You know what www-dot stands for – right? So how much do you know about SEO?
What does SEO stand for? And why is SEO important for marketers, writers, researchers, website and blog operators?
Abbreviated SEO, the word stands for “Search Engine Optimization.”
We must learn how to write effective SEO copy to have our websites, blogs, press releases and other important content ranked high on search engines for internet searchers to find services and consumer products we have to offer for sale. The practice of implementing proper SEO strategies can help nonprofits attract awesome internet traffic to promote a cause online and publicize fundraising efforts.
Most web users, internet studies report, will make a decision to spend money on products and services based on the first few pages that appear once a user types a word or words into a search engine. Obviously, it is vitally important for web users to find your website or blog online.
Search Engines operate this unique way: they pull pages from billions of operable websites, blogs, e-journals, article portals, e-newsletters, content aggregators, forums posts, online books, social media posts, videos and even court record filings and dispositions. Major search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask automatically rank the content from the sources listed above, based on what the search engine considers most relevant to the searcher, due to the application of their various algorithms.
Make Your Content Readable
“SEO is fundamentally a set of methodologies designed to make it easier for search engines to find and rank your web content,” says marketing blog owner Lee Oden.
Written content forms the base for “Search Engine Optimization.” But there’s a downside to doing too much SEO when you try to get your website ranked high on Google these days. With all the algorithm updates Google has put in place in recent years, numerous tricks and even some of what used to be best practices may not work as effectively as they once did in the past. This is because over time, website operators manipulated Google’s rating system that place websites on search engine results pages (SERPs) for searchers to find. The updated google algorithm system is designed to evaluate several hundred aspects of each website, as well as individual pages. Google changes their algorithms regularly to penalize web operators for engaging in what they see as shady practices undertaken to gain undeserved high rankings.
According to Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt, back in 2010, Google made over 500 algorithm changes which equals 1.5 per day. In April 2012, Google launched the Google Penguin Update to penalize web and blog operators for using various manipulative tactics to improve their website ranking on search engines.
“While we must be aware, and understand, things like Google Panda/Penguin and other major changes in the algorithms, if we focus on doing “good marketing”, all other things should fall in line, and major algorithm changes shouldn’t be a concern,” said Mark Jackson, the author of: 7 Habits of Highly Effective SEO.
Learning To Write For Your Audience And SEO
The search engine is a proxy for a real person, so write for people.
Learning how to write SEO (Search Engine Optimization) content is a skill a decent writer can master if they make a commitment to study the SEO craft. To learn it well, think about taking a mini course, reading and studying everything you find on SEO from reputable sources. So don’t let the word scare you.
No matter whether you are writing your latest website content or blog post or article, keep in mind the simple things: first, you are writing to engage your audience or writing to win a customer’s interest to purchase a product from your site. The things you write must be relevant and interesting for your target audience.
Secondly, your written SEO words must be effective to attract search engine rankings. A search engine’s primary mission is to provide results that are compellingly interesting and informative for their web searchers.
Third, there are structural things you can do, to make your content easier to read, and that has a secondary benefit – it helps search engines understand what your pages are about.
Before we delve into the SEO strategies below, let’s examine two headline examples to illustrate a point:
Example: Need Private Security – Don’t let Thieves Steal You Blind
Notice here that:
(1) I purposely worded the title with keywords I wanted to use for my target, which was “Private Security,” followed by a more luring after-thought. The closer the keywords are to the beginning of the title, the better. A colon could have been used to accomplish the effect but I used a dash.
(2) Actually I could have worded the title this way: “How to Find Private Security in Your Area, but those words would most likely be seen with tons of web articles with the same title, based on that specific search. And, more importantly, the primary keyword phrase I needed to target would not have been as close to the start of the headline.
Here’s another example:
Course Writing Case Studies: Developing a Nonprofit Website For Educational Learning Center
This title targets two keyword phrases: Course Writing Case Studies and Non-Profit Website. See how I did that? By optimizing the title, a positive response was generated from web searchers, and the headline combined with the content inside the story convinced them to purchase the product. Sometimes we must change the effect of a title to earn higher ranking with Google.
If you pay close attention, you’ll learn how to write effective SEO content. Remember, the search engine is trying to be a proxy for real people.
