SEO: Search Engine Optimization Part 1

The point of SEO or Search Engine Optimization is to improve the content of your site for better visibility in organic search, search you don’t have to pay for.

The first step is defining your website’s objective.

What is the purpose of your web site?

This should be the first step for any business undertaking, but it’s especially important when we’re talking about a web site.

What are the goals and objectives of your site?

The only reason you even want a web site is because it helps you meet a strategic objective.

  • Sell something
  • Advertise something
  • Portfolio
  • Support sales staff
  • Answer client questions

Come up with a basic business plan to accomplish this. Set your priorities and make a decision as to how important SEO is to your business.

Search Engines

How do search engines work? Search engines see words. Well, actually they see code.

For search engines to find your site, you need to have the words on your site people are searching.

If Search Engine traffic is going to be a major source of traffic to your web site, you need to find and use these searched for words.

Make a List of Key Words and Phrases

Make a list of words and phrases people might put into a search box to find your site.

Think about who might buy your products or use your services. What words will they use?

Don’t worry about words that vaguely describe your business. You only want the keywords that will attract site visitors that are really looking for you.

Don’t target keywords that sell something that doesn’t really make you very much money. Put the effort into where the money is.

Once you have exhausted your own ideas, ask others what words they would use to search for you.

Check your competition. Don’t target keywords for things you are not competitive on. Before you focus on a key word or phrase, be sure you are competing in quality, value, price and presentation.

Write Content Using Key Words and Phrases

Next, write content for your site using these keywords and key phrases. Make sure your home page includes your most important words.

Don’t try to pack too many key words into a single page. Play with your words and see how they can fit together into phrases.

People are more likely to search with a phrase than a single word. Develop your content around these key phrases.

One way to do this is to start with a key phrase.

Do your research and create an outline. Then turn this into a targeted page using a format like this;

  • Page Title
  • Main point (Introduction)
  • Supporting point
  • Supporting point
  • Supporting point
  • Conclusion

Your key phrase will be in your title, introduction and conclusion.
Variations on the phrase will be in your supporting points.

Another alternative is the linear outline or narrative using some of your words.

Try to have at least 100 words to a page, 250 or so words is better.

Make it logical. Don’t JUST write for search engines, write for your site visitors. Check your spelling and grammar.

Keyword Density

Keyword density is the total number of words on a page, and how many times the keyword phrase is used.

This is another reason to write in Microsoft Word. Word will keep count of the total number of words used. Then use Find to count the number of times you have used the same word or specific phrase. Divide the uses of your keyword phrase by the total number of words to find the keyword density. It is supposed to be between 2 and 5 percent. This used to be a hard rule, but it doesn’t seem to be that important any more…

Keyword Stuffing and Other DON’Ts

Keyword stuffing is where instead of writing good content, you take the list of all of your keywords and phrases and mash them into a semi-coherent page. Google hates it and so do I.

Another SEO trick not to try is writing your key words over and over on every page, but making them the same color as the page background so that search engines see them but site visitors don’t. Although that actually used to work, now it gets you kicked completely out of the search results.

Some SEO guides still tell you to use the alt and title tags on images to stuff in key words. The image alt tag should really be used to let users who can’t see the images know what is there. A screen reader will read whatever the alt tag is when it comes to the image. So think about whether that would enhance the browsing experience or make them leave your site before you do it. The image title shows up when you mouse over the image and might help if someone needs the information. If you repetitively use key words here, Google and other search engines will penalize you.

Keyword Location

It used to really matter where you used the keywords and phrases. I really saw a difference when I used key phrases as Headers and in bold. I don’t really think it matters at all anymore. Search algorithms change all the time and what used to be important can become completely useless.

Keywords in Navigation

I think it still counts if the link to the page uses the keywords you are targeting. Don’t overuse it, but instead of saying “For how to write the words for your site click here.” use “How do I write the words for my business site?

PDF Library

PDFs are spidered as long as the text remains text.

Make sure that your PDFs contain a link back to your site.

Give them some Branding, so that they look professional and coordinate with the rest of the site.

SEO: Search Engine Optimization Part 2