For those first starting out, SEO can undeniably be an intimidating concept. With highly-technical lingo such as canonical tag, 301 redirect, and no-index (just to name a few), it’s easy to understand why first-timers are reluctant to embark on their first SEO foray. And besides, it is much easier to simply pay for clicks and traffic, right?

SEO 101

Before muddling your thoughts with the aforementioned technical mumbo-jumbo, let’s address the basics. The core SEO principles that build the foundation of a successful organic search strategy are the on-page essentials. These essentials include:
• Page Title
• Header
• Body Copy
• Anchor Text/Inbound Links
• Image Alt Attributions
Yes, it goes without saying, there are many other ranking factors that can impact your organic performance, but the items listed above will provide a strong indication to search engines precisely what your site is about. Aligning these on-page SEO essentials will make a big difference in organic rank, traffic, and ultimately, conversions and sales.

Core SEO Essentials Defined

Page Title
Arguably the single most important on-page item, the page title does, in fact, represent the definitive title of your page. The page title should be a 50-60 character representation of the URL and should contain the primary keyword you ultimately hope to win with this element.
For example, SEO Audit Service For Your Website | Volume Nine SEO, is a great title that is optimized for search (SEO Audit Service), user-experience (For Your Website), and branding (Volume Nine SEO).
Header (H1)
Although not as crucial an element as it once was, the H1 tag should not be ignored. The H1 helps to establish overall content relevancy, in addition to being a vital usability aid. Each URL should have only one H1 tag.
Body Copy
Content is absolutely king and this facet of SEO will undoubtedly consume most of your time and effort. Content should be unique, authoritative, match searcher intent, and contain multiple primary keyword variants…among other things Whew. Learn more about creating great content.
Anchor text/Inbound Links
Links help provide search engines with an understanding of how pages are related to each other, how popular a given URL is, and how authoritative the website may be. Each link will likely contain anchor text. If hundreds of inbound links all contain similar textual anchors and they point to the same page within your site, said page is going to have a great shot at ranking for the phrase represented within the anchors.
Creating a logical, relevant and keyword-rich URL is advised. Website URLs should be brief, but it is very important they convey website folders and subfolders.
Image Alt Attributions
Although not the most important on-page element, properly optimized image alt text helps cement contain relevancy, in addition to providing a valuable usability aid to those who may be visually impaired. Image alt text is yet another opportunity to include a relevant keyword phrase, but make sure your alt attribution truly describes the image. In other words, don’t be spammy.
To summarize, aligning these core SEO elements on each URL with the keywords you wish to win, will greatly improve your organic performance and overall presence on the web. Winning keywords, gaining traffic and establishing authority can ultimately increase online leads and sales. Contact Volume Nine SEO if you’d like to learn more, but just don’t contact me. I’ll be busy canonical tagging, 301 redirecting, and noindexing.
Brian Lich is an SEO Specialist for Volume Nine.

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