Search Engine Optimization (SEO) all too frequently is thought to be out of reach of the small website owner. SEO services are often so outrageously expensive or wrapped in mystery and tech-talk that the small business owner or church believes they can never have a good presence on the web. In these series of articles, Reuel K. Sample – owner of Act242 Internet Services – outlines some simple and inexpensive methods of preparing your site for the web.
Part 1: Content Is King
Good content is at the heart of Search Engine Optimization. Articles and product descriptions which are well-written will always trump poorly-written, keyword-packed content. No one outside of Google knows how they go about crawling the web and ranking sites. What Google does tell us, though, is that good content is crucial to good page ranking. That is as it should be. Content should be written for human readers - not for machines and algorithms.
First: Identify Keywords
Keywords are words or SHORT phrases which embody the concept or product being promoted on your website. For example, if you offer boarding services for dogs, your keywords would probably include boarding, kennels, and dog boarding. These keywords are the focal points of your content – everything revolves around them.
While Google has tremendous resources for identifying good keywords, finding what words you should use is mostly common sense. A few suggestions:
- Brainstorm and come up with a list describing the content. Narrow that list to two or three logical keywords or phrases.
- Check out other sites similar to yours.
- Sometimes it does take a village. Ask others to join you in your brainstorming.
Keyword identification is vitally important to good web content. Do not skip this step!
Second: Write Good Content
Your keywords are all identified. Now start putting your content together. Always write for human readers – never for Google. Ironically, the more human friendly your content, the better ranking it will receive on search pages.
Use your keywords throughout the article, but do not force it. The idea here is good keyword use, not density. While the number of times your keyword is used does have some effect on ranking, Google seems to actually check the logical use of those key concepts. If you have taken the time to identify good, relevant keywords, then writing using those words in a natural manner will not be difficult. Avoid keyword-packing – Google will actually demote your site for the illogical use of these core concepts.
A few other things to keep in mind:
- Edit and spell check everything. Good content requires good grammar!
- Less is more. Never use twenty words when you can make a statement in ten. Never use ten when you can use five.
- Be concise.
- Break longer articles (like this one) into serials.
- Never, ever stack keywords by using the background-color font. Google will hit you hard for this technique.
- Have someone check your work. Amazing what you will miss and they will find!
Third: Write Timely Content
Other than sites dedicated to research or archives, search engines prefer content that is up to date and relevant. Websites that have static content are not searched as often – as if Google throws its hands in the air and asks “Why bother?”
Keep your site fresh by adding new content on a regular basis. If you offer a service, then offer articles which show off your expertise or inform the public of trends in your field. For e-commerce sites – where product descriptions naturally do not change – blogs and other changing articles are even more important. A static site is a dead site. Your website must always be dynamic.
Good article creation for the web is not difficult. It does not reside strictly in the realm of SEO masters divining the mathematics of Google. Take your time to identify good keywords, get out your grammar book to write good content, and take the time to update your site frequently. Following these steps will start you on the road to getting your website noticed, and your product sold.
Next: Structuring for SEO