Making Content Search Engine Friendly
By Laura Duggan
Make sure that people can find your site by keeping Search Engine Optimization in mind.
If you are creating a killer Internet site, it would be a waste if no one could find it. Giving some thought to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as you create content will save you time later on. Here are some helpful terms and tips to keep in mind.
When a user types a keyword such as “entrepreneur” into a search engine, the results returned (called the search engine results page) shows all the website pages related to the keyword entered. These returned pages are listed by the pages' relevance to the keyword in question and include the page title (meta title), page description (meta description) and a link to the page. Please note, that you will not see the meta-title on the page of the website itself. However, it does appear in the HTML code on the page and also on the very top line of your browser, usually followed by the browser name.
In the search engine results page, the meta-title is the line that shows up first for each listed page. In the first result in our example, where the keyword searched in Google is “entrepreneur", the meta-title is “Entrepreneur.com”, the meta description is "Online and print small business publication. Information to help start, grow or manage a small business." and the link to the website page is www.entrepreneur.com.
To improve ranking for certain keywords, it's important for each page on your website to have a unique meta title, and for each meta title to also include a targeted keyword phrase for the page. You can create this meta-title yourself. How you do it depends on the way you have created your website. In most cases, the website title can be added and/or modified using an HTML editor like Dreamweaver. Also, some website creation tools, such as Webvanta, are designed to make it easy for your to optimize your website for free organic search traffic. The Webvanta page editing tool allows you to easily input the meta-title yourself for each page on the website. Creating a good meta-title is an art in itself, and you can get expert help from people who specialize in SEO. If you “contact us”: and let us know you need SEO help, we can introduce you to a great SEO firm, Connected Markets and get you a discount to boot.
The second piece of information that is important to getting traffic on your site is the Meta-Description. This is the text that comes below the meta-title on the search engine results. In our example above, the meta-description is the part that begins with “Online and print small business publication.…” The strength of this text will either inspire or discourage users from clicking on your site among the many that show up on the results page. If you do a good job here, you can grab market from your competitors who may also be showing up on the same results page, but not getting visitors to click through to their page.
Page Title and the H1 Tag
On the content of each page that your users see, there is typically a page title. Whenever you can, it is important for the page title to also be an H1 tag for the page. This can be done with an HTML editor, or in the case of some website creation tools like Webvanta, the H1 tag can be easily specified by the content author for each page. In addition to looking at the meta information, the search engines will also ‘crawl’ or read through your content as if it were a person. It examines the H1 tag to see that it also reflects the keyword that the search user is searching for. Therefore, writing the page title is a balancing act between writing something that reflects your editorial style, and also writing something that will enhance your SEO standing. Neither extreme will work. You cannot ignore SEO and just write for the editorial style. Neither can you ignore your readers and just write for Keywords. Again, an art that a consultant can help you with. When possible the page title and related H1 Tag, should include your main keyword phrase for the page being created.
You will sometimes come across website content creation tools or content management tools that include the capability to define meta keyword tags for the each of your web pages. It was important a few years ago to specify several meta keywords for each of your pages. However, today, most modern search engines ignore this the meta keyword tag for the most part. Therefore, the use of the meta keyword tag can now be safely ignored. However, if your do need to use the meta keywords on your pages for some reason, or if your pages already contain several meta keywords, be sure that you don't overuse this meta keyword tag. That is, keep your meta keywords highly relevant to the content on the page, and limit yourself to no more than 5 to 10 keyword phrases per page.
With these few points in mind, and a good understanding of keywords, you can improve the chances that you will rank higher in search engines and that more people will gravitate to your site.
This is not a static process however. You will always be monitoring your results using the analytic dashboards, and changing content and keywords as needed. As long as you have a great product that you have built, this extra work is well worth doing.