Search engine optimization revealed


Effective Search Engine Optimization, SEO, drives internet searches. Online searches are important because 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search.

The biggest driver of SEO is good writing. When creating content websites, write for people—not for search engines. Write clearly and concisely with a strong focus on providing value to your audience, and you’re already ahead of the game.

Here are some simple tips to help ensure the copy you’re writing for your website is drawing in visitors through SEO and resonating with visitors once they arrive.

Selecting the right keywords
There’s nothing really magical or complicated about the concept of keywords. People enter word or phrases into a search engine, like Google, and can connect with you through common keywords describing the services you offer. How do I decide what keywords to use?

  • Understand the theme or topic
  • Determine what words or phrases your audience is likely to enter in a search engine when searching for that type of information

What if you’re writing content for an entire website and not just a single page? Make sure you’re minimizing content overlap. If you have the same content on multiple pages, you’re only competing with yourself for traffic. A best practice is to ensure that each page of your site is offering unique content to your desired audience.

Here’s how the process can work in three steps:

  1. Write a thesis statement that sums up what the page is offering. For example, this recipe makes a gluten-free vegan oatmeal cookie that tastes as good as a regular one.
  2. Think of questions that your thesis statement might answer for your audience:
    • Is there such a thing as a gluten-free vegan oatmeal cookie?
    • Could a gluten free vegan oatmeal cookie possibly taste as good as a regular one?
    • Is there a recipe for a gluten-free vegan oatmeal cookie?
  3. Think of what your audience might enter into a search engine to get answers to those questions:
    • Gluten-free vegan oatmeal cookies
    • Vegan gluten-free oatmeal cookies
    • Tasty gluten-free vegan oatmeal cookies
    • Gluten-free vegan oatmeal cookie recipe
    • Recipe for gluten-free vegan oatmeal cookie

That final list of words or phrases becomes your potential keyword list. Use a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to determine how often people actually search for these words and phrases, how many other sites may be using the same words and phrases and suggestions for alternative words and phrases you might want to consider. Some other tools we recommend for this process include Wikipedia, Ubersuggest and MergeWords.

Keywords to avoid

  1. Words that real people would never use. Your copy should sound natural—like people really think and talk.
  2. Words that sound like adspeak. Yes, you want to sell, but your website content shouldn’t read like something a used car salesperson or carnival barker would say.
  3. Words that refer to your competitors’ brand names.

Where to put your keywords
Going through the process outlined above will help you identify primary and supporting keywords. Your primary keyword will be the word or phrase that is most likely to be used by your prospective customer. Make sure this word or phrase appears in:

  • The body copy
  • Headings and subheadings that will appear as HTML tags (<h1> to <h6>)
  • Your page title. Note that the difference between the <h1> tag and the page title is that the page title is what will actually show up on search results pages after a prospect enters in a word or phrase
  • Your meta description. This is the short snippet of copy that will appear right below the page title on search results pages
  • The URL itself

In addition to your primary keyword, and the supporting keywords you have identified, include synonyms or alternative words throughout your copy that prospects might search. People don’t always refer to the same thing in the same way. That’s why including multiple variations can help you to pick up additional search traffic. Always remember that your primary focus should be to write for your customers.

Search engine optimization is a journey, not a destination. Your target audience, your competitors and of course, the algorithms that search engines use, are changing all the time. You need to keep on top of how visitors are coming to your site, what’s working and what’s not, and continually make changes to improve the number of people who visit,  the length of time they stay engaged on your website and, most importantly, the extent to which their visit leads to a desired goal.

For more information, register to attend the Generating New Customers via Local Search webinar led by Kent Lewis, president at Anvil Media inc., on Tuesday, August 23 at 11a.m.

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