We are lifting the lid on the mysterious black box of search engine optimization (SEO) and breaking down the lingo into snackable bites. Search engine marketing along with on-page and off-page optimization tactics are practices professionals use to communicate with search engine algorithms to boost your search-ability which increases your chances of being found online. Regardless, if you hire a SEO professional or choose the DIY route, the importance of optimizing your website is paramount. If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get cracking, here are a few tried and true ways to organically optimize your website.

URLs

Search engines look at page URLs to determine what the page is about. You want to make sure every word packs a punch, having meaning and relevancy to your message. Plus, URLs shows in the search results and a succinct link can help your click-through rate: www.badpennyfactory.com/search-engine-optimization-tips-and-tricks looks much better than www.badpennyfactory.com/1028931023-qw3 any day of the week. Going through each page of your site and tweaking the URL for keywords and relevancy is an essential first step in the vetting process. Pro tip: make sure to leave out dead words like “the”, “and” and “or”.

Page Titles

Next, it’s time to optimize your page titles. The page title carries some of the heaviest weight in terms of telling the algorithm what the page content contains. The page title should be closely aligned with the URL, including words you want to rank for and streamlined so every word packs a punch. Make sure the words you choose are in the tone and style of what someone would use to search for that page. Pro tip: Aim for a title of under 70 characters because anything more will get cut off in the search results.

Meta description

Each page also has a meta description which is the small blurb under the page title and url in search results. This is a summary of up to 190 characters that’s a longer description about the page’s content. While meta descriptions carry less weight in terms of algorithm optimization, an appealing meta description helps convert users over to your site once the rest of your organic optimization has paved the way. Keep it short and punchy with as much relevant information packed in as possible.

Keyword Density

Keyword density is the percentage of times the keywords or phrases that you are targeting appear on each page. Keyword density will always be an integral part of SEO due to the way Google and other search engines use natural language processing and latent semantic analysis to determine to rank. Peppering in your keywords selectively is key. If your density is too high, the content may be difficult to read and search engines may rank you as spam. Opt for a variation of the keyword that conveys the same meaning. For example, if “car” is one of your keywords, swap it out with others like “vehicle”, “automobile”, etc. That way, you’re still conveying the meaning without using the same word 100 times on a page. Just make sure that most of the words you use are related to the main keywords you want to appear for in search.

Link building

Links to and from other websites show search engines that you are credible and popular. Ideally, your content gets shared by others who naturally link to your site from their social media or website for the value they find in your content. This is just one of the myriad ways in which content marketing can seriously boost your organic search-ability. While it takes programmers to create link-building campaigns to rapid fire your exposure, you can focus on building up your content strategy with quality over quantity and go for placement on 1-5 key websites.