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Alan Schill, a website auditor at Search Engine Journal, noticed that a troubling majority of website owners were neglecting to implement key search engine optimization techniques, often as a result of outdated or inaccurate advice from various SEO guides and blogs. From his research has emerged these vital questions all website owners must ask themselves as they consider their present SEO strategy.

  1. Are you stuffing your title tags?

What does it mean to stuff a title tag? It means you’re using too broad of a brush to cover more surface area, while failing to paint a defined picture. For example, instead of a good title tag that says “All Bliss Massage—Therapeutic and Relaxation Massage of (city name),” your title tag might say “Relaxation Massage (city name)|Schedule Relaxation Massage (city name)|Best Relaxation Massage (city name).” The latter example activates Google’s metaphorical spam beacon and should be avoided. Practice specificity and realize that this snippet of text is going to appear in the search results. Write something that you think your audience will click on, not just what you think will make it to the top of the rankings.

  1. Would you click on your meta description?

Also appearing in the search results is your meta description, just below your title tag. Your targeted search term should inform what your description says. Remember that worrying about keywords is pointless here; the description holds no SEO weight when it comes to ranking. Your primary goal should be to answer the question (explicit or implied) that the searcher asked when typing in their search. For example, if the “question” was “affordable massage in (city name),” your description should say something to the effect of: “Soothing, holistic massage meets the best prices in (city name).”

  1. Can you read your URLs?

If you have the option to change the URLs of your posts and pages to titles, take it. Always. They are much more SEO friendly than a jumble of numbers and letters. Example:

  • allblissmassage.com/10/05/15/aswkekkas234lkj235lkh234.html; or
  • allblissmassage.com/post-or-page-title-that-includes-a-keyword

The title version is more appealing to the eye and to search engines.

  1. Have you broken up your posts with H1 and H2 heading tags?

In addition to increasing the readability of your posts, using H1 and H2 tags to break up your content into highly scannable sections is going to catch the interest of the search engines much better. Search engines pay attention to H1 and H2 tags for the same reason that readers do: they indicate the importance of the content included with the tag.

  1. Have you included multimedia elements in your blog posts?

The typical website is extremely text-heavy, and this is largely because the time and resource investment in simply writing is usually much lower than creating an infographic or video to include with your post. However, even mobile devices have come along so far that the quality of video is more than passable to share on your blog. No one will expect production value to be anything more than basic for a simple video series, each clip less than 3 minutes long. For example—going back to our fictional massage parlor—the owner can create a weekly video of him or her sharing a new and original relaxation technique or interesting facts about the art of massage therapy. These clips will add new interest to a blog while making your site more personable to your prospective and current clientele.

Have you made any of these mistakes on your own site?   Acknowledging that there’s a problem is half the battle! Now that you have a few simple fixes, it’s time to get crackin’ and start making your site more appealing to Google. Which of these errors have you noticed on your site? Can you think of any other common ones?

Source Schill, Alan. “SEO 101: 18 Search Rankings & Engagement Factors You Can’t Ignore.” http://www.searchenginejournal.com/18-search-rankings-engagement-factors-you-cant-ignore/119638/. November 21, 2014.