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Lesson 9 – Part 5 – Developing Your On-page SEO

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The last thing we’re going to talk about tonight is developing your on page SEO for the Genesis theme and that really starts off with this section at the very beginning of that document called SEO basics.

Create Page Meta Title

The very first part of this is to create a unique, accurate page meta titles. A page meta title is this right here, Genesis Theme SEO Settings and this Custom Document Title is actually the meta title that Google is referring to when it says page title.

The trick here is that the meta title needs to be descriptive. By descriptive, I mean descriptive of the content of the page. It should be keyword-rich and you to hold it to 70 characters because it won’t display any more than 70 characters. It’s important because this is the thing that is displayed in search results.

For example, if you search for Thesis Responsive Child Theme, here we are at the very top. Create a Thesis Responsive Child Theme, that is the meta title and this is the meta description. It is descriptive of the content of that page, it has keywords that are important for a search like that, it has Thesis, it has responsive child theme, they’re all key words and it’s less than 70 characters.

When you are editing this page in the Genesis theme, it has a tool that tells you how many characters you’ve used. In this case, this is my Finished Projects page so here what I might say is “Examples of Seattle Area Homes Designed by Rick Anderson”, that’s what I really want to market and that’s not a bad title.

Finished projects is actually a horrible SEO title, it’s a pretty good title for the page but it’s not a good title for SEO which actually brings us to the 4 roles of the page title.

4 Roles of the Page Title

You really end up with the Genesis theme having 4 versions of your page title. You have the reader friendly title which is the page title that’s actually displayed on the page, you have the search friendly title which is the meta title, you have the search friendly slug which is the URL of the page and you have the navigation title which is the way it’s listed in the menu.

As far as the page title goes, the reader doesn’t need to see all this. Once they’re at the site, they know you’re in the Seattle area and all the rest of that stuff so Finished Projects is probably a more natural title for this page and that’s what they see.

However, if somebody is searching for you, chances are they’re searching for an Architect in the Seattle area. In fact I would probably add that to it too, “Architects”, it gets me closer to 70 which is perfect and it also pulls in another keyword. If somebody is searching for this, “Examples of Seattle Area Homes Designed by Rick Anderson Architects” is probably more realistic, it’s probably something that they’re more interested in seeing. If they saw Finished Projects as the title, they will probably be less interested in looking at it.

This title is descriptive of the content, it’s keyword-rich and an excellent search title. This is a good page title and this I don’t think makes a very good page title because it’s overly emphasizing my name for example, but this makes a great page title.

Then you have your URL, your slug. Remember in our second session where we talked about organizing your site, rick-anderson-architects/finished-projects/west-seattle-view-home, where your URL reads like a sentence. This Finished Projects is a much more descriptive URL than say, examples-of-seattle-area-homes-designed-by-rick-anderson-architects.

Here’s version one, Finished Projects, version 2, Finished Projects in the slug, version 3 in the SEO settings and of course, you have number 4, projects in the navigation menu. All of those are extracted in one or another from the title. If you didn’t do anything specific to this, what would happen is Finished Projects would be used everywhere.

What we do is create a page title that is useful in this context, we modify the slug for it, we created good SEO title for the meta description and we do whatever we feel is necessary for navigation. That’s all 4 roles of the page title.

Make Use of the Description Meta Tag

The next thing to do is to make use of the description meta tag. The description is also returned in search results and if we come to our search results page, that’s what this is. This is the description, “The free live class begins May 17th. Register for an upcoming session by selecting a link on the right”.

Actually, this page doesn’t have a meta description yet, I haven’t written a meta description for it yet. You can see that when I hover over this, this page pops up and see that red line around here? That red line around this is showing where it’s extracting the meta description from. No it isn’t, is it? This red section is showing us this summary, that’s really interesting.

In any case, what Google has done in the absence of a meta description is it has created a meta description for me. This is not bad actually under the circumstances but what we really want to do is give our pages a descriptive meta tag and by descriptive, I mean descriptive of the content of the page. It should be keyword-rich and it should be limited to 150 characters.

Importance of Keywords to Google

In that case, for this situation the description should repeat some of the keywords in the title, that is, the most important keywords should be in there. I guess maybe what you should say is, “Seattle Area Architect Rick Anderson”.

When I was actually doing this, “Seattle Area Architect” was something I was optimizing for so I would use that expression, “Seattle area architect Rick Anderson”. It doesn’t have to be perfect English so, “Seattle area architect Rick Anderson-Examples of Custom Homes, Spec Homes and Custom Remodel”. Because I’m optimizing for “Seattle area architect”, I want to put that closer to the front.

In this case, this should be “Seattle area architect Rick Anderson-Examples of Custom Homes, Spec Homes and Custom Remodel that he’s designed recently”. That’s probably not enough, it’s really great when we get up to much closer to 150 characters but I think you pretty much get the idea here.

You’re looking for descriptive keyword-rich phrase and not keyword stuffing. It’s not a list of keywords because if Google doesn’t think that your meta description is accurate, it will replace it with something that it grabs from the page. You want to make sure that this is not just a bunch of keywords slammed in there but it should be descriptive of the actual content of the page.

Headings

Once you get past that point, we get back to these other elements of content SEO that we’ve talked about and that is your headings. Your headings should also have keywords in them and they should also be descriptive of the content that is following. Your H2 tags should also represent the content of the page structures and should be descriptive of the structure of what the heading is for.

As much as possible, you want to include the keywords in that and the same thing is true with links actually. If you are optimizing your site for “Seattle area architect”, then when you are placing a link to another page in your site, you may want to have a sentence that includes the phrase “Seattle area architect” and have that phrase linked off to another page that talks about home designed by that “Seattle area architect”.

Links

Again, the links should also be descriptive of the content of the page they are linking to and should include keywords. If you imagine that your customers are looking for you with a certain set of keywords, the goal is to use those keywords in the content that you are creating. You should look for ways to use those naturally and to use those as headings, as links and as emphasized text.

Descriptive Alt Text

We also have two other things that I’ve demonstrated but I really haven’t talked about and that is image alt text link and image titles. Google does use image alt text for reinforcing what the page is about.

Google assumes that the alt text for the image is descriptive of that image so it assumes that the image is descriptive of the content. If you have descriptive alt text in there that is descriptive of the image, descriptive of the content and contains some keywords, that’s going to continue to reinforce the value of that content.

The same thing is true with the title. You’ll notice that when we inserted this, we gave it a title “Front View of the Neely Residence”, that reinforces that very same thing. You have one other piece of that puzzle and it’s a piece that I ignore but you don’t necessarily have to ignore and that’s the name of the image.

I don’t really want people to find my site based on looking for an image. Unfortunately, a lot of people coming to my site are looking for Join Us button. It’s because the name of the button is Join Us and Google has indexed it as Join Us and I probably have a title that says, Join Us and alt text that says Join Us so Google has that image reinforced in its mind and it wants to serve that image up to somebody who’s searching for Join Us button.

Reinforce SEO Benefit of Images

You can continue to reinforce the SEO benefit of images by using keyword-rich and descriptive file names as well, that’s something else to keep in mind. The same thing is true with links. Notice how when I hover over this link, it says West Seattle View Home, that was the title tag and it was added automatically by WordPress. What it did was use the page title but you could instead insert your own title tag in there if you wanted to use different keywords for that benefit.

That’s really all of your on page SEO for your Genesis theme website: your meta title, your meta description, your headings, your emphasized text, your links and your images.

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