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SEO Basics Course. Module 6
Optimizing a Page for a Keyword Phrase
OK lets recap!
In Module 1 we looked at SEO Scams and Cons so you can avoid the companies that could cause your website considerable harm.
Module 2 covered personalized search so you don't make the very common mistake made by many website owners and think you have good rankings when you don't!
In Module 3 we saw how Search Engines go about deciding who should be in their Search Results Pages and in what order they should rank.
Module 4 was all about how you can decide what you want to rank for in the SERPs so you don't waste your time trying to compete with much larger players or ranking for phrases no one searches!
Module 5 outlined how we can help search engines understand the basic structure of our website.
But how can we be sure they understand what each individual page is about?
Well here is the anatomy of a search engine friendly webpage. Don't panic. We'll break it down into bite sized chunks in no time.
Lets start with a basic page that has a URL, a title, a picture and some text. Our aim is going to be to check how well optimized this page is for 'Types of wood' in the topic area of 'Carpentry'
First we'll start with the title: Is the title a good description of the page's content and does it contain our keyword phrase that we are trying to optimize this page for? In this example it looks pretty good - it is our keyword phrase 'Types of Wood'. But would it be better if it was 'Types of wood that carpenters use'
Not necessarily. As long as our content has plenty of material that is carpentry and wood related search engines can create the context for the title.
If we're not sure we might want to try what is known as A B testing. Use the title 'Types of Wood' for a few weeks and then use the title 'Types of Wood that carpenters use' for a few weeks and see which performs better.
For simplicity we'll stick to our title 'Types of wood'
Our overall aim is to have a title that is relevant to the page, not non-descriptive like 'Chapter Two' or 'Part B'
On that note lets have a look at some popular mistakes
Contact ... hmmmm ... Contact Ali and Sons London Plumbing Supplies ... yes that will help search engine bots more.
Menu ... hmmmm ... Our Vegan and Wholefood Menu ... yes that's more descriptive
Milkshake Recipe ... hmmm ... Cranberry and Banana Detox Milkshake Recipe ... yes that's a nice keyword rich page title
Now we have a good title how can we be sure our text material is right. Well first of all don't do this. Trying to push your keywords in over and over again isn't going to make your page more relevant. In fact its a practice known as Keyword Stuffing - exactly the sort of thing that gets search engine bots pretty mad.
Remember in an earlier model we talked about 'Latent Symantec Indexing'? The way search engines can understand which words mean the same as other words and which phrases mean the same as other phrases? Its what allowed the page about lovely small cats to rank higher than the page about cute cuddly kittens even when the search query was cure cuddly kittens.
Well that's true of your content as well. Bots understand that words like woodworking, Cabinet Making and Joinery are alternative words for carpentry. Bots know words like Chisel, Sandpaper, Saw and Drill can be related to carpentry. They know Ash, Oak, Cedar and Pine can be names for wood in the right context.
In other words, and this is a very important point, think 'optimizing for topic just as much as 'optimizing for a keyword phrase!
Search engine bots also use Latent Semantic Indexing to spot out of context material which suggests that a website is trying to scam them in other ways. For example if, in the middle of your text on carpentry, they come across a link 'Win big in the Casino' its a red rag to a bull.
So don't keyword stuff but don't be keyword empty either. You might like to write like this - lovely rambling openings that set the scene - but don't if SEO is your aim. Its not spammy but its also not helpful to search engine bots. There is nothing, for example, in the initial paragraphs that confirms to bots your page content.
With SEO it is a delicate balance between making text which is a pleasure for humans to read and doing it in such a way that it also helps search engines.
In this final text we have the keywords in the first paragraph and we've explained to humans what the content is about in the opening material. Job done!
Next up is the URL
Is the URL a match, or a close match, of the page's visible title? Your visible title should contain your keyword phrase so by definition so should your URL
In our example it certainly is but often URLs can look like this. or this. None of these helps a search engine bot understand a page's topic and content.
So make sure your URLs are descriptive but
301 redirect alert. 301 redirect alert. Do not change any part of your url unless you know how to add 301 redirects. I repeat. Do not change any part of your url unless you know how to add 301 redirects
she's right! 301 redirects tell search engines where you have moved your content to if you change any part of your u,r,l. If you don't do this and you have an established website you will probably lose any rankings you have.
There are plenty of tutorials on the web which will show you how to do 301 redirects and you won't always need technical or programming skills. Never forget your 301 redirects if you change your urls!
Next in our audit we will be looking at the important images on the page. In our case we have only one but we need to make sure we have made clear to the search engine bots what it is.
Bots are pretty good at reading pictures but they don't know everything and don't always get it right so its important to add a text description in a way the bots can read it!
This is called the 'ALT' tag. (short for 'Alternative text').
To see the ALT text of an image you'll need to open your site in Firefox browser. Hover your mouse over an image, right hand click and from the menu that pops up chose 'View Image Info'.
A new window will appear full of information about the image, we are only interested in the 'Associated Text', Firefox's term for the contents of the alt tag.
In our example here we can see it is a clear and accurate description of the image and also contains our keyword phrase so its looking good.
If the space is blank when you try this on your images then you are not providing the bots with information that will help them rank you in the right place. If the description is inaccurate the bots might think you are trying to mislead the, and. Well. You know what might happen then.
That was pretty heavy stuff but you're now able to check if your url, visible title, text and images are well optimized for a particular keyword phrase.
Now from a design point of view our example website looks good for humans but its actually completely different to what search engine bots see when they visit. To view this side of a web page we'll need to go inside the code and that's exactly what we'll do in the next module. Don't worry, you won't need any technical expertise!
Has this video highlighted issues with your SEO work or with a website you are working on but you don't know how to resolve them?
There are simply too many ways a website can be built for us to offer a comprehensive how to part to these tutorials however we would recommend the following steps.
Google it! If you know what platform your website is built on (say XCart or Wordpress) just try googling what you need. For example "How to make WordPress urls SEO friendly" to find out how you can make changes to the urls of your WordPress based site.
You'll be surprised how often issues have already been resolved by others and sometimes they have even created plugins so you can make the changes you need to without needing any technical skills.
If this doesn't resolve your issue you probably will need the help of a programmer. In this case see the 'Need Help' link below this video or in the module text for options.
That was module six, optimizing a page for a keyword phrase. Next up Module seven, basic code optimization for keywords ,and, as they always say at the end of these videos, if you like what you saw, remember to subscribe.