Ten Unique SEO Content Strategies
(1) Write relevant content: search engines can easily identify bogus pages when they superficially appear authentic but are not. So write content relevant to your topic to avoid being seen as spam – or risk having your content listed on page 100, or not at all.
(2) Use a keyword phrase in the page title: search engines give high weighting to page titles on blogs and websites. Using a keyword phrase in the title is a very important part of producing effective SEO content. A key tip to attract readers is to use numbers in your title. For example, in this articles I listed 10 strategies. You don’t always have to use numbers in a title but it is worth mentioning. The title must make sense to people.
(3) Use keyword phrases in subheadings: When you divide articles with subheadings, you help readers and the search engine indexing system to read your article. Because many people skim-read, subheadings are effective because they help them to quickly locate the information they need the most.
Readers and search engines seem to like subheadings because they are easy to scan, and they give valuable hints about the content below them. Words and phrases in subheadings help Google to rate the article.
(4) Use your keyword phrase or a related phrase more than once in your article, but don’t overdo it – remember, it must make sense to your readers. As a rule of thumb, try not to reinforce a keyword or phrase in less than 150 words.
Warning: If you use the same keyword phrases too many times in a page, the Google algorithm may see it as keyword stuffing. Such practices may mark your content as spam! It is usually beneficial to place the main keyword phrase in the first sentence of an article. You can also consider using a bold format on one keyword or phrase, but only if it makes sense to readers.
(5) Using Photos: When Google scans an article it also captures included photos, images or infographics. There is a separate ranking and search system for images, So when a person searches images, and sees one they like, they click on it and can be directed to the article or webpage that published it.
(6) Use keyword phrases at the end of your article: As well as using the keyword phrase in the first sentence of an article, you can also use it in the conclusion, in the last paragraph.
(7) You can make a keyword phrase into a clickable link, that takes readers to a related article or product: Whenever keyword phrases are clickable links, the search engine ranking system relates that keyword phrase to the destination page the link is pointing to. That gives a hint to the search engine, to tell it that page may be “about” that phrase, and it gives the destination page more strength for better ranking.
Warning: be very careful with this, because this is one of the practices covered by the Penguin algorithm. Overuse can not only damage your page’s ranking, it can also affect your whole site and the pages that your links point to. Be sure you are only referencing quality pages on quality websites.
(8) Add Italics: When you repeat a keyword phrase as mentioned above, some SEO experts say you can highlight the words once with italics. The Google search engine takes note of highlighted words or phrases. Again, don’t overuse this.
(9) Proofread each word and sentence you write: Poor grammar, misplaced commas, erroneous spelling and too much stilted dry language will make your content appear unprofessional.
(10) Canonical URL: This is a bit tricky to define, and is about the internal structure of your website, rather than your writing. If there is more than one way to view an individual page on your website, and each way has its own URL, then google sees this as “duplicate content.” You must tell google which of the URLs is the one that should be indexed, and the others ignored. The canonical URL setting is not visible to you or your readers, because it is located in the “head” section of the page, which is not displayed by web browsers. If you use WordPress or a similar content management system, there are software plugins that can handle this for you.
Wikipedia defines Canonicalization this way:
“URL normalization (or URL canonicalization) is the process by which URLs are modified and standardized in a consistent manner. The goal of the normalization process is to transform a URL into a normalized or canonical URL so it is possible to determine if two syntactically different URLs may be equivalent.”
“Search engines employ URL normalization in order to assign importance to web pages and to reduce indexing of duplicate pages. Web crawlers perform URL normalization in order to avoid crawling the same resource more than once. Web browsers may perform normalization to determine if a link has been visited or to determine if a page has been cached.”
The reason you want to do this is that Google will penalize you for having more than one way to access a single piece of content, if it results in those multiple entries in their index.
So what did you learn from these 10 SEO techniques? There are some ways to structure your articles so that they catch the attention of search engines and readers. There are also ways to get yourself into trouble.
If you’re not sure you want to try your own SEO writing for your website; you may choose to pay an expert or a content writing service to handle the lifting for you, utilizing the best SEO writing to deliver your message to the World Wide Web. You want to make money with your business, and SEO writing can help you attract many interested web users to your product or service.
Need to know more? Search Engine Journal lists what they see as the Top 10 Best SEO And Social Media Books.
This story is Part one of an Occasional Series on: How to Use SEO Writing Techniques to Convert Web Users Into Buyers.