Note: I would, first, like to thank everyone who has started following me on social media and wordpress! It’s really encouraging to see and I will try my best to check out your sites and social media accounts too. I enjoy connecting with people of like-mind from all over the world! With that said, let’s get on with it!
Everyone’s telling you about how to optimize your website and its content for SEO and you’re just about done reading and listening to the many Gurus out. Most of them are right in that there are so many ways to tackle SEO when it comes to website content; there’s is no absolute way to do it but there are right and wrong ways.
The latter can get you penalized for a long, long…long time, so, we are always very careful about toeing the line. The basic idea is to know where the boundaries are as well as to understand what kind of website content is good for SEO.
Of all the tutorials that I’ve subscribed to and experts I’ve listened to, this one from Bruce Clay seemed to be one of the simplest.
Don’t be fooled by the length of that page. Scroll down and you’ll see tons of other pages focused on different sub-topics. If you’re just starting out with SEO marketing and trying to kick the door down into the big game, start with the first page on the link above and do it one step at a time. Take your time.
Write Website Content for the Reader and Surfer
Before you dive into anything anyone has to say about ranking highly on Google or Bing, let’s just start with this one advice: write for the common reader. Remember this as you’re writing, developing, strategizing, and then implementing all those SEO marketing tactics.
Never forget the main target – they’re not the search engine, it’s the audience.
Sometimes your website, something you’ve been working on for ages on free sites or even on a bought server, can disappear from the face of the earth. Or at least on blogs and social media sites. This happened to a Tumblr user who was flabbergasted with a simple Tumblr purge that saw years of her work unceremoniously dumped on internet wasteland.
Her site was toeing the line and she was obviously enjoying a steady stream of readers and fans and yet, she had to start all over again.
Like everyone else, she would have to perform the same menial tasks like keyword research, writing, retrieving, posting and when SEO-ing her site/blog all over again.
It’s a pain in the A22, I know.
Where is the line drawn between just enough and too much SEO?
This is the perennial question that every single web marketer, website owner, and an SEO expert will have to keep asking, testing, analyzing and concluding. Over and over and over again.
In general, we’ll assume you have multiple pages on your website primed for topics you’d like to focus on. Assuming you run a website selling jewelry, you’ll have specific pages on your website with content focused on ‘women’s earrings’, ‘women’s necklaces’, ‘crystal accessories’, ‘designer rings’, etc.
Most experts agree that there should be one PRIMARY keyword for each page. The primary keyword is supported by 2 to 3 secondary keywords that you think your customers will search for when they’re looking for your products/services.
Within one site, you’ll have hundreds if not thousands of keyword-focused web or product pages.
Write naturally while keeping in mind the readers instead of stuffing the pages full of the keywords. As much as it is a turn-off for your customers, it’s a turn-off for search engines as well.
How many words and keywords should there be on a page?
Google will never pin the number down but based on researches done, the golden egg seems to lies somewhere between 700 to 1,200 words per page. If you have 700 words on the page, 5% of them would be strategically placed and naturally-written keywords.
It sounds like a straightforward plan, doesn’t it?
Breaking News: it isn’t.
If you run a blog, anything more than 200 words should suffice. For product pages for an eCommerce website, you’ll have to find the sweet spot between 300 to 400 words per page.
Apart from having your normal web and product pages optimized for SEO, you also want to dig into regularly updating your website or blog. This lends credence towards the legitimacy and competitiveness of your business. If they all support each other (your web pages), keyword and content-wise, it will give your website a boost in SEO ranking.
What happens when your keyword is really competitive?
I suggest twirling and twisting around with your main keyword(s). Try using your location, specific details about your products or services, or incorporate less competitive words that blend in with the main keywords.
There are free SEO tools you can use for your SEO content writing activities and one such example would be Small SEO Tools and Answer The Public. The latter site reminds me of my old favorite, Ask Jeeves, which has now been replaced with Ask.com. Answer The Public, however, is more analytical in its features and gives you the whys, hows, whats, and whens.
It’s a really neat tool to find out what people are asking around on the internet. Using them, play around with your keywords and get creative.
- ‘bluetooth speakers’ with ‘bluetooth speakers for computers’
- ‘breast pump online’ with ‘blue breast pump online sale’
- ‘Brooklyn property for rent’ with ‘2-room Brooklyn apartment for rent’
- ‘online bookstore’ with ‘cheap online bookstore free shipping’
Do I need a landing page?
Some people don’t worry about it too much these days but in my personal opinion, having a good landing page worked in with the right SEO techniques and keywords; it makes a world of difference. It is also easier to work on a landing page because you have a larger platform to fight the bigger, badder battles when it comes to competitive keywords.
And with landing pages, it’s a no-brainer. Everyone knows you’re aiming for good ranking. It takes away the veil of pretense and makes it known that you’re trying to give answers, sell products, or provide solutions.
Don’t forget to do all the right things for landing pages which includes putting in links to keyword-focused sub-pages on other parts of your site. Use images, taglines, titles, and headers very liberally and accurately to help surfers find what they’re looking for. You have only a few seconds to do that. Literally.
