5 Steps Digital Marketers Can Use to Optimize Content for Google

By Ryan Deiss, Russ Henneberry

Every digital marketer needs to know how to optimize content for Google. Your website is a channel that can get traffic from search engines such as Google. The information you find here lays out the steps for optimizing a web page for Google.

Step 1: Write the <title> tag

The <title> tag is the most critical search ranking element on any web page. This tag is displayed on search engine results pages and is meant to be an accurate and concise description of a page’s content, telling search engines and searchers what the page is about. The <title> tag appears in blue on search engine results pages and is the link that users click to access the related content.

Keywords are essential fortags, so start those tags with your most important keywords for that page. Using the keywords you’ve chosen for the page you’re optimizing, create a title for your piece that’s no more than 70 characters long; otherwise, the search engine may truncate it. Thetag should read well because it is displayed prominently on the search results page.

Step 2: Write a meta description

The meta description, often displayed directly below the <title> tag, further describes the content of the page. Typically, searched keywords appear in boldface in the meta description. Although search engines don’t use your meta descriptions to determine your ranking for a search query, searchers read these descriptions to determine whether they want to click your results.

The meta description is the elevator pitch for your page, so make it compelling. Include words that describe the content of the page in a way that entices searchers to click your result.

Keep your meta description shorter than 150 characters; otherwise, it’s likely to be truncated on the search result page. Consider using a call to action in your meta description, such as “Shop now!” “Click here for free shipping,” or “Browse the latest trends.”

Step 3: Optimize the URL

A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) describes a site or page to visitors and search engines, so it’s important to keep the URL relevant and accurate so that the content ranks well. A URL (also referred to as a slug) is set up like this:

www.YourSiteNameHere.com/keywords-that-describe-this-page

Include your keywords in the URL after the forward slash (/). Search engines use the keywords in this section of the URL to further determine what the page is about and where it should rank. Although the keywords in your URL don’t play as big of a role in your search rankings as your title tag does, keywords are still important elements to optimize.

Step 4: Write body copy

Text on a page, also called content or copy, gives the search engine information about what search queries your page will satisfy, so it’s important for every page on your site to have text. Having content on a web page is also very helpful in getting the page to rank in search.

Aim for 500 words or more on each page, but don’t fill your web pages with low-quality content just to get words on the page. On video- or image-heavy pages, of course, you may have very few words on a page, and that’s okay. Always err on the side of satisfying the intent of searchers by giving them enough information to make sense of the page.

Throughout the body, use relevant keywords or keyword phrases that describe the page. Include your keywords and variations on those keywords in the body titles or headings. In short, use the keywords you’re targeting and variations on those keywords anywhere it seems natural to do so.

Step 5: Optimize the <alt> tag

The <alt> tag provides alternative information for an image on your page, in the form of text, for users who can’t view the image (because of a slow Internet connection or an image error, for example). In the <alt> tag, describe the image while using the keyword phrase you’ve chosen for your piece.