How to Get Rooted in the Organic Section
Now that we’ve addressed the titles and descriptions of your site, let’s take a look at your content. Getting your site found in the organic rankings also (largely) depends on your content, and there are guidelines that will make your content more appealing to both Google and to the site visitor.
Google says that sites with informative content that provide a great user experience will be ranked better that those that are strictly written to attract the search engine robot (i.e. with spammy uses of keywords, no valuable information given, or “forced” uses of keywords, etc.), so you might want to sit down and evaluate what useful experience you can provide for your site visitors.
If you’re a dentist, you might want to have plenty of info on different dental diseases, including warning signs to look for, and how to know when it’s serious, etc. Or maybe a tutorial on how to floss properly to prevent tooth decay and losing your teeth prematurely?
The minimum number of words on a page is set at 350, and while the max is a bit of a floating number, our advice is to not exceed 1250 words. You do need to meet the minimum for Google to give your site any credibility, though.
A lot of business owners would rather have less content than 350 words per page for aesthetic reasons, but ask yourself, would you rather get ranked for your services and get more business, or have less content and more images on each page? That’s what I thought…
Before you get started – what does your content need to include? Well, keyword usage is obviously important (after all, who will be able to find you for your services if you don’t use the actual words they’ll be looking for?), and the number of times a keyword is used on a page tends to change from time to time.
By current standards, it is best to use your keyword between 2 - 3.5% of your word count. That means, if you have a 500 word page, use your keyword about a dozen times. Keep in mind that the keyword, or phrase, may be in your site’s navigation and if so, count that as part of your usage.
In the example here, the keyword is “DIY SEO,” and it is used 11 times on the page, and once more in the menu (which is out of the frame).
It’s important to note that it would be better to use your keyword less than recommended than to force its use. If your keyword is not used naturally in the story you are telling in your content, it will do more harm than good to shove it in. Remember to write informative content! It is better to give away a few tips and secrets than to make your content completely a sales piece.
Coding Your Content
Throughout your content, you will undoubtedly have paragraphs, and some of those paragraphs should have headers. The headers are made into header tags, or “H tags.” These tags are important and Google places a certain amount of value on them. The phrase in the H tag gets more weight with them, and will often rank well, so you want to make sure it’s something that you want to be found for.
The first H tag on the page – the H1 – is the page title. This is written in stone, and will hurt your rankings if you don’t treat it as such. For this example, we’ll call the page, and the H1, “Artisan Cupcakes.”
The second H tag – the H2 – should be a good use of the key term or phrase for the page. In our example, the page title is “Artisan Cupcakes” (which is then the H1) and the H2 might be “How We Make Our Artisan Cupcakes.”
You also want to be sure that the header is describing the content of the paragraph. If you use the header above, but didn’t talk about how you made the cupcakes, you wouldn’t get the full impact you were hoping for.
In the example page that I showed above, the page title (H1) was “DIY SEO” and so the H2 became “DIY SEO for Small Business Owners,” which the paragraphs below covered. How many H tags are on the page? (Answer: 4, including the page title)
Here is the proper code to create a H2:
<h2>How We Make Our Artisan Cupcakes</h2>
(Likewise, for an H3 or an H4, you would simply change the numerals in the above code to match.)
Check the code on your site to be sure that each of your pages utilizes H tags and start getting some extra weight for the phrases you want to be found for!
Not sure how to check your site’s code? Call us and one of our specialists will check it for you!
Inbound links are an important part of getting your site found on the first page of Google. But that doesn’t mean you should go around getting people to link to your site willy-nilly. The number one thing to remember with links is that if you buy links, you will be penalized. Google is very clear about this.
The only way to get inbound links that actually help you is to earn them. You can start by setting up social media accounts and linking them reciprocally with your site.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and any others that you can use to promote your business are a good idea. Then set up directories like Yelp, Manta, BBB, etc.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a tremendous amount of links if your site is well optimized. So make sure all of your social sites are set up and linked back and forth, and then keep reading to get these other points in and watch your traffic rise!
Internal links are also important for SEO. As you write your content, use some of the other page titles throughout the content you are writing and use them to place a link to those pages from the text. You only want to do this once or twice a page, though. There can be too much of a good thing!
Bullets should only be used sparingly, and in an exact manner as they get a bit more weight from Google. A mistake that is common in the use of bullets is to put non-searchable terms in bullets. I often see things like:
- In business for 20 years
- Member of the BBB
- Licensed and insured
These may seem like important items to you, but if you make them bullets, Google will think that you are trying to be found for those phrases. If you are a roofing contractor, you would likely be found well for “roofing contractor in business for 20 years,” and “roofing contractors that are members of the BBB.” But people don't search these terms, so they are not money makers for you.
Better bullets for the site might be:
- Roof replacement
- Roof repair
- Shingle roof
Do you see how these are terms that a roofing contractor may want to be found for? Another solid SEO technique is to link one or two of these bullets back to their respective pages for even more weight!
These are just a couple of things that any business owner can do to help the rankings of his or her site. Google uses 207 ranking signals, so this isn’t going to help you rule the earth, but it will help you get some good rankings for your services in your area.
If you need help with any of the points we covered above, give us a call. One of our site specialists will help you determine what’s the biggest factor that’s costing you business right now, and show you how to best fix it.