I've had several friends request advice from me on optimizing their websites for search engine visibility, and so I thought it was probably about time to start a series of posts on my blog about SEO. My goal is to provide some clear and quick tips that can get someone started on the right foot when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). The first thing that comes to my mind is title tag optimization.Make Title Tags descriptive and unique, but uniform!
For those of you who are new to the web design world, the "title" of a webpage is what shows up in the title bar of your web browser
. Usually it is blue, since most people probably have Windows running on their computer, and the default color is blue. So, look in the blue bar at the top of the browser, and you will see the title of the page.Planning for proper title tags - the step before the step.
In order to have good title tags, you've got to have pages, and in order to have good pages, you've go to have good, well organized content. Don't place all your content on one page. If you do this, viewers will find it hard to sift through the content in order to figure out what they want to know about you. Here are some easy things to do that will help you figure out how to structure your site:
- Think about your business and how you might organize your information.
- Then look at some websites of similar businesses. Go to Google.com and type in your product or industry. How are those websites organized? Are there conventions that your customers might expect when they visit a site in your industry?
- Organize your content.
Chose titles for the content on each page. Do not make all titles the same. For example, don't just use the company name as every page's title. Chose titles that describe what the page is about.
- Create different "buckets". You'll probably have the "homepage bucket", then the "products bucket", then the "about our company bucket", then the "contact us bucket", then (if you're big enough) a bucket with information about applying for jobs at your firm, and so on.
- Under the products bucket, you may have subcategories of products. Think about these things, then divide up your content and place it on corresponding pages.
The most common mistake - no variation.
Most small businesses probably don't pay too much attention to the title tag, other than making sure it has the company name in it somewhere. The most common thing I've seen is to have all pages in the site have the same title tag. This is a mistake.
You want the titles of your pages to be different.But some uniformity is encouraged!
If your company's name were ACME Inc., you would be alright to include ACME somewhere in your title tag on every page. The best way to do this is to add the company name at the end of your title tags.
The basic principle: Unique parts of the title should come first, followed by uniform parts.
- The page that has most of the general information about your company would be titled, "About our company - ACME Inc."
- Similarly, if you were a photographer, you could have a page entitled, "Jon & Trish's Wedding - Acme Photography, Inc."
This basically means that, since all titles are to be unique, place the unique parts at the beginning, followed by the category name or company name. If you're a newspaper, you would place article titles in the front of the page title, followed by the name of the newspaper. For example:
Also give the reader an idea of where they are in your site.
- Diplomat's speech stalled by talking donkey - The Bethlehem Chronicle
If you have a site with lots of content and subcategories, it is a good idea to include the names of categories in the titles of the site. If you chose to do that, the above example could look like this:
- Diplomat's speech stalled by talking donkey - Local news - Bethlehem Chronicle.
This simple example follows the format of [Unique article title] - [Section] - [Website title]. You can easily tailor this to your site.The moral of the story - capturing a potential customer's specific web search.
If you're wondering why these suggestions have been made this way, think about things this way:
- Each search engine user out there is a potential customer of yours.
- When a search engine looks for results, title tags are one of the most important factors in determining the relevance of a webpage.
- If your page is relevant to the user's search, the first way you're going to tell the search engine that is by placing specific information about your page in your title tag.
Your company name might be important to you, but if your customer is looking for camera parts, they'll be more quickly drawn to a page that has the word "Canon" or "SLR" in the page title. If you've ever done online research about anything, just think about your own behavior when you search for something. "Smith Enterprises Inc." is not going to draw many people, if that's all your title tag says.How to change the page's title with Notepad.
- Open Notepad.
- With notepad, click File, Open, and then find your webpage that you want to open.
- You'll see confusing text that looks like web programming language. Press Ctrl and F at the same time.
- You'll see a Search box. Type "<title>" and press Enter. (type it with the greater than and less than brackets, but without quotes.)
- You'll see something like this:
- <title>Canon Digital SLR Cameras - ACME Inc.</title>
- <title> and </title> The stuff between is open for you to change. That's your page's title.
- Change the text, save the document, then close it.
- You have now changed the page's title. Open it in a web browser to see the new page.
I hope that was easy enough to follow. This is the first entry in a weekly series about small business SEO. Come back next Sunday for the next article.
Labels: SEO, Sunday SEO Series