Last week I discussed the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This week I am going to discuss what you need to know about HTML code regarding SEO. Don’t be scared! You do not need to know how to code a website to make sure your SEO is on point. A basic understanding will do.
Your keywords need to be woven into the code on your site to build a “net” to catch potential customers looking for your services, while at the same time being search engine friendly. Put too many keywords on your site – and the search engines will penalize you. Put too few keywords – and you will not show up on the first page of a search. The next step to good SEO is to have keywords properly woven into your HTML code. Before we dive into code, let’s talk about the Target Keyword for your business. This code placement is the most important keyword for your website and needs to show up in some locations consistently. First, let’s define the topic:
Target Keyword – These keywords are relevant to your product or service in website and ad copy to achieve a top listing in the search engines. More specifically, it’s the word or phrase that you think customers will use the most to find your business. It also describes your business the best. For example, if your company provides Home Theater Installation, that is your target keyword phrase. It must be used (but not overused) in your HTML code. Search engines, like Google, place importance on where this target keyword is located in website code. To gain an edge in your business against your online competition, put your keywords in the following HTML code:
<TITLE> This is the most important place for your target keyword, and the home page is the most important of your entire website. Think of it as a first impression. It is the first page your customer and Google view. The title of the home page and every page of your website should have your target keyword woven into the copy. Make sure it flows with proper syntax and grammar. Using the Home Theater Installation example, a good <TITLE> for a home page located in Denver, CO is:
<TITLE> PUT YOUR NAME OF BUSINESS HERE; Home Theater Installation Denver<TITLE>
This code placement is the most significant “net” to catch customers searching online for your services.
Header <H1> Search engines like headers, and it’s the second most important place for your target keyword. You can discuss the different types of services you provide on the page of your website. Here is an example:
<H1>Residential Home Theater Installation Services <H1>
This header drills down for customers the particular type of Home Theater Installation your business provides as well as another location for your target keyword. The header will also be on your home page as well as the page for residential services. Now you are getting target keyword density with search engines. Putting headers in bold will also help your ranking because it emphasizes the keywords.
<META DESCRIPTION> Google loves seeing keywords in meta descriptions. But this is usually difficult for website content writers to do correctly. You are limited to 155 characters, so every word has to count. Do it properly, and you have a 90% chance of being the visible description on Google. Using the same business example, here is an excellent meta description:
<META Denver’s leader in high-end home theater installation for over 30 years. Come experience our six showrooms today.>
In this short phrase, your business is summed up perfectly. The target keyword is woven within supporting keywords: Denver and high-end.
<IMG ALT> This is code where you embed keywords with pictures. A perfect place to do this is with your logo, and it’s another place to use words from your meta description on a different location on your site. Keyword density is getting better – and another “net” is cast for catching customers in an online search. Depending on your website platform, bear in mind that you’ll simply set an image, plus target keyword and meta description where they need to be.
<BODY> This is the content on your website that is visible to a customer when they land on your page. Write keyword-heavy prose on each and every page of the website. Aim for natural syntax and about 5% keyword density. A good rule of thumb is to have someone read this and then ask if they can guess the keywords. If they can’t, then the keywords do not jump out at them and that is what you want. Google will penalize your website ranking if your keywords are too obvious.
In closing, SEO is a very complex skill – you need to understand it and stay educated. Just like last week’s tips, this list is just a touch on what should be done regarding the code on your site. In addition, this is what I concentrate on in my business for my clients and what I explain to them when they hire me for SEO services. SEO can include much, much more depending on the specific type of business. These coding tips plus last week’s basics should help you get started in either hiring the right consultant or training staff to up their SEO game for your business.