What Exactly Is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, allows your site to not only be seen by the search engines but, when a search term (either keywords or phrases) is entered, offers the ability to rank very high in the search engine results pages.
But why is SEO so critical to the success of your business online? The holy grail for online marketers centers around getting your site on the first page of a Google search results page. Why Google? Because it currently owns well over half the market of all searches.
How much does being ranked highly on Google really matter?
You might think that using social media is the best way to get your blog or website seen. I don’t want to discount them. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all the rest can be powerful tools to help you build a following.
But, there are two great parts about being ranked highly on Google search results:
- Google is the highest-trafficked website in the world. Even getting a fraction of Google’s traffic is significant for your website.
- Optimized content can stay in the top spot for as long as it’s relevant. A Facebook post shows up in a feed for a couple of hours. One tweet might be skipped over. But a top-ranked Google post can last for months or even years.
Before you write your post, make sure your site is optimized.
Search engines care about more than just the words on the page. They also take into account factors including the quality and consistency of your site speed and authority. There are tons of other factors that go into website SEO, but let’s break down these two, Speed and Authority.
- Speed: There are a ton of reasons why you should want your website to run as fast as possible. Web users are notoriously impatient, and they’reliable to leave your website — maybe forever — if it takes just two seconds to load. At the same time, improving website speed can lead to an increase in conversions, downloads and views.
Here are two great strategies you can use to improve your website’s speed.
-The first is to optimize all your images for the web. You can probably make your image files much smaller without sacrificing quality. You should also think about the density of your image. Most computer screens only show images at 72 pixels per inch, which means that anything clearer than that is wasted.
– The second suggestion is to optimize for mobile. He writes, “Users now spend, on average, 69 percent of their media time on smartphones. Yet many commercial websites still perform poorly on mobile.
- Authority: Authority comes from different sources — users, other websites and search engines — but really, it comes down to trust.
How long has your website been relevant, and how long have you been creating content around a given topic? Just as important, do other experts use your website as a source? Are they linking to it or citing you?
While writing your post, you should have a keyword or search term in mind.
Google isn’t going to magically rank your website in the top 10 just because you write a post. You have to help search engines out by predicting what people will search to find your story. For example, let’s say you write an article about what kids need to run their own lemonade stand.
I might try to write a funny title such as:
Lemonaide: Helpful Tips for Running Your Summer Stand
Sugar, Water and Lemons: A Perfect Recipe
Then, they might see a picture of a lemonaide stand or read a little of the story and figure out what it’s about.
If you are writing an article for the web, then, it’s important to be clear.Here are some better SEO headlines for an article on how to run a lemonade stand:
- How to Run a Lemonaide Stand
- Tips on Running aLemonaide Stand
- What Ingredients Do You Need to Run a Lemonade Stand? A Checklist.
These titles are more straightforward, and they mirror the way a potential user would search for information on lemonade stands.
Once you pick your key search term, you have to use it in the post.
Putting the keyword in the headline is important, but it isn’t the only thing you should do to optimize your story.
You should also include your keyword throughout the story, including in your intro and in a “heading 2.”
One potential way to add keywords is through the use of related links — by adding related links with similar titles, you can add keywords without actually changing the content of your article. Use internal links to other stories on related topics from your website.
If you have the budget, online tools such as Search metrics or Bright edge can help you identify how often you should use your keyword in the article, as well as additional keywords that you should include in your article.
You should still write like you’re talking to people and not a machine.
Search engines penalize short article that jam in keywords without saying anything. Google and others prefer longer articles.
Depending on the subject matter, what “longer” actually mean scan vary. For an article on lemonade stands, 700 words might be longer than average. For an article on how to start a business, search engines might demand something closer to 4,000.
You should also write in an approachable way. Try not to get too in the weeds, even if you’re talking about something technical. If you write with easy-to-read prose, search engines will be more likely to rank your story well and, more importantly, your readers will appreciate it.
After writing your post, you have to share it.
And you need to get other people to share it, too.
It’s pretty simple: If people share your article, it means they think other people should see it. Isn’t that the whole point of a search engine — pointing people to the posts, websites and information they should see?
In the same way that you might be more likely to buy a product or service after someone recommends it, Google and other search engines are more likely to commit to your page after others have shared it.
You need to use social media to start that conversation, so others can recommend your post. To do that, you can use one of two strategies:
- Rely on your own social network.
- Rely on a partner’s social network.