The hidden essentials to attract the search engine bots are your title tags, your keywords and your meta description. In addition, your keyword should appear on your page in an <h1> tag. We will discuss each in this article.
First let’s talk about where to find your hidden code. Go to a place on your website where there is text and not an image. Right click, and a box will appear with a number of options. Look for one that says View Page or View Page Source, click on it. It should bring up the HTML code that is behind your web page.
Near the very top will be a header tag. It looks like this <head>.
A variety of different types of code can be placed here. For our purposes, the three important items are the title tag, the keywords, and the description. Sometimes one of more of these will be missing.
This section of code always ends with an end tag that looks like this: </head>
The next section of the code starts with the body tag, <body> and this is where the parts of the page that are visible appear. But except for the <h1> tag we won’t be dealing with that today.
Each page of your web site has a title tag. The title tag will show at the very top left of your browser when you are on the page. When you go to some people’s web page you will see the word “Home” in the top left. That’s because they named their home page “Home.” More frequently you will see the company name, ABC Jones & Company or something similar.
In terms of search engine optimization, you would be better off to include your primary keyword and your primary geography. So if you were ABC Jones, I would consider putting “ABC Jones & Co San Diego Home Staging Experts” or “ABC Jones New Jersey’s Best Wedding Arranger.”
The title goes between the <title> and the </title>
Each page has a different title so you might add a Pipe sign after that and use, About us, Contact us and your other page names on the relevant page.
You should also see a line of code that starts with, <meta name=”keywords” content=” and then a series or word separated by commas.
Most businesses have more than one keyword that people use when they are trying to find you. Hopefully you have identified the primary one or ones. Keyword research is a major topic on its own, and one you should pay attention to. For example, while home staging is the dominant keyword to use in the home staging business, about 10% of people will type in “house staging” when looking for a home stager. You want to include the keyword “house staging” in your keywords.
Note that this two word phrase is still a keyword. Internet marketers have long know that you want to use keyword phrases, because that’s what some people type. Two and three word phrases and sometime longer yet can generate positive results for them. If you are the only person who puts “best specialty cold cuts in Chicago” in your keywords, and also in the body of your site, there’s a pretty good chance you will pop up pretty high if someone actually searches for that term. Now don’t go hog wild, as relatively few people will use the phrase.
The key here is to focus on what people who don’t really know what to ask for are likely to use when they are trying to find you.
Finally, I recommend that you use not only “fresh cut flowers” as a keyword but “Toronto fresh cut flowers” if you are a Toronto florist. Use the suburbs you sell to as well. When someone searches for Pizza in the search engines millions of sites appear. When they search for Pizza, 55417 a zip code, they get those closest to home.
Similar to the Keywords, you should see a line of code in the meta tags called description. This should be kept to 160 characters. Some search engine results display this description when your site comes up in their listings. As such you may want to make it a sales pitch. You want to come up with a coherent statement using as many of your best keywords as possible, especially including your primary geographical reference points.
If you say, “Dog Walker in Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Edina….etc.,” even though you might not come up number one on the listing yet, a person from Edina or St Louis Park will recognize that you are in their bailiwick. They may check you out before the top guy, just because they see that you are local to them. This is a side benefit, worth getting, but your primary intention is to rank high when the search for “dog walker Edina,” rather than “dog walker Minneapolis.”
While you want to focus your site on your largest geographical target, consider using the smaller ones as well, but don’t get carried away, you only have 160 characters. When consulting with others, I try to include at least the top three keywords and then work as much geography as I can all the while trying to make a strong sales pitch. It’s an art form.
You may have a header on your web site that may have been designed as an image or may be in HTML code. Many web sites will consider this their headline and launch right into the body of their message on their main page. This is a mistake.
Start you page with a headline. That headline should include if at all possible your primary keywords including you primary geographical market. This is done by using <h1> tags in the HTML code for the headlines. Thus while the headline is visible the code isn’t.
So if you are a Hair Salon in South Omaha, you might top you page with </h1><h1> South Omaha’s Premier Hair Salon </h1> in the meta tags. This will automatically make it headline size on your actual page. More importantly, it will let the little bots searching your page that these are important words and what your page is all about. And that is what you want.
The four steps outlined above are crucial first steps to getting your page optimized for the search engines. We’ve covered a lot of material here. If you have any questions, let me know.
In the next issue we will talk about some of the visible on page factors. This ran a bit long today, so I may break the next section into two parts.
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