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search engine optimization

SEO in a Nutshell

There’s one thing you need to know about Google. It cares about one thing above all other things, and that thing is RELEVANCE. The more the things on your website are related together — and the elements of your individual pages are related together — the higher Google will rank you, and the faster it […]

There’s one thing you need to know about Google. It cares about one thing above all other things, and that thing is RELEVANCE.

The more the things on your website are related together — and the elements of your individual pages are related together — the higher Google will rank you, and the faster it will do it.

So what does that all mean?

Well, let’s say you want a web page on your home decorating site to rank well for “Tibetan Rugs”. There are a lot of people who would title that page “Area Rugs for your home”, and then write an article all and mention “hand-made rugs” and “decorative rugs” and “throw rugs,” all of which are alternate names for “Tibetan rugs.”

Then, they would add some Keyword meta tags with “Tibetan Rugs” and wait for Google to rank them.

Well, it’s not going to happen.

While Google is smart, it’s much smarter at understanding things that are clear and consistent rather than things that are vague and convoluted. And Google looks at a long list of elements on your page to figure out what your page is about.

What are those things? Well, here is a list of the 7 most important. Use your primary keyword in each of these places on your page, and Google will understand what your page is about, and rank you higher because of it.

(Note: WordPress has both “posts” and “pages” and they are similar, but different things with different properties. If we are referring to a page as being something different from a post, then we’ll refer to the page as a “WordPress Page”. If we write “page”, that means any web page, such as a post, a WordPress page, a category page, and even the home page.)

  1. Title Tag
    Setting the Title Tag of each page to the main keyword for that page is the single most important thing you can do to increase your rankings. Google looks there first to discover what your page is about. If you name your page with your keyword, then WordPress will automatically set your title tag to the same thing. Nice, right?
  2. Page Name
    WordPress calls the actual, physical location of a web page it’s “slug”. So, in a URL like this one, “www.MySite.com/mypost”, the “mypost” makes up the slug. If you put your major keywords in your slug, Google will “get it” about what your web page is about. When you set your post title to your keyword, WordPress will automatically set your slug to your keyword, too.
  3. Your Headings & Subheadings
    Google looks at any text that stands out on a page, and the headings on a page certainly stand out. So, use your keywords in your headings. Again, WordPress helps you here, because it will automatically put a heading on your page — usually with the H2 tag — that matches the name of the page. Add subheadings to your page — at least one — and use your keyword in the subheading, along with some additional text. So, if your keyword is “Best Back Braces”, then a subheading of “Best Back Braces Can Relieve Your Pain” or “Best Back Braces Are Not Always Expensive”. Anything is fine, so long as it starts with your keyword. Usually, an H4 heading on a WordPress post is a good heading to use for this purpose.
  4. Links
    Your pages all need to link to each other. But there’s a big mistake most people make when building links from one page to another: they link with words like “click here” or “that page”. Do you do that? If you do, then you are losing an opportunity to tell Google what the linked page is about. The text in your link — the technical term is the “anchor text” — tells Google what it will find if it follows the click. What would you expect to find if you followed a link called “click here”? It would be better if the link had your keywords in them. Again, WordPress comes to the rescue. When it builds links for you — either with the default menu builder or the “recent posts” widget — it uses the title of the page as the anchor text.
  5. Your Meta Tags
    Lots of people don’t understand what Meta Tags are, and that’s okay. Meta tags are special parts of HTML that tell other computer systems what your page is about. The two most common are tags called “Keywords” and “Description”. What most people don’t know is that none of the major search engines look at the Keywords tag any more. But they do look at your description, and they even sometimes use that text for your Google listing. So, be sure to write a short description that uses your main keyword once or twice — especially as the first words in your description — along with some compelling text that helps someone decide to click from Google on to your page for more information.
  6. Your Text
    Okay, this one may seem obvious, but it’s unfortunately not as obvious as I thought it was. I’ve seen pages that had nothing but images on them. I’ve seen pages about “Tibetan Rugs” that never used those two words on the page. I’ve even seen pages with no content at all…and yet the owners still expect their sites to rank highly for some keyword. It’s not going to happen. But following these tips *will* get your page ranked for your keywords. 1) Use your main keywords at the start of your post or WordPress page content. 2) Use it in the middle once or twice or more if it’s a long page. 3) And then use your keyword again in the last paragraph at least once or twice. Look, if the post is about Tibetan Rugs, it ought to at least say those words. Also: 4) Boldface your keyword once in your post, 5) italicize your keyword once in your post, use a keyword as a link back to the page once in your post, with your keyword as the Title of the link. Yes, you want to do ALL of that
  7. Images
    No, Google still cannot read your images and know what they mean. However, HTML does have other “attributes” for images that Google can read — and will. So you may as well stack the deck in your favor and use them all. 1) First, name the image itself using your keywords. If the image is a beautiful red rug that your camera named DCIM3343, then don’t name the picture “DCIM3343.jpg” when you upload it to your site. Instead, name it “Red-tibetan-rug.jpg.” 2) At the same time, set the “alt tag” for that image to your keywords, too. (What is an alt tag? It’s text that is displayed to your user when the image is not available. Google uses it to help figure out what to show in an image search.) You can set the Alt tags by right-clicking an image after you’ve added it to your WordPress Post or WordPress Page. 3) If you can set a caption for your photo, put your keywords there. And finally, set a “Title” attribute using your keywords, too. (As a conversion bonus, make the image a link, and link to your product sales page, or to an affiliate link for a product related to that keyword. People ALWAYS click images, and you’ll make a few extra bucks this way.)

Now, most of these things are very easy to do in WordPress. In fact, as we’ve mentioned, WordPress handles most of these settings for you automatically, and the ones that are not handled automatically can easily be handled with a Free Plugin.

We recommend you take a look at the All-In-One SEO Plugin. Just log into your admin page on your WordPress site. Go to the Plugins menu, and choose “Add New.” Search for “All in one SEO” and you’re well on your way.

You’ll find settings in there for the things that WordPress does not handle automatically, including your home page meta tags, and meta tags for your categories, too.

Here’s the bottom line…

Your very first step in trying to get more traffic is to make it EXTREMELY CLEAR what your web page — and your entire web site — are all about. Take advantage of every opportunity to logically place your keywords in places where they belong. Once Google knows what your site is about, it will more readily rank your site when people search for your topics.

This article is reprinted from ACMEtraffic.com. To learn more about SEO for WordPress sites.

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