For a baseball fan like me, the first week of March is always a welcome time for delivering the promise of warmer, baseball-filled months ahead. Spring training is getting fired up in Arizona and Florida, and though my days of performing hitting and throwing drills are far behind, I have some skills to develop this spring.
I’m talking about practicing the best tactics for search engine optimization (SEO) from both a copy writing and web design outlook. As I began my internship with LevelTen in January, you could have compared me to a rookie in spring training: intimidated, a little overwhelmed and hopeful for a good performance.
After a few months on the job, I have formulated a basic curriculum for my fellow “SEO 101” students out there. I have attempted to set up a “team” of tools that will help your website register higher with search engines, especially Google, and attract more traffic and business opportunities.
Pitchers and Catchers
These are probably the two most important players on the field because every play revolves around them. It doesn’t matter how good the other guys on the field are, they are useless without an effective pitcher to throw, and someone capable of calling signals and catching pitches behind the plate.
Keyword choice is one of the most important components of SEO, because like pitchers and catchers, you need good ones or other components will be rendered useless. To pick good ones, target your market and try to be specific to that market. Find out how many websites are competing with yours by searching on Google with your keywords and noting how many returns come up.
You can also get a rough estimate for how many people are actually searching for your keywords by using the tools at Ad GooRoo. As a guideline, try to optimize every page on your site for a different 3-5 word search phrase.
One of the great “game within the game” examples in sports is the communication between a second baseman and shortstop. They signal pick-offs, cover bunt attempts, and turn smooth double plays by communicating with each other, sometimes silently. An efficient baseball team will always have a duo in the middle infield who set each other up for success by highlighting strengths and covering weaknesses.
URL’s and Title Tags
Two of the most determining factors in Google’s ranking are your domain name and title tag. These are important because they communicate your site’s relevance to Google and search engine users. Domain owners have often placed “Welcome to www.examplewebsite.com” as their title tag text. This is not good practice because search engines use title tag wording as an important part of their ranking formula. A better philosophy is to include several relevant keywords in a 60-90 character tag.
Similarly, URL’s that employ relevant words will rank higher and drive more traffic to a website. These two elements work together to communicate the relevance of your site, and can ultimately decide its online presence and effectiveness.
Historically, my favorite players are usually first basemen and third basement. Why? I think it’s because these are typically the heavy hitting, muscle-bound boppers of a lineup. The importance of these power hitters is so crucial, that some will sacrifice their ability to play defense by getting too big and losing flexibility. Finding the right balance between power and finesse is the key to sustaining long-term success for corner infield players.
H Tags and Keyword Density
The Google ranking algorithm reads H-tagged words as more important than the rest of the content on your page. Spreading tags throughout your content can help Google drive a more relevant audience to your site. It can also improve your sites keyword density, meaning the ratio of optimized keywords to the rest of content on your page.
Typically, between 4% and 7% of the words on each page of your site should be tagged for optimization. It might be tempting to overload these terms, but like power-hitting players, moderation is key for achieving a good balance for your site.
Outfielders are the wild-card to any team because they come in all shapes and sizes, and with different skill sets. There are small, speedy outfielders that make diving catches and steal bases. There are large, slower outfielders who evoke feelings of fear when a ball is hit near them, but earn their spot by knocking home runs and hosing potential base runners with strong throws. In any case, they are exciting because of the potential they bring to any team.
Links are among the toughest components of SEO to evaluate. Back links are websites that link directly to your website, and the general idea is that the more you have, the higher your pages will rank. Developing a good base of back-links takes time, but remaining diligent to build contacts and relationships will be worth the work. The performance of outfielders is crucial, and back-link performance will likewise determine the heights to which your site can climb.