This is the sixth installment in my series “Top 20 Mistakes Small Businesses Make with Their Websites.”
If you truly want to grow your online presence to maximum proportions without spending tons of money, you need EFFECTIVE search engine optimization (SEO).
If you are not sure what search engine optimization is, don’t worry, it’s really not that complicated. Unless you are in a super competitive niche, most likely you can be quite successful with a few simple techniques that anybody can easily implement (once they know what these are, of course).
Before your dismiss the thought of delving into SEO, however, forget anything you may have heard about it, including complex algorithms, pricey consulting services, hours of time, or black-hat tricks that can get your site penalized or banned.
Let’s take some mystery out of the search engine optimization. SEO is really quite simple, and the only constant that seems to be in play lately is this: the more you attempt to artificially or even just intelligently boost yourself in Google’s rankings, the less likely you are, these days, to succeed.
The truth is you can outrank even internet marketing companies – and anybody else – if you master a few simple techniques. The key contributor to your success is (1) good selection of keywords (2) proper search engine optimization and (3) great content.
Keyword placement within your site is another crucial element. You should put your keywords:
- In the html title tag of the post or page. The page title is a phrase that appears in the top bar of your browser window, and is part of each page on the web. It is one of the first things that search engines look at to determine what your web page is about. Your page title should contain some keywords that describe your business in a generic way. Some really common mistakes we see are homepage titles that are “Home” or “Welcome” or “Company Name” – make sure you are not making that mistake and use some keywords.
- Between H1 tags near the top of every page of your site.
- Throughout the text on the post or page, up to 3 or 4 times.
- In a tag at the end of the post. You can take care of this in your WordPress admin, in the tag box that’s directly below the ‘write post’ box.
- Make sure you are not optimizing for the same keywords on many pages - Each page of your website is a unique opportunity to optimize for a unique keyword phrase. Many people reuse the same keyword phrase over and over on many pages of their site, which is usually a waste of effort.
- Make sure that whenever you are linking back to your site (from other pages), you are using the keywords as your anchor text (more about this later). So, you are not using any “Click here” or “visit my page” phrases, but your keywords.
If you are using WordPress, make sure you use a WordPress theme that has been optimized for the search engines and/or use the SEO plugin. Many WordPress themes haven’t been properly configured, and some of them even have hidden links that could get you banned by Google if you use them with your sites. Read about the Premium WordPress Themes that I recommend.