Written by Scott Fasser and posted on Optify.net/blog
Search Engine Optimization – Open the Black Box
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a black box for most people. The reality is that SEO can be boiled down to some very tactical best practices for your website. Here’s an SEO checklist you can share with your editorial and development teams to keep on task for optimizing pages to rank highly in search engines.
1. Identify your target keyword(s) for each page
Each page should target only one primary keyword phrase. In addition, each keyword phrase should have only one primary page with it as a target. Maintaining a rigorous focus for each keyword and each page will help you rank higher for that phrase. The keyword phrase should be relevant to the content, be supported by the content on the page and be a term that will help drive your business.
3. Use the target keyword in the first four words of your Title Tag
The first four words of the title tag are most important and should contain your target keyword and NOT your company name or brand. You will be found for your brand name regardless of its position in the Title tag so use this valuable slot for your focus keywords. If you want to include your brand name in the title tag include it after the target keyword separated by a "|”.
An example title tag targeting the term "portable ultrasound": "Portable Ultrasound | Acme Medical Devices"
4. Keep your title tag to less than 65 characters and make it unique
The search engines only display the first 65 characters of a title tag in the search engine results. If you have more characters than this, you get an ellipsis with the Title Tag content which cuts off your marketing message. The Title Tag should be relatively tight anyhow so edit it down to 65 characters or less.
5. Use a single <H1> style tag for your page headline
<H1>, <H2>, <H3> are content styling tags used in HTML that changes how text looks on a page when the browser displays the content. Search engines look at these tags as information hierarchy that helps them determine which content is the most important on the page. The <H1> tag is seen as the highest priority and should be used only once on each page to display the headline. <H2>s & <H3>s can be on a page multiple times for sub-heads, captions, etc.
And 5 more tips For more details on these tips see our full SEO checklist