In our last article we showed you how to do some basic search term research. These are the words you want to try to get your site to #1 on Google for. Now we talk about step 2:
Step 2 – Optimizing!
Optimizing your site really means adjusting the visible and invisible text found on your websites pages to improve their chances of ranking for the terms you chose during your search term research. It isn’t really rocket science but there is a certain mix of art and understanding one needs to properly optimize a web page. (You can always contact us and have us do it for you 😉 )
Basically you want your search phrases to appear on your page a few times. But you don’t want ALL the terms you have chosen to appear on every page so you need to go through your site and see which pages would be most appropriate for the chosen phrases.
It is probably ok to use 2 phrases per page if your pages are between 400 and 600 words in length. If they are shorter you probably only want to use 1 phrase per page. It is also ok to reuse phrases on multiple pages. In fact we recommend it.
For example, let’s say your website is 20 pages and you’ve chosen 10 phrases you want to try and get on the first page of Google for. If each page is around 400 words, then you’ll try to use 2 phrases per page if it makes sense. Don’t force it. If the page doesn’t sound right after you’ve added the terms then don’t do it. Remember, while you do want to try and get your pages found on Google, doing so at the expense of your prospective customers is a bad idea!
Once you have altered your visible text it is time to tackle the “invisible” text – the page title and meta description tag. These are found when you “view source” on your site. They should appear at the top of your page below the opening <HTML> and <HEAD> tags. Depending on your site you can either edit these directly by editing the pages or if you are using some kind of content management system then you will probably have to log into the admin area of your site and modify them there.
For example, our site is hosted on WordPress. And while native meta tag editing is not built in you can download plugins which allow you to add custom meta tags to your pages. We use the “SEO Ultimate” plugin but there are others available.
So, to edit your title and description tags be sure to use the same terms you used when adjusting your page text. Your title should be about 90 characters long, while you should have no more than about 25 words in your description. You are allowed more in the description but most search engines only display the first 25 words or so so there really is not a point to making it longer.
You want your search phrases to be as close to the beginning of the title and description tags as possible as this makes them more important. And you can combine them to save words or characters. For example, if your important phrases are “Custom Made Widgets” and “Blue Widgets” you could write your title something like this: “For your Custom Made Blue Widgets be sure to contact mycompany today”.
As you can see we combined the 2 search terms into 1 to try and get rankings for both terms on this page.
If you have never optimized a web page before in your life be prepared to take some time to do it correctly. Don’t rush through this process because it is critical that you ensure that your page is well optimized but also user friendly at the same time. If you go overboard you could end up getting your page penalized by the search engines for “over-optimization”. That is when you have too many occurences of a phrase on a page.
Search engines are pretty lienient on this but you don’t want to go to risk it.
Once you feel your site is well optimized it is on to step 3.