All posts in Search Engine Optimization

Website Tonight SEO : Keywords

What is a Keyword

To put it simply, a keyword is any word you use on your website that has a meaning on its own. Lets dissect a single sentence as an example…

Unlike some site builders, Website Tonight allows for search engine optimization.

The keywords above are highlighted. Notice that each keyword is highlighted individually. When keywords appear in a row they become a key phrase…

Unlike some site builders, Website Tonight allows for search engine optimization.

When a keyword becomes part of a key phrase Google still considers it a keyword on its own. It’s counted both ways, but that doesn’t make it twice as powerful. Google isn’t just counting keywords, they are also rating matches between the keywords on your webpage and the term that is being searched (details below under “Target Keywords”).

Your meta keywords are NOT the same thing as the important words on your website (aka: “keywords”). Read, “Meta Tags in Website Tonight“.

Keywords in Search Results

The words you select are a very important part of search engine optimization. You want to make sure that you are using the same words in your browser titles, meta descriptions, and in the content areas of your web pages that your ideal customer is using. For example, if you own a pet shop website then use the word “goldfish” not “Carassius auratus auratus” which is the scientific classification for a goldfish. The average pet owner (your target audience) will not be searching for “Carassius auratus auratus”. However, if your target audience are zoologists that study fish then perhaps the term “Carassius auratus auratus” is a stronger key phrase for you than “goldfish”.

Obviously this is an exaggerated example, but hopefully you get the point.


Content is King

An important thing to note is that the keywords need to be used in the content areas of your web pages, not just the titles and descriptions. This is because Google primarily determines which web pages will be results for a search based on the content of those web pages, not just the browser titles and descriptions. If your page title and description both use a keyword that isn’t on the webpage itself (or it is but only a few times) then you are likely not targeting your audience effectively and you won’t likely get a top ranking position for those terms.


Target Keywords

Try to match the keywords and phrases you use to the exact terms and phrases the target audience will search because direct matches are favored by Google. For example, lets pretend that there are two web pages with steps for potty training pets and Google is ranking them strictly on the page title. This is what they look like…

Pretend Website #1 …

“How To” for Puppies and Dogs : Potty Training

Pretend Website #2 …

How to Potty Train a Puppy

If the search term is, “how do I potty train my puppy”, which site will get the higher position on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page)?

Even though all the same keywords and phrases are in both browser titles, website #2 will get the higher position because their page title is closer to a direct match. The closer your titles are to the search term the more relevant your webpage appears to be for that search. Of course this was a hypothetical scenario. In reality Google uses far more than just the page title to decide how to rank the search results, so website #2 could be listed lower in the results even with a title that almost matches perfectly.

This principle doesn’t only apply to browser titles. If you match the search term in the content area of the webpage it has the same effect.


Local Keywords

For many searches Google favors results that are geographically local to the person doing the search. For example, when someone searches “ice cream” they might be looking for general info about ice cream or a manufacturers website, but it’s also likely that they are looking for somewhere to get ice cream. That’s why Google will list ice cream shops in the top results even though they might not have as high of a page rank as some of the ice cream manufactures or the Wikipedia page about ice cream.

Now imagine if you searched “ice cream” on Google and the ice cream shops Google showed you were 100s of miles away. That’s wouldn’t be very helpful. That’s why Google doesn’t simply list them from highest page rank to lowest page rank. Instead they list the highest ranked ice cream parlors in your area. This is especially true if the search includes a geographic term (ex: “San Diego ice cream”).

To enhance the local results Google created Google Places which shows all the top businesses in the local area that match the search. If your business services a particular area (ex: state, county, city, etc) then use those geographic keywords on your web pages, in the browser titles, and in the meta description. This will help your website rank higher for localized searches. Also, add your business to Google Places – it’s free.


Quality Keywords

One of the biggest search engine optimization mistakes I see new webmasters make is their selection of keywords. Don’t try to compete with large companies that have huge marketing budgets. If you’re a small business or have a limited marketing budget then don’t go for the golden keywords. Instead try to find keywords and phrases that are less common, but still get a decent amount of searches each month.

Let me give you an example using PROsiteTonight.com (these numbers are fictitious)…

Search Term: web design Website Tonight
Listed on Page: 18 1
Monthly Searches: 6,000,000 33,000
Monthly Clicks: 50 1,000

As you can see the term “website design” gets about 170 times more searches each month than the term “Website Tonight”, but that doesn’t make it a better key phrase for me to target. There are thousands of companies with large marketing budgets that are targeting that keyword. Pro Site Tonight is related to web design, but the term “website design” is too competitive for me.

