Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of making your website easier for search engines to index and list in the results of search queries, preferably on the first page. It also involves either paying Google to advertise your business or attracting organic traffic through social media and other tactics. Every company should have a SEO strategy, and the best place to start is with these SEO basics:
Search engines display page titles in search results. When a user types a query into a search bar, pages from various websites will rank according to the page titles most relevant to the query. If he or she clicks on any of these results, it will redirect him or her to that page, where the title will show at the top of the browser. Title tags tell both search engines and users what content a particular page contains.
Always place your title tags within HTML document tags. Each page should have its own unique title, and if your page ranks in search results, users will see the title tag’s contents within the first line. Any words a user types into the query bar will show up in bold, which helps him or her to identify the most relevant content for whatever he or she requires.
It is important to make sure that a page’s content matches its title accurately. People despise little more than landing on a page that has nothing to do with their search query, and that does not help them in any way. Relevance is crucial. Choose a title that communicates the topic of the content truthfully and effectively. Avoid vague titles, such as “Page 1,” and make sure the page’s content and title correspond.
Ideally, every page on your website should have its own unique title tag. This is paramount because Google uses title tag information to index your pages as distinct from each other. If search engines cannot tell your pages apart, then you are failing at the very basics of SEO. Give each page its own title tag, and avoid using the same title tags for all of your pages or for groups of them.
All page titles should be brief and descriptive. You will benefit from shortening them as much possible, while still being accurate and informative about the page content. Long titles do not do well in search results, as Google can only show a very small portion of it. Avoid creating lengthy, unhelpful titles that only frustrate users. Never stuff your title tags with unnecessary keywords either.
Assigning each page a short, descriptive summary is among the most important SEO basics. Description Meta tags makes it easier for search engines to know exactly what content pages contain. Although page titles consist of only a few words or a short phrase, description Meta tags can include a few sentences, or even a concise paragraph.
Tools are available to make SEO for beginners significantly easier. Google Webmaster, for example, provides analysis tools to alert you of any description Meta tags that are either too brief or too lengthy. It will also tell you if any are duplicates. As with title tags, you should always place description Meta tags within tags of HTML documents.
It is paramount that you take the time to create description Meta tags. Google sometimes uses them as page snippets. Search engines frequently use relevant sections of visible text if it provides the most accurate result to a user’s query. If your site lists on the Open Directory Project, then alternatively, Google may use your description Meta tags there.
Creating description Meta tags for all of your pages is SEO best practice. It is always wise to have them, as Google will use them if it cannot find a snippet of text to use. By including description Meta tags in your SEO efforts, you give search engines an opportunity to improve the snippets it uses for your pages. Search terms are bolded in a user’s results, giving him or her a chance to check the relevancy of a page.
Descriptions must be interesting, informative and accurate. You want users to visit your pages. If they see a snippet of your description Meta tag in search results, give them reason to click on it. Avoid writing irrelevant description Meta tags, and avoid vagueness wherever possible. Never stuff descriptions with keywords, or copy and paste entire page contents into description Meta tags.
Giving each page its own unique description Meta tag is imperative. It helps both search engines and users find the most relevant information for search queries, particularly in user searches that return multiple domain pages, such as using the site: operator. Even if you have millions of pages and handcrafting description tags for each is unfeasible, ensure automation accurately describes each page.
SEO is a highly competitive, complex, and often-overwhelming process for most people. Companies in Holyoke should first focus on getting the basics of SEO right. Once your page titles and description Meta tags are accurate and indexed accordingly, you can start implementing other, more advanced strategies into your overall SEO campaign. Alternatively, subscribe to our newsletter and grow along with us.
Mandy is a freelance writer, author, content creator, and writing consultant from sunny South Africa. She serves a global clientele in need of a competitive edge. Mandy brings her decades-long expertise with her to Holyoke Marketing Company.