Making The Grade With Google: SEO Strategies You Need To Know
By Aaron O’Connor
Google is one tricky little animal. You could read every SEO blog every day for a year and still not be up to date. Here’s the thing: You need to stick to fundamentals to be successful. Here’s what you can learn from SEO experts.
Pick Your Keywords Wisely
According to PosiRank, a SEO reseller company, the first step is to choose your key phrases you want your posts to show upon searching.
There are a number of ways to do this, but keep it simple when first starting out. If you’re writing about cat toys, for example, you want to know what people actually search for. The easiest is to go straight to the Google Keyword Planner. It’s a free tool showing you estimates for any search phrase. You need to have an Adwords account to use the planner.
Let’s say you see that “cat toys” gets 700 monthly searches. This is a great place to start. You may find your specific search volume is higher or lower. The point is, you find keywords that you think you can rank for high volume with low competition.
How To Research Your Competition
Go to “private browsing” mode on your web browser. In Chrome, it’s called “Incognito,” “Private” in Safari and Firefox, and “InPrivate” on Internet Explorer. Look at all the content on page one for your search term. The top ten results are all your competitors. You want to rank ahead of them.
Write Your Content
Here’s where SEO gets real. You need to start writing. And you need great content to outrank your competition. Even when you think your competition’s content isn’t all that great, you need to produce content that’s better, different, and all around helpful and entertaining to your readers.
This is much harder than it sounds. So, what is amazing content? Here’s what it’s not: it’s not content with more details or information. Believe it or not, there’s plenty of good information on the web just about anything and everything. It’s unlikely you’ll make some monumental breakthrough.
It’s also not about having more grammatically correct content or having longer content. Sure, there is “strength in length” and long form content tends to perform better than short form content. But, that’s not the be all, end all to content creation.
Great content is something that:
- 1) Is entertaining and relevant to your audience and;
- 2) That informs and educates.
Most people are very good at hitting the second point, but not so good at hitting the first. That’s because “entertaining and relevant” is much harder than most people realize.
You want your keyword in the page title. That should be a no brainer, but it’s not always. Your page title needs to have it because that’s how Google knows what the page is about. Further, the title should be interesting enough so people click on it. For example, let’s say you’re writing something about making money online. You might write, “How To Make Money Online.” That’s alright, but it’s not fantastic. Truth is, people have already seen this title so many times, they’re immune to it. But, what if you wrote “101 Ways To Make Money Online”? That’s something that implies a clear promise.
At the very least, the reader will learn many ways to make money. There’s an implied promise with a hint of proof. With the first headline, people have to trust you before they read it or they might be skeptical of your claim or whether you can deliver. With the second headline, you’re telling them there are 101 ways to make money, and inviting them to click so they can read about them.
Put Keywords In The Header
This is an easy one. Most web pages are a bit disorganized. You can organize yours so that there’s a large title at the top and several sub headings throughout the page. Content organization like this helps people who skim blog posts and also feeds search engines with information about your post.
Put The Keyword In The Name And Alt Tag of Images
If you use images, which you should be doing, either change the filename of the photo to contain part of the keyword or change the alt tag. Doing both will help.
There are many ways to improve the SEO of your site, and improve rankings. But, some of the best ways are also the simplest. It seems like most people would start with the basics, but almost no one does because they track the latest and greatest internet guru. So, if you’re willing to ignore the new fangled guru’s advice and go with what’s always worked, you’ll see your site climbing ahead of the pack.
Aaron O’Connor is a business owner who has trained himself to get savvy about SEO. He shares his knowledge with other small business owners in the effort to keep on the good side of Google.