The surprising thing about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is that the process actually makes your website more readable and clear to its users, as well as attractive to search engines. That’s because humans and search engine spiders both want the same thing: clear, unambiguous, tightly focused, readable text on each page. Search engines like a few other things, too, like accurate title tags and concise description tags. But enough with the jargon, follow the guide below and learn how to improve your website’s user quality and search engine ranking, both at once — and without pulling out your hair.
Search engines deal with pages, not websites. A website is a collection of pages, true enough. But to a search engine, the world is a bunch of pages, some of which are closely linked together. This distinction is important to you because it makes you realize that each page of your website should be crafted as if it were a stand-alone website. Design a razor-sharp focus into each page; make each page cover only one topic, if possible.
Make your text concise, clear and accurate. Comb through your text and weed out superfluous words and phrases. Use keywords and key phrases that accurately describe that page’s intent and are also words and phrases that people would type into a search engine. This takes some serious thought, but is a logical process. Phrases are as important as isolated key words.
Many or most of your users will find your website via pages other than your home page. Make them all count by using clear, focused and accurate text on each page.
Title tags are very important — make sure they’re accurate. Title tags are the words you see at the top of your browser window when viewing a page. Also, these tags are the bolded words you see on search engine results pages (SERPS). Search engines value these tags highly. Each page of your website needs its own unique title tag. Your home page might be title tagged, “Joe Brown Landscaping, Denver, Colorado – site maintenance, lawn care, cutting, tree planting” for example. The about us page might be tagged, “Joe Brown Landscaping, Denver, Colorado – about us”, and so on.
These tags are input “behind the scenes” in the html editing area of your website. If you’re using an editor like Dreamweaver then you can easily modify or add these tags directly. If you are using a browser-based service to build and maintain your site, there should be a simple way to change/add these tags.
Make informative description tags. The description tags are the two to three sentence blurbs that sit just below the bolded words in search engine results pages. Sometimes a search engine simply pulls some (hopefully) appropriate text from the web page in question. Other times, though, it uses your own custom-made description tag. Take full advantage of this by making each of your pages’ description tags a beautifully crafted three sentence masterpiece of compelling, accurate, focused text. You can access this tag just like the title tag above.
Fill in your keywords tag, maybe. Back in the day, the keyword tag was important, and abused. Search engines depended on them and webmasters obliged by stuffing them full of misleading, hyped information. Soon the search engines began ignoring this mistreated tag. This is mostly still true today. You could skip using this tag if you’re pressed for time. If your site uses on-page advertising though, such as Google Adsense, then you should fill in your keyword tags. These tags are used for evaluating a page’s content for suitability for specific on-page ads. You can access this tag just as you can access the title tag above.
Most of these tweaks, edits and additions are straightforward. If you need professional help with your SEO project, be careful who you hire. Some outfits are overly-aggressive and can possibly cause your website to be penalized by the search engines. One I can recommend is High Rankings though I’m sure there are many others. Another good search engine resource is run by Danny Sullivan over at Search Engine Land.