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Top Five SEO Tips

Posted by on Jan 27, 2009

I would never consider myself an expert at search engine optimization, but I will call myself a specialist in the field. I make the differentiation this way; if you’re an expert, then every single thing you do is geared towards showing off that expertise. A specialist means that it’s something you do, you’re good at it, and people pay you for it, but there are times when you don’t go to extremes in getting it done.

How to seo a website
Creative Commons License SEOPlanter via Compfight

I don’t spend my time on this blog trying to figure out how to make it more SEO friendly. I want my blog to be more conversational and friendly, or at least to show my personality. That’s what blogs are for, and I know I’m not the only one who goes to some blogs and, no matter what the topic is, gets bored almost immediately because the language is too dry. I was even reading a blog earlier today where someone was pimping this article writing software; yeah, that will give you lots of content, but now boring is that for a blog?

However, when it comes to regular websites, doing SEO is essential to getting your site found in some fashion by the search engines. I introduced some SEO issues as it pertained to multiple web pages. Now I’d like to give you my top five SEO practices that every website needs to address, though not necessarily blogs:

1. Title. Every web page should create a title tag in the “head” area, which is the top area before you start creating the website, and also the very top left area of your browser (most people don’t think about it, but if you look at the very top of your browser on every website you go to you’ll see some words at the very top). Most people who remember to add a title tag usually put the name of their business there, which isn’t all that bad a thing, but it’s not all that helpful if it’s the only thing you put up there. For instance, if your business was called “Blue Consulting”, and that’s what you put in your title tag, so what? Unless people know your business name, that’s not going to help people find your business to help them, or to purchase from you, and if they know your business name then you don’t need your business name in the title to begin with.

I want you to put your business name in the title tag, but after you put some keywords there first. Best practice is to only have 8 keywords there, but you can get away with 8 keywords, then your business name, if you separate your business name with “-“. However, don’t put in “and”, “the”, or any other little insignificant words in the title tag; grammar isn’t important up there, advertising is. Check out the title area of my main business site to see how I’ve optimized my title area.

2. Description. This is considered a “meta” tag, which means something that gives some kind of indication of something your website or page is about. In this case, the description tag is what people will see on the search engines when they go searching for something. If you don’t have a description and people find you, they will only know your keywords for your page, but have no idea what your article or webpage really is about. However, with a description, you get an opportunity to have a stellar first line that people will see, and not have it necessarily be the first line of your page or article.

3. Keyword phrases. Yeah, everyone talks about this in some fashion, but that’s because it’s important. It can work with blogging, but trying to integrate them and still look organic can be an issue. However, with websites, it’s one of the most important things you can do to insure you’ll be found for terms you’re hoping people find you for. For instance, one of the main terms I want to be found for in my main business is “chargemaster consultant” (don’t worry about it if you don’t know what that is). If you look for that term on Google, my site will always come up in the top 5, most of the time either one or two.

The important thing to know in this day and age is that you will NOT be found for one word keywords anymore. Those have been taken up by older websites, and you’re just not going to get through without a miracle. But certain keyword phrases, you will have a chance to rank for. But sometimes you just might have to be creative. There are plenty of keyword tools you can use, but I tend to want to figure out things on my own because if I’ll come up with a search term, I figure someone else will also.

4. Hx Tags.

Hx tags are what search engine spiders go looking for to determine what your particular webpage is all about. On blogs, at least with the WordPress software, your post title is always captured within H1 tags, which may or may not be a good thing. Some people are very conscious of what they title their posts at all times, in which case that’s a good thing. Others, like me, don’t always care, so my H1 tag isn’t always doing me the best good.

But on websites in general, more often than not I notice that the creator has forgotten to add them, which just makes it harder for search engines to know what you’re talking about on the page. Sure, you can optimize with keyword phrases, but the H1 tag is automatically looked for, then the spiders look through the page to make sure that’s exactly what the page is all about. Hx tags can go as far as H5, but the most important is H1, obviously followed by H2; the rest aren’t as important, though they all help in some fashion. One thing you do need to know, though, is that they’ll automatically alter both the size of the font, but the spacing between word, so you can’t insert H1 tags within your content because you’ll jump through hoops trying to figure out how to get everything to align properly later on, and you’ll probably fail. Instead, use these tags as titles within your webpages.

