4 methods show beginners how to improve seo
We wanted to share a simply stated, 4 step process that any business in Waukesha, WI, our home town, (or any city) could follow to begin improving their SEO. There are plenty of companies that have extensive marketing resources at hand to pursue countless hours of SEO research and application. We understand that for each of those companies there are numerous small and mid-sized companies with reduced, limited, even 1 person marketing teams looking to make a signifiant impact on their SEO performance also.
While the list to improve SEO is long, here are 4 easy first steps to start with.
How to improve SEO: step 1:
Understand your audience, understand your keywords. Our main point here is to know which keyword or keyword phrase you will write your page for – but that can only come after you know your audience. If you’re curious about understanding your visitors, try developing a persona, you can read more about them on our blog, we’ve written two posts about developing personas. Understanding your audience enables you to write for them, for their questions, concerns, and curiosities.
Once you know what you want to write, do some research. Decide what your primary keyword phrase will be. If we were a retail store front in Waukesha we’d have a product name we could focus on but we also might have competitors in Brookfield and New Berlin who sell the same product and are within 10 miles of us. To find some opportunity, we might focus on some topics our website’s audience would search for beyond just a product name. Does the product need servicing, are there events this product might be used in, are there accessories for this product? All these ideas create additional areas to develop content and hit keywords your competition doesn’t use. This gives you a method to become the established expert and credible resource for this project online.
When you’ve developed a keyword phrase idea test it out. Use Google Adwords Keyword Planner Tool here to see who’s searching for it and what alternatives might be available that would perform even better.
Use tools such as Adwords Keyword Planner again or websites such as www.spyfu.com to plan against your competitors and know how your ideas will stack up against theirs.
How to improve SEO: Step 2: Page Title
Page title’s are everything. Think about how you read a magazine, a newspaper, a list of movies, a list of books, a list of restaurants even. Chances are – if you’re like most people, a good title is what gets you to read the description and move on to consider that item and spend more time on it. Titles sell your page, so they mean a lot in the world of SEO.
- First, make sure you’re title is relevant to your audience and will hit one of their motivating questions or needs.
- Second, get your keyword phrase in that title but don’t force it. Remember, readability is a major factor – we’re doing everything for the human reader first, SEO second.
- Third, try to keep your title under 70 characters (under 65 is even better). This is the point at which search engines like Google will stop showing the remaining words or characters in a title on a search results page – so readers can’t see it anyway.
If we ran a bicycle shop in Waukesha I might have identified some opportunity with the keyword phrase, “waukesha custom bike builder”. You could make that exact phrase your page title and write a boring page telling our audience we… build custom bikes. Or you could enter a new blog post with a title of “10 great pics of bike originality from a waukesha custom bike builder”. It’s fun, attractive, and much more likely to gain attention when posted on your social channels. Or you could do both and change the keywords slightly per page… the more original, quality, and relevant content you have the better.
How to improve SEO: Step 3: Content
Remember, we’re writing for humans here, your bike shop’s audience to be precise. Create valuable content your visitors will find useful and informative. Make it something they’re likely to remember and benefit from (visual examples of custom bikes). If you do they’ll reward you by sharing it on their social channels and becoming a strong advocate for your website.
A few tips to keep in mind as you write your content.
- Work your keyword phrase in. Not too much and not in a forced way – they call this keyword stuffing and it’s a no-no. But do make sure it’s in there in a least a few spots. It should come pretty naturally since this page is all about that keyword phrase anyway right? Work into the copy, into header tags, and anywhere else it flows naturally.
- Include imagery. We all want to look at imagery, it helps to tell a story and convey information. Again, using the example of “10 great pics of bike originality from a waukesha custom bike builder”, this gives great visuals that users will appreciate. Make sure you include some imagery or one image at a minimum. Visually engage your readers and they are more likely to stay longer and get more out of your content. When you add your imagery, include ALT tags and make sure they are accurate and informative to the topic at hand.
- Use your header formats. H1’s H2’s down to H5’s and H6’s. These help the bots understand what you feel is more and less important on your page. It also helps your readers do the exact same thing.
- Keep your copy short – just not too short. At a minimum, write over 300 words which impart an effective, informative message with precision. Audiences appreciate efficiency when they’re looking for specific knowledge. Don’t make them trudge through your articles for too long or they may leave your website and find it quicker somewhere else.
How to improve SEO: Step 4: Meta Description
Once you’ve grabbed your users attention with an awesome and inspiring title – you’ve got to keep them interested and make them ask for more. Which they do by clicking on your link.
We do this with the META description. This is the few sentences that come after the title in a search results page. Keep the description to less then 165 characters since that’s all the Google will show and make sure you include your keyword phrase in here also.
There it is, 4 simple steps to get your SEO on track. While we wrote this to provide direction for new content it can work equally well as a guide for already existing content. Just make sure if you change your page titles and URLs, you provide direction to the new versions via a 301 redirect. You can see more information on how to do this 301 redirect (and any other redirects) here at Moz.com.
RedMoxy Communications is located in Waukesha, Wisconsin. We care about helping everyone with their SEO questions and needs, but feel we can best explain these local search methods by focusing on an area near, dear, and well known to us. The ideas and tactics we discuss here can usually be equally well applied in most cities across the US.