V2 Marketing Communications Blog

8 Ways to Optimize Your Site For Search

Written by Chris Kelley on Wed, Jul 03, 2013

field of dreamsBuilding a website is not like creating a “Field of Dreams.” Just having a website it does not automatically mean that people will come.

Whether you're building a new site or planning a website redesign, setting up your website site is just the first step. Without regular maintenance and a steady supply of fresh, new content, your site will soon get stale. That’s no good for human readers, or the search engines they use to find you.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or unpaid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.

All search engines, Google, Bing, Yahoo, all have the same objective…to return the most relevant results for a given search query. Each search engine has their own way of doing that and their algorithms are often a closely guarded secret. But for a marketer, improving your ranking and overall visibility in major search engines requires that you do just two things:

  1. Become more relevant
  2. Become more authoritative (popular)

With inbound marketing, your website content gets found by shoppers who are actively searching for valuable and useful information. By providing blogs, ebooks, videos and other content that is relevant to your customers, your content is more likely to rank well in their search queries and be shared on their social networks.

Unfortunately, when it comes to search engine optimization, there is no secret sauce, but here are 5 search engine optimization tips to help get your site found:

Pick Your Keywords

Determining what keywords to focus on can seem overwhelming. To get started, pick one or two keywords or keyword phrases that describe each page. Remember, each page of your site is unique in the eyes of the search engines, so don’t use the same keywords on every page.

Optimize Your Title Tag

The title tag is some of the most important real estate on your web page. Use one or two of your keywords in the title tag to describe the content of each page. Keep your title tag to fewer than 70 characters since this is the limit Google displays in search results.

Optimize Your Meta Tags

Use your selected keywords in the META tags. These are HTML tags that appear in the source code of your web page. There are several, but the primary ones for our purposes are the DESCRIPTION and KEYWORDS tags. The Description tag displays in search results along with the page title to briefly describe your web page. Keep the description less than 200 characters. The Keywords tag has become less important for many search engines and some websites no longer use it. But it doesn’t hurt to add use a few of your most relevant keyword here as well.

Optimize Your Header Tags

Header tags (h1, h2, h3, etc.) are like headlines or section titles that make certain words stand out, which allows readers of your website to see what the page is about immediately, and determine whether or not they want to read it. It also helps tell search engines what your page is about, and when used in conjunction with page title, META description, keywords and keyword targeted content, helps improve search engine ranking for specific keywords and phrases.

Internal Link Building

Cross reference the content on your website and blog by creating hyperlinks between your pages and blog articles. Use your selected keywords as the links to other related pages that could provide more related content.

Document Your Most Search-Valued Pages

Make sure you know which pages have the strongest SEO juice, the most traffic, inbound links, and keywords rankings.  Then if or when you move any of these pages, make sure you create proper 301 redirects so you don’t lose any of that value.

Create A 301 Redirect Strategy

A 301 redirect is THE most important step in terms of retaining traffic and rankings, if or when you move a single page or redesign your website. You’ve spent a lot of time and effort to get your page to perform well in search results. If the page moves to a different URL, searchers will get an error when they click on your link. The 301 redirect tells their web browser that the page has moved and sends them to the new page, so you don’t lose your SEO ranking. We recommend creating a spreadsheet that records and map out your 301 redirects.

Create Remarkable Content

While these technical tweaks can help the search engines identify your web pages and improve your SEO, the single most important thing is to create great content in the first place. Blog articles and web pages that provide information that visitors are searching for will attract visitors.

Image courtesy of hin255 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, SEO, Search Engine Optimization

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