Optimizing web pages correctly means more people can find your content faster. There are lots of ways to achieve this, so choosing the most effective methods will save you time and resources.
In this article, I will tell about the simple things you can do to optimize the pages of your website so search engines can find you more easily. Because if they can, so can potential customers.
On-page optimization, or changes you can make on your website’s individual pages, can quickly help search engines better understand your content.
Let’s say you run a gift shop called Super Gift Shop and are looking to optimize a page about your premium photo frames and lamps.
There are several elements on your page that can tell the search engine that the page is about photo frames and lamps. These include meta tags and title, headings and the page copy itself.
Let’s start with meta tags and title. These aren’t something you would see on a web page unless you were looking at its code. They’re embedded messages that help the search engine determine what’s on the page. In particular, there’s the title and the meta description.
The title and meta description are important because they both are used by the search engine to generate the actual search result for the specific page. The title is used to generate the first line shown; the meta description is used to generate the few short sentences that follow.
For a page about photo frames and lamps, you’ll want to make sure that the phrase “photo frames and lamps” is in both the title and meta description. A good title would be: “Super Gift Shop – Premium photo frames and lamps” This describes what the page is about and also highlights your company name.
A good meta description is usually two short sentences. It should also reinforce the title by using the keyword or phrase again. A good description would be: “Visit Super Gift Shop for beautiful photo frames and lamps. Online purchase of gifts also available.”
A title should be short and sweet; a description should match what the page is about.
You should also consider what’s on the page itself—what people who visit your site – not just search engines – actually see. There are two things you can optimize here to help search engines categorize your content correctly: headings and page copy.
Like meta tags, headings are embedded in the HTML code of your page, but they’re also visible to people. Often, they’re displayed at the top of a page. A great heading would be “beautiful photo frames & lamps” which clearly tells a person what the page is about but works well for the search engines, too.
Finally, if you’re writing a piece of content about photo frames and lamps, you’ll naturally want to use that phrase in the copy. Don’t go overboard and repeat the phrase over and over because search engines may see that as spam. Remember that you’re writing primarily for people, so be sure your message is clear.
So, let’s recap what you’ve done to optimize the gift shop’s web pages. You’ve looked at each of the major elements used by search engines and, in each instance, told them, “This page is about beautiful photo frames and lamps”
No matter where search engines look, they’ll see consistent and clear information about what’s on the page. And that might help improve your search engine rankings.
Your search engine optimization or SEO results are influenced by things you do on your site and things that happen off your site. The latter involves what other sites are saying about yours.
Now let’s talk about another aspect that matters in the SEO
Two of your best chances to control this are “backlinks” and social media.
Let’s start with backlinks. This is the term for a link from another website to your site. Think of links like votes—if you have a lot of links to your site, it means many different people on the web believe your site has good content. It’s a vote of confidence.
Search engines might see these links as a sign that you have a high-quality site, and are perhaps a good option to show searchers.
So, we’ve established that links to your site are important—but how do you get them?
The key is to think quality, not quantity.
In the past, people creating websites focused on getting large numbers of links to promote their position in search engine results. In some cases, these links were irrelevant to their products and services or came from low-quality sites (by low quality, we mean websites with minimal content that exist only to link to other sites).
Search engines caught onto this and responded by giving less value to sites that tried to manipulate the search results, which resulted in a drop in their search ranking.
What does this mean for you? Links to your site are great, as long as they are legitimate links from good websites.
So how can you get more of these good links? The best way is to create great content on your own site. Then, others may link to you because they think their audience should see your content. You can also encourage others to write about you, and share links to your website. In the SEO industry, this is called content marketing.
So, what’s good content? If you have a gift shop that sells greeting cards and music CDs, it could be a list of ’15 occasions to give a greeting card’ or the ‘10 most popular pop music bands’. To create good content, you have to understand who your potential customers are, what they are looking for, and how you can provide it.
OK, let’s touch quickly on the other way you can optimize off-site, social media.
Search engines will crawl any page they can access, including social media sites. But, they generally don’t place special significance on your popularity within a social media site. For example, you won’t get more credit for having more “likes” or “followers.”
But using social media is still a great way to reach a bigger audience. It promotes your site—and your business—because it helps people discover your content and encourages them to interact with you.
By the way, if you want to learn more about using social media for your business, we have an entire lesson about it.
To sum up: off-site optimization is a valuable way to potentially increase your search engine rankings.
The best way to support off-site optimization is by creating good content that establishes your site as a quality resource, attracting visitors who then share it across social media.
The title and meta description are used by the search engine to generate the actual search result so they’d appear in the search results page. In this case, they should use the phrase ‘customized gift items’ in both his title and his metadata description.
A good title shows the company name and highlights what the page would be about, like Super Gift Shop: Customized gift items.
A good meta description is two short sentences that just summaries the page.
Here he needs to work hard to get backlinks – that means links to his site from other websites. To do that he needs to produce quality content, such as writing recipes. He can also encourage people to write about his business.
Social media is a great way to improve his visibility, but search engines don’t recognize the number of likes or followers an account has so this won’t help the search rankings. He should avoid creating artificial links to his website.