It’s a very popular topic and one most bloggers and small business owners spend a lot of time trying to master. Search engine optimization gives your blog and website much needed visibility online. This is all done by pulling on the keywords your readers and potential customers use to search for you online.
It can be tricky, I won’t pretend it isn’t, as Google is constantly changing their algorithms, which will affect any old methods still in use. To simplify, I will be sharing with you how you can use SEO to benefit your blog and small business website.
Now let’s break it down from the very beginning.
What does SEO mean?
SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is used to test the quality of content on every webpage on your website or blog. When someone types their question into a search engine, if your content is relevant to their search, it will have a great chance of ranking on the first or second page of the search results.
One of the biggest taboo is that SEO is so complicated that only the experts can make sense of it. Yes, it’s great to have expert help at hand, but in the long run, it will save you a lot of time and money if you learn how to do it yourself.
Keywords simply tells a search engine, like Google, what kind of content is on your website. When used well, these keywords will make it easier for people to find you.
Before all the changes, all marketers needed to create and run a great ad campaign were the right keywords. At the time, Google searched relevant keywords, which meant it was easier than ever to rank. This resulted in a lot of marketers cramming out their client’s website with keywords, which meant that readers were being left with crappy content, but the website had great ranking. Therefore, it’s important to remember that although keywords are amazing for ranking purposes, never choose keywords over valuable content.
Due to these black hat marketers, Google changed their algorithm, so now you can get penalised for populating your content with keywords for ranking. This doesn’t mean SEO doesn’t work, it still does, but only when used properly. Before it was about the amount of times you use a keyword, but now it’s more about where the keywords appear. Having your chosen keywords in the Title, URL, first paragraph and then a couple of times in the body of your content, will achieve greater results over spamming throughout the entire post.
How do you choose the right keywords?
Unfortunately, you can’t just pull a few words out of nowhere and create a sentence to receive a good rank. This area takes a little bit of research, to find out what keywords relates to your niche and whether they are far too saturated to use. To get started, you will need to choose the keywords that relate to your small business or blog. You can use Google’s keyword tool or Moz, to find out what phrases, using the keywords you have chosen are the most saturated or have the greatest opportunity. A big mistake most people make at this point, is choosing to use the most popular keyword phrases; doing this will only make it harder and more competitive to rank.
For example, your competitor may have a blog post called “How to create your own content calendar”; this ranks on the first page in first or second position. Should you go ahead and use this phrase, it would be very, very hard to compete. The search engine has already recognised their post as the most relevant for that phrase, so you will need to try another. This gets even harder if the website has a dominant domain. It’s not impossible to compete with a dominant website, it will just take a little bit more time and effort to get there.
Where to place your keywords:
You want to include your keywords in the url of each page or blog post.
This appears in the search engine, so should reflect what your site is about.
All your webpages should contain relevant keywords, but don’t overdo it, or use too many H1 or H2 tags; Google may find this spammy and your readers may find it irritating.
Link text is important because it tells the search engine that the content is relevant when searched. This can also be done in blog posts, where you link to another article, that is relevant to what you are saying in that sentence or paragraph.
This is seen by the search engine as the primary header for each webpage. It tells the search engine what the information beneath is about and who to show it to.
Keywords are vital, but due to new changes, Google doesn’t just look at keywords for ranking or relevance. Their bots are now smart enough to interpret content, then it decides whether your sentence or paragraph is valuable enough to share.
This means that you can be more creative with your keywords and still rank well.
To conclude, taking the time to practice SEO will result in an optimised website or blog. You can play around with the terms you use, for instance instead of saying “How to understand Instragram marketing”, you can change it to “Instragram marketing for small businesses”; this may pull in those searching for information on Instragram, but also those who run small businesses.
It points to the same audience, but with a much wider reach. Understanding SEO will make a difference in how you write your posts, your page titles, url or how you open your first paragraph in a blog post.
Stay tuned for part 2 next week…