Ever wonder if you’re following landing page SEO best practices when building out that nifty new URL on your site? I’ve created some quick-hit tips to help you along when you’re building out a new page on your website or tweaking an existing page on your current website and you really, really want to make sure that you’ve optimized that particular landing page for SEO.
If you read my last post reviewing Joost de Valk‘s fantastic WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin (and have a WordPress website or blog), then you’re half-way there as it will help guide you through specific steps that you must take in order to ensure that your webpage is properly optimized for your target keyword(s).
If you don’t use that handy-dandy little WordPress Plugin, never fear! I’ll walk you through some steps you should take to in order to ensure that your webpage is well-optimized for your target keyword.
For the purposes of this post, I’m going to use the keyword “Blue Elephant” as my target keyword.
1. Title Tags
The first place you’ll want to start with regards to proper landing page SEO is the webpage’s Title Tag.
Make sure you put your target keyword in the very first position of the title tag (if possible). So in my case, that keyword would be “Blue Elephant.”
There is a very high correlation between higher search engine rankings and using your target keyword in the page title. Furthermore, keywords at the beginning of the title tag are weighted more heavily than those at the end.
Here’s an example of what it might look like in a snippet preview below:
Remember – and I’ve said this many times before – the webpage’s title tag is one of the MOST important elements of SEO. It’s kind of like the cleanup hitter (for your baseball junkies), so please A.) use it and B.) more your target keyword to the front.
2. Meta Description
Since we’re in the Meta area of your website, it would be a good idea to go ahead and take care of that good-old Meta Description tag as well.
A Meta Description tag is basically a snippet of content that is intended to give search engines a brief description of a specific webpage and it’s content.
Search engines typically will display a webpage’s Meta Description within the snippet in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Users will see it as well when they search.
There is a correlation (although not as high as with page titles) between good rankings and keyword usage within your Meta Description.
Therefore, it is important to use your target keyword in the Meta Description and close to the beginning.
So for this example, you’ll see that I’ve used my target keyword, “Blue Elephant” and placed it towards the beginning where it will have more weight.
If you can work it in there twice (with a natural writing style), the more power to you.
Now that you’ve hit two places with your target keyword, that will go a long way to establishing a page theme.
However, it won’t have any weight whatsoever if the on-page information doesn’t match what you’re saying in your Titles and Meta.
3. On-Page Content & Headings
In order to establish the landing page’s theme and support your SEO keyword usage withing the Title and Meta Description tag, it will be very important to mention your target keyword in the webpage’s content and headings (several times if possible).
Here are some quick pointers to follow regarding optimization of your webpage’s content and heading tags:
- Body copy = spider food: Search engines love text much in the same way that PacMan loves eating pac-dots. Therefore, you should ensure that you have at least 300 words contained in your body copy.
- Write for people: Write naturally. I can’t stress this enough. People read your content, not search engines, so write for them first and search engines second.
- Use target keywords: Here comes the no-brainer. Use your target keyword within your body copy (where it fits naturally). If it doesn’t fit naturally at first, consider rewriting your sentences in order to work your target keyword in there.
- Don’t get hung up on keyword density: Like we said above, use your target keywords where natural, include variations, and if you can focus on using within important areas of the page (e.g. above the fold).
- Establish theme early: Your target keyword should be used in the first paragraph (or first 100 words) of your webpage. This helps set the tone for the webpage’s content and quickly establishes a page theme. Remember, search engines are all about speed, so it’s good to get your hooks into them early and often.
- Utilize headings: Ensure that every webpage has an H1 tag, and be sure to use your target keyword withing that tag. There is a high correlation between good rankings and use of target keywords in the H1 tags. If your page has multiple headings (H2, H3, H4, H5, or H6’s), then try to work your target keyword in there as well (if it makes sense). This helps to reinforce the overall page theme.
- Incorporate links: Don’t be afraid to use links within your content – even outbound links. If it is of value to your site’s users, then a search engine may use it to deem your page more relevant for your target keyword. The idea here is that a search engine is looking to rank the MOST valuable possible resource for that specific keyword.
Remember, content is still (and may always be) king.
4. URL Optimization
And now for the last main thing that you’ll need to do to ensure that your page is as optimized as it can possibly be. Use your target keywords within your site’s URL. For WordPress users, this may entail editing your WordPress permalinks.
It’s best if you can work some sort of an exact-keyword match for your URL. So, for my keyword “Blue Elephant,” short of buying the exact-match domain, it would be a good idea to use the keyword in my page-level URL.
Here is an example:
Follow these guidelines and you should be well on your way to a well-optimized webpage.
5. Bonus Points
If you’ve done everything above, then you’re probably well on your way to establishing a good base for ranking well in search engines, but if you really want to tweak this bitch out then here are a few extra pointers.
- Use images: Don’t make your webpages boring, spice them up with relevant images! If you can add an image within the body content, in the image’s file-name, make sure you name it after your target keyword (i.e. blue-elephant.jpg), as well as use your target keyword within the image’s Alt attribute tag. Here is a guide for good file naming and alt tag conventions. Correlation between use of Alt attributes and good file names to good rankings is high.
- Targeted anchor text: Ensure that you use your target keyword within any anchor text for internal or external links that are somewhere in the body copy of your webpage (if the link is relevant to that keyword). Correlation between use of target keyword in link anchor text to good rankings is high
- Bold/Strong: If you can (please don’t go crazy here), ensure that your target keyword has been either bolded or placed within italics so that search engines can see the emphasis on the keyword.
- Sitemaps: Ensure that your page is included within your website’s XML sitemap for faster indexing. Also check to ensure that you haven’t done anything to limit the webpage’s indexing ability (Meta Robots, Robots.txt, etc).
- Canonical tags: Follow Google’s guidelines regarding the Specification of Canonical URLs to ensure that you avoid duplicate content issues.
- Use Social media to your advantage: Share the page via popular social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or whatever tickles your fancy. Furthermore, ensure that you’re allowing others to share your content via retweet buttons and the like. A webpage’s social graph and social popularity goes a long way to helping a search engine determine that page’s relevance for your target keyword and is increasingly correlating well with higher rankings.
Anyhow, that’s it for today. Happy optimizing!
Image credit: Top Vehicle Photo