On-page SEO (search engine optimization)
How to SEO Your Business
Ready for some news that’s both surprising and yet not-so-surprising? Nearly 70 percent of adults in the United States “rarely or never” use the phone book.
That’s according to a recent study by Harris Interactive.
Instead of the phone book, people are turning increasingly to the Internet to find a product or service. Judging from the stacks of unopened yellow pages, most people probably will nod and agree with the overall trend.
But, what does this mean for businesses, many of which still advertise in the old-fashioned phone book?
Well, it means your company is advertising in the wrong place. And it means your competitor is probably grabbing your market share.
It wasn’t that long ago when yellow page advertising was one of those necessary evils. Like most other business, if you wanted your phone to ring, you had to pay to play. And it wasn’t cheap.
Now, all that’s changed and we business owners — regardless of whether we like it or not — must be willing to change, too. The fact is your prospects are more likely to be sitting in front of a computer screen, tablet PC or a smart phone, using Google, Yelp and Bing. They want immediate results. And they’re not willing to spend a lot of time and energy searching for it.
This means your company must develop its online footprint and ensure that your potential clients can indeed find you easily online. The easy solution is click-thru advertising.
The smarter approach, though, is to optimize your web identities, like your website and social media profiles, for higher organic rankings. In the geek world, we call it SEO, or search engine optimization.
SEO can be segregated into two parts: on-page SEO and off-page SEO. Both are important.
On-page SEO refers to the things you can do to ensure that your website is properly recognized by the search engines. Search engines regularly send bots (software) to scour the Internet and catalog what they find. You want your website to “sing” your targeted keywords while making it easy for the bots to “read” your website.
If you’re an attorney practicing employment law, you may want your website’s content to include relevant keyword phrases like: labor attorney Hawaii, labor attorney Honolulu, labor law Hawaii, labor law Honolulu, employment lawyer Hawaii, etc.
At the same time, you need to make sure your website is coded in a way to facilitate the search engines’ abilities to understand your website’s actual content.
It gets a bit technical here. But your rankings will improve if you take the time to do it right.
Below is a list of some of the things you should address. Give the list to your web head and get a fixed-price quote for what it will cost. Larger sites having more pages will obviously take longer and thus be more expensive. In general, market pricing typically will range from $500 to $1,500 per website for on-page SEO, depending on the scope of work.
Here is a quick guide towards good on-page SEO (source: www.seoco.co.uk):
• Internal linking: Make sure that all of your web pages can be indexed by search engines, and make sure that they all have at least one link from somewhere on your site.
• Unique content: Make sure that you have unique content on every page. Simply bold and underline your target keywords present in the content. A word of warning: Do not overdo it. You don’t need to bold and underline all target keywords present in the content, only a few.
• Page title: Your page title tags and description tags should describe the content of your different web pages. The page title tags should be less than 68 characters and the description tags more detailed but less than 148 characters.
• Meta tags: Make sure that your meta tags are arranged correctly. Meta description should be used to describe the site and Meta keyword should be used as a list of words that inform viewers about the main focus of the page.
• H tags: Make sure you label the different headers on your web pages using H tags.
• SEO-friendly URL: Make sure that your web page URLs are SEO friendly; use mod rewrite for Linux and Apache hosting or use IIS redirect for Windows. Ideally, make it so that the URLs describe your content.
• Complete links: Make sure that the links within your site are complete.
• Right image names: Make sure that you use descriptive URLs for your images.
• Alt tag: Make sure that you label all of your images with descriptive alt attributes.
• Meaningful anchor text: Make sure that you make good use of anchor text links within your content — if you have a page about blue widgets, use the phrase blue widgets in the text that links to it.
• Unique website: Make sure that there is only one version of your site.
• Unique homepage: Make sure that there is only one version of your homepage.
• W3C validation: Make sure that your code is valid; in some instances bad code can lead to search engines not being able to properly read a page. Use the W3C validator to check your markup.
I know. The above list is full of geek-speak. But your web head should know what to do.