By targeting a less competitive term with fewer overall searches I can generate more traffic. The goal is to be on the first page for the keywords and phrases with the greatest volume of monthly searches. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t avoid the term “website design”, but I don’t waste time trying to focus on that keyword either.

Discover new keywords related to your industry and see how competitive those keywords are with the Google Keyword Tool.

Keyword and Page Rank Statistics

If you don’t already have web statistics I highly recommend using Google Analytics or Site Analytics. There is an old parable that goes something like, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” That’s true of competitive search engine optimization.


Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions not listed here then leave them in the comments below.

How important is a page one search listing?
If you’re like most people when you do a Google search you only look at the first page of search results. Either you choose from the options on page one or you start over by searching a slightly different term. Usually page one listings get more clicks than all the results on pages 2, 3, and 4 combined, but that isn’t always the case.

If you’re website covers a topic that people tend to research (ex: nuclear power, Roman history, etc) or one with enough variety that people intuitively know that page one might not have all the best results (ex: art, apparel, etc) then it may be common for your target audience to go several pages deep when they do a search. So again, “how important is a page one listing in Google”, it all depends on your industry and your competition, but as a general rule of thumb its it’s very important.

If I’m not on page one should I target a different keyword?
That depends on your industry and competition. Just keep in mind that you can’t expect to be a page one search result for a keyword or phrase the day you publish pages that target those terms. It often takes time. If you are instantly a page one search result then perhaps you’ve set your standards too low and you should be targeting higher volume terms that are more competitive. Being listed on page 2 of a Google search results page isn’t a bad thing, especially if there is room for improvement.

What are the best keywords and phrases for ME to target?
I wish that I could give you a magic wand or formula that would show you the keywords and phrases that will generate the most high-quality traffic for you. Unfortunately, no such thing exists. Every website has a different sweet spot. Finding the perfect balance between volume and competition for the keywords that will work for your business is something that will require time and experimentation. It all boils down to trial-and-error.

Where do I start with SEO?
In my opinion the best place to start is where you currently are. Look through your website statistics to see what people are already searching to find your website. By knowing what people are currently searching you can refine your strong points before seeking new ground to cover. If you can bump one of your web pages from page 2 to 1 then you will likely see more results faster than you will by trying to start from scratch.

SEO 101 – Website Tonight

Google Home Page

If you’re like most people when you get on the internet you use a search engine to browse the web, as opposed to typing a web address directly into the address bar. It’s probably no surprise to you that Google is the most popular search engine, but did you know that roughly 70% of all searches go through Google?

Unless you are paying for radio, television, or other traditional forms of advertising most of your first time website visitors are finding you through Google. That means the success of your website depends heavily on what searches your website is a result for (aka: how your site is “indexed”), your rank for those searches (aka: “search engine rank” or “page rank”), and how the results appear on the search engine results page.

This article is meant to be a starting point for learning SEO so the lists below are overly simplified and not complete, but generally speaking these are the things Google looks at when determining how to handle your website:

How Google Indexes Your Website

  • The content of your website (ex: keywords and key phrases).
  • Which websites are linked to you.
  • Your browser titles.
  • Your meta description tag.

How Google Determines Your Search Rank

  • The content of your website (ex: keywords and key phrases).
  • The rank of the web pages that are linked to you.
  • How many people visit your website.
  • How long people stay on your website.
  • How often people return to your website.
  • How long your website has been around.
  • How often people share links to your website on social networks.
  • How influential the people sharing links to your website on social networks are.

How Google Displays Your Web Pages in the Search Results

  • The title of the web page.
  • The meta description of the web page.
  • The file name of the web page.
If you haven’t already, add your website to Google. It’s easy and free. You only need to add your website to the Google index once. After that they will update your site and add new pages automatically.

Website Tonight SEO : Search Results

When you do a Google search you see a page full of results that look like this…

Website Tonight > Help > Tips > Tricks > Tutorials > Templates …
www.prositetonight.com
The ONLY place you can get FREE help, easy how-to guides, custom Website Tonight
templates you won’t find in Website Tonight, live examples, and much more!

Basically it’s made of three parts: the browser title, the URL, and the meta description…

Browser Title – 70 character limit, including blank spaces.
Webpage URL – no character limit.
Meta Description – 156 character limit, including blank spaces.

