In a tug-of-war, you are much better off if your team pulls in the same direction. Success in search engine optimization is very much the same.If you take the time to consider small Web site structure details and ensure that all these details are working in tandem, you will benefit for years to come. I’m going to cover some of the key components to successful search engine optimization in today’s article and show how synergizing your optimization efforts will make it happen for you.
Disclaimer: I’m going to be using some examples. Before we get to that, I should tell you that I am openly admitting to not having researched the proper keywords. What I’m sharing is an example only. So, if you own a sporting goods store, don’t assume that you’ve just received free keyword research. There could easily be better ways to refer to these products.
Key Components of SEO
Let’s begin by breaking down some of the key components to search engine optimization, which include the Title Tag, URL, Header Tag, Content, Internal Links, and External Links.
The bar at the top of your browser that not many “typical” users of the Web even know exists happens to be the single most important component to search engine optimization. Most sites that you come across will say “Company Name – Home” in this area. That’s terrific, if you are very well branded and only want to be found for your company’s name. In that instance, visitors would find your site anyway — if they were searching for your company.
Instead, put your most important keywords in this area, and keep this under control (try to keep the total character length to less than 68 characters, including spaces). For the purpose of this article, let’s make up a page. Let’s say this is a Web site that sells sporting goods, and we’re going to focus specifically on the soccer jersey page. So, we have www.yoursite.com/soccer-jersey/. Your title tag is “Soccer Jersey | Team Uniforms | Soccer Jerseys.” The total character length is 46. That’s pretty short, but it’s concise, and it’s all the keywords I want to focus on for this page.
We are seeing that Google is beginning to pay a little more attention to keywords in the URL, so if you don’t already have rankings, if your site is new, or if you are redesigning your site and will be creating new URLs anyway, consider adding some keyword here. Using our example, the best choice is www.yoursite.com/soccer-jersey/.
The H1 tag is another key element that must be in synergy with the rest. This appears to most Web visitors as the “title” of the page. This header is usually bold and describes exactly what is on the page. Some web sites don’t have a headline or title above the copy at all, but having an H1 tag is another key element to proper search engine optimization. Using our example, the H1 of this page is “Soccer Jersey.” Are you starting to see a pattern?
Obvious to most of us, and lost completely on many Web sites, is content. Write 250 words or so of copy that is relevant to that page. Make sure that we are using the same words/wording as the Title tag, URL, H1. Good idea to use the words “soccer jersey” here, too.
If you are going to link from www.yoursite.com to the “soccer jersey” page, be sure that you use the words “soccer jersey” in the anchor text on that link.
Be really careful here. Don’t get “all spammy” on me. If you can find relevant Web sites that would link to product/services pages that are relevant for inclusion, that’s terrific. Don’t — repeat, don't — get too focused on one keyword. Get some links to your internal pages from external sites that have “soccer jersey” in the anchor text and have these sites link to your /soccer-jersey/ page. Then, go get some other links for the /soccer-ball/ page that have the “soccer ball” anchor text. For more information on linking, be sure to read the Link Love section.
The Devil Is in the DetailsThe point of this is to show you that taking a little extra time to create synergy with your title tag, content, headers and linking is the “secret sauce” to successful search engine optimization. “The devil is in the details.”
Certainly, this isn’t everything that you need to know for search engine optimization. There are probably around 250 criteria that a search engine might consider to determine which Web site to rank for a given search phrase.
As always, if you’re unsure of a major change that you are about to make, please consult with a search engine optimization professional. Reckless changes to a Web site can have major effects on rankings and your bottom line.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!