5 Tips for Optimizing the SEO of Your Content

SEOGoogle’s done it again — revised the algorithm it uses to score internet content — and everyone is buzzing about what this means for your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) efforts and how it’ll impact your SERPs (Search Engine Results). That’s because, even with superior social media marketing, a significant number of visits still come from consumers searching for answers to their problems.

I’ve never worried much about the Google algorithm. I just try to give visitors a fantastic experience every time they visit my website. And that’s really all Google’s doing when it tweaks its algorithm — trying to make sure folks using Google find content that answers their needs. That’s why 70% of all searches happen on Google.

The future of SEO on Google

Of course, website owners use SEO to bring as much traffic to their website as possible because more traffic means more conversions, which means a healthier bottom line for your business. The players who get hurt the most when Google changes its algorithm (which it does almost weekly) are those trying to game the system using “Black Hat” SEO tactics. Termed “Black Hat” SEO because users try to fool the Google Bot into thinking their website is more valuable than users find it.  “Black Hat” SEO sites see visits plummet when Google introduces major changes, such as those included in Panda and Penguin updates over the last year or so.

Recent changes impacting SEO include:

  1. Keyword stuffing penalties — including your keyword unnaturally and too frequently in a post
  2. Rewards for social shares — increasingly, Google rewards websites engaging their social media community. That’s because Google quite rightly assumes people vote for better content when they Like, Share, and Comment.
  3. Reduced impact of links. It used to be that SEO relied heavily on time-consuming efforts to get links back to your website from authoritative sources. More recently, Google began penalizing sites with unnatural links — links to sites with no logical connection to the content of the site. Now, talk is that Google is further reducing the impact of inbound links because it recognizes these links don’t necessarily reflect the value of the website.
  4. Semantic search, which means Google is now trying to figure out WHAT you were looking for when you typed keywords into the search bar. This is a natural progression from auto-complete and other modifications to the search bar designed to improve the effectiveness of search to address users’ queries.

The new SEO

In effect, what Google is doing with each progressive algorithm update is emphasize the role of good MARKETING on your SERPs, rather than attempts to game the system using traditional SEO tools. Hence, the best way to handle current and future changes to the Google algorithm is the same — DO GOOD MARKETING. And, when I say marketing, I mean marketing — not just communication. Good marketing means you give customers what they want, when they want it, at a fair price. Do good marketing and your SEO will take care of itself. As evidence, each time webmasters lament how much their rankings suffered after a Google change, my site makes huge IMPROVEMENTS. That’s because good marketing has always been the hallmark of my SEO strategy — even when SEO experts working for me told me I was crazy.

So, what do I mean when I say do good marketing? Here are some tips that’ll make your website rank well regardless of changes Google makes (BTW, thanks to Lisa Gerber for her presentation on SEO at Vocus Demand 13 for helping me create this list):

  1. Create compelling content
  2. Share and solve problems, don’t sell. People will buy if you give them a compelling solution to their problem.
  3. Be real — don’t hide behind corporate-speak and don’t be afraid to be yourself or feel you have to be perfect.
  4. Be relevant — stay up-to-date on what’s going on in your industry.
  5. Keep your focus on your market. What are their pains? How can you help? Think about making their lives easier and you’ll solve your own problems.

Your SEO program

So, writing compelling content and solving problems is great. But, you don’t want to hide your solution under a rock or no one will ever find you. Here are some tools to help you along the way:

  1. SEOMoz — now simply MOZ. They have a great set of tools to help you understand what visitors do on your site and optimize your SEO. Have them crawl your site periodically.
  2. Use SEO tools. I use WordPress SEO by Joost de Valk (who is brilliant by the way).
  3. Keywords — actually keyword phrases using the Google Keyword Tool

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Keywords Unlock Success For Your Website

select keywords carefullyThis is a guest post from Debra Johnson.

Having content on your website gives something for the search engines to index, but having the right keywords within your content is how people find you in search results. Although you don’t want to stuff keywords in your pages to the point where it reads badly, you do need to have a plan of how to use them on your website.

1. Know Your Content

Writing content for your website serves the purpose to inform the reader. Placing proper keywords within that content is how visitors will find you. While the words you inject into your page rely heavily on the content, you may need to do some research as to what words work the best.

  • Google Adwords Keyword Tool – By putting the subject of your intended content into this tool, Google will supply you a report of the best keywords and phrases to use in regards to the subject.
  • SEMrush.com – Although the information is a bit limited for non-paying users, SEMrush.com can shed some light on the best keywords used around the world for content.
  • WebCEO.com – One of the more interesting points of WebCEO.com is the desktop program that is available for your SEO keyword needs.

