Given the major changes we’ve recently seen Google take with it’s upgrade to Hummingbird (see this article for a more complete description of Hummingbird), we thought it wise not to forget the basics of search engine optimization (SEO). Many have said that because of Hummingbird and the semantic web, that SEO is dead. However, given the fact that Hummingbird has been in effect for well over a month, and we’re not seeing any major ranking changes occurring, traditional SEO is not dead.
Why should businesses care about SEO?
Search engines can drive a lot of valuable traffic to your website. If your company is monetizing with paid advertising, search engine traffic tends to be more likely to click ads. For companies monetizing by selling goods and services, search engine traffic is highly qualified. This means that the people who find your website through search engines are arriving already wanting to see what you’re offering.
Foundations of SEO
Keywords and keyword research are one of the fundamental foundations of SEO. A keyword is the word or phrase entered into a search engine, and is where search begins. When writing content, determine which keywords you are intending to target. Start by doing some research into which keywords are actually being searched. Google offers a free tool called the Keyword Planner, which allows companies to perform very targeted keyword research. See this post for a short tutorial on using the Keyword Planner.
Once you’ve chosen your keywords, and done your research, it’s time to incorporate them into your content naturally. Be careful not to overuse keywords. A good rule of thumb is to use 1 keyword for every 100 words of content you have. Also use synonyms and supportive, also called secondary, keywords. Here is a list of the key places you should include your keyword:
-Alt text for images
-In your post content (about 1 in 100 words of content)
Choose a main focus keyword for your content. This focus keyword is generally different than the focus keyword of your homepage. A lot of search traffic will be coming directly to your content pages, and not to your homepage, so make sure to target each content page to a specific set of unique keywords. The title of your content is considered a very important element to SEO, and should contain your keyword as close to the beginning as possible.
Where to Go From Here
By following the above guidelines you will position your content well for high ranking in Google search. There is no magic to this process just simple, actionable steps. However simply following the above steps won’t get you to page 1 of the search results. That kind of ranking takes dedication, and a willingness to work very hard. Your content will have to be outstanding, and you will have to produce it consistently.
Stay tuned for the second installment of this two part basic SEO series in our next blog post!