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3 Really Simple Ways to Help Optimize Your Website

Posted by Murray Sye

on Mon, Apr 21, 2014 @ 09:02 AM

You don't have to be a computer data geek to help improve your SEO and optimize your website. The science of optimization is really quite simple: it's all about making improvements. It's about taking what you already have and then – through experimenting and measuring – figuring out ways to make it even better.


3 Really Simple Ways to Help Optimize Your Website


Here are three best practices that you can review and implement as you go about optimizing your own website. Keep in mind that while we may be addressing these individually, the real power of inbound marketing comes from using them in unison.  

1.) URL Structure

  1. Use dashes (not underscores) for page and post URLs

    Here's the deal: Google treats dashes (-) as separators, whereas it treats underscores (_) as connectors. So, for example, if your page URL is www.website.com/word1_word2, Google will only return that page when people search for "word1 word2." However, if your page URL is www.website.com/word1-word2, Google will return that page when people search for the "word1" and "word2," as well as for "word1 and word2." Clearly, that latter configuration (with the dashes) will give your page more opportunities to get discovered.

    use dashes correctly.jpg

  2. Structure your URLs so they describe the content on your pages and posts

    The URL structure of your site's pages and posts should make it easy for your visitors to understand what content they're about to see. For example, at WhiteSpace we would structure all of our product page URLs so that the word "products" comes first, and then the name of the product comes second (e.g. www.whitespace.com/products/social-inbox, or www.whitespace.com/products/SEO). Just by looking at the URLs, you can get a general sense of what you'll find on those pages.

    In addition to making it easier for visitors to understand and navigate your site, structuring your URLs in this way is beneficial for SEO. Just like the searchers themselves, search engines favor URLs that make it easy to understand what your page content is all about.

URLs should describe the content.jpg


2.) Optimize for long-tail keywords to drive more-qualified traffic

With the roll-out o fit Hummingbird update, Google can now recognize entire questions, as opposed to just parsing the individual keywords. From SEO perspective, this means long-tail keywords are more important than ever. So, instead of keyword-optimizing your pages and posts for short-tail phrases (e.g. "inbound marketing"), you should be focusing on longer phrases that would occur naturally in conversation (e.g. "How does inbound marketing work?" and "How much does inbound marketing cost?"). The goal here isn't to stuff keywords into your content, it's to create content that addresses actual questions that people are asking.

If you'd like to learn more, download our eBook, SEO, How to Focus Your SEO Efforts for Maximum Visibility


3.) Meta Descriptions

Believe it or not, meta descriptions do not have any bearing when it comes to how Google ranks your pages and posts in search results. However, that doesn't mean that meta descriptions aren't important for SEO.

By crafting a compelling, relevant meta description, you can separate yourself from the riffraff and help convince searchers that your page is worth navigating to. In short, you shouldn't optimize your meta descriptions for robots (i.e.: search engines), you should optimize them for people. Here's what to do:

  1. Treat your meta descriptions like calls-to-action (and use actionable language).

    Use verbs like "learn," "discover," and "find out" to highlight what searchers can do once they click on your link. Then, add specifics about the topic you're covering and make sure your value proposition is clear.

  2. Keep your character count under 155 characters.
    Google truncates meta descriptions right around the 155 character mark. To make sure your full message gets across to searchers, use fewer than 155 characters when crafting your meta descriptions.


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Photo Credit: by Robin Benad


Written by Murray Sye

Murray is the CEO and Creative Director with the award-winning
Toronto HubSpot agency partner, WhiteSpace. You can
connect with Murray on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
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