This article is part 3 in our on-going Search Engine Optimization saga.
If you missed part 1, you can read it here: “SEO Basics: Intro to Search Engines.”

Search Engine Optimization seems like a big mystery sometimes. First time website owners often think there is a magic button or code to add to the website that will “make them show up on Google for their keywords.” This series of article will hopefully shed some light on how search engines work and what factors affect your ranking on a search engine results page (SERP).

Today let’s discuss a few key areas to focus on when it comes to optimization. In the last article we talked about the title and description tags. Now we will cover header tags, ALT tags, body content, and your URL.

ATTENTION: Remember that stuffing your page with keywords is a no-no and could actually hurt you. Make your content valuable and readable for your audience as your first priority.

Website URL:
The URL of your pages is the address web browsers use to find you content. Your URLs should make sense, be short and concise – and hopefully include a few relevant keywords.

For instance, we offer website design services and have a page covering what we offer. The URL naturally includes ‘website’ and ‘design’, which is great! If it had been ‘services’ instead – with no usage of ‘website’ in the UR:, then we would have wasted an opportunity to use keywords people are actually searching for.

Header Tags:
There is some argument about how much headers (specifically H1 tags) affect your rankings – search engines do not make their algorithms known as it is their secret sauce. However there is no question that headlines and headers draw the eye, and key your users into whether your page is in fact what they were looking for. So, use keywords smartly in your headings to correctly inform the visitor and also the search engine.

ALT Tags:
These are tags added to your images that describe them. Don’t forget to add them to every image and accurately describe the image and mix in those keywords in a natural way!

Body Content:
Now we are talking about the meat and potatoes of your page. Hopefully you have written some informative and valuable content that was exactly what your audience was looking for. If you’ve done your research, you also know what search engines users are typing into Google when they are looking for the information you just wrote about. Get those keywords near the top of your page, and throughout the body copy a couple of times. In a natural way, of course.

If you follow these basics, you’ll be heading in the right direction when it comes to optimizing your page for your target keyword(s). This is just the tip of the iceberg, of course. With so much content out there it is not easy to rank well – but once you have the basics down, you can start evaluating your results and continuing your journey toward internet dominance.

If there is a particular SEO issue you want to learn more about, let us know!