5. Multiple pages on a topic, optimized independently. In my other article on multiple web pages, I talked about how they can be used for marketing purposes. In this case, I’m talking about using multiple pages to help with the optimization process. For instance, I talked above about how my business site ranks highly for the search term “chargemaster consultant.” Well, it’s not because I have it listed on only my main page. I have multiple pages that talk about different things related to that term. Some are articles; some are index pages; and there’s at least one link on my site tied in to my biography page. I’ve also gone the extra step of having the term “chargemaster” or “charge” as part of the webpage link, which is pretty important in SEO discussions also, but in my opinion not in the top five, so it only gets a brief mention here. This is why it’s important sometimes for business sites to have more than one page, or even more than four or five pages. The more pages you can have that help identify what you can do, especially if you provide more than one service in your business, the more opportunities you give yourself to be found for not only your search terms, but for more terms across the board.

I hope those five tips give you some significant information you can use for your website, and also helps to show you why a couple of the prizes in my little contest are worth the cost I’m claiming they are. Good luck with it all; of course, if you need professional assistance, I’m always available for consulting. 🙂

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That’s a pretty good list and to the point of the top 5 things to consider for on page seo. Thanks would also try and limit each page to one or 2 keywords else the search engines get a bit confused as to what the page is about.

January 28th, 2009 | 8:23 AM

Thanks Khalid. Actually, I’ve seen other say that, but it’s not entirely true. You try to limit to very few keyword phrases if there’s a possibility of your keyword phrases not being compatible. If they’re compatible, though, you can’t hurt yourself with too many phrases, as long as your copy looks natural, because they will help to reinforce that you’re talking about a specific topic overall, which is the most important thing.

January 28th, 2009 | 10:52 AM
Boyz II Men:

It’s funny that despite it being so simple and obvious, I never realized how weak my titles are on my site. Thanks for the recommendations Mitch, I’m fixing them now!

January 28th, 2009 | 8:37 AM

Hey Boyz; did you conduct that interview, or do you just run the website? I think the title for this particular article was about as strong as you could make it. The problem you have, though, is that your description meta tag is the same as it is for every other page on your site, which means there’s nothing differentiating it from anything else other than the title. Yeah, I went and looked at the source code. lol

January 28th, 2009 | 10:55 AM
Boyz II Men:

Hey Mitch,
I do all the work on the site from interviewing to writing the content to building the layout (I love R&B music lol).
Thanks for the tip on the description tags. I’ve always had trouble coming up with what to do for those and think I might pull the tag from a section of my database instead of trying to make it generic. Good idea!
As for the titles, I went through and modified a bunch of the subpages to try and make them cover more terms so the fact that they fit is good to know that it worked haha.

January 28th, 2009 | 11:45 AM

Way to go, Boyz. Sometimes it seems like a lot of work, but it could grant big benefits on the back end.

January 28th, 2009 | 12:39 PM

Useful Article Mitch. The problem I that when I’m writing I write with out any regards to keywords etc.

So is there way to optimise a post for the keywords I find it ranking for WITHOUT editing it / title etc etc.

January 28th, 2009 | 12:28 PM

You write like I write, Donace. However, what I figure is the best thing about what I do is that I know the topic I’m going to write about when I get ready, and thus, at least half the time, my titles will give some sort of idea as to what I’m writing about. Since the titles on WordPress blogs end up in H1 tags, if the rest of your content somewhat lends itself to your title, you’re good to go for the most part. I have to admit that, for this article, I knew that my title was a good one for SEO purposes, and by mentioning it a couple of times within the article, I know it’ll do well in the SERPS. But other articles, like the one I wrote called The Psychology of Gambling, don’t have a chance to begin with because there are way too many articles written on the same subject from scholarly folks. In that case, I just write and don’t worry about it.

