Maximizing Your Internet Presence Basic Website SEO: Part 1
In a recent TechTips issue, Test Your Website’s Effectiveness, I provided you with eight questions you should ask about your agency website to test its effectiveness. Today, I want to provide you with some basic search engine optimization (SEO) tips that can help your agency website become more visible to the search engines and be listed higher on a page ranking.
Yes, you may think you know basic SEO, but we all need reminders of how important it is to our business success. And remember that search engines rank individual website pages as well. These little things may not be much by themselves, but together they add up to results that can really help your search engine ranking.
While you may think SEO is important for your website, ranking is important for each individual page. Each page has its own rank in the search engines; the whole website is only a part of the factor.
The three strongest elements to a page are its Domain Name, Title Tag and Back Links, and depending on the level of competition for your search phrase, an adjustment to any of these can increase your page anywhere from a few up to hundreds of spots.
Domain Name: Include keywords, if possible; however, don’t make it “spammy” with too much hyphenation! For your agency website, make sure the word “insurance” is included in the domain name. For niche marketing sites, a good rule of thumb is no more than 2 hyphens. If you’re creating a niche website for florist shop insurance, and all the “good” domain names are taken, you could consider florist-shop-insurance dot com, but I wouldn’t recommend the-very-best-florist-shop-insurance dot com.
The Title Tag: Your most important descriptive words should be at the front, and it should be followed with a compelling reason to click the link. The title tag for my website is “Steve Anderson: Insurance agency technology presentations, consulting, products and resources.” In the search results the title tag generally is the most prominent, clickable element. You want to design it to help you rank higher AND get more clicks than the other listings on the page.
Internal Backlinks: Backlinks, also known as incoming links or inbound links, are an important element for good SEO. The number of other websites that link to your website is one indication of the popularity or importance of your website to a search engine. But, remember — search engines see webpages not websites. So you should include backlinks on every page of your website linking to other pages within your own website.
Anchor text is the descriptive labeling of the hyperlink as it appears on the webpage when you mouse over the link. Anchor text matters! Your anchor text should include keyword rich words and phrases, not just a URL. Make sure that the link you create looks normal. In other words, they shouldn’t all say exactly the same thing.
- Domain Name: Include keywords, if possible. Don’t over hyphenate.
- Title Tag: The tag should be targeted AND clickable.
- Back Links: Create links on every website page that link to other pages within your own website.
Whoever manages and maintains your current agency website should have each of these basic SEO elements already included. If these elements are not part of your current website, I might suggest you look for a new web designer or bring it in-house and do it yourself.