Search Engine Optimisation Basics
A Brief Explanation of What SEO is
Explaining Search Engine Optimisation Fast
The words you use are important.
The titles of your pages are important.
The links pointing back to your website are important.
The words used in those links are important. (They’re called anchor text)
Your ability to get pages into search engine indices is important
Your reputation and credibility matters.
Social media matters.
At the end of the day, we’re all trying to get to #1 on Google:
Before you get any further, remember the most important aspect of search engine optimization:
Write compelling copy FIRST, then optimize! Design for users, and not search engines!
keyword research and searcher intent
meta description tag
internal link anchor text
Google Adwords Keyword Tool
Always “uncheck” broad match, and “check” exact match!
Think about searcher intent (what is this person looking for?)
Find synonyms with the ~ parameter (type ~music into Google, and you’ll notice “audio” “mp3” “radio” and “song” are bolded. Google thinks these are related phrases, so use those related phrases in your copy!)
- Navigational Queries
- Information Queries
- Commercial Research Queries
- Ready To Buy Queries
The most weighted aspect of on-page optimization
Title tags tell humans (and search engine spiders) what the page is about
Should be approximately 65 characters long
Titles should be unique for every page
Meta Description Tag
Should be no longer than 156 characters
Your primary keyword(s) should be there
Meta description DOES NOT impact rankings, but are directly related to your click-through rate
The meta description does not appear anywhere on the page
Google will often supplement content on the page with your meta description, if it either does not find the description tag, or finds the keyword on the page and wants to display it to the user
Heading (H1) Tag
Heading tags are used to logically lay out your webpage
Primary keyword should be included at least once in the heading tag (does not need to be an exact match) Like all aspects of SEO, don’t overdo it!
There’s no real “minimum number of words” needed for each page, but I recommend at least 100 words (to give the engines enough text to make an assessment of your content)
Important keywords should be mentioned in the first 50-100 words of the content if possible (but design for users!)
The keyword you’re targeting should be used 2-3 times on the page for short pages, don’t keyword stuff!
“Keyword density” and “text-to-code” ratio are not important today. If anyone tells you they are, RUN AWAY!
If it’s really hard to “work in” your keywords, it might be the wrong page for that keyword
Search engine spiders aren’t humans, and can’t see images
Visually impaired surfers rely on ALT tags to visit websites
We use ALT tags to tell search engines what those images are, as well as the name of the image file
ALT tags and file names are just one more component of the total optimization equation
Again: Don’t over-optimize! Use natural, user-friendly language, don’t worry about exact match text
The text you use in your links matters!
Search engines factor in HOW you link to your other content as a clue to what that content is about
The keyword you’re optimizing for should be used in the text pointing to that page
Links with text like “website” or “click here” are too generic, and don’t help search engines figure out what that content is about