Creating useful and informative content is probably the most important factor in getting Google and other major search engines to find and rank your website in the top portion of their search results. Content is definitely still king.
But great content alone isn’t enough. It’s possible to have the most amazing piece of content and still not rank for it, without applying some basic SEO techniques that attract search engines.
Here are 3 basic SEO techniques that you can apply right now to help get your content noticed by search engines and potential customers:
1. Keyword Research
Search engines don’t read content the way humans do. They search for keywords which they use to determine what the content is about. Therefore, choosing the right keywords to use in your content can determine what search results that content will be included in.
The first step in creating a piece of search engine optimized content is to decide on a keyword or keyword phrase to target. Ideally, the keyword phrase you are targeting should be something that a significant number of people are searching for on a regular basis. A great free tool to use for keyword research is the Keyword Planner tool that is part of Google Adwords (you need an adwords account to access the tool). With the Adwords Keyword Planner tool you can search for keyword ideas or for search volume on the keywords you enter.
If you own a small chain of furniture stores, you logically want to target the keyword “furniture”. Chances are, however, that huge furniture sellers are already ranking very highly for that word and they have the resources to continue doing so. So instead of focusing on the word, you want to add a bit more detail to your keyword phrase that differentiates you from the bigger competition and positions you in a more specialized niche. For example, if your stores are located in a particular city or county or zip code, you could add that to furniture to create a phrase like “furniture in Teaneck 07666” or “furniture store in Bergen County NJ”. You’ve got a much better chance at reaching page 1 of Google search for your keywords by narrowing down your keyword phrases to more directly target your specific market or niche.
2. Build Content
Once you’ve decided on your keyword phrase, you can write your content around that phrase. You should try to use your keyword phrase a few times in your content piece especially at the beginning. But make sure you’re using your phrase naturally, in context. Trying to use your keyword too much can get you flagged by Google for something called “stuffing”, which means exactly how it sounds — stuffing keywords in a paragraph solely for SEO purposes.
Here’s a “stuffing” example, using our furniture store case:
Smith and Jones Furniture if a furniture store in Bergen County, NJ. We are the only furniture store in Bergen County, NY that sells furniture that is made in the USA. We take great pride in our Bergen County, NJ furniture store, and do our best to serve the Bergen County community with all of their furniture needs.
Do you get the idea? Besides getting penalized, most people are smart enough to notice this type of crappy writing and get turned off by you and your product. I know I do.
Google’s search algorithms are sophisticated enough to tell the difference between real content that is there to inform and low quality content that is there only to fool them. Don’t be nailed for “stuffing”. Use your keyword phrases, but make sure they are in context. You can then use related words to reinforce your keyword phrases and to help Google put your content into proper context.
Writing search engine optimized content that is both user friendly and search engine friendly takes effort and skill. If you can’t do it on your own, find someone who can (contact us!).
3. Title Tag
Web pages are made up of HTML code. If you right click on any web page you’ll see an option called “view source”. Click on that and you’ll see a page of code. That’s the html code that creates the web page. HTML code is made of things called “tag”. One of these is the title tag and looks like this . Between these opening and closing title tags goes…you guessed it: the title.
The title of your page is what gets displayed in search results. If you hover your mouse pointer over the page tab you should see the title appear. The page title is one of the primary things that search engines use to determine what your page is about. It is a very valuable piece of SEO property that you don’t want to waste.
Many companies waste that valuable SEO real estate by either putting their company name in the title or something like “home” or “welcome to xyz company”. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have your company name in the title tag (as long as it isn’t too long”. But more importantly, your title tag should contain the keywords you are targeting. So the title of Smith and Jones Furniture stores should contain . You can have about 55 characters in your title tag, so you could add some more keywords or even Smith and Jones. But make sure to include your keywords in your title tag.
There’s obviously a lot more that goes into getting your content to rank highly in search engine results. But if you choose the right keywords, create a well written post around those keywords that provides readers with valuable information, and include a unique title that uses your keywords, you’ve got a good chance of convincing the search engines to give you some love.
If you’d like to learn more about how to improve your website to attract more visitors and generate more leads, download our Free Ebook – 13 Ways to Generate More Leads on Your Website.