2. It’s Not a Thanksgiving Turkey

As Google’s algorithm has changed the way it crawls websites, stuffing keywords into content doesn’t necessarily mean it will be ranked better. Google examines content before and after the word in order to gauge the relevancy of the text. You don’t want to have your keyword appear every 20 words, which is 5% of the time, because it reads horribly to the visitor. It should be a natural flow of words with the keyword appearing in just the right places so that it is easy to read and the search engines index the content where it’s supposed to be.

3. Keywords in Your Headings and Subheadings

Placing keywords for the content inside your heading and subheading tags is a method that many use for successful placement. These are gathered as priority words and having the particular keyword in the heading helps the indexing of your website. It also reads well when a visitor can easily find the content he or she is looking for. There are many SEO professionals who state that using extensive headings is beneficial for your SEO needs. However, you don’t want to clutter up your site with one heading after another. While keywords are important, your content is what the visitor is after. Keep them organized and all will look and read perfectly.

4. Page Titles Need Keywords

Many search engines such as Yahoo will rank pages higher if the indexed keyword is present in the page title tag. For instance, if you have an article with ‘dog biscuits’ being the keyword, then your page title should have ‘dog biscuits’ within it. These pages will be ranked well in the search engines and work towards the content relevancy as mentioned above.

Putting it All Together

One of the most important aspects of search engine optimization is the creation and use of keywords. Other practices of SEO revolve around these words and can amplify your efforts to be ranked high in search results. However, your efforts to improve the ranking of a website are futile without the right combination of keywords and phrases. Various tools on the Internet can help you build a very successful list of keywords to use for your content and may prove to be more fruitful than simply writing a few sentences and hoping it all works out for the best.

About the Author:

This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of Liveinnanny.com. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: – jdebra84 @ gmail.com.

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Google Adwords: Creating a Successful PPC Strategy

An earlier post discussed some basics of Google Adwords,

so you should read that post, if you haven’t already.  Today, I’d like to more forward in our discussion of using Google Adwords to drive more traffic to your website.

Selecting Appropriate Keywords

Obviously, from our last discussion, keyword selection is critical for success — they bring targeted traffic to your site and have a huge impact on how much you pay per click.  In fact, the 5 most EXPENSIVE keywords are:

  • insurance
  • loans
  • mortgage
  • attorney
  • credit

That’s because so many people search for these keywords and so many advertisers want the same keywords (competition) .  If you operate in these industries, you need a lot of creativity to avoid high CPC.   By the same token, you don’t want to choose keywords just because they’re cheap — because there are few users searching for the terms.

What you want are keywords with relatively high search volume and low competition.

It’s a balancing act.  But, where do you get information on the number of searches and competition? Google provides a free Keyword Tool to guide AdWords users.  This tool is powered by Google search to give very accurate numbers of global and local searches for particular keywords.  The tool also gives suggests alternate keywords and you can sort results to determine which are the most searched keywords.

If you want more information, try Nobel Samurai’s tool,  Market Samurai*.  Market Samurai gives you a lot more information on keywords to help make good decisions about which terms to use in your Google Adwords to maximize your traffic and minimize your cost.  You can sign up for a free trial to see if Market Samurai is right for you.

Elements of a Successful Adwords Ad

In addition to using the right keywords, other elements create successful Adwords ads.

  1. Offer – at it’s core, an Adwords ad is a short sales message so you want to make a clear offer that motivates consumers to click on your ad.  And, make your offer explicit — tell folks what you expect them to do.  You might offer a discount if consumers click on your ad or give them something free.
  2. Link your Adwords ad to a landing page, not your home page.  The landing page should reinforce the offer made in the Adwords ad and make an argument for why the consumer needs this product.  If you’ve advertised a particular product in your Adwords ad, the landing page should include images and information about that SPECIFIC product.  Don’t make visitors hunt for the item they came looking for.
  3. Create a compelling story – paint a verbal picture of how your product solves their problems.
  4. Use action words.
  5. Use vivid, emotional language.  Your copy should elicit an emotional response by using clear, easy-to-understand language with a minimum of jargon and abbreviations.
  6. Test alternate copy – sure, with a little experience, you’ll get better at creating Adwords ads, but you still need to test alternate versions of the ad because no one can tell, with absolute confidence, what language will best motivate consumers.  Luckily, Google Adwords is set up to easily create and test copy, providing metrics to show which ad does better.

OK, enough for today.  Tomorrow we’ll explore more about Google Adwords — specifically looking at the Google Adwords format (which is very stylized) and creating ads.

Comments and questions are always appreciated, so use the form below to engage us.  Also, be sure to sign up for our newsletter to keep informed about winning strategies for your marketing — online and off.

 

*This is an affiliate link, so I make a little money if you buy this product. However, I would never recommend any product that I didn’t use and believe in. If you’d rather, you can search on Google and buy the product without my affiliate link.

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