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Search Engine Optimization Basics: 3 Onsite SEO Tactics Beginners Should Do Today

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is term to describe the process of growing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. A strong onsite and offsite SEO strategy will help a website garner all the right signals needed for an optimal organic presence in the search engine results pages (SERPs) of engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with options when it comes to tackling an SEO strategy, and it can become particularly daunting when you begin to understand how it intersects with other key aspects of your website, like design and user experience. No matter your business goals, there are a few things that should always be implemented on your website for search engine optimization. It has never been easier to optimize your site for SEO, as website building platforms like Squarespace, WordPress, and Wix all offer easy-to-use tools and plugins to implement these changes.

The team at Avenue has compiled a list of simple onsite SEO tactics that will help you hit the ground running.

How do I choose keywords for SEO?

For each page on your website, choose a primary keyword. Emphasizing your content around these keywords will tell Google about the most important content on your site, allowing your site to organically rank for those keywords. These are the most important factors of choosing the right keywords:

  1. Search volume: Are people searching for this keyword? Does it get a strong amount of search volume each month?

  2. Keyword Competitiveness/Difficulty: How difficult is it to rank for this keyword? How crowded is the competitive landscape?

  3. Relevance: Is your primary keyword relevant to the content on the page? If someone were to organically land on your page from searching that keyword, would they find what they were looking for?

A quick Google search will answer many of the above questions as you are doing your keyword research. For more in depth support on keyword research, we recommend checking out Keyword Explorer from Moz and Keyword Magic Tool from SEMrush (both of these websites offer a great free trial period!).

What are the best practices for page copy for SEO?

After you choose your primary keyword for a page you are optimizing for SEO, the next step is to ensure the copy on the page supports the primary keyword and further builds off its significance. Resist the temptation to repeat the primary keyword over and over again. This practice is known as “keyword stuffing” and it can actually negatively impact your SEO if flagged. Instead, aim to use your primary keyword at least 2-3 times on your page and build upon your primary keyword with supporting keywords that users may also be searching for. There is no “magic number” of characters to use when building out your page copy. The best practice would be to be informative, yet concise. You should be able to do this in around 300 words or less!

What is metadata and how do I optimize it for SEO?

In SEO, “metadata” refers to the short bit of information that shows up in the search engine results page. Metadata is comprised of a page title and meta description. Similar to page copy, your metadata should reinforce the primary keyword of its page. Both the page title and meta description should include the primary keyword if possible, and each should be as clear and concise as possible, while also maintaining some semblance of brand voice. Here’s a great example of well-optimized metadata from one of our clients, Trailhead Credit Union:

In this example, their primary keyword is “auto loan.” Note how auto loan occurs in both the page title and the meta description, the page title includes the branded keyword “Trailhead Credit Union,” and both the page title and the meta description are short enough to fully show on the search engine results page.

There are a multitude of opportunities for onsite and offsite optimization to build upon over time, such as backlinking, creating a blog, and internal and external linking. While these three tactics are just a start, the key for all website owners is to lay a solid foundation to build your on-site strategy over time.

Avenue is a digital marketing agency in Portland using business as a force for good. Our proprietary suite of paid advertising, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media services help brands and businesses of all sizes grow sustainably and successfully. For more information, we invite you to visit our services page.

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