How You Can Rank Higher in Search Engines
SEO companies can really enhance the performance of your search engine rankings. This can be a lengthy process depending on the competitive strength of your niche. It can also be an expensive process as well.
What can you do yourself to make a difference in your rankings without paying an SEO company? Here is a list of 7 on page optimization tips you can implement that, if done correctly, will have a positive impact on your site.
- Meta Title Tags
- Meta Descriptions
- Header Tags
- Alt Tags for Images
- Anchor Text
- Page Names
- Outbound Links
1 – Title Tag Optimization
This is an often overlooked area that is crucial for ranking for the keywords you are targeting. Title tags are the words or phrases that appear at the top left of your browser for each web page. They are located in the Head section of your website and are placed between these tags: <title>Example Title</title>
The title tag for this page is “7 SEO Tips to Rank Better in Google, Yahoo, and Bing”. A lot of people do not know this meta tag even exists or know the benefits from it so they do not enter one. When a page has a blank title tag, it defaults to “Untitled Document”. If you do a search in Google for Untitled Document, you will see over 25 million results. That’s a lot of wasted pages not taking advantage of this beneficial real estate.
How to use Title Tags for SEO?
There is a limit to the amount of characters that display depending on which browser you are using. Google typically displays around 65 to 70 characters and that includes spacing. This means you want to try and keep your titles in that. You want to put your most important keywords near the beginning of the title.
Page Titles should be unique for each page of your site. They should focus on 1 or 2 keywords or phrases for that particular page. Let’s take a look at an example.
I have a page that sells blue widgets plus accessories and I want to rank for those words. If I am a local market not ready to take on the world yet I could use:
Blue Widgets and Accessories for Sale in Dallas Texas
This lets the user know exactly what is available on that page. Notice the use of Capital Letters at the beginning of each word with exception to “and”, “for”, and “in”. Titles should use this format.
Make your title enticing to get people interested when they see it in the search engine results. If you try to over optimize for search engines, people will most likely go to the next result they see that fits their needs.
2 – Meta Description Tags
This is an often disputed topic among SEO’s because some feel search engines to not use these when determining search engine relevancy while others do. My take on this is that most search engines don’t use them when determining search results. The meta description is located in the head of your site along with the title.
meta name=”description” content=”Your description goes here.” />
They are relevant to getting people to click through to your site though. This is why I feel they should be used because the goal of most of our sites is to get traffic, more importantly, targeted traffic to our site so they can buy our service, read our information, view our product, etc…
Providing a descriptive Meta Description let’s searchers know what is on your site. Providing a good call to action also serves to benefit you by enticing searchers to click.
Meta Description Length?
Google typically shows about 160 characters for the description. Spamming this description with keywords won’t help your cause so try to write compelling text that will benefit searches and make them want to click through to your site.
3 – HTML Header Tags
Header tags define the structure of your site as far as heading go. What is a heading? Headings are basically headlines for your content. They are grouped within <h> tags and go from H1 – H6. They are located in the <body> of your page.
Examples of Header Tags
Examples used on this page are:
<h1>Search Engine Optimization Strategies for Your Website</h1>
This is my main header for the site so I placed it in an H1 tag. There should only be one H1 tag per page.
My next important headers are wrapped with H2 tags. You can have multiple tags other than H1. Examples would be:
<h2>2 – Meta Description Tags</h2>
<h2>3 – HTML Header Tags</h2>
The next important header is wrapped with the H3 tag
<h3>How to Use Title tags for SEO?</h3>
You can see that the higher the number, the higher the relevancy for the page. Once again, use one H1 tag per page. Make sure the H1 tag is not an exact duplicate of the Title Tag either.
4 – Image Alt Tag
All images should have ALT tags created for them. Not only is this required in order to validate code, but it also provides a description of the image and will show in case the picture doesn’t load. If the image is linked, the alt text is used as anchor text. They should be short and precise and not spammed to death with keywords.
How to Use Alt Tags?
Alt tags are placed in the imagine link. An example would be:
<img src=”/images/pretty_picture.jpg” width=”100” height=”100” alt=”Red Widget”>
5 – Anchor Text
Anchor text is pretty crucial for getting good results for the keywords you want to rank for. You don’t have control of the anchor text that people use to link to your site (most of the time you don’t) but you do have control over how you link to pages in your own site.
What is Anchor Text?
Anchor text is the linked words that point to a page. For example: Check out some great SEO Tips! The phrase “SEO Tips” is the anchor text and it links to my blog homepage.
The code for this would be:
Check out some great <a href=”http://www.redefinedwebdesign.com/blog/”>SEO Tips<a>!
With most links you would want to provide a Title Tag so I could add this:
<a href=”http://www.redefinedwebdesign.com/blog/” title=Search Engine Optimization Tips>SEO Tips</a>
6 – Page Extensions, File Names, or Page Names
Have you ever been to a website and noticed an extension to a page that reads /2010/ #id3k27-12-17-1
I have seen lots of pages like that. Think about the feedback this provides someone looking at your page. It provides none whatsoever. The person doesn’t have a clue about the contents of this page and more importantly, they will never remember it.
Descriptive Page Names
Instead of the above example, why not have these instead: /cooking-tips.htm or /turkey-cooking-tips/
These are more descriptive and easier to remember. Always use hyphens instead of underscores when defining page extensions. This also applies to images and files such as PDF files.
7 – Link to Other Websites
This may seem strange at first since you want to get traffic to your site and keep them there. In order to get traffic though, you need to rank well in search engine results for people searching for your product or you need the traffic referred to you by other websites. Quality backlinks to your site are crucial for gaining ground in the results pages.
Why Use Outbound Links?
Providing links to other relevant information about your niche, product, or service is a valuable service to your users of your site. Don’t start posting links to your Mom’s cooking blog from your mortgage website because there is no value for the user. Instead point a link to a mortgage calculator which provides value for the user.
How Does This Get Inbound Links to Your Website
This won’t always get you a link and more often than not it won’t. What is does though is shows the owner of that site that you found something of interest on their site. They may come over and take a look at your site and find something of value as well then link to that.
If you link to valuable content then the user will appreciate the tip you gave them and will likely come back to your site in the future for more great information.
Using the above examples correctly and without spamming keywords will help you in the getting better results. The key thing to remember is Search Engine Optimization takes time. Don’t expect to see your site ranking in the top 3 overnight by making these changes today.
These are just a few examples of things you can do. There are hosts of other SEO tactics you can and should use, depending on how competitive your market is, for your website. These can be complex in nature and require a lot of work but are crucial for getting targeted traffic to your site.
What Other Tips Would You Add to This List?
In addition to the above tips, what would you add to the list? Comment below to let us know.