focus keyword somewhere in the mix.
- Add an image or video. Images, videos, infographics, and even gifs do the double duty of pleasing Google’s spiders and real human visitors. Every page should have some form of visual media, and each piece of visual media should be appropriately titled and tagged.
- Link sensibly. Both internal links and external links can help boost the usefulness and optimization of your page. When linking to outside websites, choose relevant sites with lots of authority as well as sites with current, accurate information. When linking to your own site, choose pages that are related, helpful, and high quality. Whenever and wherever you link, choose specific, keyword-rich anchor text.
- Check your loading speed. Users get impatient in mere seconds if a site doesn’t load fast enough. Google hates slow-loading pages, too. How can you decrease your load time? Consider simplifying your website design, enabling compression, cleaning up your code, checking your hosting service, and using services such as Google PageSpeed.
- Get social. Your content isn’t truly optimized unless it is easy to share. Make sure that you have social buttons (links to at least Facebook and Twitter) on each page and that you have written content that is likely to be shared by others. Not only does posting share-worthy and easy-to-share content increase your traffic, it also increases your inbound links.
- Write high-quality content. The single best thing you can do to get in Google’s good favor is to write really, really great content. Longer pages and posts (more than 600 words) fare better than shorter posts. Pages with good grammar and spelling excel, as do pages that contain truly unique content. Relevant pages – pages that relate to other subject matter on your website – are heavily rewarded, too.
Even if you don’t wish to regularly optimize your own website pages, knowing how to quickly optimize a page is a great skill, especially if you wish to routinely blog on your site. Taking the time to add even a few of the above features to a page will make a big difference, both to your readers and to the Googlebots.