Website Optimization For Beginners
This article will cover general website optimization for beginners. To get started on these tips you will need to open your Chrome browser and download the Mozbar extension. This is a free and easy to use tool created by the search engine optimization (SEO) folks at Moz. The extension only works in Chrome.
Now, let's take a look at a website and see if the important on-page SEO elements are in order. Once the Mozbar is set up, you can go to your website and then click on the little magnifying glass symbol (which can be found at the top left of the screen) to see the basic SEO setup for your web page.
So, let's go over and I will explain each of the SEO terms that show up in the drop-down menu using the Moz bar:
1. Page Title
This is the title of the page. The page title tells search engine bots what your site is about and whether or not it will match the terms being searched. The page title should always be created with key words. Each page should have a different title and best practice is that it doesn't match the title of your website word for word. For example, you want your business name in your site title but not on your page titles.
An example of a poorly written home page title would be:
"Inner Balance Center, Massage, Pacific Beach, San Diego" - Now, this isn't horrible but it can be improved.
A better choice for the home page title might be:
"Massage Therapy Pacific Beach" - In this example you can see the keywords "massage therapy" are at the front of the title. This title would work great on the home page.
A page title should be descriptive of what that specific page is about and the keywords placed at the beginning of the title.
2. Meta Description
The meta description doesn't do much for direct SEO but it can help people using search engines to understand what your page is about. Meta descriptions are best seen in 144 characters, otherwise the ending will be cut off. Also, include a call to action to encourage readers to click to your site.
A well written meta description can entice someone to click to your page. Best practice is a meta description for each page with a call to action relevant to that page.
Here's an example of a poor meta description:
"Helpful Healing Hands offers a unique type of massage therapy and bodywork. Located in the heart of Pacific Beach, San Diego, Helpful Healing Hands....."
The reason it doesn't work as well is because it is too long and gets cut off. Also, there isn't a call to action. A better choice might be written like:
"Massage therapy and bodywork services located in the heart of Pacific Beach, San Diego. Click here to schedule your appointment."
3. Meta Keywords
These no longer have any bearing on SEO. What matters most is having keywords written into title tags, header tags, and within the content of the page. Some SEO experts think having meta keywords will hurt your site's optimization so it's best to do away with these all together.
4. Header 1 Tag or H1
H1 or Header 1 tag is very important. The header tags help search bots understand what your site is about and how it is organized. If you don't have them or they are poorly written, it can have a negative effect on how you appear in searches.
Although I've seen many sites rank well without them, it's still considered best practice to make use of them. There is only one H1 tag per page. The phrase should make sense as to what your page is about and include a keyword or key phrase that matches the intent of the page.
**Note: as of 2017 header tags are slowly moving to losing their importance. Schema markups are the future of A.I. search engines. However, currently, they can still help your site.
5. Header 2 Tag or H2
The Header 2 or H2 tags are used to help organize the info on the page. It's a good idea to have multiple H2 tags with keywords that effectively describe the content on that page. There are also H3, H4, and so on....but H1 and H2 are generally the most important for helping bots to understand the page.
Basic SEO On Your Website
So, here's an example of how all this can tie together to help the optimization of one of your website pages. Here, I'm using the example of a massage website focused on pain management. So, let's say this is the Services page:
Page Title: Pain Management Massage Therapy Services
Meta Description: "Therapeutic massage services to help you manage your chronic pain. Click here to schedule your appointment"
H1: Massage Treatments For Chronic Pain
H2: Orthopedic Massage (followed by content about orthopedic massage, prices)
H2: Deep Tissue Massage (followed by content about deep tissue massage, prices)
H2: Sports Massage (followed by content about sports massage, prices)
Notice I didn't use words such as "modality" because this is not a word that someone in the general public will search for. Additionally, you don't want to use words like "Prices", "Fees", and so on in your tags because those aren't search terms for your services.
So, there you have it, search engine optimization tips for organizing your website. This list is in no way exhaustive and there are many more factors that go into play to help your website optimization but this is a great way to get started and check if you have the basic components in place.