As an SEO consultant, I’m frequently asked, “What steps can I take to improve the ranking of my website on Google?” There are more than 200 “signals” that Google analyzes in its algorithm, and that number climbs constantly. The key to search engine optimization, or SEO, success is knowing which are the most important.
These are four fairly simple steps you can take to improve your website’s ranking in the search engines:
The TITLE of your web page
Simply put, this should contain the phrase for which you think most search users will enter when searching for someone who provides your services. The TITLE should generally be about eight words in length and not repeat words. Unless you think potential clients will search for you using your name, leave it out of the TITLE tag.
The meta DESCRIPTION tag
Generally, this will be about 160 characters in length and should include your keyword phrase(s) near the beginning of the text. Keep it straightforward, this is what is displayed as a description of your page in the search result pages.
Body copy refers to the human-readable text on your home page or any page you are optimizing. The more copy the better, 200-300 words is a good start. The search engines analyze this text to determine what your page is all about. The copy should of course contain the keyword phrases you are optimizing for, but don’t over do it. Too many occurrences of the same phrase can be deemed “keyword spamming” and get you penalized. As search engine algorithms change, one thing is constant, content is king. Having useful information on your site that people will perhaps even link to from their sites will go a long way towards helping you achieve consistent rankings in the engines.
The search engines love, love, love fresh content. Change your site’s content as frequently as possible. This doesn’t mean have a blog as your home page. Doing so will bounce you up and down in the rankings since your copy is constantly changing as your new posts bump off the older ones and the amount of keywords changes with each post. One photographer I know puts up a “picture of the day” each morning. That’s a great way of changing up the page’s content without altering your body copy.
Search engine optimization continues to be a moving target and the search engines are getting better and better at detecting trickery and attempts at ranking manipulation. Steer clear of anyone promising you the first position in Google. After all, if they’re making that promise to all of their clients, how can they deliver on the promise to anyone?
Blake J. Discher is an SEO consultant to small business, www.go-seo.com
, and photographer, www.fireflystudios.com
. When he’s not geeking out with techie-type stuff, he’s usually tinkering with his favorite car, a 1976 Triumph TR6. His own blog, www.groozi.com
covers the topics of SEO and Sales & Negotiating. Contact Blake at firstname.lastname@example.org