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Five Places On Your Page to Optimize SEO

5 Places On Your Page to Optimize SEO (Source: Pexels.com - used as royalty free image)

SEO is an ever-changing game, but there are a few rules that will always be fundamental. While some of the supposedly smart tactics of the past – like keyword stuffing and shady backlinking – have thankfully disappeared like yesterday’s meme, there will always be beneficial “white hat” tactics you can apply to your SEO campaign, the better to increase your organic traffic and improve your brand’s online reputation.

We’ve always argued that the best way to boost your SEO is to provide high quality content that audiences actually want to read. And, fortunately, one of the best tactics for packaging quality content also helps your site appeals to search algorithms - keywording.

Keywords are the backbone of your successful on-page SEO strategy. They help you quickly and efficiently make your points, both to your readers and to the search engines that they’re using to start their research.

But you have to be smart about your keywords! Remember, shoving in keywords inorganically will actually turn off your readers and damage your chances at future SEO success. Instead of overloading your content with keywords, think strategically, and target these five areas on your page:

URLs

Let’s start from the top! Every piece of content you publish to your blog comes with a unique URL – the more you customize and optimize each URL, the more likely you are to pull in traffic from lots of unique searches.

With this in mind, focus on the back half of your URL. Don’t buy a long, keyword-stuffed domain like “seoanddigitalmarketinginchicago.com” – this will turn off your reader and search algorithms, both of which will see that URL as super shady (which it is).

Instead, have a clean, reasonable domain (a la brandname.com), and then focus on the unique tail of each of your posts (i.e., BrandName.com/content-content). Optimize these tails for searchers: Stick to a few crucial keywords that convey the meaning of your post, separated by hyphens. And be sure to cut out extraneous words (like “a” or “the”), which add nothing but SEO-killing length to your URL.

Titles

Your title is the first thing that your searchers will see when they find your site on Google or Bing: It is the HTML element that they will see on their rankings and on their browser tabs, succinctly and accurately describing the contents of the page.

The key word there? Succinct. You don’t want your title to get cut off on search engine results pages (SERPs), so keep them brief and focused. Try to limit them to about 65 characters or fewer (the approximate optimal length for Google, though it measures in pixel width, rather than character count), and make sure that your target keywords are prominently placed to catch your searcher’s eye.

Meta-Descriptions

The next thing a searcher will see immediately after your title on a SERP is the meta-description, a brief paragraph describing the contents of the page in a little more depth, or else offering an irresistible tease to encourage clickthrough.

While descriptions do not actually appeal to search engine crawlers or bots, they’ve proven time and again to be extremely important to people – so don’t let this space go to waste! Include keywords here to highlight just why your content is the most relevant result for your audience. Make it pretty but keep it short – like your title, your description will get cut off after a certain length.

Headings

Now that your SERP-facing elements are optimized, it’s time to take a fresh look at the content of your page. Are your keywords prominently placed in your headline and subheadings (for geeks, these are your H1, H2, etc. tags) to encourage your readers to scroll all the way down your page? Are your keywords – and relevant phrases associated with them – placed organically and authentically in your text? Not only will considering your keywords help you to optimize your content for search rankings, but it will leader to tighter, more focused copy overall – a win for your readers, as well!

Alt-text and Titles on Images

No piece of content is complete without an eye-catching image or multimedia element! Make sure that search engine crawlers and bots know that your images are relevant and value-creating by optimizing the alt-text (which tells search engines what the image is about, and appears in place of your content in case an image file should break) and title tags (a “pop-up” that appears over an image when a user hovers their cursor over it) for all of your visual content.

The more accurate and descriptive – but succinct – your alt-text and titles, the better!

Have any more questions about best on-page SEO practices? Want to get started with content creation but don’t know quite where to start? We’d love to keep the conversation going! Feel free to drop us a line or reach out on Facebook or Twitter with any follow-up questions or thoughts.

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Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).