by Zoe Huden on January 22, 2013
SEO (search engine optimization) is a set of best practices for getting your website and content found online. Most people use the internet today to at the very least research products/services. Data has shown that 75% of internet searchers don’t search past the first page of search results, and so optimizing your content, website, etc. is extremely important as it will help you show up on the first page (ultimately, hopefully the top spot on the first page) of search engine results pages (SERPs).
Successful SEO is accomplished when the content is relevant, useful, and incorporates keywords you are targeting (no content should be written just for SEO purposes).
Search engines primarily base SERPs on relevancy and currently they judge relevancy by two things:
Popularity: which is determined by how many people online are interacting with your content (sharing it, liking it, linking to it, etc.). The thinking here is: the more unique websites that are linking to a specific piece of content online, the more likely it is that that content is considered useful and relevant.
Content Relevancy: keywords, keywords, keywords. When someone searches for “snowboard boots” on a search engine, the search engine immediately crawls the internet for instances where “snowboard boots” appears. It filters those results and orders them by perceived popularity. So even if you have a really interesting piece of content or video showing a professional snowboarder wearing your boots, if “snowboard boots” isn’t anywhere on the page’s content (especially Meta data), the search engine most likely won’t be able to find it.
There are three types of keywords you want to incorporate throughout your content for SEO purposes:
Primary Keywords: are the key words that you want to be found for when people search for your products. Example: snowboard boots
Branded Keyword Terms: branded keyword terms are keywords that include your brand name in some way. Branded keyword terms can be used to help build brand awareness, and if you have a larger brand name that is widely recognizable sometimes branded keyword terms have higher numbers of monthly searches than your primary non-branded keywords. Example: Burton snowboard boots
Long-tail Keywords: incorporate your primary and/or branded keywords into a phrase that is relevant to searches you want to be found for. Example: Burton women’s snowboard boots in black
People as well as search engines should be able to figure out what the content is on a page by looking at the URL alone. When creating a URL, keep them short, succinct, include keywords, and get rid of any stop words (a, the, of, etc.).
Example of an un-optimized URL (not using keywords): www.domain.com/23&5asd#Nf=246
Example of an un-optimized URL (too long, with stop words): www.domain.com/seo-cheat-sheets-put-together-for-people-to-do-SEO-themselves
Example of an optimized URL in WordPress:
This last URL clearly indicates what the page’s content contains. Just by looking at it you can see the domain, that it’s blog content, and that the content is a cheat sheet for SEO in WordPress.
Page titles are the titles you give for each webpage. It’s important to remember that people read left to right and so (depending on your keywords, and how well known your brand is or how much of a priority brand-awareness is to your business goals), the target keywords should be at the beginning of each page title.
Example of an un-optimized page title: Confluence Digital Blog Post – Confluence Digital
This is an un-optimized page title because it doesn’t tell the searcher or search engines what the page’s content is about, all you can tell is that it’s a blog post from Confluence Digital.
Example of an optimized page title: WordPress SEO Cheat Sheets | Confluence Digital Blog
This is an optimized page title because the target keywords you want to be found for are at the beginning, and it also incorporates some branded keyword terms as well (the vertical bar allows more of your title to be displayed altogether).
Though it would be great for us to have people searching for “Confluence Digital blog post”, our brand isn’t nationally known (…yet) so we want to be creating content people are actually searching for, like “SEO cheat sheets”.
The Meta description is extremely important to almost every page on your website as they are not only used by search engines, but have evolved to serve somewhat like a mini-advertisement in SERPs displayed below the title and URL. Make sure that you are including primary keywords (branded keywords as well if appropriate) as well as a call to action (CTA) like “Learn how” or “Read here” in every Meta description. Encourage people to read your content, and let them know exactly what to find in it.
The Google algorithm doesn’t use Meta keywords as much as it used to however, other search engines like Bing still use these, so it’s important to include them. In WordPress, once you enter one Focus Keyword the system will scan the content and Meta data and let you know if you’ve optimized all of the Meta data sections you can/should optimize. If you have optimized all of these sections, the results will come back green (with the number of instances it appears), if you haven’t optimized these areas the results of the scan will come up red.
Once all the Meta data is entered a preview of how the post will be displayed in SERPs will appear. If you’ve optimized correctly you should be able to tell what the content is about just by looking at this preview. If the preview makes sense, you’re ready to publish!
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