SEO – Search Engine Optimization. Whether you’re a content writer, blogger or small business owner, this is a concept you can’t afford not to understand. When all boiled down, it’s quite simply utilizing relevant keywords and search terms to help your content get found in search engines. Powerhouses like Google, Yahoo and Bing have helped businesses and blogs skyrocket to success by driving millions of visitors to their web site. To effectively harness the power of these search engines, you have to know the basics of positioning your content so it gains the most visibility. But don’t worry; it doesn’t take a web guru or html code writing to follow these essential guidelines. Here is how you can start improving your SEO right now:
Choose Your Web Site’s URL Strategically
When you choose the name for your business or blog, you are taking your first major step in defining your brand. A name can say everything – and on the web, your URL is your name to the internet world.
This is also an important SEO opportunity of which you can take advantage. Your web site URL should match as closely as possible with the name of your business or blog, but it should also incorporate at least one of your main keywords. For example, a business that offers writing services should incorporate a variation of the word “write” somewhere in the URL. If it’s a blog specifically about time management, “time” should ideally be found in the URL as well. Because popular or common domain names are often swept up right away, don’t get discouraged if your preferred web site name is taken—get creative! Use other keywords, reorder the words or consider using .org, .co or.net. Your web site name is one of the first ways you’ll be found in search engine results and including this relevant keyword in your URL greatly increases your SEO.
Be Mindful When Naming Your Files
Think of your web site or blog. If you’re like most, you have quite a few files or images included in this site. Do you know how each of your files are named? Search engines do. The names of your files and pictures are found in search engine results. For example, if you are searching for an image of an American flag on a white background, a picture named with this description will be most likely to be
pulled for your use. If you name your own files with the most accurate description possible and include relevant keywords for your site, this is yet another way visitors will be directed to your web site or blog. If you have not been currently doing this, it’s worth the effort to go back and update your files and in the future be sure to think “SEO” before you click save.
Incorporate Main Keywords Into Each Page or Post
Every page of your web site or blog is an opportunity to incorporate as many relevant keywords into your site. From the homepage to the about page, you should know the keywords you’re trying to promote and skillfully weave them into the content. The basic SEO rule of thumb is once a specific word or phrase is mentioned over 5 times in one page, you are highly optimized for this word to be found
in search engines. While it’s tempting to focus on SEO above all else, don’t sacrifice the quality of your content just to optimize a word. Be mindful that your writing still makes sense to readers and paints the best representation of you or your business.
Own Your Niche – Go for Unique over Most Popular
There’s been a lot of mention of “keywords” as they are an essential part of SEO. If your business or blog falls in the category of writing it’s expected that your keywords might include: write, writer, freelance writing, professional writing, etc. However, these are all very popular keywords that are extremely hard to compete with for search engines’ attention. While it is possible to earn a high-ranking spot for such
keywords, this is also an opportunity to think “niche.” Rather than competing against larger and more-established web sites, aim your focus at owning a keyword that serves your niche market. For example, a professional makeup artist would have a hard time competing for the keyword “professional makeup artist” but could more easily earn a 1st place search engine ranking for “Harrisburg, Pennsylvania bridal
makeup.” Don’t be afraid to be specific to define your niche, but be careful not to limit your scope or isolate an audience when doing so.
By following these guidelines for SEO, you will have taken advantage of the most obvious, but also the most essential opportunities for search engine optimization. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all of the information out there on SEO and the many companies and software packages you can buy into to increase your SEO for you. Remember this point –the metrics for SEO are ever-changing, but if you consistently feed your web site with fresh, high-quality content, you will remain on the cusp of what SEO is all about.