Use the 9-point checklist for the best SEO tips before publishing your next piece of web content.
1. Focus on a good keyword
First, select the search term or phrase for which you want the post to appear. If you are writing about the best small dog toys, you’ll want to know what people are looking for.
Use Google Keyword Planner, a free tool that estimates any search phrase. (AdWords accounts are required to access Keyword Planner.)
2. Competitor research
Go to Google.com in “private browsing” mode (Incognito in Chrome, Private in Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer). Private mode is used at my company because we don’t want Google to use our search history to influence search results.
3. Create great content
Now that you know your competition, it’s time to create content that will blow them away. This is perhaps the most difficult, but crucial step. Awe-inspiring
Any blog post, ecommerce store page, or sales landing page will do. It has to be better than the rest, or Google or your audience won’t notice.
4. Include the keyword in the title
Your page title should contain your keyword, but it doesn’t have to be exact (though it can be).
Also, the title must be intriguing enough to entice people to click! PT from PTMoney.com wrote a great post about “making extra money.” Instead of “Make Extra Money,” he titled it “52 Ways to Make Extra Money.” Everyone would like to read that.
5. Header with the keyword
Most webpages can be organized with a large title at the top and several sub-headers throughout (like the sub-headers in this post).
This organization helps people skimming blog posts, but it also helps Google understand what your blog post is about. Use your keyword phrase at least once in your sub-headers.
6. Place the keyword in the image name and alt-tag
Next, if your blog post includes images, use them to reinforce the topic to Google. There are two ways:
- Name of image
- Image alt
Change the image name on your computer before uploading. You can rename the file “2831274.jpg” to “small dog toys 1.jpg.”
The “alt tag” is added after the photo is uploaded to your website. The alt tag is simply the text that the web browser displays if the photo cannot be loaded for some reason.
7. Include the keyword in the URL and post
The URL is another way Google can tell what your blog post is about. That is, the part of your url after the “.com” (or .net, .org, or whatever you use). For example, which of the following URLs do you think Google will prefer to display?
You got it on the second one. While the former may not completely destroy your SEO efforts, the latter clearly identifies the post’s topic.
8. Add internal links
Why should anyone care if you don’t talk about your best content? So make sure your best SEO content is linked to from other pages on your website.
Yes, you may need to edit older posts to include links to the amazing new content.
9. Get external links
Finally, the big one: external links.
External links are links from other websites. Google uses external links to judge a post’s quality. Doesn’t this make sense? You can brag about your abilities all day, but no one will believe you. But when others start bragging about you, others notice.
While great content may get you some links, you will need to do some “link building.” This means asking other website owners for links. Backlinko.com has some great advice on getting these links.
The above nine-point checklist may not cover everything about SEO, but by simply following it, you’ll be miles ahead of the competition and likely see significant SEO traffic to your posts.