This is the third in a series of five articles on Search Engine Optimization – Back to the Basics. Yesterday we talked about the coding of your website. Today we’re going to talk about the on-page content, including the meta tags.
There are essentially four parts to the on-page content of your website.
The Title tag is a meta tag, which means it is not usually seen as part of the content a typical user would see. However, the Title tag shows up at the top of your browser when a page is loaded. Behind the URL itself, I believe the Title tag is probably the most important element of on-page optimization. This Title tag tells the search engines what this page is all about. The Title tag is also what shows up as a link to your website in search results. In the image below, from a Google search, the text highlighted in green is the Title tag.
The Description tag is also a meta tag. It is basically a short description of the content the reader can expect to find when they click through to your site. In the image above it is the text right below the Title tag. Typically about 160 characters will show up in the search results. So the best way to take advantage of that is to make your description compelling so that searchers will be enticed to click through to your site. In our example above it simply tells who we are.
The Keywords tag is also a meta tag. Because this tag got so much abuse in the past, most of the major search engines simply ignore it today, but there are some that still look at it to pick up keywords that may not be replicated exactly in your content.
This is the juicy part and what all of your human readers visit your site for. The content is exactly that; your article, your blog post, your video, your pictures. They all make up the on-page content of your website. Your content can be really long or really short. Ideally you should have about 500 words per page at a minimum. If you are posting to a blog sometimes that’s a little much. The key is to have unique content about a few keywords so that your content can rank well for those keywords. If you try to put too much information on one page it won’t rank well for any of it.
Take this series of articles for example. I broke it out into an introduction and four follow up posts so that each one could focus on one aspect of search engine optimization. Take a lesson from that.
When all four of these elements are in sync you can rank really well for your chosen keywords. If there is a lot of competition it may take a little longer, but it can still be done. You will just need to work on getting more incoming links to those pages.
Tomorrow we are going to talk about Link Popularity.
To your success,