These webpage optimizing strategies are as much for consumer optimization as they are for search engine optimization.
The 3 must-have ingredients outlined below will provide the foundation for a clear and concise message, that can be conveyed to the consumer audience; as well as to search engines.
These 3 webpage optimizing strategies are as much for consumer optimization as they are for search engine optimization.Click To Tweet
1. Meta Data – Title & Description
If you create your blog posts and articles using WordPress you are likely familiar with plugins like All-In-One SEO or WordPress SEO by Yoast. Likewise you understand their benefits, and use them regularly. If not, choose one and install it now! That said, there are instances where there are no specific areas to include this valuable information. For example, we discovered in our Tumblr study that the platform does not provide specific areas to input Meta data, like the post’s Title and Description. Blogger users will experience the same obstacle.
The good news is that even without special fields you still have a great deal of control over what will be indexed and displayed in search results.
Much of the time search engines will return your existing article/blog post’s title in their results. If not, Google (for example) will return what it feels is most relevant … so, make certain the title you provide is what they deem to be “most relevant.” To accomplish this, the Title of your article or blog post should (in no more than 60 characters), deliver a clear descriptor to the search audience that generates interest and inspires the visitor to continue reading.Your article's Title should (in no more than 60 characters) deliver a message that generates interest and inspires action.Click To Tweet
The description you endeavor to provide should be a carefully crafted, breviloquent summary of your post or article, that highlights the content’s over-all relevance to search engines; as well as its appeal to consumers.
When it comes to including a “description,” I recommend providing a focused, 155 character summary at the beginning of the text content, that acts as a detailed introduction for both readers and search engines. A majority of the time, this will return as the description in the search engine snippet.
2. Content – Text & Images
Albeit there are several types of content to use in your marketing efforts, text and images are the two most commonly used methods – by both businesses and individuals, to communicate a message in blog posts and articles. Make no mistake, several other methods – like video and audio – can be equally effective in reaching consumers and gaining exposure within search results. But, for the moment, a majority of SMB and individuals do not not have the equipment or time to create marketable audio and video content. So, for the sake of this discussion, I have included only text and image content.
In much the same way that people derive meaning and intention from words and sentences (text content), search engines can too. Google uses a web crawler named Googlebot to gather information about your website. Then, the Google Indexer sorts through every word on every webpage and stores the enormous index of words in a database to be accessed by Google’s Query Processor, when it is evaluating search client’s queries and matching them to relevant documents. As you can see, this search engine process is highly influenced by the words found within your blog posts and articles.
Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary. – Boris Pasternak
When choosing the words for your textual content, be mindful of your intended audience. Apply words and phrases that are commonly used by them and would be part of their ordinary conversation. Aside from being more relatable and understandable for readers, using ordinary words to convey your extraordinary message will provide search engines with more opportunities to find matches to common search queries, within your posts and articles.Use ordinary words to communicate an extraordinary message.Click To Tweet
Including keywords appropriately within your text, accompanied by their synonyms, has shown a correlation with higher rankings. Be careful not to overdue it though. Too many keywords in your content could result in your page being deemed of lower quality or less relevant.
You need to be very holistic in your approach to putting content on your pages and create the best possible experience there … it will help you both with conversion and user satisfaction. – Eric Enge, Stone Temple Consulting
The fact is, search engines cannot “see” images. Instead, they rely heavily upon other information to provide details of the images they discover. This information can be collected from a number of sources, including:
Image File Name
The file name you choose will be used in the image’s URL. For example, the_image_url_will_contain.com/the-file-name. It is recommended that you use “-” or “_” for spaces if necessary, and use lowercase letters to avoid complications.
The Alt Tag
Above all else the alt tag is used as an “accessibility” tag. The information provided here will appear in place of the image, in the event that it is not accessible, whether it be the result of an error or by choice. For example: someone using a screen reader.
Further evidence to support the alt tag’s importance can be found when users upload an image to Blogger – Google’s own Blog service. The only field offered for your input is the alt tag.
BONUS: The recommended length for text applied to the image’s alt tag is (no more than) 125 characters.
I recommended that an image’s alt tags be supplemented with additional information in other tags (where available), such as the Title tag which displays when users hover over the image. These details will provide search engines and consumers with an even better understanding when viewing the pic. To include this information if the image is a .jpg:
- Right-click on the image.
- Select Properties (at the bottom).
- Select Details (likely the 3rd tab).
- Click on each Detail to add information.
Another way to detail a picture’s properties (on your website) is to use Schema mark-up for images. This approach has proven to be a very effective method of providing very specific information about the content of a picture/image.
WordPress Media Pages
When users upload an image to their Wordpress website, the Media page (found in the WP navigation likely directly below Posts) offers a number of fields to include descriptive information to help consumers and search engines interpret the image. Make good use this opportunity to communicate additional information to search engines. In doing so, you will improve their understanding and appreciation of your image/s. These include the:
- Title – maximum of 60 characters.
- Description – maximum of 155 characters.
- Alt Tag – maximum of 125 characters.
Whether it be WordPress, Tumblr or Blogger, users are able to edit and customize their post’s URL. Given this opportunity, you should choose as few words as possible to provide consumers (and search engines) some insight into what the topic of your post or article is. Research conducted by Microsoft and Stanford University has shown that the words found in the URL are one of the most prominent elements considered by search clients, when reviewing search results and deciding which website to visit.
It should come as no surprise that the easier a URL is to read for humans, the better it is for search engines. – Rand Fishkin, Moz
Also, in providing a quick, insightful description, you are much more likely to include (key)words that are highly-relevant to the article/post. This is beneficial in two ways:
- The (key)words in the URL will be returned in bold in search results when matching a users search query.
- When seen in social media, an email or when hovering over a hyperlink in a blog post or article, the URL will provide some assurances to consumers as to what they can expect when they click-through.
Ultimately your goal when creating a blog post or article should be to consistently deliver content that offers an effortless, educating, and entertaining experience for users. With regards to your SEO, approach it in much the same way. Be breviloquent, be detailed and be inspiring.