Tips for Effective SEO

By Linda Coutant

Every webpage should incorporate search engine optimization (SEO). These are bits of copy, strategically placed, that make your site and its content searchable by Google, Bing and other search engines.

The following steps cover front-end and back-end SEO. Need a simpler explanation? Read Five Easy Steps for Improved SEO.

  1. First, know your audience and your message to them.
  2. Brainstorm possible keyphrases that relate to the services you offer. Consider, what words would someone use to search for what I offer?
  3. Research possible keyphrases in Google AdWords or Google Trends. Find the “sweet spot” between low search and competitive search keyphrases that people are using to find your site.
  4. Choose the keyphrases that match a page’s theme and intent.
  5. Use those terms in your writing, page title and meta description.
  6. Focus each web page around 2-3 keyphrases and place them in three places:
    1. Headlines
    2. Subheads
    3. Body copy
  7. Use either of two approaches to maximize copy: (Plan first, write second.)
    1. Keyphrase edit – ideal for info pages, articles, white papers, FAQs, About, blogs, sub categories
    2. Write all new copy – ideal for home page and crucial sales pages
  8. Write action-oriented content that is the proper voice for your audience.
  9. Hyperlink your keyphrases in the text when there is an appropriate url to go to, especially to take an action. (Ex: Apply to Appalachian State University)
  10. Write a clickable page title with your most important keyhrases, which also appear on the page. It tells the search engine what the page is about and what keyphrases are most important. The main keyphrase should be the first or second word in the title. LIMIT: 69 characters.
  11. Write a compelling meta description describing what the page is about. LIMIT: 156 characters. This should be a well-written marketing statement that includes the company name and call to action. It should not be chock full of keyphrases.
  12. Add a keyword tag (an in-house filing system) to the code that highlights what’s in the copy, and use only what’s found in the copy.
  13. Measure your SEO success by search engine rankings (the visibility of your keyphrases) and conversions (sales, return on investment). Revisit your keyphrases every few months and tweak as necessary.
    1. Make note of SEO keyphrases before you make changes.
    2. Keep a dashboard on Google Analytics.
    3. Check rankings weekly in Google Webmaster Tools.