Search engine optimization, or SEO, has two main components: on-page and off-page SEO. On-page SEO is the optimization of your business’s website, and it includes a number of things that you have absolute control over.
Off-page SEO refers to a number of things that you can do outside of your business’s website that have an impact on the overall ranking of your website with the search engines. Unfortunately, off-page SEO is made up of things that you cannot always control.
An example of off-page SEO is trying to get other websites to post links to your website which is commonly referred to as backlinking. This backlinking is now required more than ever to help your Google Places optimization. Let’s analyze what you now must do to your website so that it will help your listing.
Optimizing Your Website’s Meta Data
Your meta data is one of the first parts of your website that should be optimized. The meta data that should be looked into and changed if necessary includes the meta title, your meta descriptions, and your meta keywords. Google does not work with your meta keywords, but other search engines do use the meta keywords for ranking a website.
The meta title is also known as the title tag and it is the most important piece of information included in your meta data. This title is what will show on search engine results. It is not the same thing as the title you have on your homepage and it will not show up on your website anywhere. The only time that an internet user will see your meta title will be on the search engine results and at the top of the browser when they are on your website.
The information that appears directly below the title tag in search engine results is the meta description. For obvious reasons, the meta title and the meta description are extremely important as they are the first thing that your potential customers see when they perform a search online. Your meta title and your meta description should be inviting and compelling to help draw in your customers and entice them to click on your website in the search engine results. It is also important to be sure to include one or two of your keywords in the meta title and the meta description which will help with your website’s ranking.
Optimizing Your Website’s Content
The next thing you should do is optimize your website’s content. You should ensure that the way that your business address and telephone number are written is consistent throughout all of the pages on your website and that your business address and telephone number does in fact appear on all of the pages on your website. One easy way to be sure that this information is included on all of the pages is to include it in the sidebar or in the footer of the website.
No matter where you decide to put the business’s address and telephone information, you should always show the information in the “hcard microformat.” This format will ensure that your business’s location and telephone information will always be properly understood by all search engines.
Not all search engines are as advanced as Google is. Google rarely messes this type of information up no matter what format is used, but other search engines aren’t so sophisticated. Using hcard microformat will make sure that all of the information is read correctly by all search engines.
In less technical terms, the hcard microformat is the standard way of marking up your HTML to help search engines identify which parts of your website contain the business address, telephone number, or any other information that is typically found in a directory.
Once you are sure that your address and telephone number is showing on all of the pages of your website, you get to start looking at your keywords. You should make sure that your primary keywords for each page are used throughout the page, not just in the headline, the title or the content, but throughout all of those components.
Keyword density is a term that you have probably heard before and it is common to hear SEO professionals use this term. To explain it in simple terms, keyword density is how many times you use the keyword or phrase you are trying to optimize for throughout your webpage. While it is commonly thought that you should try to have a one to three percent keyword density, this is not really the case anymore.
Search engines weren’t always quite as smart as they are now. As a result, keyword density was a huge part of your website’s optimization. Advances in search engines and how they rank websites have changed things so that it’s no longer so important to get a specific percentage for your keyword density.
It is recommended to write the content that you are going to post on your website naturally and use your keywords periodically while you are writing it, spreading them throughout your post. There are a few guidelines that we follow for our own work:
Use your primary keyword in the headline, or the title.
Use your primary keyword while you are writing the first paragraph.
Use your primary keyword somewhere throughout the body.
Use your primary keyword when you write your last paragraph.
You should also use different variations of the primary keyword. If you are using “Indianapolis Dentists” as your primary keyword, then you should try to use a variation that is similar, like “dentists in Indianapolis” in the copy when you are writing it. Using a variation that is similar, but not the same allows you to target other keywords that could bring traffic to your webpage and keep the page focused on the primary keyword.
One other thing that you should do to improve your Google Places SEO is use images on every page of your website. When you add the images, you should name them using your primary keyword. You can use both the title tag and the alt tags as opportunities to use your keywords throughout your webpage.