In today's world of online shopping, search engine results are critical for nearly every website owner. After all, "googling" has become a new verb in our vocabulary, according to most dictionaries. The majority of the populace first turn to a search engine when they are seeking information on a product or service or looking to buy. With our game-changing CMS product, Backstage, we have made it easy for you to cover all your basics in optimizing nearly every part of your website for the search engines (SEO). Here are 4 simple steps you can take today to create an optimized site.
1. Create a keyword-focused page title.
It's simple to create your own keyword-driven page titles that will help you rank better in web searches. After logging into Backstage, and clicking on the page you would like to optimize, click on the "Optimize for SEO" option on the right-hand panel of the edit page. In the space marked "Page Title," include descriptive keywords in your page's title that clearly relate to the subject of the page. It is best practice to limit your page titles to about 70 characters. Once live, your new page's title will show up in both your browser (at the top of the window) and will also appear in the listing of search results.
2. Create a keyword-driven description.
Your page's description is a teaser. The description is what people will see underneath a link when they browse through the search engine results and see a page on your site. As in the page title, be sure to utilize this valuable space by including descriptive keywords (which must be relevant to the content of your page) that you think your audience might use to search for this page. Your description should be a complete, readable sentence, not just a string of random keywords. Best practices suggest that 155 characters should be your limit as that is the number of characters that are visible in the search results listing before it cuts off with an elipses.
3. Custom/simple URLs are helpful for both human visitors and the search engines.
Every page of your site should be simplified with a short or "simple" url. This helps your visitors as they share your pages with friends and helps you have another place for valuable search engine-focused keywords. Here's what an un-customized URL may look like: http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/29/a-review-of-the-lytro-camera/?ref=technology,
whereas a customized URL is simple and readable, like this: http://yourcreativepeople.com/where-good-ideas-come-from/.
Use dashes (-) to separate keywords instead of leaving empty spaces (which show up as "%20" in urls). Dashes help Google note that each of these words are specific keywords and not all drawn together as one word.
When you're finished optimizing your url's with keywords, be sure to hit the "Reset Website" button (found under SEO on the main toolbar in Backstage) to restart the application and refresh your new links.
4. SEO-optimized images are great for image searches.
It's important to optimize your image filenames and alt tags for SEO. An example of a non-optimized filename might be: DS00123.jpg. While this nomenclature may work well for storing and categorizing images on your personal computer, this filename becomes useless for any SEO value. Instead, use descriptive keywords to name your image files, using dashes to separate keywords. An example of an optimized filename would be: design-studio-coffee-bar.jpg Optimizing your images this way, search engine 'spiders' will understand the image and know how to match it for users who searching those terms.
In Backstage, you can upload an image to the Image Manager and click on the pencil icon to further optimize your image. Fill in the Name/Alt Text field with a short descriptive title. This text will display if a browser has trouble loading an image, or if a visitor is using assistive reading technology in their browser. Fill in the Caption/Tooltip field with descriptive information. This will display when a visitor hovers their mouse over the image (try it with our coffe image example above).
It's also important to include relevant information around the image. Again, this makes it easier for search engine 'spiders' to interpret and understand what the image is about (search engines can't "read" pictures or images like humans can; they read only text).
Here are a few small, but helpful tips.
- Filling in Meta keywords can be somewhat helpful for search engines besides Google (who doesn't pay attention to them). They are probably most helpful to a person who uses the search function on your site, searching for something within your site. Fill in the keyword option in Backstage with relevant keywords, separating each keyword with a comma.
- It's also very important for some businesses to have a social media presence as this assists SEO. YCP can provide you with a blog to increase your page count (a key ranking factor in SEO) or we can give you a SEO Marketing Strategy to jump-start these efforts.
- Keep in mind that with a new or redesigned site, it will take Google a little while (up to 90 days) to really index your site. Having a sitemap XML file can help you get ranked faster by telling Google the specific pages on your site, how frequently to browse your site, and how much priority to give each page in your site. Site maps are important, and YCP creates this for your website as part of our SEO jumpstart package.
- Finally, it will help you to carefully analyze your Google Analytics to see where your traffic is coming from, which keywords they are using to find you, and which pages are most popular. You can glean quite a few insights from this helpful data so that you can continue to optimize your site and attract new visitors!
Need help optimizing your site for the search engines? Confused on which keywords to use?
Our team of experts offers both introductory and more advanced SEO services to help you get the results you want. Contact us today!
Web Design, Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Web Site Development, SEO