Optimizing your website to appeal to search engines can be a daunting task. You know it’s necessary to attract people who are searching for keywords related to your products, services, and solutions, but you might not know where to start. You might be asking yourself:
- SEO? But, where do I start?
- What are the terms people are searching for?
- How do I find those search terms?
- Where do I start when optimizing my website for those terms?
- Other than my page copy, where do I include those terms?
- How do I know my website is even being crawled by search engines?
It might feel like you have a never-ending list of questions when you start thinking about optimizing your website. Don’t go down that rabbit hole. Reel yourself back in so we can cover some SEO basics first.
Reeled back in? Good. Here are 3 terms you should know for website optimization:
SEO Term #1: Title tag
A page’s title tag is the first thing a visitor sees in search engine results, so it’s critical to: A) Have one, and B) Get it right.
According to Moz:
A title tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page. Title tags are displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) as the clickable headline for a given result, and are important for usability, SEO, and social sharing. The title tag of a web page is meant to be an accurate and concise description of a page’s content.
When it comes to creating your title tag, be sure to include your strongest, most important keywords. You must also write it in a way that entices users to click through instead of moving onto the next result. Think about what prompts you to click through when performing a Google search. At the same time, it’s essential to keep it concise – about 50-60 characters is recommended.
SEO Term #2: Meta description
Meta descriptions go hand-in-hand with title tags. These are the snippets of text, directly below the title tag, that users see in search results. They serve as an opportunity to further entice users to click through with a concise, relevant summary of your page content. Including a CTA in your meta description (Learn more, Discover, Explore, etc.) can also improve click-through rates.
According to Yoast, search engines show the meta description in search results mostly when the searched-for phrase is contained in the description. In addition, terms that are relevant to the search phrase will be bolded in the meta description.
Organization during the optimization process is pivotal. While it may seem tedious, it’s certainly not difficult if you do it right. It’s simply a matter of taking the time to manage it step-by-step so it’s easily digestible, and tracking your progress along the way to ensure the most thorough optimization.
SEO Term #3: Alt text
Also known as alternative text, alt attributes, or alt descriptions, alt text is used within the code to describe an image in text form. Simply put, it’s the text description of an image.
It’s important to include alt text for any images on your website for a few different reasons (albeit sometimes indirectly SEO-related).
First, alt text is a basic principle of web accessibility and ADA compliance. Visually impaired visitors are unable to see the images on your site, and are likely using screen-reading software that reads the content to them. Without alt text, the screen readers have no way to describe the imagery on the page.
Secondly, while the images on your site should never be so large that loading is near impossible, there’s no way to avoid loading issues occurring on the user’s side. In this case, alt text will display in place of the picture, describing the image that should be displaying.
You might not think these first two reasons directly benefit SEO, but think again. Google’s algorithm for rankings strongly takes into account factors like user experience, bounce rate, and time spent on page.
Finally, using alt text for images gives search engines better context regarding what that image is, so they can determine the relevancy to a specific search. Since search engine crawlers aren’t able to actually see the images, we need to tell them what the image is so they can index it properly.
So there you have it. The three basic terms to know before diving in to optimize your website. Ready to get started? Get in touch today to talk to a strategist about how we can help improve your website’s visibility in search engines with a comprehensive SEO strategy.