The way your webpage appears in the search results makes a big difference in whether or not people will choose your website over the other search results. If you don’t have a quality browser title or meta description then you might be missing out on a lot of free web traffic, which means you’re loosing out on new customers.

The purpose of optimizing your browser titles and meta descriptions is not to increase your page rank. The goal is to increase your click-through rate (CTR). Click-through rate is the number of times your webpage is clicked compared to the number of times its shows in the results. So if Google users select your webpage instead of the other options an average of 12 times for every 100 times Google loads it in the search results then your webpage has a 12% click-through rate.

An important thing to keep in mind is that your click-through rate is one of the things Google looks at when determining your rank in the search results. So while the purpose of optimizing your browser titles and meta descriptions isn’t necessarily to increase your page rank, it can ultimately have that effect.

Making your web pages stand out from the competition is especially critical in situations where the sites listed above yours are too big to defeat (ex: large companies with big budgets, government websites, popular Wikipedia articles, etc). If you can make your site stick out like a sore thumb (in a good way) then you can maximize the amount of traffic you get from your current spot in the results.


Website Tonight Browser Title

The search result pages on Google show up to 70 characters (including blank spaces) of each webpage’s title. As you can see from the first search result example above, if your browser title exceeds the character limit Google will show as many whole words as it can then replace the rest with an ellipsis ( … ).

Read, “Website Tonight SEO : Headings Titles and Browser Titles” for instructions on how to update your browser titles in Website Tonight.

Website Tonight Meta Description

The search result pages on Google show up to 156 characters (including blank spaces) of each webpage’s meta description (aka: the snippet). Just like with a browser title, if your meta description exceeds the character limit Google will show as many whole words as it can then replace the rest with an ellipsis ( … ).

Dates in Meta Descriptions

If the webpage displays a date then Google might include it in the meta description. For example, if the webpage is a press release it will often have a published-on date. Google wants to include that information because it helps people determine if the result is what they are looking for. When a date is automatically included by Google it reduces your meta description character limit from 156 to 139.

Read, “Website Tonight SEO : Meta Tags” for instructions on how to update your meta description for a page in Website Tonight.

Search Result Optimizer

Rather than counting characters and crossing your fingers you can preview the search results for your web pages with the SERP Snippet Optimizer. It lets you make changes and instantly see them as they will appear on Google. It also allows you to see how your result will look when certain keywords are bolded.


Bold Keywords in Search Results

Google will bold the searched keywords in all of the browser titles and meta descriptions for every result. For this reason (and many others) you want to fill your browser titles and meta descriptions with the keywords your target audience will search the most.

Read, “How to Choose and Target Keywords for Your Business” if you are interested in search engine optimization for Website Tonight.

Website Tonight SEO : Heading & Browser Titles

Do you know the difference between the Browser Title and the Heading Title? Don’t worry, most people don’t. I get asked this question a lot. Those that don’t know and don’t ask often put the same thing for both of them. The browser title and heading title should be different if you care about search engine optimization (aka: improving your search rank and maximizing the amount of traffic you get from the search engines).

In this article I am going to show you how the browser title and heading title are used, give instructions for how you can change them in Website Tonight, and discuss the SEO value of each. The browser title has more SEO value, so lets start there.


Website Tonight Browser Titles

The browser title is used in multiple ways. In older versions of the most popular browsers (ex: Internet Explorer, Mozilla FireFox, Google Chrome, etc) the browser title showed in the upper left hand corner of the window. In the newest versions of these browsers the design has been streamlined so it no longer appears there. However, the browser title is still used as the text for the tab as shown in the screenshot below (Google Chrome).

Tabs in Google Chrome

As you can see there are two tabs open. The first tab (left) is GoDaddy.com, and the second tab (right) is Google.com. The text GoDaddy used is too long to fit into the tab, so not all of it is visible (hover over the tab and it will show the full text). When GoDaddy wrote the text they weren’t concerned with fitting it into the tab. Instead they focused on how it would appear in the search results (see, “Search Engine Optimization with Browser Titles” below for details).

How to Change a Browser Title in Website Tonight

  1. Log in to your Website Tonight account.
  2. Navigate to the page where you want to update the Browser Title.
  3. Click the Page tab (top center).
  4. Hover over the Properties icon (top center under the Page tab).
  5. Select Page from the drop-down menu.
  6. In the Browser Title box type a title for the page.
  7. Click the Apply button (bottom right).
  8. Use the Pages drop-down menu (upper right) to select another page.
  9. Repeat steps 5 – 8 until you have updated the browser title for every page.
  10. Publish your Website Tonight project.

