Search engine optimization (SEO) is a matter of understanding how various combinations and rankings of words work together to raise your profile, says Cara Crosetti, Los Angeles-based account director and web specialist with Wickware Communications Inc. of Toronto.

A few well-placed words can place you higher in search results and get you noticed by your target audience. Now that you have selected your keywords, Crosetti says, you can harness these powerful SEO tools:

1. A strong URL
The most important elements on your webpage are your URL and your title tag.
Your URL is also known as your web address, for example:

It would be ideal, Crosetti says, if you could include one or more of your primary keywords in your URL. That would create a strong connection for your audience.

2. Title tag
Your title tag is visible as the top line of text on your main page and as the headline in most search results pages. Including the keyword in your URL or another important one of your keywords here will help you climb the search engine ranking.

For example, if your financial advisory practice is called “Jones and Smith Planning” in Regina, you would want to have your website appear when a user searches for “financial planning Regina” or “Regina financial services.”

Having a title tag containing one of those words can increase the chances your site will appear in response to such a search, Crosetti says. Just keep your title tag to 80 characters or less.

3. Heading tags
Your next most powerful too is your heading tag or H-tag.

H-tags follow a ranking system — H1, H2, H3, H4, etc. — that delineate various levels of subheads and text on your website.

A good website relies on a clear structure and a defined hierarchy.

Your H1 tag, for example, is your headline and, thus, the most important H-tag in that hierarchy. As an advisor, you might choose to have your H1 tag say something like “achieve a better return,” and then have your H2 tag highlight various ways clients can gather assets.

While you should try to include some of your keywords in your H-tags, make sure they do not affect the quality of your message or read unnaturally. Otherwise, you might get the reputation as a “keyword stuffer.”

4. Anchor text
Next in importance comes your AHREF tag, also known as anchor text. This text is underlined in a different colour from the body text because it links to another element on your webpage.

Anchor text is weighed heavily by search engines, Crosetti says, because it can help drive more traffic to your main page or other pages within your website,.

This is the sixth instalment in an occasional, seven-part series on using SEO to build your business.

Next: Some of the finer points of SEO.