Are you ready for part two of my discussion on SEO? I’d never consider myself an expert at SEO (search engine optimization), but I’ll say I’ve been 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.
I don’t spend my time on any of my blogs trying to figure out how to make them more SEO friendly. I want my blogs 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 an article about writing software; that will give you lots of content if it works, but how boring is that to read?
When it comes to regular websites, doing SEO is essential to getting your site found by search engines. With that said, I’d like to give you my top five SEO practices that every website needs to address, though not necessarily blogs:
Every web page should create a title tag in the “head” area, which is the top area before you start creating the website in the body area. It goes at 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 that helpful for SEO purposes if it’s the only thing you put 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.
What you should do is put your business name in the title tag, but after you put some keywords there first. Best practice is to only have 8 words total, but you can get away with 8 keywords, then your business name, if you separate your business name with “-“. Here’s mine as an example:
Don’t put in “and”, “the”, or any other little insignificant words or symbols in the title tag; grammar isn’t important, advertising is. Also, don’t put any punctuation; those are considered “stop” symbols… at least they used to be.
As it pertains to blog posts, the expert bloggers will say you should always title your article based on what your niche happens to be. I’m not going to disagree with that; instead I’m going to say I don’t always do it. Because I often tell stories to get a point across, some of my titles are like book titles. However, if I’m writing about a specific thing, like today, then it makes sense to have a title that might help break through to high search engine rankings.
This is considered a “meta” tag, which means something that gives an indication of what your website or page is about. 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 the keywords for your page, but have no idea what your webpage or business is about. With a description, you get an opportunity to have a stellar first line that people will see. If done properly, it’ll also help highlight your keywords and phrases.
3. Keyword phrases.
Everyone talks about this, but that’s because it’s important. It definitely works with both websites and blogs, but sometimes trying to integrate them within a blog post and still look organic can be an issue.
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, not counting job sites or ads, most of the time either first or second. I’ve been in that spot for almost 18 years; yeah! 🙂
As for my blog, overall it’s nowhere to be found. Here and there an article of mine will show up in the top 10 for something specific that people are looking for, but it’s a tough haul. Still, some of the legitimate people who visit here have to be coming from somewhere, right?
what keyword phrase would you use for this?
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. By using certain keyword phrases for your business and blog, you’ll have a chance to rank for them and get people to your sites. Sometimes you just might have to be creative to stand apart from the crowd. There are plenty of keyword tools you can use, but I tend to want to figure out things on my own because if I 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. Overall, it’s way more important for your website than your blog posts.
On websites in general, more often than not I notice that the creator has forgotten to add them, which makes it harder for search engines to know what you’re talking about on your pages. 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 way; just don’t go crazy with them. One thing you do need to know is that they’ll automatically alter both the size of the font and the spacing between words. So don’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; trust me on this. Instead, use these tags as titles within your webpages.
5. Multiple pages on a topic, optimized independently. The smartest thing you can do for both your website and your blog is to write about your major subjects multiple times. With blogs, it’s a natural process; with websites, it’ll take a bit more effort.
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 master” 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. Along with that, I’ve written multiple articles on the subject on my business blog, and occasionally I’ll go back to a webpage and change a link to my keywords and phrases with a new article; it pays to keep things fresh.
Anyway, this is why sometimes it’s important for business sites to have more than one page, or even more than four or five pages talking about different things your business does. The more pages you 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. Having a blog associated with your website definitely helps.
I hope those five tips give you some significant information you can use for your website and/or blog. Good luck with it all; of course, if you need professional assistance, I’m always available for consulting. 🙂