Over the last few weeks, we’ve been discussing some simple steps we can take to increase your website’s rankings when it comes to search engines. This is called SEO. Another simple way to get your site to the top of the list is to properly utilize headings.
What are headings?
Headings are those areas of text that stand out in a blog post. They go from H1 (heading 1) to H6 (heading 6), with H1 being the most important. Take a look below at what each looks like:
What should you put in these fancy headings? The answer is simple. You want to put your keywords in these. Will this make you rise to the top of Google? Nope. It will, however, help. As this article from a company specializing in SEO states, “If you want to rank for it, you will have to write about it.”
However, there are a few things to remember when adding keywords to headings. The main one is this. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, stuff your headings with keywords. In previous posts, we used a shoe store as an example. The shoe store’s headings should not look like this:
SHOES, FOOTWEAR, BLUE SUEDE SHOES, BUY
You always want to write for the reader. A better example would be the following:
What are Blue Suede Shoes?
The Top Five Benefits of Blue Suede Shoes
Notice that the keyword(s) are in the heading, but not randomly put there in a cheap effort to generate more traffic.
How Exactly do I apply headings?
Changing your text to heading form in WordPress is as simple as highlighting the text and using the drop down menu to assign it a heading value.
What Heading should I use?
H1 is the title of the page or blog post and should only be used once. When you create a post, WordPress automatically places the title at the beginning of your post, so H1 is already done for you.
H2 tags should include your keyword(s). Using multiple H2 tags is pefectly fine. For instance, I have used them at the top of each paragraph of this post. You will notice, they are smaller in size than the title of the post at the top.
The rest of the tags (h3, h4, h5, h6) should highlight text in order of importance. Most posts and/or pages don’t use anything beyond an h3 tag unless there is a lot of content.
Finally, do not skip numbers. It is important to use h1 tags, then h2. You don’t want to skip over any headings.
Headings on the internet are like headings in a newspaper. They allow the reader (and search engines) to know what the post or the page is about when it is quickly scanned.
Other Benefits of Headings
Headings also help readers stay on a page longer. This is called a bounce rate. You want to keep readers on your page, and actually reading the content. One way to do this is to employ the use of headings so that your readers can easily scan the post.
Most people don’t read in depth anymore (let’s be honest, we have a shorter attention span than a goldfish). Employing headings not only increases your chances of ranking higher on Google, it keeps readers engaged.
In conclusion, headings are a great way to not only increase traffic to your site, but make your pages and posts more readable. At the end of the day, who doesn’t love a post that is quick to read and easy to understand?!
A few weeks ago, we discussed what SEO, or search engine optimization is. Today, we are going to discuss how you can improve your SEO and attract more visitors to your website using one of the main components of SEO, relevance. Because, as we all know, a pretty website does no good if no one can find it!
If you remember, there are three main components that search engines use when someone types a query in the search bar. They are relevance, usability and authority. The first aspect of SEO that we will cover is relevance.
What is relevance? The answer is simple. It is finding a web page with the right words. Relevance is why you don’t get information about penquins when you ask Google what the best restaurant is in your neighborhood. Penguins are irrelevant to your question. In order to ensure that your potential visitors are finding your site, you want to make sure that you are using the correct keywords. Your keywords need to be relevant to what your website is all about.
There are some amazing tools available to help you find keywords that fit your organization. For instance, say we wanted to open an online shoe store. One keyword would be shoes. But, if someone typed in shoes as a query, he or she would not get your particular website. Instead, we can use a tool, like Keyword Explorer, from Moz, to help us determine additional and more specific keywords.
Using Moz’s tool, here is a list of addional keywords:
- shoe stores near me
- online shoe store
- shoe stores in the mall
- men’s shoe stores
- women’s shoe stores
- shoe stores near my location
- shoe shop
These are just a few examples of different keywords that can be incorporated into our fictional website to better guide potential customers to our site. The more specific you are with keywords, the better. Taking the example above, selling shoes online is a pretty broad category, which is fine. But, let’s say you sell not just any shoes, but men’s blue suede shoes. Your keywords should be “men’s blue suede shoes”.
Please note, you do NOT, want to stuff your website with keywords. Placing keywords throughout your website, does not help SEO, it actually hurts it by penalizing your website when it comes to search queries. Keyword stuffed websites become irrelevant, not relevant. Placing the word “shoes” too many times on your site will make Google (or other search engines) read your site as spammy. Quality content (or authority) is so important that it is another component of SEO that we will cover in the future. For the time being, know that your content needs to be authentic, not stuffed with spammy keywords in an attempt to gain more traffic.
There are a few places which you will want to place your keywords for best results:
- Site Title (aka Title Tag). Your site title can be found under settings and then general. In this area, you can enter not only the name of your website, but a keyword or two to describe your website. Take a look at the blue field in the New York Times site title. Instead of just stating New York Times, there is a dash with a site description behind it. This is your title tag.
- Page Description (aka Meta Description): Below the New York Times title is a brief description of the site. This one is a bit tricky. Although having keywords in the description doesn’t affect rankings, it can influence clicks.
- Post Names. By default, WordPress gives your posts weird names like www.nashcreative.co/1294949. Instead, you want to change this (once again, this can be found in settings and then permalink). Instead of the default setting, chose Post Name. Google is better able to tell what your post is about.
- Headings. Your keyword(s) should be used in headings of your website. Headings aren’t just for formatting and making your website pretty. They actually have a purpose when it comes to SEO. We will discuss headings more later this week, but for now, just know that search engines use headings to understand what your site or post is about.
- Images. Yep, that’s right, images also lend to SEO. Giving your image the right file name is crucial. Instead of 124345.jpg, you should give your image a name the describes it. For instance, bluesuedeshoes.jpg lets search engines know that the picture is one of blue suede shoes. WordPress users can also easily at alt text and title text when using images. This is dual purpose as not only does this help with SEO, but it allows users with visual disabilities to employ the use of screen readers and know what the image is all about.
These are just a few basic SEO principals that will help your website’s rankings. When it comes to relevance, making sure that you have used the right keywords in the right places will not only help you better organize your thoughts and information, but also ensure that your website’s content is relevant to potential search queries.
The hole of SEO is deep, but do not worry. Taking just a few simple steps, like those listed above, can help even the most novice blogger gain a bigger following.
As always, if you have any questions or if you would like further help with SEO, we’d love to help! Contact us to schedule an appointment!
Our first installment of Tip Tuesday covered how and why you should blog. Today, we want to highlight how one of our clients is using blogging to make life easier.
First Congregational Church in Parkersburg, Iowa is in the process of undergoing renovations in their sanctuary. This means two things. First, the sanctuary may be in a different set up than normal on certain Sundays, causing some confusion. Second, members are excited and want to be brought into the renovations. By giving weekly blog post updates, parishoners can see a bit of the work in process, helping them to buy into this change. Second, they will be prepared for any inconvenience the renovations may cause when Sunday morning rolls around.
First Congregational Parkersburg Renovations
In order to make sure that the blog posts are seen, First Congregational (affectionately known as Congo locally), posts on Facebook and Twitter when a new post is up, as well as utilizing email to automatically notify those who have signed up when a new blog post is up.
Congo has used both MailChimp (for automatic emails of new posts) and Hootsuite (to post to both Facebook and Twitter at the same time) to streamline this process.
In the coming weeks, we will be discussing MailChip and Hootsuite and how to utilize them for your business. In the meantime, check out Congo’s blog and as always, feel free to contact us with any questions.
Way to go Congo! We can’t wait to see the finished sanctuary!