Search Engine Optimization - Getting Started Guide
Content leads to search engine rankings. If you take away all the flashing banners, streaming media and enticing graphics, you are left with plain, simple content. Creating SEO friendly content can be a bit of a time consuming task, but those that succeed with SEO are those that are willing to do what the others don't want to do.
Search engines seek content, not graphics. Build content rich, keyword targeted websites, and watch your pages get great rankings. Within this section we are going to discuss the best ways to optimize your content so that it ultimately gets picked up by Google and the other top Search Engines!
What is SEO-Friendly Content?
No site can get traffic without content. Without traffic, you will not make any money. So therefore, all content, no matter how poorly presented it is, will contain combinations of certain keyword phrases. It is the repeating of these phrases that lead to search engines finding them.
For example, if you take a look at top natural listings under any search term you will notice that there is a certain degree of keyword reproduction on that page. If a page was targeting the search term "how to build a fence", the top listings will not only have several keyword occurrences of "how to build a fence", they will have supporting and relevant content.
SEO-friendly content is the combination of this keyword density supporting relevant content.
Some SEO marketers claim they can trick the search engines. This may be the case in some respects (with linking tactics), but in terms of content, search engines have become very smart. Keyword spam is the act of developing content that is decidedly rich in certain keywords, yet has very little semantic meaning.
True SEO-friendly content is rich in not only keywords and phrases, but offers an easy read for the average Internet user. There really is a fine line to walk with search engines, so it is important to make sure words appear frequently (but naturally) within the content.
A rule of thumb is to aim for 2-5% keyword density. The more words your page has, the lower this percentage can typically be.
A page with 500 words, you may want to have a 4% density whereas a page with 1,200 words you can be fine with around 2%. You don't want to be too unnatural with the occurrences of your target search terms, and the longer the page is the lower percentage you can work with. This is something that you will have to test...and we discuss why testing is important in a later section.
The 5 Important Ranking Factors
There are five important steps to getting ranked well for your primary target search terms. These factors are integral to getting ranked, but in addition, offering consumer value. It is one thing to get ranked, but it is equally important (if not more so), to offer the consumer a good experience.
1. Target Keywords
Your target keywords should be premises of your writing. These keywords will help determine which sort of traffic you bring to your page, so make sure that your page will deliver and answer the questions of the person coming to the page. If you have a page targeting the keyword "best internet marketing university" and you obtain a natural ranking under this keyword, you will want to deliver a solution to the persons' question (what is the best internet marketing university?)
You need to make sure that enough people are searching your target keywords as well. You can do this through the Keyword Tool here at WA.
2. Keyword Placement
Placement of keywords does carry a fair amount of importance in terms of your overall ranking. Where your keywords appear are just as important as what keywords you select. So, that leads to the next part of the equation. Where exactly do you place keywords in your content so that they obtain the best possible search engine ranking?
- The page title - within the tags of your page
- Page headline - The very first sentence on your page
- Content Sub-Heading - break up your content into headings
- Throughout content at 2-5% density - make sure your content makes sense!
3. Title Tags/Headline
This was one of the points within "Keyword Placement" however it deserves it's very own point. The title tag and page headline are without a doubt two of the most critical aspects to getting a page ranked. A title and headline should both speak to the customer...as in essence they are both headlines. These should not be exactly the same, but should carry the same prospective to the reader as to what your page is going to offer them.
The headline should address the exact question the reader had in mind upon reaching that page. Again, back to the "best internet marketing university" search. The title tag and headline should address this search term in respect to showing visitors that you are going to answer their question about which university is the best (the obvious choice would be Wealthy Affiliate)! :)
Can a 400-500 word article rank well for a competitive search term all
YES, it can. However, if you are new to the SEO game, you need to follow the rules and offer some real value within your posts. Ideally what you want to happen is other people to start picking up your content and linking to it (because of the value you offer).
Do not just create content...well, just to create content. Create it with an intention; giving serious thought to the words and offering something that is easy to read from a user standpoint. Creating content for the Web takes a bit more savvy than simply creating an article or throwing together some content. You will need to think like a searcher, a consumer, and ultimately like the search engines.One thing that you can do to spur ideas is to put yourself in the shoes of the "searcher". If you were looking for information on the term A, what information would you be looking for? Then you will want to write about this, incorporating the keyword placement and density.
5. Related Content
Search engines favor websites that have a lot of related content intertwined within their pages. This could also be referred to subject-matter expertism, where your site shows expertise within a certain topic with a lot of relevant pages.
The "newness" of your content also carries a large weight...so having new content that is relevant to your existing site topics will pull you into the higher rankings.
Make sure you provide the context of advanced topics that require an understanding of the basics. Never assume that everyone is aware of your core niche or understands the basics. Periodic cross-reference to your core content allows for continued exposure and links, assuming it meets the needs of the audience.