Boosting Your Search Engine Ranking Part III: Where Keywords Should Go
We’ve been going over how to optimize your Mortgage XSite for search engines. In previous editions, we’ve talked about , and how is “localize” or “personalize” your XSite content. Now we’re going to talk about that content more broadly – less what it should say, and more where it should go.
Keep in mind that we build Mortgage XSites with search engines in mind. That’s part of the reason we provide you with so many professionally written content pages to begin with. So a lot of this stuff is done for you on the back end. I’ll talk about it anyway so you understand how search engines look at your site, but I’ll emphasize what steps you should take as opposed to things that have already been done for you.
A definition first: When I talk about keywords I’m talking about likely search terms – what Web surfers are likely going to be typing into the search engines to find your site.
Keywords in your URL (Web address) and page titles: The “title” of a Web page is what you see at the very top of your browser. The title of the Web page you’re reading right now begins “Marketing Tips and Tricks | Boosting Your Search Engine Ranking…” Search engines want to see keywords in your page titles.
In your Mortgage XSite’s My Content area, you can customize page titles and you should: Include the title of the content along with “[My Area] Mortgage and Refinance Loans,” or similar phrases that searchers are likely to be looking for when they find you. Caution: Make the title relevant. Make sure you add search terms, not replace what the content is actually about with a bunch of phrases you want search engines to see. You may get penalized for that.
The Web address of your page – www.yourdomain.com/PageTitle – is important too. Your Mortgage XSite automatically puts the title of the content page (before you customize it as above) in the page’s Web address. So your pre-written content page about Your FICO Score will be www.yourdomain.com/YourFICOscore, for example.
You do gain a little bit of an advantage if there are keywords in your domain itself. All things being equal, www.DuPageCountyMortgageBroker.com is better than www.[Your Company Name].com. But it’s not a huge advantage. Search engines know that your domain name .com is often part of your company’s unique branding, and don’t penalize you for putting non-keywords in it. The words “Google” and “Yahoo” have very little to do with searching the Internet, after all!
Keywords in your page content body: Search engines want to know quickly what the page they’ve just scanned is about. And remember, it’s a computer doing the scanning, so it’s not reading and thinking about it. It’s looking for keywords – but relevant keywords, used where they make sense, and having a relationship to the text around them.
This is why we talked about adding “local” or “personal” touches to your content pages in the last edition. If you did that, you’re doing well with keywords in your text. Just remember not to overdo it. Search engines are more and more sophisticated all the time, and are “looking” to make sure that your text makes sense and that the material around a likely search keyword relates to that keyword.
Bold keywords: When you, the page owner, use bold to set out certain terms, it means they’re important to the text. There is a school of thought that says when you do this, search engines pay attention. You won’t be penalized for it and if you’re really trying to attract visitors who are interested in the keywords you’re bolding, you’ll get their attention this way. Consider using bold to set out the keywords in your text.
Meta tags: “Meta tags” are parts of a Web page visitors don’t see that are there specifically to tell automated search engine reconnaissance what the page is about. They’re less and less important as search engines become more sophisticated, but your Mortgage XSite assigns relevant meta tags to your site when you create it.
Moving beyond where your keywords should go, here’s some general advice on how to feed and water your content so your visitors and search engine rankings will grow:
Fresh content: As a very general rule, pages that have been updated recently will do better than pages that haven’t. Take a look at your most popular content pages on a monthly basis and make changes as necessary or desirable.
Lots of content: Using more pages (of good, relevant, keyword rich material) is better than using less when it comes to search engines. Just remember to make each page, and their titles, unique.
Your Mortgage XSite’s built-in blog helps with both of the above, by the way, if you dedicate yourself to posting good, interesting material to it regularly. A blog is a powerful search engine-friendly tool.
This goes back to making it “local” or “personal.” Some search engines will penalize your site if its content is too similar to other pages on other sites. Remember that XSites’ pre-written content serves two purposes, and search engine optimization is only one of them. The more important is that it gives your site visitors relevant material to read and a way to learn about your company and what you do. You can have your cake and eat it too by making sure your pages are customized to your area and your services.