SEO Tips: Content is King
How to write website content that wins over customers and search engines
Search Engine Optimization is as much an art as a science. The complex algorithms of the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing are constantly changing and adapting, and SEO specialists must change with it. One important SEO principle that never changes, however, is the importance of strong website content.
Content, or copy, is the words, sentences and paragraphs you use to invite users to your site and describe the services and products you offer. Not only is strong content crucial to enticing users and leading them through the conversion process, (the action you want them to perform such as purchasing a product or signing up for a newsletter), but it also tells the search engines what your site is about.
Search Engine Optimization
is as much an art as a science.
It is critical to clearly describe your business and the products you offer so that search engines can correctly tag your site and place it prominently under relevant key search terms.
The key to strong search engine rankings is to incorporate SEO into the planning process of the site. Develop a list of key words and phrases BEFORE writing content for the website. Take some time to really think about the purpose of your site and what type of audience you want to attract. Imagine that you are in the shoes of your ideal customer. What words would they type into a search engine? The more detailed you can get, the better. General terms like “lamps,” “real estate,” and “purses” apply to thousands if not hundreds of thousands of websites. It will be incredibly difficult to rank well under such general terms, especially when you are competing against large retail sites that have huge budgets and dedicated SEO specialists on their staff. Think of terms and phrases that apply uniquely to you.
If you specialize in crystal lamps and you have stores located in Colorado, some of your key phrases can be “crystal lamps,” “crystal lamps in Colorado,” “beautiful crystal lamps,” “great deals on crystal lamps,” etc… There are definitely less websites devoted to “beautiful crystal lamps in Colorado” then for a general term like “lamps”. You will be competing for rankings against a much smaller pool of websites and are therefore more likely to rank higher on the major search engines.
Make the list of search engine terms as long as you like initially. When you can’t think of any more phrases, go through the list and pick out the ones that best define your company and the products and services that you offer. Remember, always think like a potential customer. Make sure that these are terms they would actually put into a Google or Bing search engine. The more technical you get, the less likely people are going to search for it. On the up side, highly technical phrases will have less competition on the search engines. As you can see, determining the best search terms is a constant balancing act between choosing general words that lots of people will search but relate to a large number of competing websites and choosing more complex and specific phrases that will net less people but offer less competition for rankings.
The number of phrases you want to work with depends on the size of your site, the variety of services you offer, the amount of text you plan on putting on the site and the amount of work you are willing to do. Most small to medium sites can concentrate on 5 -20 key words and phrases. Major retail or very deep sites will usually require a very wide range of terms to cover all the aspects of their business. These sites should also consider employing a full time SEO specialist.
Once you have your key words, use them. Use them a lot. You want the search engines to see that you sell crystal lamps. Not once, but multiple times throughout your pages. Here is where the balancing act gets even trickier. While it is crucial that you sprinkle your key words and phrases throughout the text of your website, you must always keep in mind that content serves both the search engines and your customers. What would a potential customer think if they came to your website and read this on your front page:
“We sell crystal lamps in Colorado. The crystal lamps we sell in Colorado are beautiful. We sell lots of crystal lamps in Colorado. You should come by and take a look at all our crystal lamps we sell. Did we mention that we sell crystal lamps in Colorado?”
Not very impressive, huh? Sure, you might be number one on Google for the term “crystal lamps in Colorado,” but customers won’t stay on a site that isn’t warm, inviting and gives them good, strong descriptions of the products you sell. Another warning is that search engine algorithms are getting smarter every day. If you think you can fill up an entire page with the term “crystal lamps in Colorado” and get to the top of the search engines, think again (and please re-read this article!). This is called “Black Hat” SEO, and search engines will see right through your little trick and punish your site. They may even drop you from the rankings altogether. Trying to cheat the system almost never works, and is not worth the risk!
Try to write natural content aimed at customers. Keep those key words and phrases you chose handy in your mind or on a nearby notepad as you write. Use them any place where they would logically fit without making the sentence forced or awkward. There is no magic number of times to use a word or phrase that automatically guarantees a top search engine ranking. Using each phrase or word a couple of times per page will be enough to catch the search engine’s attention. Hopefully you are also utilizing other SEO practices that will combine with strong content to get your site to the top.
Remember, strong content is an important component of SEO, but it is only one aspect in a well-developed SEO strategy. If you are struggling with your rankings or, even better, are just starting to build your site and want to incorporate a strong SEO campaign from the beginning, consider working with an SEO specialist.
Client: Optimize4You SEO | Category: Search Engine Optimization