Search Engine Optimization (SEO) For Organic Growth
Founder, Steam Powered Dreams
Authorpreneur, Editor, and Publisher
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has come under fire in the past few years. It’s common to hear how SEO no longer works, that it’s dead and a thing of the past. The truth is, search engine optimization is still the best way to drive organic traffic to your website and increase conversion, which can be almost anything from traffic to selling a product.
The simple fact is that 93% of all online inquiries start with a search engine. Of that 93%, 67% comes from Google. Not only that, but nearly 60% of B2B marketers say that SEO brings in more leads than any other strategy, with content marketing being the most effective tactic. These numbers don’t lie. In fact, even when compared to paid search results, organic SEO has a higher click-through and close rate. (Source: Junto)
But before we get started, it’s important to understand that this article is meant to be a starting point for your on-page SEO adventure, not a definitive guide. It won’t go into depth about the topics or even touch on off-page SEO since, while they both draw traffic to your website, they are two very different topics.
Ready to delve into search engine optimization? You’ve come to the right place.
How To Get Started With Search Engine Optimization
Take a second to head over to Google and search for the answer to a question about business or storytelling. No matter what the search is, a few things will start to stick out when you look over the results on the first page or two.
1) Most Search Results Are Websites
The first thing you might notice is that, with few exceptions, all of the results are directed to a website, not a social network like Facebook or Twitter. You’ll also notice that content hosted on free hosting sites are far and few, possibly even non-existent.
This means the very first step in your SEO strategy is to have a website with a personal domain.
1) The Terms That Are Searched Really Matter
Take a look at the titles and descriptions of the results on the first page. You’ll notice that the term you searched for, or one that is very similar, shows up. Google has a way of understanding context, so when you search for terms like SEO, it will also show you results for “search engine optimization, “search optimization”, and many other related terms.
If you click through to a few of the pages, you’re almost guaranteed to see those same terms appear multiple times throughout the page. This is because Google doesn’t simply get told what a page is about by the title or description, but actually “reads” the content to find relevant keywords that are associated with it.
This all makes sense. Having your own website that has the right keywords on each page is important. However, it’s also important to understand how Google’s algorithm works.
SEO Has Changed, But It’s More Powerful Than Ever
One of the reason’s it’s such a popular belief that SEO is dead is because of how Google’s algorithm has changed and continues to do so often.
Once upon a time, having a page that had your keyword 100 times meant it was more likely to be found in search than another website where it appeared 10 times. This was true even if the content on the page wasn’t nearly as well written or informative. This led to a dark time in content marketing history known as keyword stuffing.
However, those days are gone and if a site tries to purposely stuff a keyword into a page, they get punished by being pushed further down in the ranking, possibly out altogether. This has brought on new challenges to search engine optimization, but helped improve the quality of ranking articles.
“If a site tries to purposely stuff a keyword into a page, they get punished by being pushed further down in the ranking, possibly out altogether.”
The first question we get asked when it comes to keywords is what density is too much or not enough?
The answer is…well, there is no answer.
While most SEO marketers will set 1%-3% as a good target, how many times your keyword appears is less important than how you write your copy. You’re much more likely to climb the ranks of Google and other search engines if you write high-quality content in a natural, human-readable way that informs, entertains, or persuades the reader.
In many ways, we are in the golden age of SEO.
Tips For Search Engine Optimization On Your Website
To end this article, we wanted to provide some basic information on how to optimize your website for search. This isn’t a detailed how-to, but rather a quick and simple list. If you have specific topics you’d like to learn more about, leave a comment below or contact us directly.
- Title Tags – These represent the text that appears at the top of your browser window, when sharing on social media, and in the search results. They have a direct effect on search engine optimization and should contain your keyword.
- Page Descriptions – Similar to title tags, this appears in the search results and on some social media sites. However, search engines don’t use this to directly rank your page. Instead, it’s used for the user to understand what the page is about.
- Image Alt Tags – This tag is attached to an image and lets search engines know what the image is or what the page is about. They also help your image appear in image search results. Each image you use should include an alt image tag, with the first image sharing the keyword for the page.
- Page/Post URL – This is the unique part of your web address for each page. It should contain your keyword while including as few words as possible. Taking out stop words helps to keep it short!
- Header Tags – These are the larger text on a page that helps to keep the information organized. It’s best practice to use H1 for your title and H2 for subtitles. H3 – H6 can be used to further divide sections as needed, but using anything smaller than H4 isn’t common.
- Avoid Text Walls – A text wall is when you have a lot of text without anything breaking it up. Make sure you include something about every 200-300 words to keep your reader from losing interest. What you include could vary between subtitles, images, a quote, or anything else.
- Use Your Keyword – Again, shoot for that 1% – 3% keyword density and make sure your keyword appears in your title, first paragraph, and at least one subtitle.
- Bullet Point Organization – Use bullet points similar to how I have here to organize information when it makes sense. Search engines love to see information presented this way and it helps them understand the page better.
Other Things To Keep In Mind
- The faster your site loads, the better it will rank. Use services like PageSpeed Insights to help you out.
- We are in a mobile-first world. This means your website needs to be optimized for viewing on a mobile device. If it isn’t, you’re losing out on a lot of traffic.
- The more high-quality content you put out, the better chance you have of ranking. However, keep in mind that there is very little benefit to publishing more than a few articles a week, depending on your industry.
- Don’t duplicate your content! This is especially true between two pages on your own site but also applies when you syndicate the same content across multiple websites. If you do syndicate your content, make sure you understand how to link back to your original post and mark it as the original
Knowing how to optimize your website is important. However, the most important thing is to start getting that content out there today! You can always go back and update your pages and articles to be more optimized, but you can’t go back in time to post new content sooner.
If you’re in need of a website or help with your search engine optimization, SPD StoryStudio can help you get started and grow. Head on over to our services page to find out more!
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