Three easy and basic steps to optimizing your website content for search engines

The way search engines rank and serve up websites all vary and it’s somewhat of a black box. Google, the clear leader in search engines, has spurred a huge industry of SEO specialists helping to increase visibility and ranking in Google to help drive traffic to their client websites. But it can be a bit overwhelming to navigate on your own and expensive to hire an SEO specialist (especially finding one that isn’t spammy).  

There’s also been a lot of upheaval the last couple weeks with Google shifting to display AI interpreted results at the top, the rapid scaling of AI content generation being indexed and how that will factor into ranking, and the recent Google document leak that gave some insight into the black box which have some SEO specialists frustrated and reconsidering quite a few areas of advice. 

With the rapidly changing landscape, I was reminded that going back to basics and making sure they are covered first is always a solid step to ensure some visibility across any search engine (Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go, Ecosia etc). With the many things seemingly out of our control and constant changes being made, there are a few things we can do that require minimal-ish time but could have a larger discoverability impact.  I’m not a SEO specialist as it’s not in my wheelhouse (I don’t have the energy to keep up with bots and algorithms), but having collaborated with many freelancers and small business owners who work on their own sites (like me!), we often overlook these three basics for both the main website pages as well as blog articles, case studies and podcast episode pages. 

Here is an example of results that appear when I search stargazer marketing los angeles

1. Update URLS

    By default most website platforms (Squarespace, Wix and WordPress) will create the url automatically based on the exact same words as initially input for the page title. URLS (or permalinks in WordPress) are important to update with the same keywords as your titles and content. So depending how the content evolves from when you first start the page to launch it, it may require a manual override to ensure the URL reflects the final content. Where I see a lot of this get missed is when pages get started for one service then evolve to something else. Or the page is duplicated so you don’t have to design it all from scratch and contains the previous page’s name and words like “copy” or numbers like “2” end up in the URLS. 

    2. Optimize Site & Page Titles

    The site title and page title is what appears largest and drives the most visibility for clicks. The site title is a global overview of what services you provide or the article is about. The page title is explicitly the service or summary of the content. There is a word count limit so you want to be as clear and concise as possible, especially when it comes to service pages. You want to keep length around 60-70 characters long. Also consider what people may be searching for in terms of your services versus what you may be calling your service. Consider what service market category words would they be possibly using when searching.  If you service a specific geographical area it may be of value to include the city in your site title. 

    *one of the things I learned while optimizing my site is the title length and the example in the screenshot is too short so I’ve modified to add marketing and now waiting for the changes to be indexed.

    3. Write Meta Descriptions 

    The meta description is your advertising copy for the page or article. It’s an opportunity to have a sentence that includes your key words, be more specific in the service description, include the service location, who it’s for, and if there’s a room you can add a call to action. If you don’t have a description input, Google and other search engines will pull relative copy from the page. This is an opportunity to be clear to the bots and searchers what the page or article is about. It’s especially powerful when the content and context also includes these same keywords. Whatever you do, don’t just add keywords (keyword stuff) to your meta description. The machines have gotten smarter in the way they match context and content and if you are only adding keywords without a meaningful description it may penalize your appearance.

    Bring titles, urls and meta descriptions together 

    When these three elements are aligned together and supported by the content on the page, they can become powerful boosters in helping you show up in any search engine. Not only that, these titles and descriptions are also what appears in social media when you share a link so it also provides a consistent message across channels. There are so many additional things that can be done for SEO, however focusing and refining these three things may be a good first step. 

    Content Authenticity Statement:

    100% of this blog was generated by Dana, the human. Credit to Christopher Penn on why this kind of disclosure is a good idea when using AI for content generation and might be required for anyone doing business in any capacity with the EU in the near future.

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