Since it is a landing page, it’s an awesome place to make a good impression so, make…it…good.
So, how do we actually incorporate the keywords we want into the content we’re writing?
What are META tags and are they still relevant today?
The short answer is as close to the top of the page as possible and the page’s META tags.
The long answer, however, could be a little more technical.
If you’re not familiar with what META tags are, they’re hidden tags within a page that search engine spiders see and use to determine what the page is about. So, what’s the big deal? The problem started when SEO marketers and writers started plugging as many keywords as they can come up with into both the META tags and website content in their bid to outrank each other.
It was confusing for everyone because:
- Search engines realized the keyword stuffing and found it harder than ever to rank web pages and websites properly
- Surfers were inundated with irrelevant search results. Let’s say Website A sold cushions but stuffed his/her website with keywords for ‘pillows’, ‘sofas’, ‘chairs’, ‘table’, ‘furniture’ and it came up organically because of the META tags, the surfer would come up with a lot of links that were NOT related to what they were looking for
- Search engines started banning and reducing the importance of META tags and looked for better ways to rank websites and its pages
- Websites found guilty of stuffing their websites and pages with keywords were penalized heavily for using ‘black hat’ tactics
Where do we use keywords in our META tags and web content?
Still, the META Title and Description tags should contain your targeted keywords. This goes without saying but say it as effectively, accurately and quickly as possible. Remove unnecessary words like ‘a’, ‘an’, ‘of’, ‘in’, or ‘at’ and make it short. Google and search engines have little patience for long-winded writers.
It’s quite an adjustment to make for more traditional writers and storytellers like me because we thrive on using words to describe as many things as possible. As far as this is concerned, we’re on the same boat #lol
Search engines use the page’s META title tags to tell web surfers precisely what they’re looking for and it comes up bright and bold as a link on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
What follows that bolded link on SERPs is pulled out from your page’s META Description tag. It has to support the title tag and is applicable to the burning question of impatient web surfers. Make it no longer than two sentences and get straight to the point – even if it sounds like a total sales pitch. Because it is.
And try not to repeat the same keyword(s) in the same order.
Keywords are still relevant depending on search engines
10 years ago, Google said that they no longer use or rely on the keywords META tag for their search algorithm because it was too open for ‘stuffing’ and there were better ways to decide whether a page was rank-worthy.
But Google is not the only search engine in the world.
We can’t tunnel vision ourselves and think of ranking highly only on Google because people use other search engines too! Although lagging behind by a whole Universe, other search engines to keep within our peripheral vision would be Bing, Yahoo, Ask, AOL, Baidu, Wolframalpha, and DuckDuckGo.
The weight and water they carry continues to be light and little but still…if you check out sites like DuckDuckGo and Ask, you’ll see how these search engines differ in their own unique ways.
As long as you keep in sight Google’s best practices and don’t piss them off, you should be fine with other search engines too.
The content should be relevant to the keywords you’re using
Google is like that girlfriend of yours who has been cheated on one time too many – it’s wary of any sign of dishonesty and fraud. So, whatever keywords you focus on in the head section of the web page, stay true to your words. That’s your best bet.
Focus on one topic, one product, or one type of service and zoom in on that. And when you’re writing the copy for the page, write it for your readers, not Google.
Imagine if your web page finally ranks well and someone clicks on it. You don’t want the audience to feel cheated on or confused. The readers, as well as a search engine, must see what they want to find as promised by your META title and description tags.
Throughout the page, include an H1 tag that supports the META title tag of the page, and ideally, should have your top keyword in it.
The website content should then have H2 and H3 tags to break down the chunk of content to make it:
- more digestible for readers
- easily searched through and indexed by search engines
Go in for the early shot and deliver consistently
As soon as you’re in the ring, hit early. What this means is to deliver on your promise with an introduction of about 150 to 200 words to the article or page. Use the keyword or supporting keywords within the intro and make it stand out.
And throughout the article or page, don’t repeat the same keywords too many times – remember keyword stuffing? Keep away from that. Instead, use other ways to describe the same thing. There are a few other aspects you need to consider putting into your web page to make it SEO-friendly and that includes placement of images (include captions and tags). If you want to embed a good video or Instagram picture, all the better.
It pays to be helpful
It’s good to have a database of your own articles in whatever format you like but most people pull out their blog/website content in an Excel or Google Drive Sheet and save it as a database.
Search through the list of content and see if there are relevant pages you can link to in the new article. Something you think people will find interesting and useful.
And don’t be afraid to link out to quality websites if you think they’ll help your readers. Unselfishness and helpfulness is something MOST search engines value because it tells them that you’re trying to help the reader and what’s not to like about that?
Going the distance…
Here’s to your successful SEO effort. It’s not an easy or quick task so, give and take about 6 to 12 months, there should some form of result if you keep at it.
Featured image credit: Diggity Marketing on Unsplash