SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of tailoring web content to maximize a website’s visibility, particularly in organic search engine rankings. There are many strategies and tactics available to help you improve your website’s ranking, but overall, a successful SEO strategy takes time, dedication, and consistent updates. In this blog, we outline five simple but often overlooked details that your SEO strategy may be missing.
Don’t already have an SEO strategy in place? This blog may be a bit advanced for you. Instead, start here: Three Tips for Defining your SEO Strategy. Then, contact us for help getting started.
Why header tags (H1 – H6) are important
Header tags allow you to tell search engine crawlers what terms are most important on your landing page, helping it rank for the proper keywords in organic searches. Simple codes are added to the text to designate headers or section titles from H1 (most important) to H6 (least significant). It’s crucial to have one, and only one, H1 tag and at least two H2 tags. The rest of the levels (H3 – H6) should be used appropriately for subsections that support the H1 phrase but aren’t imperative.
The H1 tag should define the title of your page. The H1 tag tells search engines such as Google and Bing what the main topic of your landing page is. For example, the title of this blog has an H1 tag, which tells search engines such as Google and Bing this web page is about “Five Things your SEO Strategy is Probably Missing.” Subsections are designated with H2 tags, which are related key phrases that support the main topic.
How alt text can improve your SEO strategy
Alt text, shortened from alternative text, is a written description of an image. Alt text is valuable for website accessibility and ADA compliance in case web visitors cannot see your image. If your image doesn’t render appropriately on the page, the alt text will be shown in its place, giving the user an idea of what the graphic is. Because search engine crawlers can’t visualize images, the alt text allows search engines to know that a) images are on the page and b) index them according to any keywords and phrases located in the alt text.
While it may not sound important, alt text is an often-overlooked step that can add significant value to the SEO of your landing page. Most people enjoy looking at a web page that’s a combination of images and text. As search engines get more intelligent and better understand user behavior, they prioritize web pages that users find most engaging. Now, you can’t simply stuff images on your website and mislabel them with valuable keywords. It’s imperative that your alt text truly reflects the content and purpose of the image; otherwise, you could be flagged for black hat tactics.
For learning more about alt text, consider visiting SEMrush’s blog “Alt Text: What Is It and How Does It Work?”
Links – both internal/external improve your SEO strategy
Linking to both internal (on your site) and external (on another site) sources on any given page on your website tells search engine crawlers that the page is a valuable resource for additional information related to the overall topic. While it can be tempting to only link internally and lead users to different pages on your website, it’s also essential to link externally. External links show that you’ve done your research and are giving credit to those authoritative sources.
It’s also valuable to build backlinks (links from external sources to your website). Building backlinks can be hard to do if you haven’t created a reputation for being the authoritative source in your industry. However, there are simple things you can do to build backlinks:
- Ask industry partners/collaborators to link to your content (if/when appropriate)
- Ensure your business’ profile is complete wherever possible (Chambers of Commerce listing, social media, etc.)
- Submit news releases and guest articles to online publications
- Partner with influencers and popular bloggers
- Get interviewed by an online source or media that has a strong web presence
- Promote your content with paid digital advertising
Building backlinks and a reputation as a source authority can take a lot of time and patience. It’s crucial to identify and take advantage of appropriate opportunities to capture backlinks, especially within topics most valuable to your business. This effort will pay off big time in the long run.
Improve your ranking with long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are phrases that contain three or more words such as “public relations firm in Fort Myers” or “social media services for restaurants.” These phrases are typically more specific than head terms (shorter keywords and phrases) and much easier to rank due to less competition. While there may be many websites competing to be the first search result for “marketing agency,” there are far fewer competing for “public relations services in Fort Myers.” The more specific you can be to your expertise, the more value you’re providing to search engine crawlers and the end-user, which in turn will get you rewarded with an improved ranking.
Beyond just having long-tail keywords as part of your SEO strategy, building content that supports these inclusions is essential. Your website should be a cohesive tool where the pages work together to improve performance and not compete against one another. Building supportive content through a vertical content strategy includes creating high-level pages about the overarching topics, and then subpages that go into better detail, are more specific and end up being more valuable to the end-user. Again, this is a strategy that takes patience and time but will ultimately pay off in the long run.
Add customized metadata to your SEO strategy
Metadata is the high-level data about your landing page–author, date, title, tags, etc. Essentially, it’s the short description defining what a landing page is about that you see in the search engine results. This data is autogenerated from existing content; however, many forget to customize this to suit the purpose of the landing page better.
In many cases, it’s OK to use the autogenerated metadata for a particular page. Still, there are times when it’s beneficial to shorten or tailor these portions of your metadata to remove any fluff or extraneous words that don’t add value to the page content. Overall, you want the metadata to reflect the page’s intent and include specific keywords that define what users can expect.
As continually mentioned, it’s crucial for SEO practices to truly reflect the page’s content and not use past techniques such as keyword stuffing or using clickbait. Using poor or outdated SEO practices can hurt your ranking and overall reputation with the search engines.
If we’re making this sound easy, it’s because we have 15+ years of practice and are consistently honing our skills. Our team has years of experience helping guide clients to the perfect marketing mix and SEO strategy to push them up in the rankings. Let us help enhance your SEO strategy today!