Search Engine Optimization with Browser Titles

Google is by far the most popular search engine. When you do a search on Google the results look something like this…

www.godaddy.com
Register & transfer domains for less. Reliable hosting. Easy-to-use site builders. Affordable SSL certificates. eCommerce solutions. ICANN-accredited.

The first line of each search result is a link. Google uses the text you put in for the browser title as the link to your webpage. For that reason the browser title is important. You want to use strong keywords and write something compelling that will make people want to visit your site. Keep in mind that Google limits your browser title to 70 characters (including blank spaces).

Learning the search result guidelines and how to target keywords are the critical first steps in making your business successful online.
If you are reading about SEO online you will see the terms “page title” and “browser title” used as though they are different. Normally they are, but in Website Tonight the page title and the browser title are the same thing.

Website Tonight Heading Titles

The heading title is the large text at the top of the webpage. In most Website Tonight templates the heading title is a color that matches the theme. In the screenshot below the heading title is black and says “Home Page”.

Example of a Heading Title in Website Tonight

How to Change a Heading Title in Website Tonight

  1. Log in to your Website Tonight account.
  2. Navigate to the page where you want to update the Heading Title.
  3. Click the Page tab (top center).
  4. Hover over the Properties icon (top center under the Page tab).
  5. Select Page from the drop-down menu.
  6. In the Heading Title box type a title for the page.
  7. Click the Apply button (bottom right).
  8. Use the Pages drop-down menu (upper right) to select another page.
  9. Repeat steps 5 – 8 until you have updated the heading for every page.
  10. Publish your Website Tonight project.

How to Change the Heading Title Color in Website Tonight

  1. Log in to your Website Tonight account.
  2. Hover over Design (upper left).
  3. Select Advanced Color Options from the drop-down menu.
  4. Click the colored square to the right of Heading Title Text.
  5. Use the color selector to choose a new color.
  6. Click the Okay button.
  7. Click the Apply button. You might need to scroll down in the pop-up box to see it.
  8. Click the Okay button. You might need to scroll down in the pop-up box to see it.

Search Engine Optimization with Heading Titles

To understand how Google uses your heading titles think of your website as if it were a book. Every book has a name and is usually divided into chapters with sub-chapters. Websites are structured in a similar way…

Structure of a Book
Book Name

  • Chapter One Title
    • Sub-chapter Title
    • Sub-chapter Title
  • Chapter Two Title
    • Sub-chapter Title
    • Sub-chapter Title
  • Chapter Three Title
    • Sub-chapter Title
    • Sub-chapter Title
Structure of a Website
yourdomain.com

  • Page 1 Browser Title
    • Heading Title
    • Heading Title
  • Page 2 Browser Title
    • Heading Title
    • Heading Title
  • Page 3 Browser Title
    • Heading Title
    • Heading Title

In web design every webpage needs at least one heading title. That’s why Website Tonight has it built in by default, but just because there’s only one default heading title don’t misunderstand that to mean there should only be one. In web design you are supposed to organize your webpage into logical sections and subsections. Take this webpage for example, this is how I organized it…

  • Website Tonight SEO : Heading & Browser Titles
    • Website Tonight Browser Titles
      • How to Change a Browser Title in Website Tonight
      • Search Engine Optimization with Browser Titles
    • Website Tonight Heading Titles
      • How to Change a Heading Title in Website Tonight
      • How to Change the Heading Title Color in Website Tonight
      • Search Engine Optimization with Heading Titles

Dividing your web pages into sections like this helps search engines understand what the webpage is about, what information is the most important, and what searches your webpage would be a quality result for. Website Tonight lets you organize your content info top categories, sub-categories, and sub-sub-categories by simply highlighting the text you want to turn into a category heading and using the Heading drop-down menu (upper left) to select the level. Conceptually it looks something like this…

  • Heading 1
    • Heading 2
      • Heading 3
      • Heading 3
    • Heading 2
      • Heading 3
      • Heading 3
      • Heading 3
  • Heading 1
    • Heading 2
    • Heading 2
      • Heading 3
      • Heading 3

Website Tonight allows you to use headings up to six levels deep. Most SEO experts agree that Google only puts emphasis on the information for the first three levels, but having more than three levels is not a bad thing.

