1. Page title SEO
In SEO terms, your page header or page title is extremely important. A page heading indicates the subject of the content of the page, and as such Google expects it to be on topic and accurate.
More than that, Google looks for SEO keywords and keyphrases in the page header. You have to make sure to provide the primary SEO keyphrase at least once in the heading.
The primary SEO keyphrase is the phrase for which you want the content to rank most highly, and it works in conjunction with the SEO keyphrases in the URL and lead paragraph of the content.
Bonus SEO tip: Use the SEO keyphrases towards the start of page headings – especially if the heading is long.
2. Lead paragraph SEO
I don’t beat around the bush. I open my articles with a sentence that reiterates the page heading and explains what the reader will get from the content.
This is great for SEO for two reasons:
- it creates a meaningful content teaser for humans viewing search results
- it allows you to use the primary SEO keyphrase again in a natural way
By making your opening paragraph as meaningful as possible, and as closely related to the page header as possible, you encourage Google to return that portion of the page in the search results.
Bonus SEO tip: I use the lead paragraph in the META description tag of my HTML too.
3. Image SEO
Images are integral to content. Meaningful or unusual images that attract attention also serve to associate your content in the reader’s mind. Think of an image as an internal reference that helps readers remember a piece of content.
Image SEO is also crucial because Google recognizes the importance of images. I do the following:
- provide meaningful file names with SEO keyphrases
- provide Alt and Title tags with SEO keyphrases
This has helped me to drive traffic for hugely competitive SEO keywords via images instead of content alone.
4. URL SEO
Assuming your Page header is properly SEO’d. It is a fantastic idea to generate the page URL from the header because this embeds your SEO keywords within the URL again.
Since Google analyzes URL’s for SEO keywords, this is perfect for reinforcing the primary SEO keyphrase.
In addition, many CMS systems automatically generate URL paths like this http://www.siteprebuilder.com/content/top-five-seo-tips-small-business-bloggers.
In the context of our SEO goals and objectives, the path “content” is useless, and only adds to the URL length. With a bit of experience, it’s not hard to automate the URL aliasing processes to modify “content” into something else… say, your primary tag.
Instead of a URL like http://www.siteprebuilder.com/content/top-five-seo-tips-small-business-bloggers, you get a far more SEO competitive http://www.siteprebuilder.com/blogging/top-five-seo-tips-small-business-bloggers.
5. SEO facelifts
I have found that over-analyzing SEO tends to stifle my writing creativity. I end up losing the drive to write something useful if I worry too much about the SEO.
Since, as Penguin and Panda have shown time and again, Google values quality over SEO, I resolved to limit the amount of SEO research I do, and write more natural, helpful articles instead.
But, that doesn’t stop me from coming back to the article once it has been indexed, analyzing its performance in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), and making a few SEO tweaks here and there.
I never do anything major, but I often find that I can change something like “appearing higher in Google search results” to “ranking higher in Google search results“, which generates far more search traffic, and can help boost the effectiveness of the article.
Use these top SEO tips with caution
I have put a lot of focus on how I get my content to rank on the first page of Google search using SEO keywords in specific places. It’s important to remember not to engage in SEO keyword stuffing.
Google will penalize your content if it feels you are using SEO keywords and phrases in an un-natural way to manipulate its rankings unfairly. I make sure never to over-use SEO keywords.
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