Even the savviest of marketers need a little help every now and again. SEO and SEM is one of those specializations that many of you think requires an expert to manage. In many cases, that is a very true assessment. But the truth really is that the basics can take you far; all you need is to know what they are and how to implement them:
Page Title – Headlines grab the attention of the reader, similar to blog posts, ads, and once upon a time, newspapers (keep them no more than 70 characters including spaces). Keep in mind, this is what helps your ranking factor. When a reader does a web search for a query, they’re scanning links provided by the search engine, clicking on the ones appearing to have the most relevant and desired information.
Page Description – You have a little more room to be liberal with your content here (170 characters including spaces). Contrary to what you may have heard, people actually do read page descriptions so you want it to make sense. Note, this is not a ranking factor and people will only see this during a search, not on the page itself.
H1 Tag – This is the title of any web page on a website when you open that page. Just like this page has the title “Beginner’s Guide to SEO: Basic Steps Marketers Need To Know (Pt. 1)”, the H1 tag is usually the largest font on the page. Readers see this, they use it to validate what they clicked on and what they are about to read. Do not mislead the reader here, or anywhere for that matter.
Image(s) – People like images; use them. But make sure you have the rights to do so with the images you share. After you have the rights then make sure you have the correct file path. Do not leave the file path with “image-01234”. Change the file path to something that resonates to the Page Title, Page Description, H1 tag and the content.
On-Page Content – This is the tricky part, you need RAD Content (Relevant, Articulate, & Delightful) that will help the user. DO NOT WRITE FOR SEARCH ENGINES. DO NOT WRITE FOR SEO. Write for the user, write so that your grandparents will understand what you are writing about. Use simple words and do not show the depth of your vocabulary. Where jargon should be used, use it.
Length & Limit – This question comes up all of the time, “Do Google & Bing have a set parameter?” The answer is no. Nobody should dictate how many words to write. Make it natural and free. Do not set yourself to parameters. If you cannot make the page flow, then you do not have enough context for a piece of content. If you think nobody will ever read this as it is too long, well then it is.
Internal links – Every page should have internal links in content to other pages on the site. Pick 1 or 2 keywords or keyword phrases and link them to other pages.
External Links – This is where you should link only when needed and when the link is valuable. This is rare, like a blue moon, and should be used sparingly.
Stay tuned for my next post on determining if a web page makes sense and how to build out website infrastructure for SEO.
Image: Courtesy of credit.com
Matt Storms is a Technical SEO Expert at Crimson Marketing. He is one of five people in the world regularly invited into Google to speak with Google about search best practices. He is also an SEM, organic growth hacker, and an SEO/SEM expert witness. Follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+.