In this post, I want to show you something that you can check on your own website to make sure that your search engine optimization is at least going in the right direction. It’s a problem that I see over and over again.

It’s essentially SEO 101. I try not to get too technical with search engine optimization because I know it’s going to be over most people’s heads, but there are some very basic SEO tactics that you should know.

Some Basic SEO Principles

These are the first things that I learned when I started doing SEO many years ago. It still is applicable today, but so many companies and websites don’t have the basics correct. I want to show this to you, just so you can spot check your own website.

If these elements aren’t done correctly, then it’s probably why you’re not ranking. Or perhaps you don’t have these elements handled correctly, and you have an SEO company. If so, then you really need to start thinking about whether this is the right SEO company for you because this is very basic stuff.

The 3 Key Elements

In SEO, there are three elements that are the most important on any website or any page of a website. Now, every single page on the website is going to have these three elements. This is where your main keywords should appear. There is some variation in terms of how frequently they should appear, and I’ll get into that in a few minutes. I just want to show you what they are.

The Page Title

The first thing is going to be your page title. Now, the page title is what appears right at the top. Now, if I hover over it, you will see that it says Baltimore DUI + DWI Defense Lawyer – Rice Law Firm. Now, I’m not going to get into a strategy in terms of how you should actually word this, but you do want to make sure that you have at least your main keyword in there.

This law firm, they’re in Baltimore, Maryland, and they have Baltimore DUI, DWI defense lawyers. They’ve got DUI, DWI lawyers which is good. They also have Rice Law Firm.

A lot of times, I see lawyers that will have their brand name there. If they have Rice Lawyers and nothing else, then that’s not an effective thing. The page title is arguably the most important place to have your main keyword, and it should be first. It shouldn’t be Rice Lawyers.

By the way, I don’t know who this guy is. I just picked his website at random. Actually, he was ranked number one when I searched organically for Baltimore DUI lawyers. So, good work to whoever is doing his website. Anyway, you want to make sure that you got the keyword first. He’s got Baltimore DUI and DWI defense lawyers.

I probably wouldn’t do it that way, but you can see that sometimes it works. As long as you got the main idea there: Baltimore DUI, DWI defense lawyers. It’s working for him.

The Page URL

The second most important element is going to be your page URL. Now, take a look at this. He’s got Baltimore DUI attorney in his page URL.

Let’s see, he does criminal defense. Google has said that they think the closer to the root domain your keyword is, the better. If I was doing this website, I would probably get rid of criminal defense, and I would probably have the URL look like that:

But, he does have Baltimore DUI Defense Lawyer up top here as the page title, and Baltimore DUI Attorney here as the URL. This is probably the second most important place to have a keyword. Again, we want a keyword. If you notice, he’s got an attorney in one place, and he’s got a lawyer in the other. Actually, he’s got lawyers, plural, there.

H1 Header

Now about the third most important place to have a keyword, and actually, it’s kind of a toss-up between the URL and this next one that we’re going to talk about. Which one is two, and which one is three? Honestly, they’re both important. The third is going to be your H1 header. Now, an H1 header is not as obvious as your page title or your URL.

NOTE: You may want to watch the video to follow along.

An H1 header is actually what’s known as the page tab. Often, the H1 header is going to be down here. However, this H1 header happens to be right here. The way that I know that is because I have a tool on my computer that tells me that. It’s called Open SEO Stats which is a free plugin for Chrome.

I go here, and I click page info, and you could see right here, H1 is Baltimore DUI Defense Lawyer. You can also see the page title and URL. If you want to look at this in one piece, you can do that. You can see right here, the URL is Baltimore DUI Attorney, the title is Baltimore DUI DWI Defense Lawyers, and the H1 header is Baltimore DUI Defense Lawyer.

Should You Use Variations?

Now, if you notice, he’s got an attorney, lawyers, and lawyer. So, he’s got a nice variation of a lawyer, lawyers, attorney, and law firm all that type of stuff. That’s a good thing. You don’t want to do the same thing every time. You don’t want to have Baltimore DUI Lawyer, Baltimore DUI Lawyer, Baltimore DUI Lawyer. You want to switch it up a little bit.

If you don’t have this plugin, you can click on what you think is the H1 header and right click on it, hit specs, and then on the side, you’re just going to see it’s highlighted, and it says H1 Class. That means it’s the H1 header. That’s a little more technical.

There are a couple of variations to this rule. Now, I do things a little differently. I typically try to make the H1 header a little bit more conversational. You don’t have to, but that’s what I try to do. I try to do something like Baltimore DUI Defense Lawyer Fighting for the Accused since 1984.

How Optimized Should You Make Your Website?

Some people might say this is over-optimized and it typically depends on the search and competition. Sometimes, you may have a two-thirds rule. This is something that we do quite often where we’ll have the page title with the keyword, and then either the URL or the H1 header has your main keyword in it, but not both. So, you have two out of three.

What We Do For Our Clients

Now, as I said, this guy is number one, and he’s got three out of three. So, it’s not an absolute rule. Typically, what you want to do is search for your main keyword. If you’re trying to rank for Baltimore DUI Lawyer, we look at what the other pages on the first page of Google are doing, and then we pretty much kind of follow that.

I thought this was important because I looked at so many websites for lawyers that say they have a marketing company or they have a search engine optimization company and this basic principle is not even taken care of.

We’ve had new clients come to us, and their websites are not optimized, even like this. Even after paying SEO companies for years and years, and then all we do is make a couple of tweaks to their page title, their H1, maybe change the URL if necessary. They get an instant ranking to boost and typically get cases out of it.

It’s crazy that this basic thing is ignored so often. If you pay attention to this, if you want to check your own website, there are also some other variations where you can try to work in Google my business categories. Those are more advanced, and we’re not even really doing it that much anymore except for special circumstances.

If you have any questions about your own website or if you think something looks a little weird, just shoot me a message or leave me a comment. I’ll take a look at it, and we’ll see if I can figure out what’s going on for you.