We have talked about the importance of keyword development, testing, and optimization over the past few month. Now we are going to provide the Top 9 Areas you should focus on when considering keywords that are found to be most commonly searched and are applicable to the services you offer, into the content of your website. (Note: These are not listed in any order of importance)
- URLs: A visitor to your website is able to see a page’s URL both while browsing the page itself, and on search engine results pages (where it stands to influence cllick thru rate (CTR)). Search engines see a page’s URL at the very beginning of the crawl process. Consequently, it is important that each page’s URL describe its content in a way that both users and search engines will understand.
- Navigation: A site’s navigation is a “global” element, meaning that every link it contains shows on every page on a site. In light of this, measures must be taken to ensure these links serve the site’s search visibility rather than undermining it. The anchor text, the text that is hyperlinked, of navigation links should be descriptive of the destination page, incorporating that page’s primary keyword if possible.
- Footer: Like the navigation, a site’s footer is a global element whose links show on every page. As such, SEO best practices for footers observe principles similar to those for navigation, though footers are typically expected to be “leaner” and less obtrusive. The anchor text of any links listed in the footer should be descriptive of the destination page and incorporate the page’s primary keyword if possible.
- Page Copy: A page’s body copy must satisfy a basic word count minimum in order to be regarded by search engines as substantive, and must also act as the principal showcase of the page’s base keyword(s). A search engine’s understanding of a page’s keyword relevancy derives from how well the keywords in the page’s peripheral elements (URL, page title, metadata, anchor text of inbound links) align with the keywords on the page itself. Additionally, all pages on a website should contain a bare minimum of 300 words of descriptive, thoughtful text content and the text content should feature as many of its page’s targeted keywords as can be incorporated organically (keywords should never be forced into place, as search engines are quick to identify unnatural keyword placement as a spam tactic).
- Internal Links: Internal cross-linking is immensely valuable for helping search engines learn a site’s information architecture, and for distributing the authority of a site’s most successful pages across a domain. Ideally, each page should contain at least one link (an on-page, text-based link independent of the navigation or footer) to a different page on the site and this link, like we saw with the navigation and the footer, should reinforce the primary keyword of the destination page. Also, it should be noted, that text links are better for SEO than image-based links.
- Headings a.k.a. h1 tags: The proper use of heading tags is critical to helping search engines understand the purpose and content of a webpage. A page’s h1 heading should be a single statement that encapsulates the totality of its content. Each page of a website should have one and only one h1 heading, and these must never be replicated across multiple pages. However, websites coded in HTML5 are the exceptions; they are permitted one h1 per <section> or <article>, and multiple sections and/or articles can coexist on one page. As always, each h1 heading should include the page’s base keyword(s), in order to ensure keyword alignment with the page’s other text elements.
- Sub-headings a.k.a. h2 – h6 tags: The term “subheadings” refers to the five lower levels of heading tags (h2 through h6), which exist to mark subsections of page content. These should be deployed only when the page content demands more granular organization. As noted above, each subheading should include the page’s base keyword(s), in order to ensure keyword alignment with the page’s other text elements.
- Page Titles a.k.a. Title Tag: A page’s title appears in two places: at the top of browser windows or tabs, and in search results (as the clickable link itself). Also, by virtue of the fact that it resides high in the page’s <head> section, it is among the very first page elements crawled upon a search engine spider’s arrival. Titles must be unique to each page of a website and should contain the page’s primary keyword(s). The title should also be kept to 65 characters or fewer (including spaces). Branding should also be included in the Title Tag but keywords should proceed the branding in the structure of the title tag (i.e. Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand/Company Name).
- Meta-Descriptions: A page’s meta-description is the text snippet that shows below the page title in search results. As it constitutes the only other preview of the page that a user can experience from within search results, every page’s meta description should be composed — carefully — as a call-to-action encouraging click-through. This has become increasingly important as studies have found a strong correlation between a page’s click-through history and its ranking potential. While the meta-description is not used by Google to “rank” a website in the list of search engine results, meta-descriptions should contain the page’s primary keyword(s) and as many secondary keywords as can be incorporated in a natural-sounding way.
Remember: Before you start updating any of the information above, you should have developed and tested a list of keywords you feel are applicable to your company, services, and/or products and you would like your website to be found for.
Feel free to Contact Anvil for help with keyword development as well as optimization strategy, development, and implementation.