In plain english, “optimizing your website” means that we are striving to explain to Google what your website is about, so that Google can put your website in front of the right people.
Don’t be afraid, “this” isn’t actually hard, but in a lot of cases, you just have to do something rather than nothing to get this to work. “This” being encouraging search engine to recognize your website, and rank it highly.
There are thousands of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts out there.
You’ve probably even gotten spam email offers and comments right on your website, from complete strangers, and I’m sure that there are dozens if not hundreds of ideas, schools of thought and theories on what to do and how to do it.
However, very few “experts” are willing to reveal their methods – they would prefer to lock you into an annual contract. Reputable firms don’t charge less than $300/month on a 12-month term, and that’s just for the “easy” jobs. But in this article – for free – I’m going to tell you what’s worked for me and dozens of clients.
Optimize your website basics, because a little bit of optimization might be all that it needs to get to the top.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve set up a website, thrown some keywords into the right spots, and then watched it show up on page one of Google within a couple of weeks.
Yes, of course you still would want to monitor your website and not abandon it, despite its early and quick success, but the point I’m making is that you can do a bit at a time, and monitor your progress between phases.
- For every page on your website, make the URL or slug of that page include 2-4 of your keywords, plus a descriptor for the page.
- Examples: Your reciprocity page could be /kitsilano-houses-for-sale-mls
- Your buyers page could be /buy-houses-in-kitsilano-vancouver
- Your about me page could be /kitsilano-realtor-jane-smith-remax
- Fill out the “Page Title” for each page of your website with text that is relevant to the content of the page, and the overall purpose of your website. Even if you have 100 pages, you should have unique information for each of these.
- Your houses reciprocity page could be “All Kitsilano Houses for Sale in Vancouver BC from MLS”
- Your home page could be “View Listings of Kitsilano Houses, updated daily”
- Your about me page could be “Kitsilano Realtor, experienced selling Houses in Vancouver’s favourite West Side area”
- # of characters allowed in the Page Title: approx 60-77 (source)
- Fill out the “Meta Description” for eachpage of your website to give a hint of what’s to be found on the page.
- Your houses reciprocity page could be “View All Listings of Kitsilano Houses for Sale in Vancouver BC, updated daily from MLS.”
- Your home page could be “Get access to all houses for sale in Kitsilano, Vancouver, Canada. Listings updated daily from MLS.”
- Your about me page could be “Call Jane Smith to sell your House in Kitsilano – Vancouver Realtor since 1999, specializing in Westside Houses.”
- # of characters allowed in the Meta Description: 160 (source)
- Make sure at least some of the pages on your website are being updated weekly (blog posts, or listings that are auto-populated).
- Make sure that most pages on your website have a title or headline, as well as subheadings in an H1 or H2 font.
It might seem like a long list, but as with anything – if you don’t put some work in, you won’t see the results you want.
Finally, once you’ve completed this first stage, you’ll want to follow the next step: submitting Google Sitemaps. You’re nowhere to be found without this crucial one-time setup.
Once your SEO essentials are in place, do weekly Google searches for about 10-20 combinations of your keywords.
Keep a spreadsheet so that you can easily do these searches, and keep track of the results. (This is a great task to delegate to an assistant!)
Determine what page of Google’s search results your site appears on for each of those terms.
Your goal is to find your website on page one or two for your search terms. From there, you can analyze and tweak your Page Titles and Meta Descriptions to better target other terms it’s not yet ranking well enough for – and/or create more content around those terms – pages of information, or blog posts.
What are some more advanced SEO tactics?
Take a look at Step #9 about Weekly Website Maintenance.