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How to Get Started with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Elements of on-page search engine optimizationOptimizing your website for search engines is an ongoing process that starts with on-page optimization. Before search engines can discover your site, it has to be formatted properly for the crawling robots.

To start with a good foundation, make sure your website is built by a professional web design and development company that keeps SEO top-of-mind throughout the process.

Once you have a good foundation, you can implement these basic on-page SEO tactics:

1. Choose the keyword phrases you want optimized throughout your website.
Get keyword ideas by looking at your Google Analytics, asking your target audience, and using the Google Keyword Planner. Try to choose long-tail and specific keyword phrases like “web design and development Iowa” or “how to optimize for SEO” rather than generic words like “SEO” or “design.”

2. Add customized metadata for each page, especially <title> and <description> tags.
Include your targeted keyword phrases in these tags, but don’t overdo it. Remember, this is the content that shows up in search engines so it has to be both robot-friendly and human-friendly.
 Meta Data Example

3. Make your site’s URLs search-engine friendly.
Instead of www.example.com/content_id=45&item_id=3, format URLs so they’re descriptive. For example: www.example.com/contact and www.example.com/services.

4. Optimize your images with relevant titles and alt tags.
Alt tag text tells search engines what the image is, since they can’t read images. It also displays if images don’t load or if a visitor uses an ADA device.

5. Indicate headers in your page content with <H1>, <H2>, and <H3> tags.
Headings with <H1> tags are most important, while content in <H2> and <H3> tags are subheads. Try to include your keyword phrases in these tags, but don’t force it.

6. Write page content with both humans and robots in mind.
Your copy should have your keywords in it and be easily read by search engine crawlers. However, it’s more important to have quality content for your visitors. Find a balance that works for your brand.

7. Set a schedule to update content.
Search engines like websites that generate fresh content. A blog is a great way to achieve this. But if a blog isn’t in your Internet marketing strategy, then set aside time to update your website content periodically.

8. Review Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to understand how visitors find and use your website.
Keep an eye on the keyword phrases that drive traffic to your site and adjust them as needed.

Once these basics are established, you can bump up your SEO to a more advanced level by blogging, generating quality backlinks, and taking control of your overall online presence.

If you feel overwhelmed by the tips above or don’t have the time to manage an ongoing SEO strategy, reach out.