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Optimize your web pages and keep Google happy | Wordtracker

How to optimize your web pages and keep Google happy

Posted by on 19 April 2012


Illustration for How to optimize your web pages and keep Google happy

Optimizing your website properly is crucial to getting your site seen, searched and approved by the search engines and the public. This article shows just how you can do that using Wordtracker’s updated Keywords tool.

The Mad Hatter Is Definitely Rather Loony

The Mad Hatter Is Definitely Rather Loony is a memorable little acronym to help remember the basics of what needs to be done to help Google and your potential viewers find your site, and improve your search engine rankings into the bargain.

T: Title tag
M: Meta description and keywords tag
H: Header tags: H1, H2, H3
I: Image file names and alt tags
D: Diverse keywords
R: Relevancy
L: Reputable links

Let’s go through those topics and discover how Wordtracker is in an even better position (with recent improvements to the Keywords tool) to help you do it.

First things first you need the keywords with which to optimize your site:

First choose your keywords

The new, improved Keywords tool helps you find the keywords that will get traffic to your site and beat your competitors.

The aim of this article isn’t to tell you how to do your keyword research, however. You’ll find a lot more information on that in Finding keywords and Keyword mapping, or by registering for one of Wordtracker’s regular keyword research webinars

Let’s assume you have your keywords.

How do you use them on your web page?

Let’s go back to The Mad Hatter Is Definitely Rather Loony

Title tag

<title>My Page Title</title>

The title tag for the first item in the search engine results in the picture below is “Burlesque London | Wam Bam Club | Comedy, Magic, Music and Burlesque”.

This tag, as well as being of great interest to Google, appears at the top of your browser and acts in much the same way as the title of a book to your prospective customers. Have you ever bought a book largely based on how the cover looks? Yes? (Good for you if you haven’t …)


Title tag key points

  • Make your title compelling to increase clickthroughs.
  • Focus on a primary keyword and if you can work one in, use a second or third keyword. Place the primary keyword right at the beginning. But don’t stuff with keywords – a long list of keywords looks suspicious to both Google and your human visitors.
  • Make sure your primary keyword is relevant to the content on your page. You’ll lose ranking if there’s no relevance and people won’t stay on your site.
  • Restrict your title tags to 69 characters – anything over this Google will cut off and you’ll lose a whole word even if you’re only one character over.
  • Use a unique title tag for every page so that Google doesn’t see you as duplicate content.
  • Use the | symbol or dash – anything else detracts from your message.

How can Wordtracker help?

Look for the Title & Description wizard in the Keywords tool. It’s accessed from a Niche in your Keyword Map (remember, that each Niche represents a web page). This is what it looks like:

Title and description wizard picture

Type in your title tag text, incorporating your chosen keywords (you’ll be including those in the content on your page as well). As each keyword is added to your text in the wizard, it is ticked (checked) off your target list to the right. Any keywords left over are underlined.

The Title & Description wizard also tells you how many characters you have left, to save you the trouble of counting them and ensuring you don’t go over your 69.

The Site Audit within the Keywords tool will point out if your title is too long, too short, missing altogether, or a duplicate – there’s much more information on this useful tool on the Site Audit errors page.

Wordtracker's Site Audit tool

Meta description tag

<meta name=”description” content=”My description” />

Below you’ll see the description tag used on Wordtracker’s SEO Blogger page (circled in red):

Description of SEO Blogger from Google's SERPs pages

The description should serve as a short and to the point summary of what your web page is about, with a bit more detail about what the content will be than can be gleaned from your title. Try including a strong call to action to spur your prospective customers into action: “Click here to learn more,” for example.

Meta description tag key points

  • The description should make sense to your reader.
  • It should reinforce your title tag – confusion will reign if your description is saying something that has nothing to do with your title tag, and the searcher will pass you over.
  • Again, place your primary keyword near the beginning and don’t use too many keywords. Try combining keywords (there are some great examples of that in Rand Fishkin’s article on Tactical SEO)
  • The character limit for your description tag is 160.
  • Include your brand to increase brand awareness and help show trustworthiness.

