Search Engine Optimization (more commonly known as SEO) is a critical part of any website strategy. You may think that writing the content is all you’ll need to do, but little did you know that learning how to write a blog online is only the first step. From pages to blog post, you want to be sure you’re phrasing your writing in a way that allows your customers to find it. So how do you correctly optimize your content for search engines? Here are SEO optimization tools you can use to ensure that your website is being found by search engines and that you’re growing your organic traffic.
To appropriately incorporate the right keywords you need to do the research to see what people are actually are searching for. One of the best ways to get started with this research is to visit Google Adwords, SEMRush, or Moz to do some searching. You’re looking for those terms that have a high number of monthly searches.
Things to know when conducting research:
- Some sites will show you search competition in addition to overall searches
- Know that some sites will show you a keyword range for your results.
Next, you’re going to want to calculate if you can rank for the keywords you want to use. The standard practice on this is to check the ranking features available through some platforms. If you have this available to you it’s certainly a great way to start to see what kind of competition you have.
A second way to track your ranking is to manually search each keyword in a search engine, with quotes around the phrase, to track the number of results. From here, you can divide the annual searches (monthly searches multiplied by 12) for each keyword by the total number of results to better pinpoint your ranking potential. This ranking document is a key SEO optimization tool for your overall strategy.
Things to know about ranking:
- The higher the competition, the lower the possibility of ranking (though not impossible)
- Short-tail keywords have a longer history of being used in online content, while long-tail keywords may give you a better ranking potential.
- If you conduct your own keyword research, aim for targeting keywords that are over 100%, or 1.0.
Add the keyword(s) to your content
To properly rank you will want to be sure you’re placing the keywords in places that search engines can index. This includes:
- Your headline or website page name
- Your page URL (this is easy to do if you include the keyword in the headline)
- Within the first 100 words of your content
- A few more times in the content (but don’t overdo it!)
- In any image alt-text
If you can find similar keywords, incorporating them into your content is another great strategy, and way to rank. Remember, the key with any keywords is to keep it conversational and ensure that you’re using them in a natural way. Search engines have become so sophisticated that they now rank based of intent as much as content.
The snippet text is an extremely important part of optimizing your content. This text will be scraped by search engines and featured on their results pages as previews of your content to those actively searching.
Most search engines will pull between 120 and 156 characters of your blog post, so it’s important to go in and modify this description to include your keyword and a general synopsis of what your content is about. Remember, those finding our content through a search engine will likely read this first, so make sure the snippet accurately reflects what the page is about.
Having a link building strategy is important. It not only is a way to show your sources online, but it also helps others become aware of your content. If you do it correctly, you will not only gain klout, but you may gain recognition with these same sites who will begin to return the favor.
Another important way to incorporate links is to link to your own internal content. As you create more content, be sure to incorporate these older, but relevant, posts as links in your newer content. The best way to incorporate these links is to do so with keywords you used in that exact post.
Once you’ve completed these steps your content or website is ready to publish! By properly optimizing your work from the beginning you can begin to create domain equity for your website at the beginning (vs. going back later to fix any work).
SEO is constantly changing with each and every search engine update. Be sure to keep up with the changes in SEO optimization tools and trends by checking out Moz, SEMRush, or Search Engine Land to keep up.
What questions do you have about SEO? Drop them in the comments below; I’d love to help answer them.