SEO: Search Engine Optimization Part 2

This post is a continuation of the information in SEO: Search Engine Optimization Part 1. If you haven’t reviewed that information first, start there.

Meta tags

Meta information used to be very important, but it doesn’t seem to be anymore. You may not even have access to it in your WordPress Theme.

Here is an example of meta tags. The page is Cable Lights,

<meta name=”Description” content=”Cable Lights: Low-voltage cable system that creates the illusion of floating lights” />

The meta Description used to be what Google showed in the search results.

Google Search Results show page content

Now Google shows relevant page content instead. (Intersting, notice the Home page is listed first, although it only has a text link to Cable Lights and Cable Kits. And the excerpt for the Cable Lights page is from two thirds down the page, by no means the first, second or third use of “Cable Lights.”

<meta name=”Keywords” content=”Tech Lighting Kable Lite, Tiella Cable Kit, low voltage, ceiling, wall mount floating lights”/>

Search engines used to use meta Keywords as a hint on the keywords to rank you for. They don’t seem to count much anymore, but they aren’t totally worthless. (I was looking for something and one of the top links Google gave me was on my own site. Confusing. I clicked and didn’t see anything at all about it on the site. Then I searched the code. There it was in the meta tag. A product with the same name had been discontinued and removed from the site years before. Since there was so little mention of it anywhere, Google used this meta keyword to list my page in Search results.)

Commas vs. no commas

It used to matter, but it doesn’t seem to anymore. Some instructions said to put a comma between every keyword. Others said to use no commas at all. I found separating phrases made some sense.

If you decide to use meta tags, here are some don’ts.

  • Do not repeat repeatedly.
    For example, don’t put “cable light kit, tech lighting kable cable light kit, low voltage cable kit, wall mount cable kit”
    You see what I did wrong there? It looks like key word stuffing.
  • Do not use keywords that have nothing to do with the content on the page
    Don’t throw in keywords that have nothing to do with what is on that page just because you think it is a place to shove in keywords for Search that Visitors won’t see.
    On the other hand, you don’t have to constantly check your meta tags to make sure you don’t mention something that has since been removed from your page.

So, if you have access to your meta tags, you might want to use them. But your time may be better spent adding content in other ways.

Where to use keywords and keyword phrases

What single phrase is most likely to be searched by people you want to find your site? This phrase should be used on your home page. In my experience, using this phrase exactly three times seems to work best.

Use this keyword phrase as an H1 Heading. Use it in your first paragraph, perhaps even the first sentence. Use it again in your conclusion or call to action. Have some other content on your page, too.

Add a page to your site with the phrase as your page Title. Make one of the uses of the phrase on your home page link to this page.

Some guides say that it improves ranking if the phrase is in bold. That tells Search Engines that the phrase is important. Might help.

Don’t use every single keyword and phrase on your home page or any page. Focus on one phrase, at least at first.

Clean up your code

You sometimes end up with superfluous tags if you are copying and pasting into WordPress or a WYSIWYG editor. It is a good practice to clean this up. It just gives spiders a mess to wade through to find your content. In an editor, check your code view. In WordPress, click the Text tab.

If you don’t have a clue how to do this, don’t get bogged down. This is another thing that doesn’t seem to really matter much anymore.

Link Popularity

Links matter.

Even links within your site count. If a page on your site has a lot of links to it, it is considered a more important page on your site. If a page on your site has very few links to reach it, it is considered a less important page.

What about directories, like Open Directory Project (ODP) and DMOZ? Sorry, DMOZ and ODP are over. There are still forms out there to get your site listed on directories, but they seem to just be ways to collect your information so that they can try to sell marketing to you.

Links from related sites

Ask businesses you work with and wholesalers of products you sell to link to your site. Find a page on their site that would be a good fit for your link. Send an example of the type of link you would like. They will often use exactly what you give them. Optimize using your keyword phrase. Offer a couple of examples. See what they already have for other sites.

Check back. When they have added the link, ask if you may submit the page to search engines to request the changed page be re-spidered.

Reciprocal Linking

I’m not talking about “trading links.” Links from low quality, low listed sites aren’t going to help you much.

Think of sites that are complementary to yours. You don’t want to link out to sites that are actually your competition and they are extremely unlikely to want to link to you.

Place a link and blurb for their business on your site. Send them an email with a link to the page and ask if they would like to make any changes to what you wrote. Give them a blurb, link and location on their site that you would like them to add a link from their site to your site.

Ask nicely.

You can make a page of recommended vendors or products, but a better idea is to put their link on a page that relates to their site or product.

Keep a list (I use an Excel spreadsheet). Check back. When they have added the link, thank them. If they have not added the link yet, don’t jump in and remove your link to them right away. It can take people a while to get to things. However if you don’t hear back from them in a few months, and you can think of another more deserving place to link to, change your link and start over with another company.

Links from unrelated sites

Place a sponsored by link on your personal site. Write something that relates on your personal blog and link to your business site. A lot of people have websites and blogs now. Ask anybody you know to add a link to you. Don’t forget the blurb. The context of the link helps search engines know what searches for your results to show up in. Can’t hurt, might help.

Submit Your Site

It used to really matter if you did not submit your site to every search engine. Now it seems like they know you are there even before you are. Perhaps because so many domain names are recycled.

But you ought to check. Google your company name in quote marks. If you don’t come up, add your URL. If you are added to Google, you are added everywhere. If you don’t believe it, go ahead and add yourself to more places, but I have not found this to be necessary anymore.