Search Engine Optimization. For the somewhat-less-than-technically-inclined among us, it can sound a little intimidating.
But if you tune out and start daydreaming the minute that someone brings up the concept of “spiders” crawling your website (interesting mental image, I know) and assume it’s a topic better left to your engineering department, your marketing will suffer. After all, search engine optimization, or SEO, is the cornerstone of inbound marketing; if you’re creating a ton of educational content to draw in prospects but not ensuring that it can be, in fact, found…well you’re really just wasting a ton of time and potentially valuable content.
So stop avoiding SEO! To start, let’s take a look at four SEO terms that may sound a little intimidating, but are extremely simple concepts — and some basic best practices for each. Then print out the worksheet below and begin keeping tabs on how you can apply these concepts to each and every piece of content you create. Ready to delve deeper? Download our free SEO Handbook for more best practices, worksheets, and tip sheets.
Ok, so ‘keywords’ doesn’t sound too intimidating — if you’ve been writing for an online source, you’re probably already aware that you need to include terms to give search engines an idea what you’re talking about. Consider choosing both a primary and a secondary keyword to use for your optimization efforts, and work these terms into your content when possible and justified; as a general rule of thumb, your SEO keyword density should be between 5-7% of your overall content.
The title tag is what will show up as a heading for your page on a results page, and is one of the most important signals to search engines. You’ll want to include your primary keyword as close to the beginning of the title as possible — so instead of ‘Pardot Marketing Automation,’ think ‘Marketing Automation from Pardot’ — but try to keep everything under 67 characters.
A meta description is the string of text that will display beneath your title on search engine results pages, and can be a little longer. Again, you’ll want to be sure you include your primary and secondary keywords, if possible.
Anchor text is the visible text of a link on a page. For example, if a link is simply called “Pardot” but links to www.pardot.com, “Pardot” is the anchor text while www.pardot.com is the URL. Anchor text on other sites linking to your own can tell search engines what other websites are saying about you, which can either help or detract from your ranking. While you have no control over how anchor text on other sites link back to yours, the best way to improve your odds is to create and regularly publish lots of shareable, educational content (such as through a company blog).