Search Engine Optimization (SEO) How to optimize your website to attract referrals from search engines

by Ron Foreman on November 11, 2013

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Originally posted in 2009, updated October 18, 2012, November 2013
Here are several SEO tips to help you optimize your website for search engines and attract new client referrals from search engines: Google and Bing.

Try to do as many as you can. I’ll use ‘North Toronto Cheeses’ as an example.

  1. If you are just starting your business try to register a domain name and choose a company name that include your keywords. Example: NorthTorontoCheeses.com and North Toronto Cheeses Inc.
  2. Choose your keywords: the phrase(s) your prospective clients would use to search for you not knowing your company name in advance. Use a keyword tool to help you. Keyword example: ‘cheese shop in north toronto’.
  3. If you have multiple products or services optimize your home page for your principal product or service. Optimize other web pages for other products and services. Example of (an) other website page(s) to be optimized: ‘roquefort cheese in north toronto’, ‘stilton cheese in north toronto’, ‘brie cheese in north toronto’. By using your geographic location you will attract clients in your target market and reduce the number of competitive web pages.
  4. Place your keyword in your home page title: ‘North Toronto Cheeses – The Finest Cheese Shop in North Toronto’.
  5. Include your keyword in your home page description: “The finest cheese shop in North Toronto, Roquefort, Stilton, Brie (add other keywords), Open 7 days a week on Mount Pleasant Avenue (416)-555-1212.” Your description is important because it displays along with your page title in the search results. The more often the searcher clicks on your listing the higher your click through rate (CTR) and the more often Google will display your listing for that keyword because the searchers agree you’re a good match for that keyword.
  6. Include your keyword in the h1 tag on your home page: “North Toronto Cheeses – the finest cheese shop in North Toronto welcomes you”
  7. Make sure there is only one h1 tag on each web page.
  8. Include your keyword once in each short paragraph on your home page. Be careful not to overdo it. Your keyword should be 5-7% of the total number of words on the page and should be more frequent than other phrases.
  9. When writing for your website don’t use obscure phrases, use terms that searchers would use to search for you.
  10. In your footer place your company name, location and your keywords.
  11. Submit your site to Google and Bing Webmaster Tools.
  12. Create a Google Analytics account and place their tracking code on every page of your website. This is very easy to do in WordPress and most Content Management Systems (CMS).
  13. Obtain a free Google Places listing for your business. Include keywords in the title: “North Toronto Cheeses-Roquefort, Stilton, Brie Cheeses in North Toronto” and complete your listing to 100%. Include photos and even videos if possible.
  14. Make sure all of your images are optimized for the web (72 dpi) and have ‘alt’ attributes with your keywords.
  15. Add a blog to your website and blog regularly. Write on topics of interest and value to your clients and visitors. Demonstrate your vast knowledge of your topic and build your reputation as an expert.
  16. Open a Twitter account and tweet regularly about your products linking back to your blog posts.
  17. Create a Facebook page for your company and add content regularly.
  18. Create a LinkedIn profile for yourself and your company and include keywords in your profile title.
  19. Validate your website and correct any errors.
  20. In your Google Webmaster Tools account make sure your geographic target is set to your target market. Country domains are set by default but dot COMS can be targeted.
  21. Try to get other websites to link to yours. Offer to exchange links but only with relevant websites that offer value to your visitors and clients.
  22. Add a Bookmarking widget to your web pages allowing visitors to bookmark your web page with their favourite social platform: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.
  23. Add Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn widgets to your website’s sidebars. These will display your updates and allow visitors to ‘follow’, ‘friend’ or ‘connect’ with you.
  24. Run your site through the Functional Accessibility Evaluator and make the necessary changes to your site.
  25. Run your home page through the Meta Tag Analyzer and make the necessary corrections.
  26. Create a site map and submit it to Google and Bing Webmaster Tools. Make sure it updates automatically every time you add or update a page or post.
  27. Create and upload a robots.txt file.
  28. Open a YouTube account and post videos of your products and services.
  29. Consider using WordPress for your website design. The WordPress content management system makes SEO easier.
  30. Create a Google+ account and Page and link it to your website. Confirm your email address and insert the rel = author meta tag in your website’s home page header. Test it here: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets
  31. Create a Pinterest account and link it back to your website.
  32. Use email addresses from your domain (jayne@northtorontocheeses.com) for all your business communications instead of using a web mail service like Hotmail, Sympatico, etc. Why promote their domain when you can promote yours?
  33. Test your home page load speed and optimize it to load quickly. There is a penalty for slow loading sites.
  34. If you are using a Content Management System (CMS) enable ‘Pretty Permalinks’. Pretty Permalinks include keywords in your webpages’ URLs, very important for SEO.
  35. Claim your site at Alexa

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jay January 5, 2013 at 7:19 am

Hey Ron,

These are some great tips, but I think you should also note in your next update that Google is now cracking down on over-optimization, big time. If you’ve got your keyword in the Title tag, h1 tag, h2 tag, ALT tags, copy (bolded) they are going to see this as over-optimization and will most likely penalize your page for the keyword your targeting.

Best,
Jay
Peterborough Design

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