January 28th, 2009 | 12:42 PM

I see what your saying …usually though I am very bad at using good title tags also; mainly because I add a ‘quirky’ aspect to it.

February 3rd, 2009 | 12:19 PM
Ken Lauher:

Thanks for sharing this information.

To take a quick look and scan of how your domain or specific URL is working, check out This also allows you to review your competitors and then feeds back some helpful tips for on-page and off-page seo.

January 28th, 2009 | 2:59 PM

Thanks Ken. There’s a lot of sites like this one, but they all offer something of value.

January 28th, 2009 | 3:57 PM

I didn’t see that as a direct quote, Dennis; can you direct me to which quote you were looking at?

January 28th, 2009 | 6:16 PM

Nope, I didn’t say that at all. What I said is that “I” don’t spend much time worrying about it for this blog. In my opinion, SEO is way more critical for websites than it is for blogs. Blogs are supposed to be more conversational, and one builds up a following by being somewhat consistent. Websites, in general, aren’t often revisited by people unless the website has some kind of active content, therefore it’s more important for them to consistently grab new visitors by applying proper SEO processes.

January 28th, 2009 | 7:24 PM

Dennis, you’ve read previous posts of mine. I get very little action from the search engines, probably because most of my titles aren’t really something that people would find on a search engine. This particular post, though I didn’t plan it that way, probably has the best chance of any of my posts in a very long time of at least attracting a little bit of search engine attention. Otherwise, I’m like you, I use AIO SEO plugin, though I’m still not overly sure about it except that it allows me to write description tags.

January 29th, 2009 | 10:01 AM

We’ve had this discussion already in the past, Dennis; all is set up as it’s supposed to be. AIO SEO means nothing if one doesn’t do, or can’t do, the other regular SEO stuff on their blogs. It does allow you a few things, though, such as changing the internal title as opposed to the title of your article, and of course adding a description tag.

January 29th, 2009 | 10:53 AM

hi Mitch,
I checked, and you’re #15 on Google for “chargemaster consultant”. Looks like you need to expand your list from 5 tips to 10 tips to get to #1. 🙂
Just kidding of course. I appreciate that you offer evidence that you know what you’re talking about. Most “experts” just tell you what to do, but never get around to showing any proof that it works.
How important do you think the H titles really are? I’ve never gotten the energy to do anything with them…
~ Steve, the trade show guru

Trade Show Guru´s last blog post..It Snows in the Winter

January 29th, 2009 | 11:54 PM

Hi Steve; been wondering where you’ve been. Sure, I should have rechecked my rank before I wrote that; it’s “chargemaster consulting”, and it’s equal “charge master consulting”, that has me in the top 5. However, I used to be higher for “consultant” for both terms also; might be time for another article on that site.

I believe that there really is a lot of credence to H1 tags, and, obviously, so does the W3C organization, the folks who create the standards for internet coding.

January 30th, 2009 | 12:18 AM

hey Mitch,
I clicked through to your page on google to see what a “chargemaster” was. I see you can also write “charge master” (two words), and you’re #7 for that version. Sort of like “trade show” vs “tradeshow”. Any idea what percentage of people use which term? ~ Steve

Trade Show Guru´s last blog post..It Snows in the Winter

January 29th, 2009 | 11:58 PM

People within the health care field will search the term, but otherwise, no one outside will be searching for it. So, it’s definitely a targeted field.

January 30th, 2009 | 12:19 AM

Hey Mitch,
I was wondering if you know what percentage of people will search for “charge master” (two words) versus “chargemaster”. Since your rankings are different for the two, I was wondering if you focus on them equally or not?
~ Steve, the trade show guru
PS. I think about 90% of people search for “trade show” instead of “tradeshow”, so in my niche, that’s why I’m the “trade show guru” instead of the “tradeshow guru”. 😉

Trade Show Guru´s last blog post..It Snows in the Winter

January 30th, 2009 | 9:22 AM

Actually don’t, Steve, just like I don’t know how many people search for “health care” versus “healthcare”. I don’t take any chances; I put both of them in as meta tags, and I alternate how I write then in different articles. Also, I probably rank higher for “consulting” than “consultant” because the first is in my business name.

