Focus keywords

In order to optimize your pages for keywords, include those keywords on your site. But not every placement of a keyword is equal: There are certain places on your website that are more optimal than others for on-page SEO.

Here’s a list of some of the most important places to optimize for your chosen keywords on your site:

Titles

Meta Descriptions

Headings & Content

Images Titles & Alt Text

URLs

If you haven’t optimized these sections of your site in the past, you have some work to do — but it’s up-front work that will pay off big time in the long term. To get the most bang for your buck, start with the pages that get the most traffic. Then, as you create more pages in the future, be sure to optimize as you go.

1. Titles

Titles are the HTML element used to describe the topic of a webpage. You’ll find them in the title of a search engine result page (as shown below), and in the top bar of an internet browser.

Titles have a direct impact on both searcher clickthrough rates (CTRs) and search rankings. To make your title both search-friendly and click-friendly:

  • Try to keep it below about 65 characters so it doesn’t get cut off on search engine results pages. (Technically, Google measures by pixel width, not character count)
  • Include one of your target keywords or phrases so it’s easier for searchers to identify that your results are relevant to other queries — and position these keywords toward the front of the title to lower the risk of it getting cut off on SERPs.

2. Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are shown in search results below the title and URL

Meta Descriptions can help increase CTR, but nowadays, they actually don’t have a direct impact on rankings. They’re there for humans, not search engine crawlers, and you should use them to tell searchers why they should click on your result. Use one of your target keywords or phrases in your meta description so they know your content is relevant to their query, but make it attractive to the viewer, too.

3. Headings & Content

It’s important to use your keywords in your headings and content, as visitors are much more likely to stay on a page if they can see the terms they had searched for on it. Using keywords in your content is used by Google as a ranking factor, so doing this can help improve your SERP placement.

Just make sure you’re using these keywords naturally, since Google has gotten better and better at being able to tell when people are keyword-stuffing their content. Whenever you create content, focus on what matters to your audience, not how many times you can include a keyword or keyword phrase in that content. If you do that, you’ll usually find you naturally optimize for important keywords.

While it’s fine to use keywords in multiple locations on your site, don’t overdo it or Google will demote your webpages in search results.

4. Image Alt Text & Titles

Always describe your visual and video media using alt tags, or alternative text descriptions. They allow search engines to locate your page, which is crucial—especially for those who use text-only browsers or screen readers.

You can also look at including keywords in a natural way in your image alt text and titles. Both alt text and titles are attributes that can be added to an image tag in HTML. Here’s what a complete image tag might look like:

<img class=”alignCenter shadow” src=”image.jpg”alt=”image-description” title=”image tooltip”/>

An image’s alt text tells search engine crawlers what an image is about, which helps it be found in search. It’ll display inside the image container when an image can’t be found, and it also improves accessibility for people with poor vision using screen readers.

An image title tag, on the other hand, is shown when a user hovers their mouse over the element — kind of like a “pop-up.” It won’t be shown to the user when an image can’t be displayed.

5. URLs

It’s a good idea to include keywords in your URL if they accurately describe the page contents. There’s a huge opportunity to optimize your URLs on every post you publish, as every post lives on its own unique URL.

But beware: Search engines will penalize exact match domains that are keyword stuffed. So if you’re thinking of starting up arizonerealestaterealtorsinarizona.com, think again. Keep it to businessname.com/topic-topic, and you should be fine.

As always, keep reader-friendliness in mind when you’re creating your URLs. Overall, your URLs should make sense to humans and give them a good sense of where in your website they’ve landed. You should also separate words with hyphens and remove extra words (like “a” and “the”) in the page part of the URL slug.

Focus on creating relevant links within the text. Instead of having “click here” links, try writing out the name of the destination. “Click here” has no search engine value beyond the attached URL, whereas “Abu Dhabi Tech Enterprise Program” is rich with keywords and will improve your search engine rankings as well as the ranking of the page you are linking to. Always use descriptive links by linking keywords—it not only improves search engine optimization, but also adds value to your readers, including those with disabilities or who are using screen readers.