Search Engine Optimization isn’t just an extra step when designing and developing a website. It is a necessary process that needs to be developed and implemented throughout the entire web design and development process. We go even far enough to say that it should be the first step so that the web design can be developed around the optimization parameters. If you are hiring an Expert SEO Firm, or attempting to do it yourself, there are important steps that cannot be neglected in order to optimize your site the best.
SEO can be a confusing area to understand, and an even more elusive thing to keep track of, and while new websites must optimize their rankings for Google, Yahoo and Bing search engines, most often we find that people have no idea where to start. Luckily, SEOmoz has created a handy checklist that clears some of the confusion about what thorough SEO consists of:
1. Target your Keywords. Each page must focus on ONE keyword. It will make it easier for the search engines to figure out what each page is for. Choose one ranking keyword for each page and keep it that way. Each following step should maintain that specific keyword for that page.
2. Content. The most heard phrase in the SEO world is ‘content is king’. Why? Because website content is how people find you! It’s also how Google will inevitably rank you. Your content needs to be unique and relevant to your marketing and your focus. Otherwise, your website is getting lost in the fray.
3. Title Tag. One of the most critical steps of SEO where you need to be very precise in the words you choose. Title Tags appear in search engine results (which means Google is reading them), the tops of browsers, and other external websites. They MUST be under 65 characters (including spaces) and be targeted.
4. URL. Confusing, long urls are as annoying to Google and SEOs as they are to internet users. URL structure needs to be clear and easy to read for you AND the search engines.
5. Meta Descriptions. What are meta descriptions? They’re the short paragraphic that appears under the website title in a search engine results page. While not especially important for search engine rankings, they are critical in attracting users to your website. They need to grab attention and make the user visit your site while maintaining keyword inclusion and relevancy.
6. Alt Text. This is helpful not only for disabled users that need help viewing the internet, but also for spider bots that want to read what an image is about. If you’ve got ‘Mom’s Restaurant’ as an alt text instead of ‘Chicago Pizzeria’, Google is not going to index you correctly and it can hurt your ranking efforts.
7. Internal Linking! This is a VERY important task. Link building in Ethical SEO is crucial to increasing page rank and it’s the task that takes the most time for SEOs (this is why typical seo contracts last for 6 months or more). Internal linking is one of the easiest ways to optimize. One you or your SEO firm has figured out your targeted phrases, figure out which pages will rank for them and use appropriate links for those pages. Do NOT link every single keyword on your site. This looks spammy and is unattractive to visitors.
If you think we forgot any crucial elements, let us know in the comments!
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