Just be careful not to overdo it. Organizing a book into chapters and sub-chapters with a few sentences each doesn’t make sense, and likewise adding a heading or subheading to a webpage for a small amount of content also doesn’t make sense. Google uses the headings to understand the content under them, but if there’s little or no content under a heading then your heading is worthless to Google and wont help your search rank.

Website Tonight SEO : Meta Tags

Generally speaking “meta tags” are a minor part of search engine optimization and a major part of organic (aka: free) search engine marketing. Don’t worry if you don’t fully and clearly understand the difference between search engine optimization and search engine marketing. All that matters is that you understand that the meta tags on your website can make a difference in your success online.

To be more specific a “meta tag” is a hidden piece of code on a website that gives special instructions to the search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. With meta tags you can communicate vital info to a search engine, such as which international regions the webpage is targeted to, what searches your website should be a result for, and what info should show when your webpage is a result in a search.

When working with meta tags your ultimate goal is to get the highest possible search engine rank, which ideally will lead to more business and boost your bottom line. Before you can do that you need to know more about meta tags and how to use them. There are many different types of meta tags that you can add to your website, but most of them are used very rarely and wont make much of a difference for your SEO. The two most commonly used meta tags are: meta keywords and meta description.


Meta Keywords

The meta keywords tag is simply a comma separated list of keywords and phrases on a webpage that describe that webpage. An example meta keywords list for this webpage would probably look something like this…

search engine optimization, SEO, meta keywords, meta description, Website Tonight, meta tag, website rank, improve search rank, meta data

Many years ago Google stopped using the meta keywords as part of their search algorithm. What does that mean? Basically it means that the meta keywords tag doesn’t really matter anymore. Why did Google do this? Many reasons, but mainly because Google can already see what your website is about by looking at the text on your web pages – they don’t need your keyword list. Unfortunately people that are not familiar with search engine optimization are unaware of this and somehow get it in their heads that having the meta keywords tag on their web pages is important – it’s not.

Do not confuse “meta keywords” with “keywords”. The meta keywords tag is virtually worthless, but “keywords” are extremely important. To see the difference and learn more read, “Website Tonight SEO : Keywords“.

Even though the meta keywords tag is virtually worthless I still add it to each page of the websites I design for a few different reasons.

  • If they truly are ignored by Google then adding them wont hurt anything.
  • It takes almost zero effort to add the meta keywords tag to a webpage.
  • Nothing is stopping Google from using the meta keywords in the future and not making that fact public. If they do, all my sites will be ready. I doubt they will use them for search rank, but who knows how they might use them or why they will determine them to be resourceful again.
  • Some smaller search engines still use the meta keywords for indexing.

How to Add Meta Keywords to Website Tonight

  1. Log in to your Website Tonight account.
  2. Navigate to the page where you want to add meta keywords.
  3. Click the Page tab (top center).
  4. Hover over the Properties icon (top center under the Page tab).
  5. Select Meta Data from the drop-down menu.
  6. Type keywords and key phrases (separated by a comma) in the Keywords box.
  7. Click the Apply button (bottom right).
  8. Use the Pages drop-down menu (upper right) to select another page.
  9. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until you have added keywords to every page.
  10. Publish your Website Tonight project.

Meta Description

The meta description tag is what Google and other large search engines use as the description of the webpage when it appears in the search results. This is the only meta tag that is visible to humans. The example below shows how a meta description is displayed in a Google search. The first line (blue text) is the title of the webpage. The second line (green text) is the URL of the webpage. The last two lines (black text) are the meta description for that page.

Website Tonight > Help > Tips > Tricks > Tutorials > Templates …
www.prositetonight.com
The ONLY place you can get FREE help, easy how-to guides, custom Website Tonight
templates you won’t find in Website Tonight, live examples, and much more!

How to Add a Meta Description In Website Tonight

  1. Log in to your Website Tonight account.
  2. Navigate to the page where you want to add meta keywords.
  3. Click the Page tab (top center).
  4. Hover over the Properties icon (top center under the Page tab).
  5. Select Meta Data from the drop-down menu.
  6. Type a short summary of the page in the Description box.
  7. Click the Apply button (bottom right).
  8. Use the Pages drop-down menu (upper right) to select another page.
  9. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until you have added keywords to every page.
  10. Publish your Website Tonight project.
If you use Website Tonight for business or if the purpose of your website is to make money then read, “SEO 101 for Website Tonight“.