SEO — or search engine optimization — is a term you probably hear a lot, but what exactly does it mean for your business? Why should you care? In short, SEO determines how high your business ranks on a search engine for particular keywords.
Let’s say you’re looking for the best merchandise distributor in your city, so you Google “merchandise distributor in Nashville”. Of course, many merch companies will pop up, but the ones with the best SEO ranking will appear on the first page of the search results. And the fact is, those will probably be the ones you’ll choose from because most of us can’t be bothered to click “next” more than a couple times. Plus, good SEO automatically gives positive reinforcement to a business. They must be doing something right, right?
In short, improving SEO can help your business stand out from the competition and attract new customers.
SEO is all about making your pages reinforce a word or phrase so they are easily categorized by Google’s web crawlers. It’s easier than it sounds and can be achieved by consistently employing these SEO best practices into your page creation workflow!
General thoughts on keyword strategy:
- Identify keywords your target personas are searching for. Moz has written a great deal on this topic.
- Find short-tail keywords (3 words or less) with high amounts of traffic to develop a long-term strategy around.
- Use long-tail (more than three words) titles and URLs that include your short-tail keywords to quickly rank for the long-tail keyword and slowly rank for the short-tail ones.
Note: It’s not always editorially appropriate to utilize the recommended guidelines, thus we recommend following as many as possible while retaining compositional authenticity.
- Put the most important keywords at the beginning of the title. Google places more weight on the early words, and this is what viewers see first.
- Titles should attempt to be between 40 and 65 characters and include no more than 8 words.
- Only add your site name at the end of titles if it fits within the character limit.
- Your title should always include the focus keyword you specified in the SEO tool. This focus keyword should be at the beginning of the title.
Pro tip on titles:
Headlines including the word “who” generated a 22% higher CTR than headlines without the word “who”. “Why”, on the other hand, decreased CTR by 37%. When it comes to intriguing readers with your headlines, focus on "who", not "why".
- Always customize your meta descriptions.
- Think of your meta description as the tweetable review on the back of a book of your article. It should be short, include your focus keyword at least once, and entice people to click.
- Do not use meta keywords. Google has publicly released a statement saying it does not rank by meta keywords; these simply confuse crawlers.
"Always link out to other internal articles when appropriate."
Body of post/images:
- Always include the title of your post in the “alt text” of your feature image and use the other images’ alt text to describe the image in a succinct fashion (e.g. “example SEO tool”).
- Always include your focus keyword within the first paragraph when possible.
- Include focus keywords within <h> tags when appropriate.
- Always link out to other internal articles when appropriate.
Other ways to increase SEO ranking:
- Avoid “stop words” within focus keyword phrases. Stop words include “and", "of", "or”, etc..
- Make sure your URL includes your focus keyword.
There you have it! We hope these help!