As an assignment, I was given an article by Rich Brooks – How to Rank Higher at the Search Engines in 5 Minutes and 27 Seconds.
I like what he had to say, but most of this blog post is from what I’ve learned from my own experience and study.
This is everything that you can control on your site and the foundation of any SEO strategy. Everything else you do will either be enhanced or hindered by how well your site is optimized.
How to choose keywords
Ever wondered what it means to optimize a web page for search engines? You’re not the only one.
I’m going to teach you how I prefer to do it even though my way is backwards from what a lot of industry experts say.
My way is to focus on your audience/customer, write compelling content, and then worry about optimizing.
Use Customer’s Words
Wouldn’t your content be much more compelling if you used the words your customers did?
This is where social media can help. Search Twitter and find people talking about what you web page is about. Don’t forget to find what your competitors are talking about as well.
Become an expert on what words are used and what the jargon is for the content on your web page.
Write Awesome Content
After you are familiar with your customer’s needs and how they talk about it, write awesome content that addresses their pain in their language.
Don’t worry about search engines or keywords yet. That’s coming next.
Choose the keywords
What do people search for on the internet? This question may seem elementary, but this is an important concept. It’s important because once you know what they are searching for we can talk about how to make it easier for them to find you.
Google has a great Keyword Tool that helps you understand what people are searching for.
Using this tool, do a search that you think your audience is searching for. (Check the [Exact] box on the left so that we get exact matches on what you are searching for.)
If you need help coming up with keywords, look at the awesome content you just wrote and write down the main ideas of the page.
When you do a search, you’ll see the number of times someone searched for those keywords. Pick the one with the highest number of searches that makes the most sense in relation to your web page (and error on the side of making sense).
If you want more information on this, check out how to use Google Adwords Keyword Tool for SEO.
Titles, Headers and Body…Oh My!
You’ve written compelling content, chosen some relevant and highly searched keywords, and now it’s time to optimize your web page.
This is where I recommend a WordPress SEO plugin called WordPress SEO by Yoast.
This plugin will walk you through some simple steps to make your web page fully optimized.
- Article Heading
- Page title
- Page URL
- Meta description
Taking it one step further, this plugin has a Page Analysis and Advanced features to optimize the page as much as possible.
Not using WordPress? Now might be a good time to consider using it. But if you are going to stick with something else, Yoast has a great website with SEO tips so you can do it yourself.
You may notice that I do Internal Linking, especially when I’m talking about my Finish Year 2012. Internal Linking is simply a link that goes to another page on your web site.
You’ll notice that I keep you on the same window (or tab) when I do Internal Linking; whereas I take you to a new window (or tab) for external links. I’ll let you wonder why I do that. I’m so cruel.
The anchor text of a link is what Google looks at to help determine what that page is about. So in my example, “Finish Year 2012” is the anchor text of my Internal Link and that is telling Google that I think that page is about “Finish Year 2012.”
Anchor text weighs heavily in Google’s algorithm in determining what a web page is about. Its weight is so heavy, in fact, that some people use it as a Google Bomb, although some Google Bombs are unintentional.
Since you have complete control over your website, Google expects the anchor text of your Internal Links to be very relevant to the destination page.
Don’t go overboard though; Google is actually penalizing sites that are “over optimized” with internal linking and other SEO tactics.