Page SEO can be a powerful practice to improve your organic search rankings. Many websites, online profiles, and even social media pages are discovered through search engines. This makes it important to optimize each ranking factor of your SEO to expand your online reach.
To help those new to page SEO get started, we’ve created a short guide to three critical ranking factors. You should apply these tips to each page of your website, including your homepage, product or service pages, and blog posts. These factors can also be applied to your online presence on social media and online review site profiles.
Keywords are words and phrases that help search engines direct their users to relevant content. Using strategically chosen keywords will raise your search rankings in applicable queries.
To start, make a list of words and phrases your ideal customer might use in searches. For instance, if you’re creating a webpage to promote telemedicine, start with words like “telemedicine,” “virtual care,” and “online care.”
Once you have a list, research each idea’s search volume and alternates to settle on your main target keywords. Find keywords that will help you rank in popular searches with low levels of competition. There are several free tools to do this:
- Wordtracker Scout is a Chrome extension used to see which keywords other websites are using. Use the extension to understand why certain webpages are ranking more highly and can help you find new keywords.
- WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool displays search volumes, CPC (cost per click, for paid search engine promotion), and competition ratings for keywords. It also gives you alternative keyword suggestions to consider.
- Google Keyword Planner is intended to help marketers optimize Google ads, but it can also assist in your organic search keyword research. The tool shows which keywords are ranking and receiving clicks. You’ll need an AdWords account to access this tool.
- Google Trends is another free Google tool that shows you basic reports on keyword popularity. It’s not as detailed as the AdWords Keyword Planner. But it does allow you to see some of the data without an AdWords account.
Once you’ve chosen your target keywords, start sprinkling them throughout your online copy. However, be careful not to go overboard, and do not attempt to rank in searches you are not relevant to. Keyword abuse will hurt your quality scores and tank your search rankings.
Hyperlinks are another factor that affects SEO. Links can be classified into two separate categories: internal links and external links. Having both are essential to improve your organic search rankings.
Links that lead to other pages on your website are internal links. For example, the following link to our 5 Great Local Link Building Strategies for Apartments is an internal link. The links built into your website’s menu bars are all mapped and considered internal links.
Internal links give your website structure. Search engines can follow these links to discover additional pages on your site. These pages are archived for possible search suggestions for future searches.
Internal links also help your readers find information effectively. Well placed internal links can encourage visitors to stay on your website for longer periods of time. Longer site visits indicate higher website quality, which can give your entire domain a step up in all search results.
External links are any links that lead to webpages on a different website. Outbound external links lead from your site to an outside site. Any links to your website from outside sites are inbound external links, or “backlinks.”
Inbound external links are the most valuable for SEO. They indicate to search engines that you have quality content. They also bring organic traffic from the linking website.
Outbound external links, on the other hand, aren’t particularly valuable to SEO. They are valuable to your readers, however, which can help your long-term readership numbers and page visits.
Linking to sources for statistics and other claims helps build trust with your readers. Links to useful resources, such as our keyword discovery tool links above, provide value to your readers.
Creating value is the best way to build loyal readers. It’s also the best way to earn backlinks to your content.
SEO Title and Meta Description
Controlling how your webpage is displayed in search engines is a third way to improve your organic search rankings. Optimizing your SEO titles and meta descriptions can increase your click rates when your webpages appear in searches.
SEO titles are the names each webpage displays in search results. In Google, these titles are the blue page names that sit above the page (meta) descriptions. Some social media and online review site profiles also display descriptions you can control.
How you edit SEO titles and meta descriptions varies depending on your CMS. WordPress users will need to check to see if you have plugins that edit this information. Some online directories use the first few lines of your profile bio or description as the meta description. This means you can control what is displayed by optimizing these sections.
Once you’ve figured out how to edit your information, start by optimizing your title. Your SEO title should be no longer than 70 characters and should use your target keywords.
If your webpage has a visual title, such as a blog post, your SEO title should mostly match this title. You may need to shorten longer titles. If the visual title doesn’t contain your keywords, you should consider adding them.
Next, update your page’s meta description. If you’re making improvements to multiple webpages on your website, start with your homepage, product, service, and location pages. Websites that depend on key employees, such as healthcare, should also prioritize optimizing these pages.
Meta descriptions should be keyword rich and 150-160 characters long. They should include at least one call to action to entice high click-through rates. These descriptions are essentially product descriptions for each of your webpages. Usually, you want to have individual, non-duplicated descriptions.
To learn more about improving your organic search results, browse these related posts:
• [Blog] Top 5 SEO Strategies for Doctors
• [Webinar] 5 Updates to Google My Business Impacting Digital Marketers
• [Blog] SEO Trends in Healthcare: Optimize Your Website for Search Engines
• [E-book] Your Comprehensive Guide to a Winning Healthcare Listings Management Strategy
• [Blog] Local SEO Strategies for Multiple Business Locations
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