All Search Engine Optimization (SEO) begins with the question “What keywords are we going to target?” Based on the answer to that question, the on-page and site optimization process begins, building content to support those keywords and keyword phrases. So, an orthodontist may target keywords like “orthodontics,” “braces”, “orthodontist,” “orthodontist in Lafayette,” etc. However, for the search engines to recognize a site as orthodontics-related, it needs more than well-written articles. Here is a checklist of important SEO practices for targeted keywords:
Page titles are very important. Everything in the title <title> tag shows up on the search engine results page (SERP) as your page title. Titles should be relatively short (~65 characters) with the keyword at the beginning or near the beginning of the title.
Be sure not to “keyword stuff” your title tag. For example: Omaha Dentist – Dentist in Omaha – Omaha Dentistry would be considered a spammy title tag. While it’s important to use your title tag to tell the search engines what the page is about, it also needs to appeal to the person doing the search so they are motivated to click through to your website.
Having your target keyword present in the domain name, URLs and page names is very important. For instance, a dentist in Lubbock, TX might choose a domain name like CosmeticDentistinLubbock.com because the keywords cosmetic, dentist and Lubbock all appear in the URL.
If you already have an established domain name that doesn’t contain keywords you can still take advantage of page URLs for optimization. For example, if your domain name was CitySmiles.com you could setup page URLs that contain keywords such as CitySmiles.com/cosmetic-dentistry
3. My keywords appear in anchor text (text links)
Links to other pages in your site (and links to your site) should include keywords that are relevant to the target page. For example, a link may say, “Read More Here” whereas “Read More about Six-Month Orthodonitcs” would be a much better choice.
4. I have keywords in Page Headings (<h1>,<h2>,<h3> tags)
Keywords that are placed in the section titles are very important for SEO. If you have more than one targeted keyword on a page, create a paragraph of unique text for each one with a section title over each paragraph.
5. I have keywords in the first sentence/paragraph of each document
Usually the first paragraph on a given page indicates the content for the rest of the page. Search engines also value the first paragraph of text. Be sure your target keywords appear in the first sentence and set the tone for the rest of the page.
6. I have keywords in image <alt> tags
Googlebots and other “spiders” cannot read images and ascertain whether they are contextually appropriate or not. By completing the “Alt” tag for each image, you can describe the image and add relevant keywords. Bots will credit your site with having both text and images supporting your keywords.
7. I have unique content – relevant to my keywords
For each targeted keyword phrase, consider having a page dedicated to that phrase with 250-300 words of well-written, unique content.
8. I will frequently update my content and build unique content
Google loves fresh content. Blogs and social media feeds are a great way to add fresh subject-matter to your website. Just be sure that the posts and comments are relevant to your keywords.
9. My site and each page has a singular theme
You can imagine the “Google Chaos” if a dentist shared a website with a car mechanic. Keywords could range from “Dental Implants” to “Engine Overhaul” and everywhere in between. By the same token, a page that focuses on many procedures and cases is not as effective as a single page that emphasizes a particular case. For each keyword phrase, build strong, unique content and give it its own page.