Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential to driving traffic to a website.

Use these 8 steps every time a new page is created, whether it’s a blog post, news release or other web page and you will have no problem ranking and indexing your web pages according to your target keyword phrases and topics. You don’t have to be a web developer to implement these steps; any content management system includes this functionality as part of its core features.

 

1. Choosing and Using Keywords

Your text content is one of the most important factors in determining your page-rankings. To make sure your pages rank for your targeted keywords, use them at least four times throughout the page copy. On the flip side of that is keyword stuffing. This is using too many keywords in your copy. Find a balance by using four to six keywords for every 300 words and avoid rank penalties by using your keyword phrases in moderation.

Know the keywords you’re targeting before creating content and you’ll work them into your copy naturally. If you have to go back and optimize your pages after they’ve been posted it can take some time to get your copy to flow again. If you’re not sure what keywords to target, use Google’s Keyword Planner (replaced Keyword Tool) or check your web analytics to see which keywords are driving traffic. You will need a free Google AdWords account to access the Keyword Planner tool.

In addition, be sure to use keywords in the alt attributes of your images. This practice not only correlates to good rankings, it also helps with image search.

Meta Keywords: Don’t bother. Search engines no longer use these to determine what your page is about and they have no bearing on how well you rank. The only thing they do is tell your competitors what keywords you’re targeting.

2. Search Engine Optimized Copy Length

Your content needs to be long enough for search engines to see your page as readable content and a minimum of 50 words or 300 characters per page will do it. But, unless your content is an info-graphic, you’re going to end up writing more than 50 words. To get in your keyword phrases at least four times and avoid keyword stuffing, write a minimum of 250 – 300 words, which is about one double-spaced page in Microsoft Word.

3. Search Engine Optimized Page Titles

Search engines consider page titles the most important place to find keywords and associate them with a topic, and it’s probably the easiest step to implement. Simply use the exact targeted keyword phrase at the front of the page title for best results. And keep your page titles to fewer than 70 characters.

4. Search Engine Optimized Page Descriptions

There was a time when keywords in page descriptions helped your Page Rank. That’s no longer the case, but page descriptions are still important. They are your organic search ad copy. Keep these descriptions to fewer than 156 characters to avoid truncation.

Search engines will bold keywords and keyword phrases in the page description that match queried keywords. This helps your page stand out on search engine results pages.

Page descriptions are also a great way to filter out irrelevant visitors. Add local keywords to your page descriptions to tell the user where you’re located or where your product or service is offered. This will help to avoid driving irrelevant traffic to your site, saving you time by not chasing unqualified leads.

5. Search Engine Optimized URL Structure

Simply structure your URL like this: domain.com/blog/keyword-rich-page-title. Many content management systems come with URL rewriters, which makes it really easy to manage URLs. If yours does not, understand how the URLs are created, and name your pages accordingly.

On-Page SEO

6. Search Engine Optimized H-Tags

Use H-tags (h1, h2, h3, etc.) for the titles on your page. Here’s a general hierarchy:

  • H1: Page or blog post title
  • H2: Page or blog post sub title
  • H3: Page or blog post section titles

Use this best practice and you’ll be speaking the same language as search engines in describing your content. Use your target keywords only one time in each H-tag.

7. Search Engine Optimized Keyword Emphasis

Finally, top off your effort by emphasizing your target phrases throughout your page copy with a bold tag (<strong>). Italics can also be used for emphasis, but aren’t recommended unless your target keywords are titles of books, magazines, newspapers, films, television shows, academic journals, etc.

8. Give Them What They’re Looking For

Search engines are in the business of providing the most relevant content based on the keyword phrases for which we are searching. The only way search engines know what your pages are about is if you tell them. Follow these easy on-page SEO steps and you’ll be ranking in no time.

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