If you have ever worked with an SEO company, you know it is said over and over that content is king. Content is the food that feeds search engine crawlers. Having between 200-300 words, per page, of unique content is considered an SEO best practice. However, there is more to it than just the amount of words on a page. As with everything surrounding internet marketing, there should be a strategy for the content you write.
Incorporating quality content that is well researched with proportionate keyword density is a great way for your site to get recognized and ranked by search engines. Taking the next step to ensure your content is fresh and engaging will help lead to clickthroughs and conversions. Nevertheless, the foundational steps to optimizing content are paramount. There are strategies that are more scientific, and then there are those, which are more artistic. Let’s discuss…
Writing quality content is extremely important. You want your content to read well and be free of any spelling or grammatical errors. Some questions you might what to consider when writing content for your pages are: Does it offer a reason for people to spend time reading? Does the content I am writing offer real value?
Good keyword research is also important when drafting your page’s message. You want to create content using keywords – “the search terms people are using to find your website.” Doing this, in effect, optimizes your page with content that actually “answers” a visitor’s query. From there, look to craft your message with language your industry would use.
Moving on, we come to keyword density — “the amount of keywords used in correlation to the total amount of words on any given page.” In this strategy, you want to be careful not to overdo the amount of keywords; rather, you want place them in strategic places, such as the h1 tag, and use the remaining text to compliment the keyword theme. A good keyword ratio for “best practices” keyword density is 2.45%.
Once you have completed the above steps, you will want to start incorporating your message into a flow using your own words. This would be having fresh and engaging content – the art of SEO. This strategy is what is going to give your visitors that extra motivation to “convert.” Likewise, it is going to distinguish your website in the eyes of the search engines. As this approach is more fluid, it is difficult to provide detailed insight. Rather, I can offer a few thoughts to consider when writing:
Be human when writing. Think about why people are visiting your website. Do not try to overdo, such as crafting a message that attempts to over sell a visitor. Also, refrain from copying what another site says. Simply share your message and include calls to action, such as “contact us today.” This should take care of the engaging portion. Being authentic in your writing style and that will take care of having fresh content.
All-in-all, content is king when it comes to SEO. Take your time when drafting the text for your pages. Allocate time for research before and during your writing, and be sure to get feedback from others around you. At the end of the day, the science is the science. It is pretty straight forward, but taking the science portion and making it read well, while engaging the audience to convert is the art of good optimization writing.
Earlier this month, Yahoo announced that it will discontinue Yahoo Site Explorer, which comes as a blow to many professionals in the SEO industry.
Despite the steadily diminishing influence of Yahoo on search engine optimization, many SEO professionals still value the Site Explorer as acomprehensive and reliable tool for running link competitive analysis. For example, if you are beginning a link-building campaign for your website, you can go to Yahoo Site Explorer and enter the URLs for your competitors. Site Explorer will tell you what other websites are linking to those competitors — effectively giving you a list of relevant sites to request links from. You can also view pages of your own site to see what audiences are really interested in your content.
Yahoo Site Explorer is also an easy and useful tool to check if a site is involved in any unscrupulous link farming. A few months ago, entering the URL for JC Penny’s website clearly revealed such tactics, which lead to its penalization from Google.
Yahoo claims that, because it will be merging its organic search results with Bing, having two webmaster portals (Site Explorer and Bing Webmaster Tools) is unnecessary. No official date has been set by Yahoo, but Site Explorer is expected be offline later this year.
Yahoo recommends users transition to Bing Webmaster Tools instead, but many SEO professionals are concerned that the same level of detailed link data will simply not be provided. Because Bing has not yet announced any new features to match the functionality of Yahoo Site Explorer, there could be a chance for competitors to arise and fill the gap. New site, Ahrefs looks to be the next best thing, if not better than, Yahoo Site Explorer. Still others may fall on more established pay-sites like SEOmoz or Ontolo. Only time will tell.
You may not have heard the terms “White Hat SEO” or “Black Hat SEO” before, but the search engines know which hat you belong under by how you handle your website. White Hat refers to search engine optimization tactics that are approved of by the search engines. MoreVisibility advises only tactics and best practices that are considered White Hat. Black Hat refers to darker methods that are designed to try to trick the search engines into giving a website higher search engine rankings. These Black Hat methods are often excessive and are against the search engine’s published best practices.
The following tactics are frowned upon by the search engines. We are identifying them here because they may be impacting your rankings negatively.
1. Link Farming
Link farms are groups of websites that link to one another whether they are related or not. If you have joined any such link farms by mistake or after promises of increased inbound links and thereby increased search engine rankings, you have been misled.
2. Doorway Pages
Doorway pages are pages designed to received search engine traffic and then feed that traffic by way of links to a specific site. This method is against best practice guidelines. These pages are also known as portals or gateway pages.
Cloaking is a technique of trickery. The purpose of cloaking for SEO is to deceive the search engines. If you are delivering one version of content to search engine spiders and another to your visitors, you may inadvertently be cloaking.
4. Manipulated Page Text
This can include Hidden Text, which is text that is hidden from a visitor to your page but may be seen by search engines. Text that is the same color as the background of a page or made to be a very small font or placed behind an image through use of code are all Hidden Text techniques. Do not purposefully hide text from your visitors.
Keyword Stuffing is also a technique that manipulates page text with the belief that it will help search engine rankings. Keyword Stuffing includes trying to cram keywords into the meta tags or including a keyword or keyword phrase so many times in the body copy that a person reading the page would think it excessive. Best practices are to write for visitors first and foremost.
5. Buying Links
Money doesn’t buy happiness and it can’t buy higher search rankings either. You may have heard this phrase or a similar one while growing up. It holds true in SEO. Be wary of anyone offering you an easy way to buy your way to the number one spot on a search engine. There are certain practices in this category that are given a free pass — for example, paying for membership in an industry organization and receiving a link from the organization’s page back to your website — but these are unique and involve a relationship or relevancy.
Contact us if you are unsure of whether you are currently abiding by the search engine’s best practices or if you are interested in hearing more about our search engine optimization consulting services.
P.S. In case you haven’t read them: