What does it mean?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. SEO is great as it is gives you the opportunity to improve your chances of leveraging the search engines to rank your content as high as possible, and even better it is free. However, being ranked on the first page of a search engines results is not enough. Our content may be seen by thousands of people every month but what we need is for people to actually click on our content and visit our sites.
So, what's the secret?
The secret is, there is no secret. There is nothing magical or mysterious about SEO, no little trick that will magically rank you at number 1 on page 1 of a search engine based on SEO alone. There is however a strategy and lessons to be learnt that will ensure you are using SEO correctly and to your best advantage ensuring the content you have meticulously crafted actually gets seen.
The important word here is content, in the post Quality content is King I discussed how it is important to write content for humans not an algorithm and the same is still true with SEO. Without content you will not get traffic and without traffic you will not make any money. Before we look at some of the ways in which we should be approaching SEO let’s take a quick look at what a search engine is and what it does.
What is a search engine?
A search engine provides you with relevant, high quality information in response to a query you have typed in to the search bar. The information it displays has not been produced by the search engine but by the millions of people like you and I who have a presence on the internet.
The search engine doesn’t search the internet when you enter your query, what it does do is use an algorithm to search through its huge database of URLs and content and tries to find the best match to your query and displays these findings in the order it feels best meets your query.
To get the content into the search engines database involves the use of ‘search engine bots’ these are a computer program that actively search the internet looking for web pages. When they find a web page they make a copy and store it in the search engine database. When your content has been found by the ‘bots’ and the URL copied and filed in the database, your content has been ‘indexed’. This means your content is now available to the search engine.
For the algorithms to be able to search and find content that matches the users query as quickly as possible, every URL is classified using some basic information about the web page. For example:
- The keywords contained in the web pages content – this identifies the topic that the page covers.
- The type of content that is on the page, what the page includes?
- The age of the page, how current is the information?
- Previous user engagement with the page or content.
- Location, this is important for queries such as where is the nearest cash point etc.
- Language, matching the answer language to the query language.
- Previous search history, the search engine will tailor its results based on your previous search history.
- The device the query was made on. Sometimes the results chosen by the search engine will depend on the type of device the query was sent on.
Putting together our SEO strategy
You have an idea for a post, that’s great, but before you start writing you need to do some keyword research. Remember how the search engines use keywords to identify what a web page is about? This is where we choose the keyword.
When choosing keywords we are looking for keywords that do not have too much competition but still attract traffic. This sounds very difficult but luckily for us there are keyword research tools that make it simple. The one I use and recommend is Jaaxy. Take a look at the example of Jaaxy below and have a play to see how it works.
Placement of Keywords
Once you have chosen your keywords, where you place them in your post is almost as important as the words themselves. The main locations are listed below.
- In the page title and headline. Although the title and headline should not be identical they should both clearly identify what your content is about.
- Within the first couple of paragraphs of your content
- In content subheadings
- Throughout your content.
Remember – quality content is King! Your content must make sense and do not use your keyword at more than 2-5% density within your content.
Please don’t fall into the trap of ‘keyword stuffing’, the search engines are very clever and recognise if your content contains lots of keywords but makes little sense. This is classed as keyword spam.
The content you create must have meaning, what are you trying to achieve? Think as if you are the person typing a query into the search engine. What are you looking for? What are you hoping to find? Your content should answer these questions. Take a look at Quality content is King for more information.
Search engines like relevant links. If you have other posts which are relevant to the post you are currently creating, create a link to it. This helps build trust with your audience and the search engines.
I will not go into SEO and images too deeply here, that is for another post, but what is important to remember is that search engines cannot ‘read’ images. They can however read the descriptions, tags and titles you give your images so it is important to use relevant titles etc. By relevant I mean something that makes sense to the search engine and makes it relevant to your content and preferably containing a keyword.
SEO is not something to be afraid of or overthink. To start with just follow these guidelines and your content will soon be ranking highly with the search engines. As you create more and more content you will learn more and more about SEO and how to utilize it to your advantage.
If you have any questions, please contact me and I will answer as soon as I can or if you have any comments it would be great to hear from you.
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Thanks for reading. Justin – founder of adcudere.com