Professional service firms have the same need for SEO search engine optimization as does any other business, because professionals such as physicians, attorneys and accountants have as much competition in their field of excellence as do any others using the internet to promote their services.
It is therefore essential that each page on their website is focused as much as possible on a specific keyword, and that each web page is optimized both online and offline for its own keyword (a keyword can refer to a single word or a phrase.) The objective of SEO search engine optimization is to persuade search engine algorithms that your page is highly relevant to the search term being used.
‘Page’ is stressed, because most search engines list pages and not entire websites and that page can be your Home Page or any other page on your website. We shall refer to Google from herein because that search engine takes about 80% of the total online search traffic, and if you are not listed on the first two pages of Google then forget it.
Here is a brief synopsis of how you can improve your search engine listing by using an intelligently crafted SEO strategy involving both on-page and off-page search engine optimization techniques. It should be stressed that these are ‘SEO essentials’, and there are more advanced techniques that can be used to give you the jump on your competition but which are too focused and specialized to be included here.
Here are the major SEO techniques that you can use on each of your web pages.
Sections of your Web Page
You have two important sections within the HTML source code of each page on your site: The ‘Head’ section and the ‘Body’ section. The content of the ‘Head’ section is not seen by the public, only by search engine spiders that use it to determine the relevance of your page to the search term used by the Google user.
Google doesn’t care too much about your intended page focus – its algorithms will determine the relevance itself, and your job is to persuade these algorithms that your page is worth offering to those searching for information. Spiders do not look at your page and assess it for the keyword you are using on it, but index it in relation to its relevance to the search terms and keywords used by the searcher.
Here is a run-down on the basic type of SEO optimization that everybody should have on every single page on their website, but that an amazingly large number do not.
a) Meta Tags:
The Meta tags appear in the ‘Head’ section of your page HTML, before the ‘Body’ section. The important Meta tags in the HTML of your page are the Title tags and the Description tags. Keep in mind that nothing in these Meta tags are seen by anybody visiting your website, but they are very important aspects of your SEO.
The Title Tag should contain your keyword and is what will be seen at the top of your Google listing. The Description Tag will be used partially or in its entirety in the listed description of your page. No other tags have much effect, although the Keyword tag might be used by the minor search engines.
b) Heading Tags
The ‘Heading’ tags, seen as H1, H2 etc, should be used for the page and paragraph headings on your web page. Use H1 tags for the visible page title: you won’t go wrong if that is exactly the same as the title in the Title tag. Google’s algorithm will give a keyword added importance in determine the relevance of your page if it is within H tags, and even more if it is in Bold text and Italics. Underlining also adds to the perceived relevance.
c) Graphics ‘Alt’ Attribute
You should use the ‘Alt’ attribute in the image HTML of each of your graphics. That tells the viewer the content of the graphic if doesn’t resolve on their website, and is also rewarded by Google in its assessment of your page relevance.
Thus: IMG height=94 alt=”Your Page Title image1″ hspace=0 src=”http://…
You can use your page title is not too long, or a relevant keyword for the page.
d) Keyword Use
Forget all this stuff about using a keyword density (KD) of up to 3%. Google uses its LSI (latent semantic indexing) algorithm to determine the relevance of your page, which means using text that is semantically related to your keywords and the focus of the page. Repetition of keywords will no longer work, and will actually be punished with a low listing. Imagine an 800 word article with 24 mentions of the keyword…
Good natural writing, with around 0.6% – 1% KD will be better than endless keyword repetition, particularly if you are using a lot of semantically related text to explain the meaning of your page. Descriptive writing is better than keywords, although be careful to use synonyms that are true synonyms and not ambiguous. Thus, what are ‘locks’? Your page content should make it clear to Google’s LSI algorithm to which type of locks you are referring.
Google’s PageRank algorithm is a means of assessing the importance and popularity of each web page according to the number of other web pages linking to it: the more links it has, then the more relevant and popular the page must be. These links can come either from within your own website or from other websites.
Each web page is allocated a starting PR of 1.0 by Google, and it is possible to arrange your internal links (navigation structure) to provide the maximum PR points to specific pages in your website.
You can also provide back-links to your web pages from external websites by using techniques such as article marketing, where you can use a link in a section of your article that offers you a share of the PR of any directory page that publishes your article. The same benefit can be achieved by submitting your website to website directories, and also by persuading others to add a link to your site from their own website.
These are the major SEO search engine optimization techniques for professional service firms that you can easily use on your website to give you a good start in persuading Google to list your web pages in the results pages for specific search terms (keywords). By doing this successfully, you can be rewarded with masses of free traffic, but keep in mind that these are basic essentials, and there are other methods that can be used to give you a real advantage over your competitors.