How can Wordtracker help?

The Title & Description wizard includes a section for your Description – it provides a character count which will prevent key information being chopped off at the end, after your 160 character allowance is used up.

The Site Audit within the Keywords tool will point out if your description is too long or too short as well. For information on carrying out the audit and prioritizing the work that may be necessary, have a look at How to perform a site audit

Meta keywords tag

Meta keywords aren’t as important these days as they used to be. Google, for instance, has said that they don’t use them at all in web rankings these days.

So don’t worry about them.

H: Header tags: H1, H2, H3

<h1>, <h2>, <h3> etc (up to 6)

You should only have one H1 tag per page and this is your headline: it’s the text that should make your readers want to read on. So concentrate on making it hook in your visitors.

Do try to use your target keywords in your header tags if you can, and although these carry less ranking weight than previously, they are still assessed, and Google places more weight on the H1 tag than the others. They can help increase your ranking simply by way of making your text easier to read, thereby increasing clickthroughs, and hopefully improving your bounce rate (the rate at which your visitors leave your site.)

How can Wordtracker help?

The Site Audit tells you when you have missing headings, when you have multiple H1 tags, and when no keywords have been detected.

I: Image file names and alt tags

<img src=”my-lovely-pic.gif” alt=”My lovely picture” />

Healthy fruit and vegetable juices

Always give your images an alt tag (alternative text tag). As well as helping to inform the search engines what your page is about, they’re essential for accessibility. Specialist software used by people with visual impairment reads them out, so you should have them describe what the image is about. They also appear in place of a picture if a reader has images switched off.

Of course, also make the image alt tags and file names keyword rich so that the search engines see them as another piece of keyword rich content on your site.

How can Wordtracker help?

The Site Audit helpfully advises if you have missing alt tags.

D: Diversity

Do use your primary and secondary keywords in your text, but also use lots of other on-topic words so that it does not appear that your text is stuffed full of keywords. Make your content readable, interesting, knowledgeable and make it long – the more you know and can advise on any given subject, the more authoritative and trustworthy you will look to to the search engines and your audience.

How can Wordtracker help?

Use our new Keywords tool to find relevant and popular search terms, but above all write great content (or pay someone to write great content for you!) And the Keywords ranking tool will keep you up to date on how you’re ranking for your keywords.

R: Relevancy

The search engines expect to see relevant content on a page, and visitors will also: they’ll bounce straight off if they arrive at a page about cats when they expected it to be about home improvements, for example.

And as Google is looking ever closer at customer engagement, the bounce rate is become increasingly important.

L: Reputable links

One of the debates at the 2012 LinkLove London conference was whether links are going to be as important in ranking in future, with weight of rankings increasingly being given over to social media signals (by Google and Bing, at the very least). At the moment, linking is still the biggest ranking factor, and everything you’ve done above will help to make your site more linkworthy.

Good quality, relevant, keyword rich content is imperative if you’re to get noticed and get linked to by reputable sites, and these sites will be able to find you that much more easily if you follow these guidelines. If they see that you are a trustworthy, authoritative brand, links will follow.

How can Wordtracker help?

The Site Audit will tell you if you have no internal links (useful for spreading the ‘link juice’ around your site – click on the following for more information on optimizing internal links) and if you have too many external links pointing externally – if this happens people are going to spend more time off your site than on it.

For more information on how the new Keywords tool will help your SEO, read Easier SEO with the new Keywords tool

Free Trial of Wordtracker’s Keywords Tool

Take a free 7-day trial of Wordtracker’s Keywords tool to see how the new features will work for your website.

Take a trial button

Meanwhile, if you have questions or comments, please let us know below:

About Julie McNamee

Photo of Julie McNamee 

Julie McNamee is marketing coordinator and Jack of all trades at Wordtracker and has been working there for over five years. She’s also a (very) amateur blogger with off the beaten path travel blog Quirky Travel and writer on Weekend Notes