Search engine Optimization (SEO) is a loosely defined process of making web pages more identifiable by search engines. Often the term SEO gets tossed around and used in place of other terms such as SER (search engine rank) and SEM (search engine marketing), and tips are handed out on these latter terms misquoting them as an SEO guide. So what is SEO and how can you optimize your content for today’s search engines?
What is SEO?
True SEO is a set of skills and activities performed on websites and their content pages to optimize them for search engine data catalogues. Over time, these activities can help content rank better than not performing them, but as we move forward in the search engine world, search engines will become increasingly more adept at deciding who is spamming their results and who is accurately cataloguing their content for optimal filing by search engines. Before getting started with this tutorial, install an SEO plug-in that handles metadata and other search and keyword parameter features. You will need it when using this guide.
1. Choose a Focus Long-Tail Keyword
All articles need a focus and ideally your focus is a phrase utilizing a keyword users would most likely use in a search engine to find your content. It is important that this keyword in the key phrase not only adequately represents your article’s content, but also your website where you place that content. Remember that your audience is real human readers and not search results and keywords and the long-tail phrases you place them in, are just tools to help people find your content.
2. Use Your Keyword in all the Right Places
Back in the days when black hat SEO’ers ruled the internet they manipulated search engines using the strategies of keyword placement within their article. Don’t fall into this trap, instead, utilize your keyword just seven times in the creating and publishing of your content and let the variations of that keyword fall as they normally would in human speech, within your article.
The key placement of your keyword should be:
- In the article title/heading
- Within the first paragraph
- Within the last paragraph
- Within the meta description
- Within the page title
- Within the page URL
- As an article tag
3. Internal Linking is Another Key to SEO
Search engines crawl websites using program bits called spiders. These spiders find other pages within the internet by following links embedded within articles, and catalogue those links based on the keywords used in linking them, called anchor text. Therefore, it is important to help spiders find newer and older pages of your web content by not only having an RSS feed, Atom feed, or website map, but also by continually refreshing the cataloguing of newer and older content within your website by utilizing anchor text.
When linking, remember to use words which tie to the keyword used in the content you are linking to as well as the subject matter within the content you are placing that link. Search engines consider these like fractional votes that your other content is relevant and doing so helps them catalogue all your content in various files used in the search.
Remember to share the love by occasionally using links to other peoples content. Do utilize ‘no follow’ to these links and use Google’s Disavow Tool and disavow any incoming links. This will help prevent unnatural linking habits, and also help you achieve ranking votes when people do access your content using links from other websites.
But Wait, There’s More to SEO
So in addition to this guide, you should also help people find your content by using social media, newsletters, and other marketing techniques. Once your correctly catalogued content is read by web surfers, it gets a small vote and each activity your readers do counts towards better (or worse) rank. So help them find your content using search engine approved sharing methods and get that content optimized for readers to find it.