January 30th, 2009 | 9:53 AM

Hey Mitch,
Good point on healthcare and health care, and also consultant vs consulting. I guess it just goes to show one needs to consider all the variations, and probably target all of them. Nothing is ever simple! ~ Steve, the trade show guru

Trade Show Guru´s last blog post..It Snows in the Winter

January 30th, 2009 | 12:13 PM

Actually Steve, what one is also supposed to consider are various spelling mistakes people might make while trying to find you, but I refuse to do things like that because, well, I just can’t intentionally misspell anything. Typos are okay, though. lol

January 30th, 2009 | 5:40 PM
work at home blog:

I noticed you’re on page 2(#11) for the keyword phrase “chargemaster consultant”. But this keyword phrase has very few searches,about 36 for the month according to Google KW Tool. Shouldn’t you be choosing keywords that get more search volume?

Peter Lee

February 1st, 2009 | 11:14 AM

Actually Peter, no. If you’re looking to make sales on the internet, probably. What I do in that regard is very specialized, so all my search terms have to be concerned with that specific market. Because it’s not a highly searched term, that’s why it’s important to work on ranking higher for those specific terms. And, as you saw in one of my other comments, when you change “consultant” with “consulting”, I come up much higher, and when you see the companies I’m competing against, which are very large companies, where I’m ranked isn’t bad.

But you bring up an interesting point that needs to be addressed, which is that to rank for terms that aren’t searched on a lot is still important when you’re in a specialized business. One of the sites I highlighted in my previous SEO article, when I was talking about multiple pages, is in a highly specialized market, where they may only get 5 searches a month, but it doesn’t negate that they’d need to have good SEO tactics employed because they’d still want to rank as high as possible. It’s not always about numbers, but about placement.

February 1st, 2009 | 11:54 AM
seo tips:

I know there is not a lot out there but i found a new website (not supposed to be public yet) that has reports, free seo tools, seo tips, worksheets and all kinds of helpful SEO training for members. It is apparently free for a short time and might help you with that

February 3rd, 2009 | 1:11 AM

I think that with wordpress you already have seo friendly blog.

What I know that meta description is no longer needed. some search engine like google do not read meta tag.

September 1st, 2009 | 9:45 AM

Actually, part of that isn’t true, Ruri. The description tag is what Google will show during a search if you don’t have it there. I’m of the opinion that I’d rather control what Google puts there than let them determine it. I know that’s a debated thing with SEO people, but it’s my personal choice.

September 1st, 2009 | 10:23 AM

Thanks for sharing, Yup the five tips is on my check list now. ^^

December 4th, 2009 | 12:37 AM
Andrew Walker:

Hi Mitch. Thanks for sharing this. I was wondering what kind of tips I should share with my colleagues in the office today. And I happened to found this when I searched for it. Thanks a lot!

August 5th, 2011 | 12:54 AM
Shilpa@Impact Windows:

SEO is still clear to me because of writing too many aticles, but I do not understand the primary concept of Hx Tags. This is confusing to me, everytime I read I get to know something different and all does not add up.

October 1st, 2011 | 2:50 AM

Shilpa, Hx tags are used to show search engines what you feel is important for them to see. When a search engine sends out a bot to scan your site, it first looks at your title tag, and then looks for your H1 designation to see if they’re compatible. Other Hx tags are supposed to be used to help enhance those first two items. So, it adds up when you know the structure of what a search engine is looking for when it comes to your site.

October 1st, 2011 | 11:41 AM

oh! I was trying to write clever titles that would attract readers….but you make a great point. I’m going to try it. I also like point #3 🙂

October 8th, 2011 | 1:37 AM

As long as you recognize that I’m talking about a different title than you are things should work fine.

October 8th, 2011 | 7:48 AM

Thank you for posting these tips Mitch. They are very helpful for beginning bloggers like me! Recently I started blogging and know very little about seo. Thanks to you because I have learned something about seo from this post.

October 8th, 2011 | 3:07 AM

Good deal Andy; glad to help.

October 8th, 2011 | 7:50 AM