Website Optimization For Search Engines (1 of 5)
I know that SEO is still a giant mystery to many people but it amazes me how so many small, medium and large companies don’t understand the basics of website optimization for search engines. I think the problem stems from a basic misunderstanding of exactly what SEO is and is not.
I am sure you know what the acronym SEO stands for by now, Search Engine Optimization. The problem arises from the fact that SEO has become a catch all term for all things search engine related. SEO is not the same thing as where your website falls on a Search Engine Results Page (known as SERP). SEO is one of many strategies for improving your websites rank on a Search Engine Results Page, and while it’s probably the best strategy it’s not the only way to increase your rank position on these results pages.
That being said, over the next five weeks I will be taking you through what I consider to be the easiest, yet most important website optimization steps you can do to get your website noticed by search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Website Optimizations for Search Engines
(in no particular order but in my opinion the most important ones)
Part One: Title Tags
What is a title tag?: It’s not the title on your page if that is what you are thinking. It can’t even be seen on the page itself. A title tag is a bit of HTML code on your website that tells search engines what the page they are on is about. Humans can see a title tag by simply looking at the top of their browser.
You will notice in the picture above that the title tag for our home page doesn’t have the word HOME or even the name of our company. People who are on our website already know the name of our company and they already know that they are on the home page. There is no reason what-so-ever to have those items in the title tag. What should be in the title tag is what the page is about. In this case it’s our home page so we chose to use the title tag of “Web Design Phoenix AZ | Video Production | Social Media Branding | Social Media Management” because that is what we do and this is our main page. If it’s was just a page about Web Design then that is what I would put as the title tag, as well as variations of that keyword such as “Website Design” and “Website Hosting”.
PRO TIP: If you are offering services or products in only your area, include the name of that area in your title tag. In this case I chose to put “Web Design Phoenix AZ” because although we offer web design services all across the country, it would be pretty hard to rank on page one of Google for such a competitive market.
Why is it important?: Like I said earlier, a title tag tells search engines what the page is about. If your title tag is “Home” then google is going to think your page is about “Home”. If your title tag is “Page 2″ google is going to think your page is about “Page 2″. Conversely if your business is painting houses in Arizona and the title tag of your home page is “Commercial Painting | Residential House Painting | Arizona” search engines will see that and say “AH HA! This page is about a house painter in Arizona. Now when someone types ‘Arizona House Painting’ into my search area I will know to add this page to my SERP to serve up to them.”
If you are not properly using title tags on all of your pages you are missing a great opportunity to tell search engines what each of your pages are about.
So far you have learned what title tags are and why they are important. If you have NO website creation experience then the rest of this article might bore you. If your title tags are incorrect, either hire SixVine to help you or get your webMASTER to fix the issue.
Where are title tags entered?: This depends on how you created your website’s page. In HTML code the title tag is placed in the header area of the page between the “title tags”. Those tags look like this:
So if your website is a straight up, bare bones, HTML website it could have been created several different ways. There are many programs that help users create HTML websites but most of them, such as Adobe’s Dreamweaver, automatically take the file name of the page you are creating and make it the title tag. So if you are working on an HTML page and named it “page 3″ then, unless you change the title tag manually, you will end up with a title tag of “page3″. This is why many websites out there have some very strange title tags.
(Irony: This website ranks on page 2 when you search for “page3″ on Google.)
In the above picture you’ll notice that title tags are also used as the title of your page on Search Engines. This person obviously left his title tag to be determined by the program he used to create his HTML page and there for Google thinks his page is about “page3″.
In order to change this you will have to reload each HTML page of your website into the program you used to create it in the first place and make the necessary changes. With there being so many different programs out there that create HTML pages I can not tell you how to change the title tag with your particular program. If you don’t know how I would suggest you Google the name of the program and “change title tag in HTML page”. That should find you all the answers you need.
Why I love WordPress
If your website is powered by WordPress then your job is a lot easier. There are several plugin that handle many aspects of SEO and most of those have an area where you can enter the the title tag of the page you are creating right there in the editor.
In the image above you will see the SEO Settings area for a plugin called “SEO Ultimate“, one of my favorite plugins for WordPress. The arrow points to the area where you can enter the Title Tag of the post or page you are creating. WordPress makes this kind of thing a snap. And that is why all the websites I’ve designed for our clients have been on the WordPress platform.
So today you’ve learned quite a few things about Title Tags. I hope I made this post as informative and as entertaining as possible. If you didn’t understand some of the techno speak I totally understand. This article was meant to draw your attention to the importance of title tags and point those who know a little bit about web design in the right direction. If you don’t have the time to do it yourself then I would suggest either you hire SixVine Media to handle your web design or contact your current webmaster and/or web designer and ask them to make sure your title tags are set and proper.
Next week I’ll be talking about Meta Keywords so come on back to find out:
So tune in next week, same SixVine Time, same SixVine Channel.