Before we get started with the new Link Building Series this week, I want to make sure everyone understands basic web page optimization.
While link-building plays a big part in getting top search engine rankings, what you do on the page is going to dramatically influence your CTR (click-through rate) and your conversion rate. So - first things first...
Web Page Optimization Begins With Keyword Selection
The first step is to choose the keyword phrase you most want your page to rank well for in the major search engines. Each page of your site, or blog post, will be optimized for a relevant keyword phrase.
The main page is optimized for your most general keyword phrase, the categories slightly more specific keyword phrases, and your pages/posts should be optimized for very specific keyword phrases - called long tail keyword phrases.
Long Tail keyword phrases are phrases with 3 or more words.
Let me give you a quick visual example of how this would be set up on a website about nail art. Your first step is to use your favorite keyword research tool and type in the phrase "nail art". You can use WordTracker's free keyword suggestion tool:
- Home/Main Page
- Nail Art
- Nail Art Designs
- Freehand Nail Art
- Nail Art Supplies
- acrylic nail art designs
- professional nail art supplies
- nail art step by step
That's a very basic example, and it will vary with niches and keyword depth, but the goal is to start general and then get more and more specific as you get deeper into your site.
Note: While long tail keyword phrases generally have less search volume, they bring in a more targeted visitor and result in much higher conversion rates. Longtail keyword phrases also contain variations of shorter keyword phrases.
To give you an example one of my blog posts is optimized for starting a free online business, but also ranks well for the shorter phrase: free online business.
As that example implies, you can optimize a web page for more than one keyword phrase. I choose a Primary Keyword Phrase (the phrase I most want my page or post to rank well for) and also choose a secondary keyword phrase (or two). We'll get into this more during the Link-Building series.
Web Page Optimization 101
Now that you have selected your keyword phrases, it's time to optimize your pages. There are 7 places on your page where you want to include your Primary Keyword Phrase on each individual web page:
- File Name
- Title Tag
- Text Header
- Within Content
- Within the Meta Description tag
- Anchor Text of Incoming Links
I'll often name my images with my Primary Keyword Phrase as well, if relevant, but that's as much keeping my images organized for which post they go to as it is "image optimization".
I don't pay attention to things like keyword density, keyword proximity, or any other fancy SEO terms. I simply use my Primary Keyword Phrase in each of those places, and a few times within the actual content. Usually in the first paragraph, the last paragraph, and maybe once more somewhere in the middle (a couple of times on longer posts/pages). That's it. Keep it simple 😉
Web Page Optimization for Blogs
Optimizing blogs is very similar to optimizing web pages. I don't use any fancy plug-ins to achieve this on my own blog. This post actually stands as a visual example where you can see all 7 elements listed above.
Even though you are viewing this blog post in your browser, I'll point out each of the elements here so you can get a better feel for how it is done. This post is optimized for the phrase "web page optimization" - a low volume phrase (around 9 searches a day, or 3,285/year).
With a blog, the title of the post also becomes the Title Tag or page title as well as the Text Header. As you can see, I've used the phrase in both the title and the file name:
If you look at the top of your browser, you'll see the post title is in the Title Bar and you'll also see it as the text header above the post. You'll also see that I used the Primary Keyword Phrase in the sub-headings throughout the post:
Once you publish a blog post, the post title is also used as the Anchor Text for internal links throughout your blog - specifically to your post, from your archive listings. Your post titles will often contain additional words, diluting the keyword phrase in that Anchor Text. With this post, the additional word is "checklist".
This is where our link-building strategy will help, which we'll focus on next.
How do on-page factors affect CTR & Conversions?
Ahh yes - I almost forgot to come back around and explain that.
Before anyone ever arrives on your web page, they run across your link - either in the search results or on another website. What they see in the search results is your Title Tag and your URL. Or if they find your link on a web page and hover over it, they see the Anchor Text and the URL.
What you say in those few words will determine whether they click on your link or not. A compelling title may grab their attention in the search results. Or a descriptive file name may encourage them to click through to read the topic.
As for increasing your conversions, that's all in selecting the right keyword phrase. You want a very strong message to market match between your keywords and your content. Meaning your phrase defines what they can expect.
With this post, the phrase "web page optimization" very clearly defines what a visitor will find when they click through. This will increase your chance of gaining a new subscriber or making a sale (ie increase your conversion rate) - versus the other option: they click the back button.
What I have given you here is a basic overview of web page optimization. For a more in-depth understanding of SEO I highly recommend that you download (and read!) SEO Fast Start, a free search engine optimization guide by Dan Thies.
Grab it while it's free!
Stay tuned - this Link Building series is going to be fun 😉