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DIY Website SEO Tricks (that you might not have heard of)

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a really BIG topic and there is so much to learn and understand about optimizing a site for better rankings.  On top of that, the search engine algorithms are constantly changing (Google changes their algorithm more than 500 times a year) and these changes are rarely shared with the public.  This is why SEO companies can and should charge big money to help sites rank better.  It is NOT an easy job.  However, if you are ready to invest in your SEO it is important that you make sure you find an experienced ecommerce marketing agency. It can be a difficult and overwhelming process to find that type of agency.

Not every business that runs a website can afford professional SEO services.  There are few great SEO tricks that a website owner can do that could help improve their site rankings by way of sscheduling in Google. These are just a few:

  1. Optimize your logo

    Make sure your logo (and every picturef on your website) is the size (exact width and height) that the image is presented on your PC.  The site will shrink the image to fit on a mobile device.  If you upload your logo and photos in a large size the web browser needs to shrink it before showing it on the page and that slows down the speed of your site, knocking off points for ranking.  You want your site to load as quickly as possible. Website speed is an important ranking factor.

    Also, you can add keywords to hidden image fields, called ALT text.  The search engine bots scan the code of your site from the top down, so the logo is one of the first images it scans.   The bot cannot SEE the image, but it can read the ALT tag (hidden text) of the image.  A lot of the time this is blank by default.  When uploading your logo or image make sure you place keywords in the ALT tag field.  For example, I added “WordPress Websites for Small Businesses” in the ALT and TITLE fields of my logo image which will both show up in the page code when scanned.  It doesn’t hurt to add to both (although it is the Title that shows up on the image when hovered over).  If you are a local business, don’t forget to add your location or area in these fields.  For example, “Red Pepper Pizzeria in Duvall, WA” or “Hypnotherapist in Redmond, WA”.  Think about the phrases that people are searching for and sprinkle those throughout these tags/fields in the image files.

    IMAGE SETTINGS:

  2. Keywords in image file names

    There is another effective trick to help optimize your images besides the size and alt/title tags.  Add keywords in the file name before uploading them to your website to get maximum optimization for your images.  So instead of uploading “logo.png”  change the file name to keywords for your business.  For example for my logo, I may name it “wordpress-websites-for-small-businesses.png.” For the pizza place, “pizzeria-in-duvall-wa.jpg” or the hypnotherapist, “hypnotherapist-in-redmond-wa”.

    What if you already have all your images uploaded to your website and want to rename them?  There is a handy plugin that can help with that.  Phoenix Media Renamer allows you to rename your image files when you edit your image.  From Media Library click edit next to the image, scroll down to find the Filename field to change the file name and then click the blue Update button.

    IMAGE SETTINGS:

  3. Make sure every page has an H1 (Header 1) tag

    Header tags (H1, H2, H3 etc) are page titles or paragraph titles within your body text.   The search engine bots look for these and rank them in order of importance with H1 being first.  The search engine bots see these as hints to what your page is about so make sure you make these relevant to the page with keyword terms.  Often times the title of a page is automatically an H1 tag, so make those keyword-rich.  If you have a page that lists out your hypnotherapy services, perhaps you title that page “Hypnotherapy Services in Redmond WA”.  You don’t want to overstuff your pages with keywords but if it makes sense to title your page with the location of your services, then do so.  If you are writing a blog post or a local area does not make sense in the title that is fine, just think about the best searchable title for that page.

    You can add Header 2 paragraph titles within the content of your page.  This is a good way to break up paragraphs to make the page more readable and get a little more SEO juice at the same time.

    Highlight the paragraph section titles and select Heading 1, 2 or 3.

  4. Place keywords in your URL

    You don’t have to give your page urls boring links like /contact-us/ or /about-us/.  Why not make those page urls keyword-rich as well.  Most of the time the url takes the same wording as the title of your page by default but you can change that.  For example, instead of the pizzeria showing /contact-us/ for the Contact page url, it can be updated to /contact-pizzeria-in-duvall-wa/.  This is just one more way to help the search engines figure out what your page is about and where the business is located.  You can change the url or permalink right on the edit page:

  5. Keywords in your menu navigation

    This is an interesting tip that I learned at Wordcamp Seattle a few years ago.  You can actually add a title attribute or tag to your menu navigation items.  Since the search engine bots scan your site from the top down they will see some of these keywords first and since these are menu items they will be on the top of every page.  The title attribute is hidden code behind the actual menu name.  However a hover over the menu item will show the title attribute.  Why would you want to use this?  Let’s take the Contact page again with the pizzeria.  You wouldn’t want a menu navigation item to read “Contact Pizzeria in Duvall WA”.  That is too long.  You want to keep the Navigation item as “Contact” and type “Contact Pizzeria in Duvall WA” in the title attribution.  See below for how this is done when you go to Appearance > Menu in WordPress.

    Once at Appearance > Menu in admin screen, click Screen Options on top and select Title Attribute

    Then add a keyword-rich title attribute that makes sense for that page & the search results.

    The title attribute will show up when hovered over the menu item.

CONCLUSION

SEO is vast and these are just a few of the actions that you can take as website owners to help optimize your site for search engines.  As you can see, these details can be time-consuming and honestly these tips just scratch the surface of the wide variety of optimizing techniques for your website.  If you want a more thorough look at the SEO health of your website, I suggest contacting the SEO expert I trust,  Rob Walzer, rob{at}rob1seo.com.  He can provide you with a detailed report with a website SEO score and provide an estimate of services for ranking and tracking your website in the search engines.

I would love to read your questions or comments below.

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Ann Marie
Ann Marie is a genius at making technology simple. Since 2001, she has run the web design and online marketing company, Cascade Valley Designs just outside of Seattle. She specializes in building, customizing and maintaining WordPress websites. If you are a DIYer, she can help you avoid a catastrophe with her DIY Wordpress training program (coming soon) and monthly Website Freedom Plan.

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