“Organic SEO is non-negotiable,” I recently wrote here on the StitchDX Blog. If I’m going to tell you that you must do something, then it’s only fair that I give you some of the “how.” So let’s start with the fundamentals: Here are the 6 SEO basics that many SMB websites are missing — and how to get them right on yours (and potentially gain competitive advantage when customers are searching).
SEO Basic #1: Your Keyword or Keyphrase
I’ll repeat what I wrote in my last post: SEO starts here. Optimize each page of your site (blog posts, too) with a unique keyword or keyphrase. Every pointer I’ll lay out in this post starts with those keywords.
First, here’s a summary of my 4 SEO keyword research strategies for better SERP (search engine results page) rankings:
Know your competition. When you know your competitors’ keywords and how well they rank, you can strategize your content and optimization to take advantage of their vulnerabilities and challenge their strengths. SEMRush and the Moz Bar are my two favorite tools for this effort.
Improve your chances. You want your keywords to be unique. You also want them to be relevant terms that your customers are actually searching for. BUT you don’t want your keywords to be so popular that your odds of high SERP ranking for them are low. I use Keywords Everywhere in my research to help me strike that balance.
Use more longtail keywords. The goal of search (and content) optimization is to meet your customers where they are, and faster is always better. Longtail keywords can do more to advance this objective.
Longtail keywords seek to attract longer, more specific search queries. As an example, look at the specific and detailed choices Google offers you as you type in a search. Keywords Everywhere will also offer longtail suggestions.
Act locally (if it makes sense for your business). Adding local or regional references to your keywords will make you more visible and competitive on SERPs. Whether you’re a corner coffee shop or an industrial company with coast-to-coast warehouses, this is how you show up in “near me” search results.
Let me also say this before I go any further: You can change the keyword you’re optimizing for on any page at any time. But when you do, don’t forget to update SEO Basics 2 through 6.
SEO Basic #2: Your H1
The 6 SEO Basics Your Website is Missing (and How to Get Them Right) is the H1 (main head) for this page. Your H1 must contain your keyword because it’s an on-page attribute that attracts the crawlers search engines deploy to scan and index your site.
You should also always seek opportunities to leverage each page’s keyword in lower-level subheads (H2, H3, etc.).
Most of the time the H1 lives at the top of your page (In WordPress, your page’s title becomes its default H1.). However you can tag any bit of copy on the page with “H1” if it suits your purposes. What’s important to remember is that every page should only have a single H1. You can have as many subheads as you wish.